back to article Ex-Appler resurrects Mac-friendly RAID

Apple's XServe RAID may have given up the ghost, but now there's a new option for storage-hungry Mac shops. Today, The Reg spoke with Alex Grossman, formerly the senior director of hardware server and storage at Apple, whose new company has recently shipped the Active Storage XRAID, a user-friendly SMB and enterprise-class RAID …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Err...

Hitatchi _DESK_star drives, that is all you need to know about this prdouct.

0
0
Thumb Down

Overpriced

Not an SMB play, its too expensive, dealers will sell Infortrend above this. This christmas lights approach to storage based purely on aesthetics may attract initial interest from the Apple fan clan but in the long term its a gimmick.

Drop the price Mr Grossman.

0
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Thumb Up

40 LEDs and rackmountable

40 LEDs and it's rackmountable? That makes it all I want for Christmas. Technical specs (and my lack of need for 16 TB) be dammed, it's just gotta look cool with 40 blinkenlights.

0
0
Thumb Down

Orders are fantastic... then sell it quick...

...before Snow Leopard is released, because OS X 10.6 will have ZFS, and that's expected sometime 1Q09. But why wait, when ZFS is already available within Solaris / OpenSolaris?

This box says it uses 'Linux RAID kernel', which is clearly not ZFS, so I wouldn't trust it with anything valuable. If you know about ZFS you'll know why.

Here's a much lesser system I built, but that use ZFS, and it works with my Mac Pro:

http://breden.org.uk/2008/03/02/a-home-fileserver-using-zfs/

0
0
Silver badge
Pirate

RE: Simon Breden

"....This box says it uses 'Linux RAID kernel', which is clearly not ZFS, so I wouldn't trust it with anything valuable. If you know about ZFS you'll know why....." Because you have more money than sense? Or is it just the Sunshiner blindfold leading you to such nonsense statements?

Firstly, Linux RAID has been around for ages and is tried and tested, while ZFS is relatively new and still buggy (a quick search in the Sun patch database for ZFS throws up 4510 patches!). So kindly drop the hogwash about Linux RAID not being trustworthy.

Secondly, like the majority of Linux work, the Linux RAID kernel will work on a variety of new and old kit, not just the most powerful. As I have commented previously on your $1000+ build, your NAS solution is expensive enough to put it in competition with real commercial NAS gear. You have to use that powerful a build because you use Solaris with ZFS, anything less would grind to a halt under the load. There are a number of Linux NAS solutions with or without Linux RAID which will work on hardware costing a fraction of $1000. An even more sensible effort would be to use hardware RAID which has virtually zero impact on the CPU load, and gives access to any number of pre-approved and pre-tested PC or server solutions such as the Adaptec range of cards, without needing anything other than a driver added into the kernel. Of course, Linux support for these is a lot wider than Slowaris since Linux has much greater market share and has been around a lot longer. Of course, for fanbois there are Mac-supported RAID cards anyway, so still no need to involve the pain of Slowaris x86.

But let's leave the valid comparison of your toy with a Linux hobbyist NAS and instead look at your hilarious comparison with the Active Storage XRAID. The latter is a proper, rackable commercial solution with sixteen 1TB disk slots, with a warranty and support service, whereas your desktop-only toy has three disks of 750GB and comes with nothing more than your misplaced enthusiasm to back it up - you are waaaaaaaaay out of your league!

0
1

Meh

If all it has to offer is being "a step beyond what we did with the Xserve RAID" in terms of ease-of-use," then I don't see it really taking off; setting up the original Xserve RAID wasn't exactly rocket science to begin with, and the other RAID solutions on the market do just fine, kthx.

The iPhone administration app is kind of slick, but really, how often do you wake up at 3 AM, roll over, and say "Damn I wish I could administer my RAID array but I don't want to get up and go over to the computer! If only there was a way to do it from my phone!"?

0
0

Linux Raid and ZFS are in different leagues

@Simon I have used linux raid and it is complete and utter crap compared to zfs (to use some famous guys words)

ZFS is more than raid, it is a filesystem too and it has data integrity built in via checksums. Linux Raid can never be as reliable as zfs, because it has not been designed as such.

Oh yes you can create a cheaper system running Linux but in exactly that case you will pay a higher price of data corruption since cheaper components will add you more errors and corrupt data that linux raid is not abble to deal with. With ZFS you can build a way more reliable cheap system.

Does ZFS require more resources? Hell yeah, however you get a lot for it, you get data integrity via checksums, double parity raid z (in case you care about how much re-silvering takes for 1TB drives), snapshots/clones (http://blogs.sun.com/erwann/entry/zfs_on_the_desktop_zfs), multi level compression, ease of use ...

HFS is in the same boat with Linux Raid, however Apple is on its way to replace it with ZFS.

But who cares about Disk Arrays for MacOS :-).

If Apple would be serious about the server market they would buy Sun :-).

0
0
Happy

@zvonr

Did you realise that I was in fact advocating ZFS, and *not* Linux RAID?

I think your reply was probably meant to be directed at the reply from Matt "skip components" Bryant.

0
0
Flame

@Matt Bryant

> Because you have more money than sense? Or is it just the Sunshiner blindfold leading you to such nonsense statements?

Well, I didn't use components out of a skip, if that's what you mean. Dual-core 64-bit processors are cheap now and so is 4GB RAM -- did you take a look recently?

If you're personally happy with Linux RAID, why not use it? Can you explain how it tries to match ZFS' end-to-end data integrity, scrubbing, detection and repairing of latent errors? Did you actually use ZFS? If so, explain in detail your usage of it and what you didn't like. If not, why do you hate it so much -- just because it's not your beloved Linux?

> As I have commented previously on your $1000+ build...

The $1000 box used decent components, more RAM than was necessary, and besides, much of the cost was the disks themselves. At the bottom of my hardware page, I gave tips to build something costing only around 300 euros, excluding disks. But I expect that magical 4 figure sum of 1000 euros will stick in your mind anyway... never mind.

> You have to use that powerful a build because you use Solaris with ZFS, anything less would grind to a halt under the load.

What are you talking about? 64-bit dual-core processor: $50, 4GB RAM: $100 or so (when I built). This is not big bucks. If you want me to find these components in a skip, like you boasted in a post here, just show me the right skip somewhere... :)

> There are a number of Linux NAS solutions with or without Linux RAID which will work on hardware costing a fraction of $1000.

Already answered above. And I don't want to use Linux as it doesn't have ZFS yet (except in slow FUSE version). If you still don't know the ZFS advantages take a look at the Sun ZFS site -- you might learn to love it one day -- really ;-)

> An even more sensible effort would be to use hardware RAID which has virtually zero impact on the CPU load, and gives access to any number of pre-approved and pre-tested PC or server solutions such as the Adaptec range of cards, without needing anything other than a driver added into the kernel.

CPU cycles are abundant and cheap these days, unless we're running on your skip-retrieved Pentium II from the '90s. Mostly the CPU cycles are idle so why not use some? Also, that way, you avoid using proprietary RAID cards which must surely gain your favour as it involves spending less too.

> Of course, Linux support for these is a lot wider than Slowaris since Linux has much greater market share and has been around a lot longer. Of course, for fanbois there are Mac-supported RAID cards anyway, so still no need to involve the pain of Slowaris x86.

Irrelevant, as ZFS uses software RAID.

> But let's leave the valid comparison of your toy with a Linux hobbyist NAS and instead look at your hilarious comparison with the Active Storage XRAID. The latter is a proper, rackable commercial solution with sixteen 1TB disk slots, with a warranty and support service, whereas your desktop-only toy has three disks of 750GB and comes with nothing more than your misplaced enthusiasm to back it up - you are waaaaaaaaay out of your league!

I did already point that out: 'much lesser system'. Now have you heard of the Sun Fire X4500 aka 'Thumper' -- that is a 48TB box which is 'real' system like the one in this article, only more 'real' -- a real man's server :) They do make smaller, cheaper systems too. But these systems I mention are protected by ZFS, and this 'proper, rackable commercial solution' here doesn't.

And you really need to do more research -- here ya go:

http://www.opensolaris.org/os/community/zfs/

BTW, I don't own Sun stock or work for them, I just like good engineering.

Mine's the one with a state-of-the-art Pentium II and 128MB DIMM found in a nearby skip in the pocket :)

0
0
Silver badge
Happy

RE: Simon Breden

"...Well, I didn't use components out of a skip, if that's what you mean. Dual-core 64-bit processors are cheap now and so is 4GB RAM -- did you take a look recently?..." Yes, I build systems for myself and friends as a hobby, and the typical requrst for a home NAS is "can you make it for a couple of hundred quid" rather than "hey, I have a grand to blow". I have also made NAS systems for small businesses and at work for corporates - neither was keen to waste money. If they wanted a "proper" solution, they were willing to pay for it, and Slowairs and ZFS soon dropped off the table

"....What are you talking about?...." Slowaris is slower than Linux to start with, but when you bring ZFS into the game it needs even more processing power to keep up. How do I know? Because we compared Slowaris with ZFS to RHEL on HP blades, both with local and EVA disks, and the result was we needed more memory and RAM in the Slowaris blades to get close to the RHEL performance. During the tests only one build suffered corruption, and it wasn't the RHEL one. After wading through dozens of patches on the Sun website, we then had a totally unexpected slow-down where we could see ZFS was thrashing the disks. The Sunshiners eventually got it all working, but it was still slower than the RHEL install on the same hardware (BL460c blades), and the RHEL was good from the word go. Guess which one got chosen for production.... No, guess again... I'll give you a clue - it was the OS not from Sun....

"....CPU cycles are abundant and cheap these days, unless we're running on your skip-retrieved Pentium II from the '90s. Mostly the CPU cycles are idle so why not use some? Also, that way, you avoid using proprietary RAID cards which must surely gain your favour as it involves spending less too...." So your answer is you need more CPU power, and more RAM, and just forget the impact on the real processing task in the background? Real smart - not! Because everyone of those "abundant and cheap" CPU cycles also means more RAM activity, more disk activity (lots of paging was our observation with ZFS, even with large memory space). Hardware RAID is better because it doesn't impact the main memory or CPU, cards such as the Adaptec ones are also cheap, and you can make use of a dozen other software packages to get the other largely unneccessary features offered by ZFS without having to slow your system down with Slowaris. Besides, why would a Mac user even want to get an extra box with another OS when he can just use a hardware RAID solution? Duh!

"....Irrelevant, as ZFS uses software RAID....." How is it irrelevant that the user has to go get a new OS they don't know, one that probably doesn't fit with any of the management tools they already have, and then have to patch to the eyeballs (remember those 4510 ZFS patches)? And software RAID eats into CPU cycles again, or do you think the Sun Ponytail fairy just sprinkles the system with magic dust and makes it RAIDed for nothing? Would you like to buy some real estate in the Everglades?

"....Now have you heard of the Sun Fire X4500 aka 'Thumper' ..." Excellent! You go from an over-priced and unsuitable hobby system to an extremely over-priced and just as unsuitable Sun solution! It's like shooting fish in a barrel! Thumper is a NAS and not a Fibre Channel RAID array like the Active Storage XRAID which can be direct-attached or XSAN-attached. And Thumper also forces you down the Slowaris route, which means extra work and management tools compared to the Active Storage XRAID system. Why on Earth do you think any Apple admin would want to introduce a Thumper when he can have the much more flexible XRAID and not have to worry about Slowairs (and it's never-ending patch farce)?

And face it, the XRAID solution has the ultimate fanboi appeal - a widget that allows them to manage it from an iBone. You could tell him the Sun box would get him laid twice-nightly by Brazillian supermodels and the fanboi would still go for the XRAID solution.

/Laugh, point, laugh, hold aching sides.

0
1
Happy

@Matt Bryant

Pity you had probs -- maybe try a newer version as your bugs are most likely fixed now.

Enjoy.

Would love to rip apart your reply but have better stuff to do. (I took a look at all your previous trolling and attempts to get the last word in on every comments slanging match).

You stick with Linux RAID and I'll stick with ZFS -- that way everyone wins!

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums