# [SunRescue] Info on Sun Multipack and disk arrays in general (long)

Paul Theodoropoulos rescue at sunhelp.org
Sun Dec 3 22:01:30 CST 2000

```At 05:56 PM 12/3/00, you wrote:
>>>RAID 5: Striping with parity. As I mentioned in RAID one, if a
>>>single drive
>>
>>incomplete - RAID 5 is striping with rotated parity, i.e. the
>>parity blocks are distributed across all the drives in the array,
>
>this is not the way parity works. there is no dedicated parity
>bit. when parity math is used, any bit can be missing and
>reconstructed by applying the same mathematical function; thus all
>bits may or may not be parity and there is not any "rotation" per
>se.

we're not talking about how parity itself works, we're talking
about how parity data is distributed. In RAID 5, the parity data
blocks are distributed across all of the drives in the array,
rather than being written on a single, dedicated parity data disk.

in the most simplistic graphic:

RAID 3, dedicated parity disk. "XXXX" = Parity data.
'Empty' boxes are user non-parity data.

Disk 1  Disk 2  Disk 3  Disk 4
+----+  +----+  +----+  +----+
|    |  |    |  |    |  |XXXX|
|----|  |----|  |----|  |----|
|    |  |    |  |    |  |XXXX|
|----|  |----|  |----|  |----|
|    |  |    |  |    |  |XXXX|
|----|  |----|  |----|  |----|
|    |  |    |  |    |  |XXXX|
+----+  +----+  +----+  +----+

RAID 5, distributed parity blocks. "XXXX" = Parity data.
'Empty' boxes are non-parity data.

Disk 1  Disk 2  Disk 3  Disk 4
+----+  +----+  +----+  +----+
|XXXX|  |    |  |    |  |    |
|----|  |----|  |----|  |----|
|    |  |XXXX|  |    |  |    |
|----|  |----|  |----|  |----|
|    |  |    |  |XXXX|  |    |
|----|  |----|  |----|  |----|
|    |  |    |  |    |  |XXXX|
+----+  +----+  +----+  +----+

these are lousy examples, but you get the idea.

-----------------------------------
Paul Theodoropoulos   paul at atgi.net