DriveMap enables you to examine the data entropy of a hard drive across all its sectors. A simple mouse movement triggers the program to reveal the content of the current sector in a nearby window. You can also view a downscaled representation of your entire drive as a 400 by 400 pixel miniature bitmap. This allows you to swiftly grasp drive characteristics that would typically require much more time to discern through alternative methods, such as using DiskExplorer or RAID Reconstructor.
Determining the parameters within a RAID configuration involves analyzing the entropy patterns found in each of the individual member drives.
In this image, DriveMap reveals a characteristic pattern representative of a RAID-5 configuration. By measuring the width of the bars within the display, you can observe that the higher-entropy red bars span 16 sectors, while the lower-entropy gaps cover 32 sectors. This particular drive is a member of a 3-drive RAID-5 setup with a block size of 16 sectors, resulting in a complete period spanning 48 sectors.
This pattern arises due to the way RAID parity blocks are calculated, involving XOR operations on data from the other drives. XOR-ed data typically exhibits higher entropy than the original data, which is why you see the parity blocks depicted in red approaching a near-maximal entropy value of 1, while other areas display significantly lower entropy, averaging around 0.5.
The measurement of data entropy used here is based on "Shannon Entropy," which provides an indication of the average level of "information," "surprise," or "uncertainty" inherent in the data under consideration. For a more in-depth understanding of this concept, you can explore its theory at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_(information_theory).
DriveMap lets you create miniature drive bitmap representations that depict the drive's entropy characteristics. In the context of a 400 by 400-pixel bitmap, the tool examines and calculates entropy for 160,000 evenly spaced sectors. This approach provides a straightforward means of visualizing the drive's utilization and identifying the presence of high-entropy data, such as compressed files and images. Additionally, comparing miniature bitmaps from different drives makes it possible to discern relationships between them, such as potential similarities (e.g., RAID-0) or identical content (e.g., RAID-1).
In this image, we have created a miniature bitmap of the drive. You see the drive is about 50% filled with mixed data, followed by 10% high-entropy data. The last 40% are unused.