Fusion-io ioScale 2 and Mac Pro 5,1 (PCIe SSD)

AppleTools

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 12, 2009
71
7
Hello everybody!

Hope someone can give me a hint!

I recently came accross a couple of Fusion-io PCIe SSD cards... price was unbeatable so I took them right away hoping that my Mac Pro 5,1 could do the rest...

Sadly, that's where the dream ended... I installed the cards and they were not recognized by disk utility. So I checked the system profiler and alas! They show up in their respective PCIe lanes but with no driver installed!

Thinking it was going to be an easy fix, I started looking for the respective drivers but that prooved to be quite a challenge since Fusion-io was acquired by SanDisk recently...

Finally found some drivers for OS X 10.9 and 10.10 which evidently didn't work on Sierra...

[ UPDATE ]

I installed Mavericks on a second HDD. Then installed the drivers downloaded from SanDisk website.
Volume shows up fine but since the drivers have to be loaded from the OS, the card may not be bootable... :-(

Now I am upgrading Mavericks to Sierra to see if the drivers are passed to the new system and I can get the Fusion-io Drive to show under Sierra.

[ UPDATE 2 ]

No success on passing the drivers from Mavericks to Sierra... Lost the Fusion-io when upgrading the OS.
Tried disabling SIP (System Integrity Protection) and installing from root. No luck either... :-(

----------

Anyone there with a solution to make these pretty cool SSDs work on a Mac Pro 5,1 with Sierra?

The exact model of the PCIe cards I have is:

Fusion-io ioScale 2 (825GB)
F11-003-825G-CS-0001

Any help or comment is highly appreciated!
 
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bplein

macrumors 6502a
Jul 21, 2007
522
187
Austin, TX USA
The most recent Fusion-io drivers for Mac are Yosemite. There are no signed drivers for Sierra. I have several of these cards and they are useless with Mac OS X (I tried "csrutil disable" and the system would boot but hang with beachball before login). I don't have time to fool around with it any longer.

If you want to download the drivers, you need to log in to support.fusionio.com (it redirects to sandisk) and create an account. the drivers are free for download.
 

AppleTools

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 12, 2009
71
7
This product is dead and there will be no more new Mac OS drivers created. So if you are after Yosemite they won't work. Unless you know someone who can hack signed drivers.
Sad but true...

I installed a PCIe adapter with a SSD drive to boot my Mac Pro with Sierra. No drivers needed and it is actually quite fast at 6Gbps.

I had my last HD bay free so I installed a small HD I had in the drawer with Mavericks just for the purpose of using the Fusion i/o from time to time.

No luck mounting the volume on Sierra even less booting up an OS X from it...

Still, opening my Aperture or iPhoto Library from the Fusion I/O under Mavericks proved to be a delightful experience with the most fluid navigation I have ever experienced.

I'm sure you can still find a way to get some out of these cards if you want...
 

bplein

macrumors 6502a
Jul 21, 2007
522
187
Austin, TX USA
Sad but true...

I installed a PCIe adapter with a SSD drive to boot my Mac Pro with Sierra. No drivers needed and it is actually quite fast at 6Gbps.

I had my last HD bay free so I installed a small HD I had in the drawer with Mavericks just for the purpose of using the Fusion i/o from time to time.

No luck mounting the volume on Sierra even less booting up an OS X from it...

Still, opening my Aperture or iPhoto Library from the Fusion I/O under Mavericks proved to be a delightful experience with the most fluid navigation I have ever experienced.

I'm sure you can still find a way to get some out of these cards if you want...
Fusion-io cards were never bootable by any operating system. Hope you didn't waste any time on that goal!

I was a Sales Systems Engineer there for 4.5 years, I know a thing or two about the cards. They are still usable under Windows 10 (lucky, MS didn't break the drivers, the driver set is for like 2008/2012 and Win7 if I recall) and they the ESXi 6.0 drivers work on ESXi 6.5, that's where I use mine today. There's a hack to make the FreeBSD 9.x drivers work on FreeBSD 10.

It's the end of the line for them. It's a shame, they were great cards at the time and I was able to buy refurbs cheaply from my employer. I have lots of very fast ESXi VMs in my home lab.
 

AppleTools

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 12, 2009
71
7
Fusion-io cards were never bootable by any operating system. Hope you didn't waste any time on that goal!
I figured that out myself after a few attempts!

And thank you for sharing your knowledge with us! Is always great to learn from the experts!

Still, my main goal was to drive my massive iPhoto Library. I restore classic cars as a hobby and side business and take pictures of every detail of the restoration process and when you have almost 100k pictures on your library things start to get sluggish... not with the Fusion I/O! Super fluid!

I got a couple of these cards for around $150 each which is not horrible deal as I was able to achieve my main goal at least under Mavericks and they are 825GB which is a pretty decent size...

Being an Apple Techie for over 30 years I have had the opportunity to acquire a large collection of Apple stuff so having these cards on my Mac Pro is like having my Applied Engineering cards on my old Apple //(s), they just are so damn cool that you must have them...
 

vr_driver

macrumors newbie
Nov 7, 2015
5
0
Hi all, I don't know if you managed to get these working for Yosemite or later, but I'm waiting to see the outcome from this as well. I've raised the idea here: https://github.com/snuf/iomemory-vsl/issues/43
But, it seems more difficult at this stage than expected as no-one has really done this yet.
Does anyone have the MacOS source code, so that I could compile the driver myself?
 

zedex

macrumors regular
Oct 21, 2018
163
62
Perth, WA
I had these working on Yosemite just fine (4 models tested). I want them back - please post if you have any success bringing these cards up to 10.12+
 

zedex

macrumors regular
Oct 21, 2018
163
62
Perth, WA
I just bought another one..

Will I have any issues making a YOSEMITE volume now that I've updated my FW to 144?

I'm assuming it should be fine.. (hope so)
 

bplein

macrumors 6502a
Jul 21, 2007
522
187
Austin, TX USA
snuf just started working on this again at https://github.com/snuf/iomemory-vsl/issues/43 but they have a day job and a life so it's progress as they can make it. Remember, they are just hacking on prior released source code so there's no guarantees of your data safety, be smart, make backups.

I have a few of these cards and while I'd love to see this work, I'm currently only using them with Linux and my old MacPro5,1 (formerly 4,1) isn't much of a desktop these days anyhow, I'd be better off buying a U.2 adapter and shoehorning in a couple of 4TB NVMe drives.
 

zedex

macrumors regular
Oct 21, 2018
163
62
Perth, WA
I gotta say - with where the price of this hardware is in the secondhand market - I'd really like to revisit the notion of trying to get these enterprise-grade PCIe SSDs working on a more modern release of macOS.

When I purchased one again recently.. I managed to make far more progress than I anticipated when trying to install the kext drivers on macOS 10.13.6

First I was able to install the kext without complaint (i.e. no kernel panics or version control flags to prevent successfully installing the same [final release] version kext that still works reliably with 10.10 yosemite.

There are a series of powerful commands/tools that can be used in Terminal to manually mount the drive - but for certain reasons listed below I was not able to get across the line and make one of these drives work in 10.13.6

The reason I felt encouraged was because, having become a little more adept at using commands in Terminal, I was able to use Terminal to "ask why" it would not mount.. the results from Terminal are printed below and some of the "objections" flagged in the command responses indicated to me that more advanced users are already using instructions/commands in Terminal (usually for GPU workarounds or similar) that will help me navigate past some of these system security objections - at which point I think the Fusion Flash Memory PCIe SSDs may work again without complaint..

Code:
Last login: Thu Nov  7 03:55:32 on console
ZXHII:~ siiierra$ kextutil -l /System/Library/Extensions/iomemory-vsl.kext
You must be running as root to load kexts or send personalities into the kernel.
ZXHII:~ siiierra$ sudo kextutil -l /System/Library/Extensions/iomemory-vsl.kext
Password:
Notice: /System/Library/Extensions/iomemory-vsl.kext has debug properties set.
Kext rejected due to improper filesystem permissions: <OSKext 0x7f827154c520 [0x7fff8f816b40]> { URL = "file:///System/Library/Extensions/iomemory-vsl.kext/", ID = "com.fusionio.driver.iomemory-vsl" }
Code Signing Failure: not code signed
Authentication Failures:
    File owner/permissions are incorrect (must be root:wheel, nonwritable by group/other):
        /System/Library/Extensions/iomemory-vsl.kext
        Contents
        Info.plist
        MacOS
        iomemory-vsl
        Resources
        dump.icns
        English.lproj
        InfoPlist.strings

Diagnostics for /System/Library/Extensions/iomemory-vsl.kext:
Authentication Failures:
    File owner/permissions are incorrect (must be root:wheel, nonwritable by group/other):
        /System/Library/Extensions/iomemory-vsl.kext
        Contents
        Info.plist
        MacOS
        iomemory-vsl
        Resources
        dump.icns
        English.lproj
        InfoPlist.strings
I want some feedback on how to address these issues..

So how do I:
(1) ignore the "Code Signing Failure: not code signed"
(2) fix "File owner/permissions are incorrect (must be root:wheel, nonwritable by group/other)"

are there other things I need to do to make this FUSION-IO Kext (iomemory-vsl.kext) work?
 

bplein

macrumors 6502a
Jul 21, 2007
522
187
Austin, TX USA
@zedex I went down this path years ago. I was never successful. And I'm an ex-Fusion-io employee who was also reaching out to other ex-Fio people.

In general, the file/owner permissions should be changeable by you with sudo, with something like "sudo chgrp root:wheel /System/Library/Extensions/iomemory-vsl.kext" and maybe "sudo chown 644 /System/Library/Extensions/iomemory-vsl.kext", but no promises there.

The latest versions of macOS don't like to run non-signed drivers. At one point I was trying via diasabling SIP but gave up. https://howtomacos.com/2019/11/01/disable-system-integrity-protection-in-macos-catalina/ Good luck but beware, SIP is there for a reason.

The ioDrive, ioDrive2 and ioScale products are not very fast compared to NVMe. Yes, much better than SATA though.
- - Post merged: - -

A little background: Fusion-io downloads for Windows and OS X (before it was known as macOS LOL) if i recall correctly were pre-compiled for a specific version of OS. For Linux they gave you a pre-compiled blob plus some source code that had to be compiled for your specific kernel version (or the kernel family). So there's source code but a bunch of pre-compiled binary (proprietary and hidden to maintain their secret sauce).

snuf is working with the source that was released by Fusion-io and that code does NOT compile on newer versions of macOS due to library/kernel changes. Snuf is working on it, and that is your best hope. I assume (but I'm not a developer so I'm not aware of these things) that if snuf figures this out, it could be signed at build time either by yourself (with a local testing only signature) or by someone with a developers signing capability.
 
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