Software RAID like BeyondRAID or HybridRAID

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by elliots11, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. elliots11 macrumors member

    May 23, 2011

    I'm setting up a mac mini home server. I use all macs (just about) and after trying HP's Windows Home Server EX495 which said it supported mac, and sort of did, but then was dropped by MS, I decided a Mini with some attached storage is the way to go over an NAS, and I'd prefer to be able to mix drive sizes.

    I've been looking at Drobo, which appears slow, proprietary, and expensive, but otherwise exactly what I want since you can mix drives and it directly attaches. I've also looked at Synology, but everything's a NAS, and I'm just over that, but their Hybrid Raid looks interesting, just not available in a DAS. I'm considering getting a JBOD setup, or perhaps doing a RAID 5 on some stuff and JBOD on other stuff, but then drive size changing is an issue.

    Is there some kind of mac software out there that can connect to a 5 bay external hard drive enclosure (I haven't picked on yet, probably USB3, maybe this: ), that can turn it into basically a HybridRAID or BeyondRAID setup, but the mac mini controls the software instead of a Drobo or a Synology? Does that exist? Or is it a lack of hardware problem? Like the Drobo and sinology work with a hardware / software solution?
  2. ColdCase, Jul 15, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Software (like MacOS and disk utility) can easily do concatenation, mirroring, and striping but not any kind of parity RAID well (I think someone just released a software product that may change that). For parity kinds of RAIDs its best for performance to purchase or build a dedicated hardware RAID enclosure/box. Not saying RAID can't be done in software, just not so well currently.... I think.

    If you go software RAID, it is not going to have access to drive status for health monitoring and failure prediction unless the external drives are connected to the mini via thunderbolt or eSATA.

    Most underestimate the $$$ it takes to put a RAID system together. ARECA and others sell nicely done and reliable high performance full featured RAID boxes with 4,5, and 10 bays. But it is $$$.

    But you should think about why you want to RAID. Do you want to present a large chunk of storage (more than 8TB) to a user, or want performance, or backup redundancy. Drives are so cheap now that it may make more sense to buy more of them, put them in a Thunderbolt JBOD box, and brute force clone (mirror) instead of sophisticated RAID setups. With large drives, RAID 5 is not that effective as in the time it takes to rebuild, a second drive failure is likely and then you are dead in the water. And remember you can't count on a RAID to entirely solve your backup function.

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