View Full Version : SoftRAID X: end of quarter (or April)

01-19-2002, 12:22 PM
From www.macintouch.com (http://www.macintouch.com) Saturday 19th:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>After a quick consultation with SoftRAID Kenneth Roberts reports that a Mac OS X version of the company's RAID software is due out about the end of the quarter, or "worst case, mid-April."<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

01-19-2002, 07:41 PM
Seems like SoftRaid has been caught asleep at the wheel. The continue to make commitments and then push them back. This is about the 3 or 4 time I have read a commitment coming from SoftRaid regarding this topic.

Here is the good news, ExpressStripe from Atto is available right now. You are able to create a Raid with as many partitions as you like. It has benchmarking tools as well.

And the neat feature that is soon to be released, is an extension that allows you to see and work with the Raid volumes when booted into OS9. Norton Utilities and DiskWarrior both work with the Raid volumes in OS9.

I am currently testing this new feature and it has been great with no problems.

Here is another neat thing I am able to do with ExpressStripe. I created a partition for OS X's swapfile and moved the swapfile to this partition.

01-19-2002, 08:57 PM
I have yet to hear anyone discuss the raid feature built into osX....

01-19-2002, 09:14 PM

I've done the Apple RAID in OSX. I posted about it but the post was lost when the forums server crashed a few days ago. I'll try to reconstruct what I said later. But it does work. The ATTO ExpressStripe bench test in OSX is somewhat of a disappointment for me. It only tests reads, nothing about writes, but I didn't spend much time with it. k

01-20-2002, 06:53 AM
I used both Apple's (had trouble with integrity after few days each time, and no partitions, can't install X to mirror). ExpressStripe I also posted my first reactions, and found the interface reminsent of DOS with Aqua front end. Navigating to features seems a throwback or those pdisk or linux utilities, not a Mac GUI application.

Apple only in December released more complete documentation and API for developers. Can't blame SoftRAID for Apple's problems. XLR8 has said that they can't ship some products, nor Disk Warrior, until 10.1+ was shipped and some bugs were fixed. Apple has a habit of changing things so you can't really put pen to paper until its a fate accompli. And I'm sure it will be done right and be tested.

With 10.2 moved from early 2002 to Spring (ie, June) which some were hoping for, well, one year after OS X 'shipped' it might be ready for professional users.

I thought ATTO's was sort of a 'lite' utility but worth the $30 just to benchmark and such. Disk Warrior X will be a big help.

Putting swap on RAID would be better, but with 768MB it never hits swap file anyway.

ExpressStripe could not initialize drives that had SoftRAID driver (not even raid). Because of the way SoftRAID works, when it tried to unmount, it tried to unmount ALL drives that had the SR driver, not just the one selected, and my OS X drive was using SoftRAID.

We all know SoftRAID drives can't be initialized from Drive Setup. I suspect that relations between ATTO and SoftRAID aren't what it was when SoftRAID was Conley and had Apple's support. Still, ATTO tends to play the blame card game and claimed that MY problems were caused by out of date driver in SoftRAID. So I spent time and put both Apple's driver, then ATTO ExpressPro (I don't own their RAID software), and duplicated the problem. Only THEN would ATTO talk and do any serious investigating and get past the "level one" support.

Having been a programmer on mainframes I am annoyed by these games.

[This message has been edited by Gregory (edited 20 January 2002).]

01-20-2002, 11:45 AM

OS 9:
136MB/s PR 110MB/s SR
PW/SW 53MB/s

OS X benchtest
Max 91MB/s (read)
Average 75MB/s (read only)

OS X sure feels fast but those numbers don't.

Also, when you launch ExpressStrips it says "Login" but there is no lock, no real login, and you have to make your way through "screens" to get from Utilities to Benchmark, back out to do something else. Horrible.

We need sustained write performance more than read, and I don't believe those numbers.


01-20-2002, 10:18 PM

What parameters did you use in ExpressStripe when you did the benchmarking?

01-20-2002, 11:45 PM
This week I talked with ATTO engineering about the Express Stripe issues I was having and the seeming unrealistic slow benchtest numbers.

I was told NOT to use the benchtest numbers in comparison with OS9 numbers, that OSX still has a caching problem that's making it very hard to build an accurate benchtest program.(I think that should be qualified as an 'accurate benchtest program using ATTOs prefered methods). They recommended going back to stopwatching large file saves and opens.

We also discussed the common problem that people are having with setting up their raids in OSX, that being the failure of the utility to un-mount the drives. They recommended that we drag a volume to the trash as the prefered method to un-mount.

I can confirm that OSX has a problem, I couldn't even un-mount my drives using Apples Drive Utility.

So much for the ATTO benchtest, at least till version 2.


01-21-2002, 09:47 AM
I'm surprised that Apple seems to have disabled ability of user to issue and a sync (double sync really) which is suppose to force all cached writes, directory updates, etc to disk. And resynch all the tables held for superblock inode tables.

I always use the 8MB and left it as 48MB when running ATTO benchmark so I didn't include that tidit, sorry.

I'm just surprised that we PAY to beta test this 1.0 stuff. but I also feel if you want a product to be around, pay your dues, dud (me). As long as they deliver.

03-01-2002, 05:17 PM
Back on topic. . . just saw this at xlr8yourmac.com:

"Q and A on RAID Mirroring/SoftRAID for OS X Update - A reader asked about ATA/IDE RAID mirroring support. (There are no hardware IDE RAID 1 (mirroring mode - there are IDE RAID 0 stripe cards) or SCSI hardware Raid cards for the Mac.) I suggested he talk to Mark James at Softraid about their update for SoftRAID in the works for OS X. (OS X 10.1 and later also have RAID support of course, but SoftRAID may be more robust - see Mark's comments below.)

[Reader Question] Let's say I put two drives on a ATA/100 controller and I mirror them with SoftRAID - I plan to do so on a G4 MacOS X Server machine once SoftRAID for MacOS X is out (by the way - do you have any exact plans on when it comes out?)

[Mark James] OK - We expect to be about 6 weeks or so.

[Reader Question] Now, what happens if one drive fails? I would simulatie failure of a drive by just disconnecting the power cable of one drive while it is running, to try things out.

[Mark James] Do not pull IDE drives from the bus, they are not like SCSI, so you cannot really emulate failure as well as with SCSI. the CPU handles I/O, and a pulled drive will surely hang even OS X.

[Reader Question] I don't know what will happen then - will a message "you need to replace a drive" display? Will the G4 crash? How do I rebuild the data on the replacement drive I simulate to put to the array?

[Mark James] We will have a message sending system, where you will receive an EMAIL! ;-)

Rebuilding is simple, just install another drive, and rebuild to it. SoftRAID will show you progress. OS X has some hassles with "root" access, which is a problem right now in design, but we are going to minimise the hassles.

[Reader Question] Or to make it short: What is the way to go if a drive from a mirrored array fails? Do you have any parts of your manual(s) covering this? I couldn't anything on your website.

[Mark James] SoftRAID shows you the problem, you replace the drive, and rebuild. Or if it was a temporary failure, you can simply rebuild to the same drive. It rebuilds at about 1GB/minute on fast drives. We cover this in the online manual, and on the online help. There is a little on the site, but I guess not enough. ;-)
Mark James

Hope the schedule holds up. . .and that email feature could be sweet!

I copied the entire post, but here is the link for anyone who doesn't already know the site:

[This message has been edited by newbie (edited 01 March 2002).]