View Full Version : built-in RAID support in OSX!

08-16-2001, 02:56 AM
well, sports fans, the mists are clearing, and Apple's motives in delaying the release of SCSI developer resources for OSX now makes much more sense: rather than perpetuate the hodge-podge of software RAID utilities available under MacOS, Apple intends to build that functionality into OSX.

is this a good thing? Probably. Nothing cheaper than a feature built into an OS you already own, right? Compatibility should be peerless, as who understands the OS and the hooks called better than the guys who made the OS?

this has been exposed on MacOS Rumors....and as they noted, Apple will surely demand that they take down the screen shots.

like it really makes a difference, right?





08-16-2001, 05:02 AM
I suppose it makes sense, since the SCSI command set & FreeBSD are primed for easy RAID support. All Apple is doing is using existing methods and calls through different hardware.

My biggest worry...how will one access an OSX RAID in OS9? This is the card that SoftRAID will hold when they release the next version.

[This message has been edited by chrismenke (edited 16 August 2001).]

08-17-2001, 02:00 PM
Maybe OS 9.2+ will support RAID in Drive Setup to create RAID, but will it mirror or span? Will utilities like Disk Warrior work?

Right now I'm using FWB HDT 4.5 for my drives (Cheetah 10k and others) as it works under 9.1 AND OS X and gives identical or better performance on a two drive array. Drive Setup gave me crappy benchmarks even if I modifed Page Mode settings using SoftRAID or FWB. And I couldn't use SoftRAID and trust my drives under OS X.

It'll be interesting. Wonder if it will impact ATTO cards?


08-18-2001, 10:33 AM
I wonder if this will allow IDE/ATA RAID? RAID5?

Maybe ANY supported system under X can boot off RAID 0 or RAID1?-)

That would http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/kickass.gif ! http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/dance.gif

I hope it is true.

Life in the fast lane leads to:
The Resteraunt At The End Of The Universe

08-27-2001, 04:54 PM

I don't see an indication that you can boot from an array in the screen shot.

It could well be a software raid, for a d drive, and not be bootable, ala Windows 2000.


08-27-2001, 09:18 PM
I think the assumption is that the shown Disk Utility shows all mounted drives, so the lone IBM would have to be the boot volume.

08-28-2001, 12:08 AM
i think time will prove you correct, greg.


08-28-2001, 11:18 AM
Great. That takes away a major mac advantage.

Soon we will be looking at 500-1000 bucks for a hardware raid card, with
a bios that sucks, and barely works.


08-28-2001, 05:25 PM
I heard they were using Attos tools to acomplish this software raid thing.
Since they are including Atto board with their G4s, it might have been part of the deal.

If Apple was to be loyal, they would contract Softraid Hopefully, they don't cut Softraid out here.


08-29-2001, 03:55 AM
Jorge, failing to cut out softraid would be unusual for Apple.

Well, now I know why I'm getting the song and dance from atto on why my 98 drivers don't work in 98, for their ultra 3 dual channel card. Too much time spent working on apple r and d right now.

I install the drivers, I crash. Works ok with no drivers, but a bit weird.

Guess they don't have time to get their 98 drivers to work, since they are working on macs most of the time.

Magician, I would only recommend the atto u3 cards for mac use, not pc use.


08-29-2001, 11:39 PM
Guess they don't have time to get their 98 drivers to work, since they are working on macs most of the time.

Hmmm... when did '98 come out? Lets see that would give them at least 3 years of working with the full release of '98 - assuming they did not get an early sample. Wasnt the ATTO U160 card out about a year ago? If they can not get the drivers right after a year.... well thats ATI http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Seriously though that should be PLENTY of time. Wonder how their cards fair on other systems: Solaris, Irix, System4-IBM?, Linux, BSD, etc..?

I would think if you HAD to run SCSI on a M$ system that it would NT4sp5 - at least. Now if you need to play some games... '98 is probably the best, but why would anyone put SCSI on a gaming system?

I would not blame ATTO for the failure of their SCSI card... I like to blame Microsoft. After all they have the MOST hardware choices http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Life in the fast lane leads to:
The Resteraunt At The End Of The Universe

08-30-2001, 04:52 PM
Sorry, but if you are going to market a product to have certain abilities, then it better have them. If you are going to say your product works on Pcs, I don't want excuses about a certain huge, famous, board maker not complying with the rules being the fault of the driver not working.

The only reason I would pay 700 bucks for a raid card, is if it had future use potential, 64bit capability, and cross platform ability.

To many pc cards for 1/2 the price that do the same stuff, and too many mac deals for 1/7th the price that work for current raids, in 32 bit slots.

As for using 98, most of my legacy stuff doesn't run, or runs poorly, on 2000.

After all the bugs finally getting sorted out, 98 isn't bad as an os. Sort of like how I feel about 8.6, or 9. While they may not have protected memory, most all the bugs are gone, and they work very well, now.

Plus, I'm not jazzed about getting rid of a bunch of decent software.

Why in the world wouldn't people want scsi on games systems? Games make lots of random seeks, and scsi is at least twice as good as ide at this sort of stuff, thanks to Cheetahs access time.
It makes no sense to me to buy a super fast processor, ram, and mobo, and chain it to a slow hard drive. Not to mention that most games require, as does 98 to play them, that virtual memory be turned on. So, You have this super fast cpu, and ram, having to use the hard drive at 1/20th the speed, as more ram, even though you have enough physical ram so this shouldn't happen.

One of the nice things about 98, is that with 512 mb of ram, it hardly ever hits the swapfile.

Anyway, I like Raid 0 startup stuff, and, it's still faster in 98 then a single drive, even without drivers that work.


09-15-2001, 08:35 PM
Has any one set up a system using the new RAID feature in OS 10.1? I am dying to utilize this feature. If you have, please provide as much detail as possible.

09-27-2001, 07:36 PM
"I would think if you HAD to run SCSI on a M$ system that it would NT4sp5 - at least. Now if you need to play some games... '98 is probably the best, but why would anyone put SCSI on a gaming system?

I would not blame ATTO for the failure of their SCSI card... I like to blame Microsoft. After all they have the MOST hardware choices"

OK: Using a dual boot setup, 2000/98. NT 5 and 98 se. Card works great in 2000, and that's where most of the work is done.

However, plenty of software, most of which I seem to own, fails to run under 2000, and perfers 98. Hence the dual boot. It would be nice if the card had drivers that worked under 98, with a Asus mobo, and 1.4 gig athlon. However, that's the pc world. For ATTO, driver quality is a moving target, as the chips change, etc. For a small company, with little support from MSFT, or no support, or actively working against them, I'm sure it's hard.

I started to post this because why would anyone play a game without scsi?

Most of these on line games give you an advantage with a fast system, and the most limiting factor on speed with any pc, thanks to virtual memory, is the hard drive. So why would anyone that plays any sort of games not use scsi?

Besides, scsi is no longer all that expensive, in comparision to ide. You can
easily put together an uw, or LVD setup that will blow the doors off any ide drive, with a second or third generation cheetah, and said card and cables.

There is no reason for anyone who wants a fast computer not to use SCSI, unless you need massive storage, and then you can combine ide, firewire, and scsi.

09-28-2001, 04:41 AM
Random comments on things touched on in this thread:

No, this isn't an Atto project. From ASP under 10.1:

AppleRAID.kext 1.0.0 (1.0.0f2) Yes Bundle name: AppleRAID Bundle identifier: com.apple.driver.AppleRAID Get Info string: AppleRAID version 1.0.0, Copyright 2001 Apple Computer, Inc. Copyright: Copyright 2001 Apple Computer, Inc. ProjectName: AppleRAID SourceVersion: 1.0.0f2 BuildVersion: 47 ReleaseStatus: GM

Apple copyright = Apple probably wrote it. Besides, absolutely none of the prior RAID driver code out there, whether from Atto or SoftRAID or anybody else, would have had any applicability to OS X. OS X is a whole new ball game for drivers.

Also, this had nothing to do with delays in MacOS X SCSI APIs. MacOS X RAID is implemented at a different layer than SCSI. It looks like it can RAID any group of block devices you may have attached, whether they're SCSI or ATA or Firewire or something else entirely. Haven't tried yet but I'd guess you can even do silly things like a RAID 0 striped over one ATA and one SCSI disk, precisely because at the OS layer where Apple's RAID code exists it doesn't have to know (or care) what's going on underneath.

Is built in RAID support a good thing? UNQUESTIONABLY. It's part of Apple getting away from the broken model of relying on 3rd party "disk drivers" to do functions that should be supported by the OS in the first place. FWB HDT / Intech Speedtools / SoftRAID style disk drivers don't even exist on other operating systems, and nobody misses them either.

Santilli, I'm not sure what you're complaining about. This has nothing to do with the price / availability of hardware RAID, or Atto's ability to deliver drivers for Windows. And bootable software RAID is not possible on the vast majority of computers supported by OS X anyways (that is, all New World Macs). Though ironically it now becomes easy for Apple to do it -- with one RAID format it wouldn't be too hard to add support to Open Firmware, and they could potentially release updated firmware for older New World machines so any of them could boot from RAID. (though I expect they probably won't.)

Some history while I'm in a rambling mood...

Back in the dark ages of Mac SCSI, Apple chose to put a "driver" in a special partition at the beginning of every hard disk. Although there was a standard set of SCSI commands for disks, many disks had bugs in their firmware that often made it necessary to know about the quirks of that individual model. Thus, MacOS would load a driver from using safe but slow generic SCSI commands that worked on all drives. Then the driver would take over, using higher speed techniques known to be safe on that drive model.

Apple's own drivers were only guaranteed to support the hard drive models they OEMed. And in those days, Apple OEM meant a custom firmware version on the hard drive designed to Apple's specs, or even firmware written by Apple. (Apple was still doing this surprisingly recently, but mostly sticks to standard firmware these days.) Since Apple was able to control the command set for drives they OEMed, and could thereby guarantee good standards compliance, their own drivers didn't have to be written for robustness in the face of bad drives. In fact they went so far as to make their drivers refuse to work with any drive that didn't have an Apple signature in the firmware. Thus was born the 3rd party disk driver; without one you literally could not use a non-Apple hard drive.

Most other operating systems took a different approach. They use one driver for all disk models, and simply make sure that the One Driver supports a wide range of drives. (This is what the guys writing 3rd party drivers for MacOS had to do anyways!)

Fast forward to the here and now. Drives are generally a lot more compliant to standards these days, and besides a couple years ago Apple woke up to the fact that it was not too terribly difficult to make their own drivers support a wide range of disks. So 3rd party disk drivers have already been made less relevant: where they used to be an absolute requirement to use any non-Apple drive, now they are used mainly by people who need features not supported by Apple's own drivers, such as RAID. But the driver partitions are still around because Classic MacOS is very entrenched in that model. In fact, you now get around five or six driver partitions, each for a different type of driver.

Enter X. In virtually all UNIX designs, the built-in disk driver supports as wide a range of disks as possible. No driver partitions at all. X is no different. To it, MacOS driver partitions are totally superfluous. In fact, the 10.1 Disk Utility app gives you the option of not creating them when you format/partition a disk. Doesn't matter at all to X, but you better not plan on booting 9.x from such a disk, or mounting it once booted into 9.x from another disk. (9.x running as Classic under X will see them, however, because it accesses disks indirectly through X.)

09-28-2001, 03:40 PM
I created mirrored raid and found that my yosemite couldn't install the full 10.1 to raid, nor does it show up in OS 9. Its truly OS X only. At least with SoftRAID I could boot mirror raid volumes. Also, it takes over the entire drive. No chance to stripe part of a drive.

I've heard from IntechUSA that they plan to have something special for OS X. And I know SoftRAID hopes to do some stuff also, but mum on when or what that will look like. Everyone of course was saying that they had to wait until 10.1 was a fait accompli.