Developer machine RAID recommendations

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by wclark, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. wclark macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2008
    Hi All,

    I am impatiently waiting for my Mac Pro 2.8G 8 core with RAID card, 8800 and 2 Superdrives.

    What I will use my system mostly for:
    I am a developer that uses Adobe Creative Suite 3. I have apache (XAMPP) running with a virtual server for each client website and usually a mySQL database. I edit and create videos and dvds imported from my Sony VX2100 video camera. I edit audio and manage the clips. I run X-Windows. I use Parallels for multiple virtual windows running other operating systems, usually Solaris or Windows XP. I run Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac. I usually have a dozen or so windows open at one time.

    My questions revolve around the myriad options available for disks.

    I have a need for speed, but I also have a budget.

    For boot and scratch, I am considering using the Apple RAID card with Samsung Spinpoint drives configured as 2 RAID-0 arrays.

    For data I am considering a RAID using the Lycom PCIe SATAII card and the MacGurus Burly 5 Bay port multiplier enclosure. I thought I would stuff it with Samsung Spinpoint drives or Seagate Barracudas.

    Backup will be using Firewire 800 drives with timemachine and SuperDuper when they finally update for Leopard.

    Any recommendations would be appreciated. I have searched and read many posts, but haven't seen anyone nail a description of the best way to configure a system similar to one that would meet my needs.

    best regards,
  2. DaLurker macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2006
    Just thought I'd let you know that SuperDuper is now at version 2.5 which is Leopard compatible :)
  3. radarseven macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2008
    Similar needs and setup, different approach

    hey bill,

    Your post caught my eye becaue I have a similar working environment: Adobe CS3, photo editing, some video editing, running WAMP servers, web development, etc. I am getting ready to purchase the same machine, though without the RAID card.

    First things first, stuff it full of RAM. I am going for 8GB start (get third-party, save tons of $$$) and will upgrade to 16GB not long after.

    I weighed the option for the RAID card carefully, but after reading posts and having discussions with people knowledgable on the subject, I opted against it. Personally, I think its probably overkill for a RAID 0 setup, and is geared more for CPU-intensive RAID 5 or 6 setups. Plus, it can only be used on the 4 internal drives.

    I initially was considering a similar disk configuration as you - 2 WD 150 Raptors in RAID 0 for boot and 2 150 Raptors for in RAID 0 for scratch. I think many would agree a boot drive stripe will reap small performance benefits, plus double your risk of failure. So I opted against that setup as well.

    Instead, I am going with 2 500 Seagate 7200.11 - 1 for the OS and the other for User data. Both of these drives will have an outer partition of just 100GB to increase speed and each will backup to the remaining space on the respective drives. This method will increase speed but also not "waste" disk space and create an easy to implement backup strategy for OS and User data.

    The other 2 internal drives will be a pair of 150GB Raptors in a RAID 0 stripe for scratch only. Self-explanatory I think, speed here is king.

    For my main storage and working drive, I am going with the Sonnet E4P SATA controller card with a 5-Bay Firmtek SeriTek enclosure. This will contain a 3 drive RAID 0 stripe (probably 500 GB Seagate 7200.11's) for a working volume. A 1TB drive in slot 4 for backup of the working volume and still an extra bay in the enclosure, possibly for a RAID 1 mirror if integrity is really important. I too was considering the Lycom and Burly enclosures like yourself and think those will serve the purpose equally as well.

    I'd be interested to hear what you decide to go with or any comments you might have.

  4. wclark thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2008

    Hi DaLurker,

    Thanks for the update on SuperDuper. I have it now.
    Now, if only my Mac Pro would arrive...

    best regards,
  5. wclark thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2008
    RAID setup

    Hi radarseven,

    I was interested to read your message. I have decided not to use the Lycom card because it is not a hardware RAID card. Rick over at MacGurus recommended the ARECA card and an external enclosure. I didn't want to use software RAID.

    I have backed off on the external data array for now. But the ARECA card seems a good solution for external non-bootable hardware RAID.

    Mac Mall had the Seagate 7200.2 500Gig Barracuda drives for 156.99 each. They are the enterprise level version of the 7200.11 drives. They are fast, reliable and quiet. I could have gotten them a little cheaper elsewhere, but I like to get NWA frequent flyer miles for my high dollar purchases. I bought 5 of them. One spare, and the other 4 will fill the internal bays of the Mac Pro. I will run them as RAID5 or 6, depending on what I can get the Apple RAID card to do. I am still a bit hazy on exactly how I will partition the RAID.

    I bought 16Gig of 2Gig memory from OWC, so we both agree that lots of memory is a good idea. Parallels is a memory hog.

    Your plan to create a 100Gig outer partition and using the rest of the disk for a backup partition is interesting. I imagine that you will still use an external bootable backup for quicker restores?

    My Mac Pro still hasn't arrived. Apple estimates a Feb 28 delivery. :-/

    best regards,
  6. radarseven macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2008
    Hi bill,

    I too was looking at the Areca card because of it is true hardware RAID and it looks great, but also fairy pricy. Perhaps down the line for me.

    Just out of curiosity, why would you rather not use software RAID? I have been considering the pro and cons between hardware and software RAID and would be interested to get your take.

    16GB of memory is key to performance I think and the Seagate ES drives are probably a good option too. I think the 7200.11 are a little cheaper which is why I opted for those.

    I'm more curious on how you to plan to utilize the internal Apple RAID card with the 4 drive bays. I would assume you would likely setup all 4 drives in a RAID 5 or RAID 0 array, though I know you mentioned you weren't sure yet. If that were the case and there's no external storage, what would your backup plan be?

    You'll probably get good speed with the 4 internal bays on hardware RAID, but I'm not sure it's an ideal situation. In that case, your OS, User, scratch and data would all be on the same RAID volume, which means the drive heads would be all over the place. Rather, I think if you separate your OS, User, scratch and data onto separate channels (separate physical drives) you'll actually get better performance because the OS can access those channels simultaneously. And, if for example, you use 500GB drives for OS, User and scratch, but create say a 100GB partition, that partition will exist on the outer edge of the drive platter and will increase the speed of the disk.

    In my case, I will use the 4 internal bays only for OS, User and scratch and all working data and backups will be on an external enclosure connected via a SATA PCIe card, and perhaps an Areca card down the line. And, yes, I'll probably keep a FW800 drive as a bootable backup of OS and User as another fail safe.

    Hope your new MP arrives quickly! I'm pulling the trigger in the next few days.

  7. binachie macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2008
    hi ya'll,
    forgive me my ignorance but i just looked up ARECA product page and nowhere does it say that any of their products are compatible with os x environment. don't these products require some os x drivers? are some generic drivers build into os x so that this type of product does not require anything else?

    i just got my macpro 2.8 8 core and i'm very happy with it, but i'm trying to move my external storage that i had on my g5 connected through a firmtek card to my new machine and am looking for a GOOD, RELIABLE and FAST sata controller for my macpro. any recommendations would be very much appreciated.
    p.s. it'd be nice if i could make that controller work with win xp that i just set up on bootcap as well.

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