Advice on RAID card for 2008 Mac Pro

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Hi,



I could use some advice on seeking out a good and reliable Raid card for my 2008 Mac Pro. What I want is to make a Raid 0+1 configuration in the Mac Pro using 4 1TB hard drives, which would break down into 2TB of storage that is mirrored on the other 2 internal drives. The Apple store really didn't help and it seems like they make it rather difficult to find items like this. There is one card I can find on the Apple Store and that's it. However that card has just a 3 star rating and may have issues according to some reviews there.



Of course I could do something like a Drobo, but why waste what the Mac Pro was built to take advantage of. Also, I need something that will not put my data at risk of the RAID hardware fails. That is why I am leaning to the RAID 0+1 solution.



Thanks for any advice or input on what to get.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,216member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacFanJeff View Post


    Hi,



    I could use some advice on seeking out a good and reliable Raid card for my 2008 Mac Pro. What I want is to make a Raid 0+1 configuration in the Mac Pro using 4 1TB hard drives, which would break down into 2TB of storage that is mirrored on the other 2 internal drives. The Apple store really didn't help and it seems like they make it rather difficult to find items like this. There is one card I can find on the Apple Store and that's it. However that card has just a 3 star rating and may have issues according to some reviews there.



    Of course I could do something like a Drobo, but why waste what the Mac Pro was built to take advantage of. Also, I need something that will not put my data at risk of the RAID hardware fails. That is why I am leaning to the RAID 0+1 solution.



    Thanks for any advice or input on what to get.



    I've heard this RAID card works well but it may be on the more expensive side for your needs.



    http://www.caldigit.com/RAIDCard/



    Actually look for a RAID 1+0 aka RAID 10 solution. There is a difference.



    http://www.storagereview.com/guide20...ltLevel01.html



    Quote:

    Description: The most popular of the multiple RAID levels, RAID 01 and 10 combine the best features of striping and mirroring to yield large arrays with high performance in most uses and superior fault tolerance. RAID 01 is a mirrored configuration of two striped sets; RAID 10 is a stripe across a number of mirrored sets. RAID 10 and 01 have been increasing dramatically in popularity as hard disks become cheaper and the four-drive minimum is legitimately seen as much less of an obstacle. RAID 10 provides better fault tolerance and rebuild performance than RAID 01. Both array types provide very good to excellent overall performance by combining the speed of RAID 0 with the redundancy of RAID 1 without requiring parity calculations.



    My emphasis added.
  • Reply 2 of 17
    kmac1036kmac1036 Posts: 278member
    you can do this with OS X in the Disk Utility without any additional hardware.



    more of a software solution tho, but I've decent luck with doing Mirror RAID 1s in towers.



    more here from me & others:

    http://forums.appleinsider.com/showthread.php?t=96541
  • Reply 3 of 17
    I know about software RAID, but don't want to do that and am looking for a RAID card solution. Also, you can get a RAID 0+1 external unit like from OWC, but I would still prefer to go the internal card route since I have a 2008 Mac Pro.



    Any thoughts on any cards or ones that may also do RAID10?
  • Reply 4 of 17
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,216member
    For combining RAID sets in software



    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=304377





    http://macprojournal.com/soft-raid.html

    Software RAID benchmarks



    Still struggling to find a hardware RAID-10 solution.
  • Reply 5 of 17
    kmac1036kmac1036 Posts: 278member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post




    Still struggling to find a hardware RAID-10 solution.



    http://www.storagereview.com/guide20...ltLevel01.html



    FTA: RAID 01 is a mirrored configuration of two striped sets; RAID 10 is a stripe across a number of mirrored sets.



    SO, same theory, but it's HOW you build the RAID! for 0+1, stripe 2 drives & then mirror with 2 striped drives. for 10, create 2 mirror pairs & then stripe those.



    opinion - unless this is a commercial / enterpise use, I've had little trouble with setting up mirrors with OS X & just using that. I rebuilt my Parent's G5 RAID setup when I installed Leopard a year ago - still running fine. my 10.4 setup is working fine too, tho I got the bad seagates with the rotten firmware, so I've had to do a 2nd rebuild, but now migrating to 2 WD drives.
  • Reply 6 of 17
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,216member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kmac1036 View Post


    http://www.storagereview.com/guide20...ltLevel01.html



    FTA: RAID 01 is a mirrored configuration of two striped sets; RAID 10 is a stripe across a number of mirrored sets.



    SO, same theory, but it's HOW you build the RAID! for 0+1, stripe 2 drives & then mirror with 2 striped drives. for 10, create 2 mirror pairs & then stripe those.



    opinion - unless this is a commercial / enterpise use, I've had little trouble with setting up mirrors with OS X & just using that. I rebuilt my Parent's G5 RAID setup when I installed Leopard a year ago - still running fine. my 10.4 setup is working fine too, tho I got the bad seagates with the rotten firmware, so I've had to do a 2nd rebuild, but now migrating to 2 WD drives.



    I think Robin Harris sums up why I prefer RAID-10



    http://blogs.zdnet.com/storage/?p=131



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Harris


    There is an important difference between RAID 1+0 and RAID 0+1 that not everyone appreciates. In RAID 1+0, you first mirror the disks, and then you lay the stripes on top of the mirrored disks. In RAID 0+1 you first stripe and then mirror. Seems like it should be commutative, but it isn?t. Here?s why.



    Let?s say you have 6 disks, named 1, 2, 3, a, b and c. So you mirror 1+a, 2+b, 3+c to create three virtual disks 1′, 2′ and 3′. Then you stripe across 1′, 2′ and 3′ to create your RAID 1+0 array. Each of your mirrored pairs is a virtual disk, so you can lose one member of each pair and the stripe still works.



    The cool thing about this is that you could lose as many as three drives and still get your data. You could lose drives 1, b and 3 and still the RAID would soldier on. [Update: of course, if you lose both drives in a pair, your data is toast - just as if you lost a drive in a RAID 0 configuration.]



    In contrast, if you striped 1, 2 and 3 first and then striped a, b and c, and *then* mirrored the two stripes (RAID 0+1). You are more vulnerable to failures. It is the difference between three mirrors (in this example) and two. Lose drive 1 and drive c and you are SOL. That?s when you?ll wish you?d paid attention to whatsisname in Storage Bits. But it will be to




    It's actually pretty ridiculous that vendors are pimping RAID 0+1 when it's trivial IMO to promote 1+0. I mean these guys are supposed to be data protection experts?
  • Reply 7 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    I think Robin Harris sums up why I prefer RAID-10



    http://blogs.zdnet.com/storage/?p=131







    It's actually pretty ridiculous that vendors are pimping RAID 0+1 when it's trivial IMO to promote 1+0. I mean these guys are supposed to be data protection experts?



    Can you tell me a good RAID card for the 2008 Mac Pro that I can install that would do this? So far haven't found any.



    Thanks for all the replies and detail info, it helps a lot.
  • Reply 8 of 17
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,216member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacFanJeff View Post


    Can you tell me a good RAID card for the 2008 Mac Pro that I can install that would do this? So far haven't found any.



    Thanks for all the replies and detail info, it helps a lot.



    Take a look at this



    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816115053



    $129 ain't half bad.
  • Reply 9 of 17
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    What is the intended application of this RAID?



    I have a number of options in mind but wouldn't want to offer hardware advice without knowing what that hardware will be used for...
  • Reply 10 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dfiler View Post


    What is the intended application of this RAID?



    I have a number of options in mind but wouldn't want to offer hardware advice without knowing what that hardware will be used for...



    I am ONLY seeking a hardware solution and not software. Cost is not a big factor, but I don't want to go overboard like a RAID server or such that costs $1,000 or more.



    It will be used for mission critical data, such as video editing, Photoshop work, etc. That is why I want a hardware RAID array that is both stripped and mirrored with the ability for the hardware itself to fail, not just the hard drive and still have my data there on the mirrored drives.



    I was certainly looking at the "Drobo", but it seems that if you have a hardware failure, you must replace the Drobo before you can access the data on your hard drives. Also, I was told the Drobo company recommends backing up the Drobo for critical data, which mine is. That is sort of defeating the purpose of RAID in my view if I have to backup the backup, otherwise why not just backup all the drives separately? RAID 0+1 or RAID 1+0 should solve this I would think. I just need to find a REAL good RAID card for the Mac Pro.
  • Reply 11 of 17
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Since you didn't mention user count, I'm assuming that the RAID is for only your use. If this is the case, then I'd leave performance out of the decision making process. Nearly any RAID solution will be fast enough that other criteria should be paramount.



    As for risk of data loss, I wouldn't trust RAID alone to keep my data safe. This is true for both the IT department I manage and at home. For home use, I advise people, if forced to by budget constraints, to rely on normal drives for working storage and then a second, separate set of drives for backup. RAID will be a far less reliable solution and more expensive as well.



    I know it isn't what you wanted to hear. RAID seems high tech, perhaps even fun or cool. But a separate drive or JBOD is far better at protecting your data. Businesses use RAID because it provides higher uptime rates for multi-user environments and on systems where configuration is complex, it prevents the need for troublesome rebuilds. You're mostly looking to backup a single user's data, which is a distinctly different goal.



    My advice? Use software based RAID 0 for primary storage if you really need performance. Then use time machine or another backup utility and write to either another internal disk or an external drive enclosure. This will save you enough money that you can bump up to 1.5TB drives and achieve nearly the same capacity but with much better fault tolerance.



    In my experience, human failure rather than hardware failure is the culprit in most home data loss. That is why something like time machine is better at protecting a single user's data than RAID. People routinely erase the wrong file, delete the wrong thing out of a document, corrupt a project file, or simply want to retrieve an earlier version of a document. RAID doesn't address any of these common scenarios.
  • Reply 12 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dfiler View Post


    Since you didn't mention user count, I'm assuming that the RAID is for only your use. If this is the case, then I'd leave performance out of the decision making process. Nearly any RAID solution will be fast enough that other criteria should be paramount.



    As for risk of data loss, I wouldn't trust RAID alone to keep my data safe. This is true for both the IT department I manage and at home. For home use, I advise people, if forced to by budget constraints, to rely on normal drives for working storage and then a second, separate set of drives for backup. RAID will be a far less reliable solution and more expensive as well.



    I know it isn't what you wanted to hear. RAID seems high tech, perhaps even fun or cool. But a separate drive or JBOD is far better at protecting your data. Businesses use RAID because it provides higher uptime rates for multi-user environments and on systems where configuration is complex, it prevents the need for troublesome rebuilds. You're mostly looking to backup a single user's data, which is a distinctly different goal.



    My advice? Use software based RAID 0 for primary storage if you really need performance. Then use time machine or another backup utility and write to either another internal disk or an external drive enclosure. This will save you enough money that you can bump up to 1.5TB drives and achieve nearly the same capacity but with much better fault tolerance.



    In my experience, human failure rather than hardware failure is the culprit in most home data loss. That is why something like time machine is better at protecting a single user's data than RAID. People routinely erase the wrong file, delete the wrong thing out of a document, corrupt a project file, or simply want to retrieve an earlier version of a document. RAID doesn't address any of these common scenarios.



    Thanks, I may just do what you suggested and go with 2 internal drives and back them up with external drives. If I do use software RAID 0 and combine the 2 internal drives, it will make them larger than a single external drive. In other words 2 drives inside 1TB each would be 2TB to the system I think. So, the external drive may just be 1TB. I guess my question is can you backup 2TB using software like "SuperDuper" to multiple external hard drives just like spanning multiple DVDs when backing up if the data won't fit on one DVD?



    Hope that makes sense and thanks for the advice.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    One option would be to get a dual-drive external enclosure and use JBOD to make them appear as one. This way the backup drive would be as large as the working drive.



    Edit: Granted, that only makes sense if you're planning on moving the backup to another location. Otherwise, just put all four drives internally, two in raid-0 and two in a jbod for backup.
  • Reply 14 of 17
    anna2009anna2009 Posts: 18member
    Hi All,



    I am looking to purchase a RAID card for my Mac Pro. I want it to be an internal RAID solution, which leaves CalDigit and Apple's cards as far as I can tell.



    I know the CalDigit card is faster, and supports Windows, but every OS X update, I would risk breaking the card support, right?



    Would you recommend the Apple or CalDigit?



    Also, my plan is to have 4 drives in my Mac Pro. 1 320 GB drive as the boot/applications drive, and then 3 1.5TB drives as my RAID 5 array. Just curious, does anyone know if the Apple or CalDigit card supports the 1.5TB drives?



    Thanks for the help.



    Also, is there any reason I wouldn't want to make a 4 drive array with 4 1.5 TB Hard drives, then create two partitions on it, one for OS/Apps, the other for storage? I was thinking of doing that as well
  • Reply 15 of 17
    rezwitsrezwits Posts: 605member
    I like the Apple RAID Card due to driver support. Especially when Snow Leopard is right around the corner... I have read stuff about the CalDigit, and you might have to wait maybe or maybe not. But with the Apple you are probably 99.5% sure of having your RAID work 64-bit and clean, day 1.



    Laters...
  • Reply 16 of 17
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    RAID is kind of obsolete for desktop uses. RAM is fairly cheap, as are Flash disks. Use these for scratch disks, and whatever else for storage. There is no shortage of cheap software backup (some free) for building the repository in storage.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacFanJeff View Post


    Thanks, I may just do what you suggested and go with 2 internal drives and back them up with external drives. If I do use software RAID 0 and combine the 2 internal drives, it will make them larger than a single external drive. In other words 2 drives inside 1TB each would be 2TB to the system I think. So, the external drive may just be 1TB. I guess my question is can you backup 2TB using software like "SuperDuper" to multiple external hard drives just like spanning multiple DVDs when backing up if the data won't fit on one DVD?



    Hope that makes sense and thanks for the advice.



    dude may i suggest something . i read all the quotes here . and it seems like a back up drive or drives is what you need . i would visit the OWC web site

    and then call them directly . this company is very good and will suggest a good system for you . you need 4 250 gig drives i feel or 3 500 gig drives .



    or go with drobo . ?
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