You can use RAID 5 or RAID 6 erasure coding to protect against data loss and increase storage efficiency. Erasure coding can provide the same level of data protection as mirroring (RAID 1), while using less storage capacity.

RAID 5 or RAID 6 erasure coding enables Virtual SAN to tolerate the failure of up to two capacity devices in the datastore. You can configure RAID 5 on all-flash clusters with four or more fault domains. You can configure RAID 5 or RAID 6 on all-flash clusters with six or more fault domains.

RAID 5 or RAID 6 erasure coding requires less additional capacity to protect your data than RAID 1 mirroring. For example, a VM protected by a Primary level of failures to tolerate value of 1 with RAID 1 requires twice the virtual disk size, but with RAID 5 it requires 1.33 times the virtual disk size. The following table shows a general comparison between RAID 1 and RAID 5 or RAID 6.

Capacity Required to Store and Protect Data at Different RAID Levels

RAID Configuration

Primary level of Failures to Tolerate

Data Size

Capacity Required

RAID 1 (mirroring)

1

100 GB

200 GB

RAID 5 or RAID 6 (erasure coding) with four fault domains

1

100 GB

133 GB

RAID 1 (mirroring)

2

100 GB

300 GB

RAID 5 or RAID 6 (erasure coding) with six fault domains

2

100 GB

150 GB

RAID 5 or RAID 6 erasure coding is a policy attribute that you can apply to virtual machine components. To use RAID 5, set Failure tolerance method to RAID-5/6 (Erasure Coding) - Capacity and Primary level of failures to tolerate to 1. To use RAID 6, set Failure tolerance method to RAID-5/6 (Erasure Coding) - Capacity and Primary level of failures to tolerate to 2. RAID 5 or RAID 6 erasure coding does not support a Primary level of failures to tolerate value of 3.

To use RAID 1, set Failure tolerance method to RAID-1 (Mirroring) - Performance. RAID 1 mirroring requires fewer I/O operations to the storage devices, so it can provide better performance. For example, a cluster resynchronization takes less time to complete with RAID 1.

Note

In a Virtual SAN stretched cluster, the Failure tolerance method of RAID-5/6 (Erasure Coding) - Capacity applies only to the Secondary level of failures to tolerate.

For more information about configuring policies, see Using Virtual SAN Policies.