OWC Mercury Rack Pro

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by mvmanolov, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #1
    Ok, so i posted this in peripherals but didn't get much so perhaps its better to put it here.

    Has any one here had experience whit this: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/hard-drives/RAID/Rack_Mount/FireWire_USB3_eSATA_1U

    what is your experience? what do you think?
    good enough for a small home network?
    what do you think about the drives in it?

    i'd be running it from a mac mini server for both time machine/CCC backup (2 drives) and general networked file storage (2 drives) both in Raid 0 for speed, i have an additional USB attached drive/ or a TC (not sure which yet, but both of which i already have) that will backup the OWC backup in case the Raid fails. any comments suggestions, thoughts, opinions.

    if you'd like to suggest an alternative, please keep in mind that i prefer a racked solution as i want this stuff far way hidden in me basement (and I already have the rack) :)

    the only issue that i can see with this is that the mini is about 30' (feet) away, and i'd need a USB 3.0 cable that's that long, but i just ordered a active extender cable and will test it on a external SSD to make sure it will be consistent without any data-loss issues before i buy the OWC rack. - i welcome any and all suggestions/comments about this as well.

    thanks in advance.
    M,
     
  2. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #2
    I'd get a rack-mount shelf and put the mini on that. I don't like the idea of 20 ft between the mini and the drives.
     
  3. mvmanolov thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #3
    i hear you on that, i tend to agree... But that requires a second mini as the current one is also the HTPC... Eventually when i buy a second mini that's exactly what will happen but for now.. i'm stuck with the 15 or so meters.
     
  4. Larry-K macrumors 68000

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    Jun 28, 2011
    #4
    We've got a Mercury Rack Pro sitting dead in the corner, it's been nothing but trouble,

    I'm usually a fan of OWC, but they stuck it too us on this thing, I can't dis-recommend it strongly enough. Ours was a firewire version, but I suspect you'll many of the same issues. Oh, and two of the drives failed before the whole thing went belly up.
     
  5. mvmanolov thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #5
    what happened to it, any idea?
     
  6. OT-Mac macrumors newbie

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    May 8, 2013
    #6
    Hi Manolov,

    I am a great supporter of OWC equipment in general, however their latest OWC-Rack Pro (with USB3) has been a bit of headache. While the build quality seems fine, there are currently big issues with OSX10.9 and this product.

    I have one installed for my mac mini server for the exact same purposes as you describe.

    Basically, using 10.9.0 or 10.9.1 the drives work well (and fast) under USB3 for about an hour or so (on a newish spec Mac Mini Server), and then mysteriously disappear. They are then no longer visible via disk-utility, and a 'restart' of the Mac Mini does not find them again. Only after powering down the OWC completely and then powering back on do they reappear.

    As such, I have had to revert back to the rather slow FireWire 800. With this, the drives appear stable for about a couple of days before exhibiting similar disappearing (but also re-appearing) acts. At least in this fashion I get about a fortnight without needing to restart the mac.

    OWC support have been queried on this, and they just blame Apple and their current system software. I don't quite buy it, since my other (WD) external USB3 drives have been a pleasure to work with and have had no such issues.

    Now that 10.9.2 has just come out, I will update (to hopefully fix a number of other issues that 10.9.x has played with my server) in the next day or so and hopefully be able to post better mileage for you then.
     
  7. Larry-K, Feb 25, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014

    Larry-K macrumors 68000

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    Jun 28, 2011
    #7
    Had 2 connected to one of our Xserves as JBODs, and had some energy saving feature that was always fading in and out, so it would sort of go to sleep, seemingly without regard to usage, taking the drives offline. Sometimes connected users would lock up. I Also got the feeling that housing wasn't well enough ventilated, we would get fan warnings now and then from both of them, but not consistently enough to send the units back (the fans aren't impressive).

    I tried all their tips for stopping that behavior without result, but never found a solution. Came in one morning about 7 months after we got them and both we're dead (Well, I guess that was the solution). It was on a pretty robust UPS, so I don't think they died from bad power, but their tech support had nothing to offer in terms of a fix when I called. over the course of use we had 2 of the 3TB drives die about 3 months apart, not an impressive failure rate, the drives they sold us in the unit were Toshiba 3TBs (Made by HGST, who is now owned by WD).

    While the units tanked the remaining drives survived, so I slapped them into a MacPro Server and they haven't given me any trouble since. I was going to replace them, but I've just never had the time to box the stuff up and send it back, so I view it as a $2400 lesson. We were running snow leopard at the time, so no untested OS to take the blame.

    Went out and bought a Synology unit, and it's been bulletproof so far (It's sitting in the same spot on the same power supply). It was recommended to us by a full-time IT guy we know pretty well. I think it offers a better thought-out solution, and It was close in cost. The interface is clear and easy to access, has tons of management features and is very expandable by comparison to the Rack Pro Software which apparently will always be in Beta.

    I'm not an OWC basher, I still buy stuff all the time from them, but I keep it to drives and memory type things now, that I can easily define failure in. I've had great success with their SSDs and generally very good customer service from them. I'm hoping the Mercury Rack Pro was the exception.
     
  8. mvmanolov thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #8
    Thank you for this. Can you please tell me which Synology unit you bought?

    ----------

    Thank you for this as well. I'd appreciate an update at some point, i don't need to buy this equipment until some time in the summer so if you can let me know how it goes with 10.9.2 i'd appreciate it.
    Cheers,
    M.
     
  9. Larry-K macrumors 68000

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    Jun 28, 2011
    #9

    We got an 1813+, slapped a bunch of WD NAS Red Drives in it, I'd rather have HGST Enterprise Drives, but I'm not footing the bill on this one.

    We're using it over our LAN.
     
  10. mvmanolov thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #10
    thank you again. what Raid config are you using and what speeds are you getting, and did you set up link aggregation (trunk) on it?
     
  11. Larry-K macrumors 68000

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    Jun 28, 2011
    #11
    I just set it for their Hybrid RAID (the default), I wanted to see how it worked, so far nothing exciting to report, seems to work, and it gives us the option of adding storage easily.

    I've been waiting for a free weekend to set up the link aggregation, heard it's easy on the Synology, but after reading our Switch's instructions, which are esoterically vague at best, I keep putting it off.

    Some of the Amazon reviews are pretty comprehensive, I'd advise going there, some of the folks had posted some speed tests, and you'll see any potential pitfalls there for your application, there's also a Synology forum.
     
  12. mvmanolov thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #12
    Thank you Larry,
    I'll definitely check it out. This particular unit is out of my price range, but i know they have a smaller unit that is cheaper and may work for me, as long as i get the speed i want from it. Thanks again. I really appreciate all your help!
    M,
     
  13. Larry-K macrumors 68000

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    Jun 28, 2011
    #13
    I was going to get a 5 drive version, but it was only a couple of hundred cheaper, so I figured, might as well cover any contingencies with the 8 Drive. A lot of people have replaced drobos with these.

    Some of the users are saying they get around 115 MBps and are happy with the speed, but others say Mbps and most don't list link aggregation as being used, so I'm hesitant to report anyone else's results as gospel. One user did say he thinks it can easily saturate a single Gigabit link, he reported around a 124 Mbps, which seems realistic.

    I'd follow reviews on the other units, some of them said the "12" units had some issues, the suffix at the end is for year released.

    You can also piggyback some of the drive units onto others increasing your overall storage when you need to, so you can start out small and work your way up.

    I was always just impressed that a company I had never heard of built something so well thought out that I could use.
     
  14. OT-Mac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 8, 2013
    #14
    Well, I can safely say that 10.9.2 did NOT fix the OWC Mercury Raid Pro USB3 issues.

    Drives mysteriously disappeared after a few minutes of inactivity.

    Back to Firewire 800 for me... and the hope that OWC releases a firmware upgrade or something to address this. After all, my other USB3 drives are working well all the time.
     
  15. mvmanolov thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #15
    have you talked to OWC? have they offered any solution at all?

    ----------

    Larry, just one more question about the OWC rack, have you contacted them and told them what the problem was? did they respond?
     
  16. mackash macrumors newbie

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    Sep 18, 2013
    #16
    I'm looking at expanding the storage of my OS X 10.10 server to store all the time machine backups in my office. Did you decide on a RAID to use since you posted this thread?
     
  17. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #17
    Just a warning that you are far more likely to get data loss from the TimeMachine sparse image getting corrupted than from not having RAID redundancy. At least that's my experience (I don't use RAID but have had more corrupted sparse images than I've had to replace corrupted drives over the years I've used TimeMachine).
     
  18. mvmanolov thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #18
    I did end up with the OWC box. i got it rather cheap (it was a open box unit) and put 4 1tb WD RE drives (which were also on sale) i've been runing it 24/7 pretty much since about the last post on this thread and so far so good. i get about the same speeds in both raid5 and raid0 at about 190 by 220 write and read respectively.

    given how little i actually spent on this i am very happy.
     
  19. mackash macrumors newbie

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    Sep 18, 2013
    #19
    Thanks for the reply. I'm considering either this OWC box or a Synology RAID. I want to use OS X server so not sure if a hardware RAID or NAS like a synology RS814 is what I should be looking for.

    Do you mind expanding on what your set up is like? Mac Mini running OS X server? How many users are backing up via Time Machine?

    ----------

    Well, the Mac server set up I'm running right now is really all spare parts. I'm willing to hear recommendations... I have about 12 macs that all need to be backed up. Mac Mini running server is primarily used for profile manager and keeping tabs on serial numbers of about 20 deployed iPads.

    I had a 2TB WD mybook, but the time machine backups started failing. So I figured I needed to upgrade my storage first.
     
  20. mvmanolov thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #20



    the raid box serves as a file server storage location, 5 people are accessing this. but my time machine backup is not on the raid box (for the same reason that talmy mentioned above) instead my time machine server backups 5 computers to two separate usb attached single 1tb drives.
     
  21. Mac_User 0101 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2017
    #21
    I'm actually considering buying a Mercury Rack Pro now. This thread was a long time ago but it has me worried as it doesn't seem to be too positive. I'm just building a RAID 10 array with 4 (4TB) WD Black SATA 3 drives. I'm leaning toward the Mercury Rack Pro because it has hardware RAID controller onboard and will fit nicely in my studio rack. I just wish it was USB 3.1 gen 2 but I figure since I'm using hdd's it doesn't matter. How did this enclosure work out for you and would you still recommend it?
     
  22. hobowankenobi, Apr 20, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019

    hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    Location:
    on the land line mr. smith.
    #22
    While you will find successful users and situations, my experience is that overall, USB 3 has been less than reliable on Macs from about 2010 to 2016 or so. It's hard to say what the magic combination is. Could be:

    • USB bridge board in the Mac
    • USB bridge board in storage device
    • OS version

    The only thing we as uses have any control over is the OS. I have seen and used a handful of various USB 3 external storage devices that are simply not reliable on some Macs.

    And I know it is the USB...as several have both USB and either Thunderbolt or Firewire 800. With everything the same, switching to TB for FW (and even FW with a TB adapter) results in a solid, reliable connection, where the USB would magically unmount, or have other issues (not wake from sleep, etc).

    Hopefully this has or will change with newer TB3/USB C....but for older Macs with USB 3 or 3.1, I would never recommend using USB for permanent external storage. I would only go TB, or with a NAS.

    On the positive side, have one of these running 24/7 on a Mini Server for over 2 years, and it is rock solid via TB2.
     
  23. Mac_User 0101 macrumors regular

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    Oct 8, 2017
    #23
    Thanks for the reply. I'm using an upgraded Mac Pro 5,1 (2010) running 10.13.6. I'm aware of the issue where USB devices do not wake from sleep. I have a Sonnet Allegro Pro USB 3.1 gen 2 card installed. I'm an audio engineer and I never put my computer to sleep. It's either on or off so I don't think that will affect me. Unfortunately, TB is not an option for me on this system but if it were I'd have a lot more RAID enclosures to choose from and wouldn't even be considering the Mercury Rack Pro. Seems the enclosure industry has moved to SAS and TB so there aren't a lot of options for me. I might give it a chance and see if it will do the trick for me.
     
  24. Mac_User 0101, Apr 30, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019

    Mac_User 0101 macrumors regular

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    Oct 8, 2017
    #24
    I ended up buying the Mercury Rack Pro (quad interface) enclose. It's nice but I made a big mistake on the drives. Being a newb to advanced RAID I mistakenly choose WD Black drives because I already had two of them new in the box. They are all identical SATA 3 version. No matter what RAID level I choose (0, 5, 10), the Writes are stuck firm to 150MB/s as if it's being capped. It doesn't matter if I'm using USB 3.0 or eSATA. It's also the same with 2 drives or 4 drives. The Reads are around 250MB/s and Writes 150MB/s. I guess I'm going to have to sell them and get some Enterprise drives if I want any gained performance on Writes over using individual drives.
     
  25. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2015
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    on the land line mr. smith.
    #25
    That's a tuff one to know. eSATA has plenty of headroom, so that seems like an especially unlikely culprit.

    RAID controllers performance vary widely, and typically the performance goes up with price. Traditionally, with RAID 5, the more drives, the better the performance. Back in the day, especially for high end server database work (constant small reads and writes), one would see specs requiring 6 spindles (drives) minimum, and 8 or recommended for best performance.

    Based on that, as RAID 5 starts with 3 drives, adding the 4th may not effect performance much...though I would have expected a small bump. RAID 1 has very little overhead compared to RAID 5, so 2 drives in RAID 1 compared to 3-4 drives in RAID 5....I would not expect a big change.

    But again, tuff to call. Removing bottlenecks is key, and not always obvious. The drives are often the best known of the bunch with RAID controllers and buses less obvious.

    If you want to test, and see the full throughput potential of the set up as-is (RAID controller, bus, drives, file sizes, etc), you could go RAID 0. Keep in mind there is NO REDUNDANCY, and if you lose one drive, you lose all your data. Still, might be good to see the performance as compared to both RAID 1 and 5.

    Handy comparison chart for softraid on this page gives some idea of typical differences.

    Historically, when drives were much slower, it was fairly common to see RAID 0 arrays for speed (video rendering, photoshop scratch space, etc.) but used only to produce, with finish work regularly copied off to a safe(r), redundant array.
     

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