View Full Version : IDE Raid

11-02-2001, 07:42 PM
Due to costs I must consider setting up a RAID 1 with two 60 or 80 GB IDE drives. I posted a similar question months ago but thought there may be more experience out there now.

The machine is a G3 beige Revision 1 (If I remember correctly). It will acta as a file server for the creative department's work. Connected by 100mb Ethernet to the Creative department's G4s. The machine will only be used as a file server and will run AppleShare 6.2.

My questions, has anyone set up anything similiar? I anticipate using the VST Ultratrek/66 IDE PCI controller and a pair of Barracuda or IBM GPX or similiar drives.

Are there other cards I should consider? I'd like to stay with products that MacGurus sells as I've used yall's sight for so much information. The VST website says it will work on the G3 at one spot but then specifies the B&W G3 and a more general site.

Any general information you'd like to share?

Thanks for you help,


11-03-2001, 03:05 AM
I had about the same setup, 2 60GB Maxtors and a VST card in a Beige G3. Worked just fine, used it for a few months while doing a bunch of video work. While you'll have a larger volume, the speeds won't change at all with software RAID(like SoftRAID, which may still come free with the VST cards, I think). You'd need a hardware IDE RAID card for a performance boost, and I'm not sure if any will work in a Beige G3 or not. I'll let someone else answer on that one.

11-03-2001, 12:42 PM
John states he wants to set up a raid1 which is mirroring and won't give a performance boost or a larger volume, just redundancy for data protection.

I would think that if your looking for data protection that SCSI softraid would be better. SCSI drives are more reliable with a longer life. Costs today are getting closer between SCSI and ATA devices and you have to purchase a host card either way.


11-05-2001, 10:38 AM
Taylor, when you say you had the same setup was it with a Revision 1 Beige G3? Looks like a dumb question on the face but I thought I'd read that the Revision 1 would not handle a PCI card for this purpose.

Ricks, I've noticed that SCSI prices are dropping but (going from memory) I'm looking at an ATA setup of around $500 compared with a SCSI setup of around $1750. That is for comparable drive sizes.

I'd rather go with SCSI. But, if I can get away with this for 3 years (warranty period on IDE drives) Then I can move up to a Burly RAID.

I've been working on PC's for about 14 years and I'm relatively new to Mac's (about 1.5 years). In 14 years I've had two IDE drives bite the dust. Both of those were sub 100mb drives (older technology). I've been very happy or at least lucky with IDE drives and now the speed is getting closer between the two.

Thanks for your help. I'll probably order this week and take my chances.


11-05-2001, 12:10 PM
Are you setting up a RAID1 for mirroring, not RAID0 for striping and speed?


11-05-2001, 02:17 PM
RAID 1 for mirror. Currently there is about 36 GB to store. I am going with 80GB drives for future growth. My goal is data redundancy. I have a tape drive which will be the third backup for this data. Since I'm not in the office every day I cannot run the tape backup daily. Since I run the tape backup weekly the worst case, I hope, is that I can restore with tape to what was there a week ago. In truth I backup about 3 times each week.

So that you can see how convuluted things are today --- The current system has development occuring on G4s in Creative. They store (in reality they acutally open/edit files on the Win2000 server from their G4s) the Mac files to a Win2000 server with RAID (0+1). The I run a tape backup against those creative files from a Mac. So, in short, create/edit on a Mac, store on a PC, backup on a Mac.

In my opinion this is a problem waiting to happen. Though it has worked very well for over a year. IDE Raid must be more secure than this (without file naming problems between Mac/PC). I am moving towards Create/Edit on a Mac, Store on a Mac, backup on a Mac.

I have another force requiring me to consider this. The PC server is maxed out and has been for a year (I must be vigilant about archiving). Now we are moving our Accounting from a Unix box onto the PC. I really don't want accounting fighting for space and bandwith with Creative. So I have approval to spend some money but not enough for SCSI.


11-05-2001, 02:36 PM
I have had good luck with the IBM 60 GXP drives with impressive performance. I am running a raid with two Maxtors right now. No problem with them either. My PC has a couple of Cudas in it, they've been perfect. I have never mirrored IDE drives only striped with hardware raid.

You will really be in good shape when you go OSX, built in raid support and all the bennies of Unix to boot. Too bad most of the creative stuff isn't available yet. Someday soon though, and then the database options will make it great for accounting too.

Good luck, sounds like you know right where your heading. I haven't heard of any other RAID1 card than VSTs so that's probably your best bet.


11-06-2001, 12:35 AM
I do not think IDE/ATA Mirroring is reliable - even on the hardware cards. I've never tried an IDE/ATA RAID - but that is what I hear. I'm sure someone else will back this up. IDE/ATA RAIDs are good for stripping - but still not as fast as SCSI.

The 181GB Barracuda is only $1530!
The 73GB Cheetah is only $815 - so two gives you a price of $1630 and you can RAID em! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Tell them that IF they want reliability to go with expensive SCSI. If they want a large inexpensive drive - they should go with IDE/ATA. Maybe you could schedule nightly backups to an external firewire drive and then do weekly backups on tape?

11-06-2001, 11:59 AM
Yea but,

Two IBM IDE 75 GB drives are $560 (Two Barracuda 80Gb drives are $500). Of course the reliability issue is key. Does anybody else know of reliability issus with mirroring IDE?. Thanks everybody for helping. As said I'll probably go ahead and try this anyway. The worst case is I end up with two 80GB drives that I can use elsewhere and another card to layaround in a box. Gotta do something soon.

11-09-2001, 10:42 AM
Ordered two Seagate IDE 80Gigs yesterday, VST card, 3 - 256MB memory cards and Granite cable for the G3 rev 1 yesterday. I'm gonna try it and let you know if it works. All of this was ordered from MacGurus. Thanks.

I may upgrade to the Acard 133 IDE card if the above works. The VST from MacGurus was $90 but includes the $150 Softraid so I saved $50 over ordering the Acard and Softraid.

Cleaned up the G3 yesterday. Removed the Zip and floppy drive. This leaves 3 bays clear for cooling space. I'll leave the original 6GB drive in to hold the OS. I think. Will need to read some before the package-o-parts arrives.

Doing my part to help the economy. -j

11-14-2001, 03:57 AM
It is done.
Here was the situation.

I have a G3 Beige Revision 1. (ROM Version $77D.40F2). As I understand it this is the earliest G3 Mac. It does not support two IDE drives from the Motherboard.

The Goal

To use this otherwise useless machine as a file server for my Creative Department. Lots of Quark, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop files etc. The creative department creates on G4s. I needed a place to centrally server up their files. Ethernet (10/100) Cabling.

I cleaned off the existing hard drive and installed OS 9.1. This takes up less than 1GB on what I called CreativeBoot HD. I then removed the zip drive and the floppy. This left the CD which I placed in the top drive bay.

I installed the VST 66 IDE card which comes with two cables and Softraid. I also installed two 80GB Seagate Barracuda IDE drives. Furthermore I installed 3 new 256MB memory cards (just for good measure) I think MacGurus suggested PC100 cards but I received PC133 cards and these seem to work fine.

I booted up the machine and installed Softraid. Softraid is a very easy install and if I had read the instruction book first I would have saved 20 minutes. You should get the 2.2.2 update and print off the instructions manual found at www.softraid.com. (http://www.softraid.com.) I configured the drives in a Raid 1 (Mirrored) configuration. This gives me an 80 GB drive with a redundant 80 GB backup drive. As information is written to the 80 GB drive it is immediately mirrored onto the second 80 GB drive.

To finish this of I shared this drive through AppleShare (TCP/IP is an option but my testing showed no speed increase with using TCP/IP). Created Groups and Users on the G3 and ran some initial testing.

As you Raid experts know - should either drive fail I can fall back on the other drive. At that time I can order another drive of equal or larger size. Shutdown the machine. Unscrew 6 screws. Unplug two wires. Install the replacement drive. Installation is reverse of removal, etc. Two minutes tops to reinstall a replacement drive.


Very happy so far with the results. I tested today and found little difference with the current setup. I will realtime test with all 6 users tomorrow.

My results from today are:

Current configuration is a Compaq Proliant ML350 server with 4 18.2 GB SCSI drives in a RAID 0+1 configuration. Pentium II 600 Mhz processor running Win2000 Server. The server is about 2 years old.

Times were calculated using a watch with a second hand. I estimate times are +/- 1 second.

Time to open a 47.6MB Quark file (46.5 MB on the Mac)
Current config.......... 35 seconds
New config using TCP/IP.......... 34 seconds
New config using Appletalk....... 34 seconds

Time to open a 12.4MB Adobe Illustrator file
Current config ......... 15 seconds
New config using TCP/IP ......... 22 seconds
New config using Appletalk ...... 25 seconds

Time to open a 10MB Quark Tiff file
Current config......... 16 seconds
New config using TCP/IP......... 3 seconds
New config using Appletalk...... 3 seconds

Simple tests, I know, I hope the information holds up. Actually on the second and third tests it took longer to open the file the second time I opened them. In the third test instead of 3 seconds it took 11 seconds for each of the new configuration tests. Weird.

Will let you know if I am unhappy with anything.

[This message has been edited by jcasteel (edited 14 November 2001).]