With NZFS getting closer to a release and discussions already starting around it, there is still a bit of confusion on how it relates to FlexRAID’s RAID-F technology and vice-versa.

In this post http://www.openegg.org/2012/02/22/flexraid-vs-nzfs/, I provided a brief overview.

I am now going to take another stab a clarifying the two products.

Clean up

The first thing I really have to do is clean up the naming of the products or at least provide information of my intent to re-align them.

I wish for the name FlexRAID to represent a family of storage data protection products that provide great flexibility and various innovations.
The official website for FlexRAID will be redesigned along with the wiki, forum, etc. to help in that re-alignment.

Under FlexRAID, we have two products:

  • RAID over File System (RAID-F), www.flexraid.com
  • Next-Generation Zion File System (NZFS), a Next-Generation Storage Virtualization Technology

Each of the products take a different approach to protecting storage data with each approach having benefits and drawbacks.
As such, the choice between RAID-F and NZFS will be driven by weighing the PROs and CONs against the intended specific application.

As NZFS is vast in features, we really can’t compare RAID-F against NZFS.
What we will do instead is compare specific NZFS features against RAID-F.

Let’s start with a RAID-F vs tRAID (a feature of NZFS):

Snapshot RAIDYesNo
Real-Time RAIDYes, but experimentalYes
Live data reconstruction in the case of a drive failure?No. The failed drive must be recovered.Yes
Various RAID engines and Multi-Parity supportYesYes
Are surviving drives fully readable/writable even in the event of failure past the tolerance level?YesYes
Supports drives with existing data on them?YesYes
Can a drive be pulled from the RAID and read in another system standalone?YesYes
Supports any file systemYesYes
OS support?Windows and LinuxWindows and Linux
Datarot detectionYesNo
Can RAID include specific folders, specific data set, media drives, and ad-hoc content?YesNo
Ability to exclude certain content from the RAID?YesNo
Recovery of specific filesYesNo, only recover a whole drive. Has no concept of files.
Supports network mapped drives as part of the RAID?YesNo
Can upgrade from a small drive to a bigger drive by just copying the data over and without affecting parity?YesNo
Vulnerable to the Snapshot RAID sync hole?- Yes if Snapshot RAID (see Understanding the limitations of Snapshot RAID)
- No, if Real-Time RAID


As you can see, tRAID is not a replacement for RAID-F.
RAID-F makes some pretty compelling arguments.
Where tRAID wins over RAID-F is in that its real-time RAID feature is far more robust.
Also please note that NZFS has many more features besides tRAID, which will be evaluated in future posts.

RAID-F is already available. Download it now and take it for a test drive.

NZFS’s tRAID is currently in private beta testing and will be available in Spring.


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