Software RAID 0 and Boot Camp?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by rk25123, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. rk25123, Jul 1, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013

    rk25123 macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010
    I'm thinking about setting up a software RAID 0 for data using the 4 internal HDDs (I'd use an external for backup), while booting from one SSD with OS X+applications and another one with Windows+applications (Boot Camp). Is it possible to set it up so that both OS X and Windows can use the RAID 0?
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
  3. rk25123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010
    D'oh! That's what I suspected, kinda ruins my plans... What about with a RAID controller?
  4. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    Raid controller should work, it just has to be cross-platform.

    My RocketRaid 2314 (very cheap) works fine
  5. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    When using a hardware RAID controller the RAID array is created prior to being presented to the OS as a single drive so being cross-platform shouldn't matter. What does matter is that the RAID controller is supported by the hardware that it is being installed into.
  6. rk25123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010
    What about something like that?
    Do the HDDS have to be connected directly to the controller? If so, is there a way to set up a hardware RAID using the internal HDDs of the Mac Pro?

    Thanks for the help!
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    That card won't cut it (software based <uses system resources to calculate and manage the drives>, not hardware, which is independent of the system's resources and OS). You'd be looking at a proper RAID card (wouldn't recommend High Point for this at all, as they don't design or manufacture anything they sell). Look to Areca or ATTO.

    And Yes, the drives MUST be connected to the card for it to have control over them.

    YMMV on this approach though, as some cards that have been tested in such a configuration did not work (IIRC ARC-1210 failed at such a config; older card though).
  8. rk25123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010
    Ok, so there's no way to set up a hardware RAID using the internal HDD bays?
    What about a spanned volume? Would it be possible to use it both under OS X and Windows?
  9. rk25123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010
    The Apple RAID card seems to do what I'm looking for, an hardware RAID using the internal bays, but it's crazily priced (636€!827$!)... Is there a 3rd party card that does the same for a reasonable price?
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    It's possible to set up a hardware based RAID card using the internal HDD's. Depending on the exact model, it would either require a special cable or a kit that adapts the internal HDD bays to a 3rd party RAID card.

    Spanned volumes can be used under either OS. Using it under both Windows and OSX, No. You have to keep in mind, that the file systems aren't similar at all (different offsets used by OSX & Windows, which is why they're not compatible). Might be possible to do so using a variant of FAT they're both capable of running, but not between NTFS & HFS. Not tested this to be sure on a RAID card, but it does work for single disk operation (files available to both OS's).

    Apple's RAID Pro is a POS, and should be avoided like the proverbial plague. Definitely does not work with Windows at all (been tried & failed, regardless of the configuration).

    Areca offers the most value for money IMHO (and is MP compatible), and beats the Apple RAID Pro by a few miles. Not quite as easy to use (UI) than ATTO (can't be beat in the UI dept.), but it offers more value than anything else (more ports available, better performance, ..., than most, if not all cards that are compatible with OSX <tends to hold value in the Windows & Linux communities as well>).
  11. applegeek897 macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2011
    You could find a used Apple Raid Card quite cheap on eBay.
  12. rk25123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010
    Than you (and everybody else) very much for the help!

    It's becoming apparent to me that using the internal bays is possible but quite a pain in the ass (pardon my French!)... So I was thinking it would be easier to put the SSDs in bay 1 and 2 and buy an external RAID enclosure where I can put my current HDDs... Anyone knows one that works fine both under OS X and Windows? With an internal RAID controller, 4 slots, SATA III and USB 3.0?
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Thing is though, that the internal HDD kits are cheaper than external enclosures of the sort needed to work with proper RAID cards. Of course this only covers 1 - 4 HDD's, but such accessories aren't exactly peanuts.

    I would suggest looking at Sans Digital for an external enclosure (example; notice the ports on the back, as they do NOT connect via SATA connectors, but a particular type of SAS connector).

    The enclosure won't care about the OS, so that's not an issue. The RAID card selected however, would need to support both OSX as well as Windows. Also note, that you could find a card that may work under OSX, it won't be able to be a boot location (Areca's OSX compatible cards will boot with a firmware flash, which is yet another reason to recommend them).

    Please understand, that RAID isn't actually all that simple to implement, and I HIGHLY suggest you take the time to research what it is, and pay particular attention to the different levels (start with Wiki).
  14. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    I always found it funny how Apple names their products like they're marketing to gaming addicts. It's "pro":cool:. When I think of that card, I think of the image of a zombie in a business suit forking over cash.
  15. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    posed more as a question

    If one was have two drives and create 2 partition volumes on each and stripe one volume from each drive that would leave 1 volume on each drive not raided - could this be used for a bootcamp? Just curious if anyone has tried this.
  16. Draeconis macrumors 6502a

    May 6, 2008
    I've used an Apple RAID Card in the Mac Pro; if you use it you'll have two issues with the configuration you want;

    • The RAID Card overrides all 4 sled SATA ports, so any drives installed in bays 1-4 have to be part of the RAID configuration.
    • Because of this, it has to be an OS X volume, and sub-sequentially Apple never thought of a situation where a Windows partition would need access to this, so never provided Bootcamp drivers for their RAID Card.

    However, what I did a while back was install Windows on an HDD mounted in the 2nd ODD bay, which the RAID Card obviously wouldn't touch, and this works, but obviously because there are no windows drivers for the Apple RAID Card, so you can't access anything on any RAID Array you run.

    Since I also had issues with it constantly wanting to resync, and had battery issues, I went for another solution and used maczfs instead. With maczfs I've created a 5.89TB RAID-Z Array (similar to Raid-5) out of 4x 2TB disks, which has worked flawlessly for nearly a year. You can also assign whatever disks you like to the RAID-Z array, so one of the 4 HDD bays can be for Bootcamp, (ideally bay 1, I've had weird hardware issues reported by Windows when trying to install Windows in any other bay).

    Personally, I have bays 1-4 as my ZFS RAID-Z array, ODD Bay 1 is an Intel 330 SSD running as my OS X Boot volume, and ODD Bay 2 has an Intel 335 SSD configured as my Bootcamp volume. Because I still like to use a lot of optical disks, I bought an Apple SuperDrive, and added 'mbasd=1' to the kernel flags in com.Apple.Boot.plist so the drive will work. (Crashes DVD Player, but VLC works fine :) )

    Obviously whilst that setup works fine for me, it might not be ideal for you, since the ZFS array still isn't accessible to Windows as I don't know of a reliable ZFS driver for it. But that's what I have a server for ;)

    I hope that essay helps ;)
  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Nice. :D

    Won't work. BootCamp absolutely cannot work with RAID, regardless of the configuration.

    A separate boot location for each OS is necessary, not optional (see how Draeconis approached it; it's the most common way it's been done due to ease of implementation and lowest cost). And a small SSD isn't that expensive, yet quite quick, so you don't even have to deal with lower performance of the Windows boot disk.

    This is the most common way users running RAID cards get Windows (or Linux) loaded onto their systems. ;) Works well, and the least expensive means of accomplishing this particular goal. :)

    Unfortunately, you found it's Achilles Heel. :(
  18. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    I have tried this with SSDs and it worked fine on the internal drive bays.

    One such instance used a 256GB and a 512GB SSD. The larger 512GB was partitioned into two 256GB partitions. One 256GB partition from each of the drives was used to create a OS X RAID-0, and the remaining 256GB partition on the larger drive was used for Windows-8. It worked great on the internal drive bays, but my desire was to put both SSDs on the Sonnet Tempo Pro card for a single PCIe slot SATA-III solution for dual operating systems with OS X on RAID-0. Unfortunately the Windows boot issue prevents using that card.

    However, I couldn't get Windows to boot when the SSDs were mounted on either Velocity Solo x2 cards, or Sonnet Pro PCIe cards. That was not surprising, however, since I and others here have had issues with simple Windows installations booting from those cards.

    I also did this in a Mac Mini with 2 hard disks. I partitioned each drive in half, then used a partition from each drive to make a OS X RAID-0 disk. I installed Windows on one of the drives remaining partition, and used the other drives available partition as a Windows data disk (NTFS). Worked fine as well.



    It should be pointed out that the version of Mac Pro you are using may prevent Windows installations in the optical bay.

    If you are running an older Mac Pro (2008) where you need to run the motherboard spare SATA ports into the optical bay (only IDE interface is there for optical disks), it will NOT BOOT Windows from those ports.

    Windows does run fine on the optical bay on my newer 5,1 Mac Pro from the SATA port already available there for a second SuperDrive.
  19. MatthewAMEL macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    rEFIt is your friend in circumstances like these.

    rEFIt is no longer maintained as of 4/1/13. rEFInd is.
  20. rk25123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010
    Thank you all very much for the infos! Very helpful!

    I've done some research and came to the conclusion this is the best solution:

    It costs less than the internal HDD kit+cables+RAID card and I'll be able to use it when I change computer.

    From what I understand once set up any OS and computer should see it as a single external HDD connect via USB 3.0, correct?
  21. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    It might do what you need, depending on how it's connected to the system (USB vs. eSATA).

    Few things to consider:
    1. It's using an RoC (RAID on a Chip), which though technically is a hardware solution, it's as basic as it gets. No cache, and no boot firmware.
    2. Thus if you want to boot from it, you'll need to make sure it will do so via the connection you use.
    3. I wouldn't recommend using it for parity based levels (RAID 5), as it doesn't have the rest of the hardware to deal with the write hole issue (no battery backup, no copies of the partition tables in a ROM to help with recovery, ...).

    Now assuming you mean to use USB 3.0, it should boot. As per how it sees the drives, that will depend on how they're configured (single drives vs. 0/1/10 <all I'd recommend considering an RoC of this type for>). So for a RAID set, the system will see it as a single volume, regardless of the member count up to the max the unit can hold. Single disk mode however, will not as each disk is independent of one another.

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