Hows my Mac Pro Raid plan look?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by nihilisticmonk, Oct 15, 2006.

  1. nihilisticmonk macrumors 6502


    May 4, 2005
    Hi guys,

    Now my Mac Pro is shipped, I'm already thinking about how to tinker with it. :D

    My Raid solution is below, and since I've never played with Raid before, I wanted to know if this solution is sensible to achieve what I require, and what other people would suggest.

    Bays 1 & 2 = 2 x 500gb WD RE2 500gb Drives with 16mb cache, set to Raid 0
    <EDIT> Or more realistically, possibly 2 x Western Digital Caviar RE 250GB 2500YS SATA-II 16MB Cache
    These will be the bootable drives, and also run aperture, and contain my aperture library.

    Bay 3 = 1 x 500 gb drive = Storage drive, containing video etc, used as a samba share to stream to my hacked xbox downsairs. Also used for backing up aperture library, email, itunes library etc.

    Bay 4 = 1 x ??? gb drive (not decided yet) Windows XP for playing games

    External Firewire Caddy = Will be used to backup aperture, email, itunes library etc, for more redundancy.

    Does that seem ok to you guys? or is there another way you'd do it?

    I guess with the 2x500gb drives, I'd have 1tb storage on a raid 0...I really don't need that much, so I guess I could get away with smaller drives, but I still want fast performance...hmm...
  2. matoch macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2006
    I agree with having the OS on a raid0. However anything that is long term storage should go on a raid1. I don't even know if it's possible to do what I want but I'm going to try and make it work.

    For the OS I want to have a raid0 across 2 drives. For my user data I want to have it set up as raid1. In theory I can mount the raid 1 array directly into the /Users folder using the fstab and the UUID assigned to the partition.

    I hope I can make this work but until my Mac Pro arrives I can't even test the theory.

  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    RAID 0 with no backup is horribly risky. One error on the boot RAID drives and you lose everything,

    Make sure you have an automatic backup scheme that keeps you current AND gives you a bootable alternative with your user account(s).
  4. StealthRider macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2002
    Yokosuka, Japan
    Here's what I suggest:

    Bay 1 - OS Boot Drive - As long as it's 7200+RPM (get a high-cap Raptor if you can afford one), and 16MB cache, partition it in half for Windows and OS X and boot from it.

    Bay 2 - Backup! - Throw a 500GB drive in here so you can back up...

    Bays 3/4 - Raid 0, 2x250GB, etc.
  5. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2005
    I was reading someone's 'accelerating Photoshop' somewhere else, and it indicated to me that the best gains in speed were found by running one boot/app drive and then a RAID 0 as the Photoshop scratch drive (which translates to an Aperture scratch drive or library, then backed up to a separate drive).

    I've decided on (and ordered, and received, and will install when the Pro arrives Monday)
    1x500 GB - containing my applications, OS and my basic PS/Aperture library
    2x250 GB - RAID 0 for a PS/Aperture scratch disk, I'll temporarily move files there when I'm working on them, save them to the 1x500GB and back up to an external drive.
    1x320 GB - SATA I Maxtor that I'm going to use as an iTunes drive for now, rip everything I listen to a lot in Apple Lossless. Eventually I may get a PATA drive for the second optical slot and use that, adding another Western Digital disc below for a RAID 2 (or 3, whichever one stripes and mirrors) or two RAID 0s.
  6. nihilisticmonk thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 4, 2005

    That seems like a pretty good setup, but your Itunes drive would be my windows XP drive :)

    Looking at aperture, and my instruction book, it doesn't appear aperture actually uses a scratch drive in the way photoshop can, so I'd be keeping my library on the stripe, and backing it up elsewhere.

    I guess I'm right in thinking however, your setup would only speed up your photoshop workflow, aperture (using the scratch) and obviously any other pro content you work off in there (video, audio etc) as the access time to your media is increased.

    However, as the apps run off a single drive, application load times and the OS itself would see no benefit.

    This won't actually speed up the operating system however will it, and would it speed up such things as handbrake as long as the files are stored on the raid?

    Raid 0 on the os drive appears pretty good to go, but a seperate raid 0 "work area" partition appears good to go as well.
    itunes can live on the media drive in my setup, as well as an aperture vault(and another vault on my external firewire).

    Now I just need to decide on a seperate raid array, or as a bootable drive array...

    If I loose my email etc off the striped array, it's no biggie, I back up to server, and I can also keep any word documents etc on my media drive as well.

    However, OSX on a single drive keeps things simple, and doesn't mean that firmware updates and osx updates don't screw up, as has been the case with some "raided up" mac users...

    Decisions decisions ;-)
  7. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    I know it looks like you have changed your mind from the first idea as I recall I don't think the first one will work as since its software RAID. The system will not know what to do unless you have hardware RAID. Don't quote me on this but thats how most PCs work unless you have Hardware RAID of coarse. However maybe apple has something in EFI to get around this but I doubt it.
  8. xhale macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2006
    no one is interested in one of these?
    highpoint is highly regarded in the server world and have very reliable products. also fully compatible with the mac pros.

    also 10.4.8 doesn't support booting to a RAID0 drive setup. so as said before it's best to boot off of a quick RAID setup.
  9. Mundy macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2006
    Really? Wonder why it's working just fine for me...
  10. elbirth macrumors 65816

    Jan 19, 2006
    North Carolina, US
    Thought I'd piggyback off this thread rather than making my own, plus maybe something useful can come about for the thread originator...

    I'm planning on getting a Mac Pro in January or thereabouts (really hoping to get an 8-core Mac if I can keep saving up money) and am thinking about trying to have it run on a mirrored setup.

    Basically, I want to have a 250GB or 500GB boot drive that's mirrored to another drive (of the same size, naturally) for fail-safe purposes. Is it easy to get the boot drive in this sort of setup? I've never messed with OS X's RAID settings, and I'm wondering how you get the boot drive built into the RAID array.
    I just want it to be such that if the boot drive fails, I don't have to take the time to reinstall the operating system and copy everything over from my last backup (which might not have everything I could potentially lose if I backed up the night before but added some critical files during the day).

    I have a 1.2TB Linux fileserver setup at home already in a RAID 5 array that I have my MacBook Pro backup to nightly. I plan to carry this on with my Mac Pro as well. I feel like this sort of setup would be a fairly solid plan.
  11. techster85 macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2006
    Lubbock, TX

    That is a really cool and informative article! thanks for sharing! now...if only i hadn't already bought drives that don't match haha. Ah well, something to save for right?
  12. cromeyellow macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2003
    San Diego
    Raid and transfer

    Okay so I just received my MacPro - it has the four 500Gb drives installed.

    When I turn it on for the first time will it, like my new MacBook Pro, ask to transfer via FireWire cable the info from my old system (G4)?

    If so, then at what point do I raid my drives? I want to avoid having to sit there for days transferring data from my old system to new. The process where it asks to transfer data from the old system is painless.
  13. rsvrmille macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2006

    i was messing around with moving the swap to my scratch disk but have no re-done my raid

    1st partition, 400gb: 4x100gb raid 0 across 4 disks for OSX and apps
    2nd partition, 500gb: 4x250gb partition in raid 10 config for data (and a backup of the stripe)
    runs as fast as f**k!

  14. xhale macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2006
    It's possible but lot's of the time it doesn't work. OS X uses softRAID, here is the comments from the FAQ:
  15. Dreamail macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2003
    rsvrmille, this is a pretty cool setup!

    I'd have two concerns, can you shed some light on those:

    a) Noise/Heat
    With 4 drives hooked up as a stripe (RAID 0) of 2 mirrors (RAID 1) all 4 drives are constantly in use. How noisy is that setup? Noise from the drives themselves plus extra fan speed noise due to the increased heat.

    b) 'Speed' partition's real speed advantage
    Your 'Speed' partition is a stripe over all 4 drives (opposed to 'Boot' and 'Data which are a stripe of 2 mirrors). Since this partition is physically on the very same 4 hard disks as your Boot and Data partitions would that not adversely affect its speed?

    If benchmark software is loaded into RAM when speed-testing the 'Speed' partition surely that partition would be very fast. But I wonder whether the whole speed gain would be lost the moment an application would also constantly access 'Boot' and 'Data' at the same time. As both are on the very same physical hard disks software RAID would constantly switch from a stripe over 2 mirrors to a stripe over all 4 drives. The hard disk heads wouldn't know where to go first and I would assume this would adversely affect the speed of the 'Speed' partition (as opposed to when 'Speed' would be on 4 different physical hard disks).

    Or in other words, unless you use the 'Speed' partition with applications that solely work from RAM, the speed gain would not really be that great. No?

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