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[Sticky] Problem updating SoftRAID driver with new iMac Pro

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(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

The new iMac Pro has an issue that causes the SoftRAID driver to require updating every restart.

Note: This issue is resolved in 10.13.6!

A version of the SoftRAID driver is included with every OS X installation, so any user can connect any SoftRAID disks to any Mac and the volumes will mount. The macOS bundled version of SoftRAID has minimal features, and just enables mounting of volumes.

This has been the case since 10.3.x. We issue a new driver version to Apple for each OSX upgrade to maintain this compatibility. When a user installs SoftRAID, the current drivers are installed and loaded at startup, and all SotRAID driver features are available.

The new "Enhanced Security" feature in the iMac Pro interferes with this process.

The iMac Pro will always load the bundled 5.6.2 driver if any SoftRAID disks are connected at startup.

Note: When the SoftRAID 5.6.2 driver loads, write performance will be slower and there will be no user notifications of errors.

Here is what causes the problem:

The iMac Pro added technology that supports "enhanced security". The goal is to prevent kernel or CPU level hacks like the intel "Meltdown" and "Spectre" vulnerabilities from being installed in core extensions at boot time.

As part of these new security enhancements, a set of "immutable kernel extensions" are stored on the machine and are loaded at startup. (These are "known good/tested extensions.) Since the SoftRAID driver is bundled with OS X, the (5.6.2) version we supply Apple is included as one of these immutable drivers. Whenever a SoftRAID formatted disk is connected at boot time, the "immutable" SoftRAID 5.6.2 driver gets loaded, instead of the updated version installed in the System folder.

Apple has informed us that they do not intend to fix this problem. We are discussing options with our Apple contacts.

There are two workarounds to this issue
1) Disconnect your external drives, and wait until the Mac is started up before connecting them.
2) Change the "Enhanced Security" to none.

Details:
1) How to install the current SoftRAID driver (while keeping the "Enhanced Security" setting on the iMac Pro):

To install the latest SoftRAID driver:
Download the current version of SoftRAID for your setup.
Unmount your SoftRAID volumes, wait a few seconds.
Unplug the cable to the enclosure(s)
Restart
Run SoftRAID
Update the SoftRAID driver.
Restart.
Now connect your disks and the SoftRAID 5.6.5 driver will load.

Ongoing:
Before you Restart/Shutdown, unmount your volumes, disconnect your cable to your enclosure. After the machine starts up, you can plug in your enclosure again.

If you ever accidentally leave your disks connected at startup, unmount your SoftRAID volumes, disconnect the cables and restart. then reconnect the cable after the system has booted to the desktop.

2) Change the "Enhanced Security" setting to "No Security".
There is a new System Preference for the iMac Pro, called System Security. By default is set to "Full Security". If you set this to "No Security" then SoftRAID will load the correct driver at startup. (Note: This does not make your Macintosh more vulnerable than any other Macintosh, it only disables the "Enhanced" security measures currently only available on the iMac Pro.)

We have detailed instructions posted here:
https://srforums.wpengine.com/pages/support/faq/faq_imacpro_secureboot.html

Note: March 13, 2018 - We have discovered that the macOS "10.13.3 Supplemental upgrade" has a bug where it cannot install when an iMac Pro has the Enhanced Security set to "Medium Security" or "No Security".
The solution is to reset Enhanced Security to "Full", install the supplemental upgrade, then go back to no "Enhanced Security".

When we have a permanent solution to this problem, we will post it here.

Quote
Topic starter Posted : 29/12/2017 12:43 pm
(@budjames)
New Member Customer

The new iMac Pro has an issue that makes it very difficult to update the SoftRAID driver. It appears to be a bug in OS X, triggered by a new driver security mechanism in the iMac Pro.

The symptom is each time you launch SoftRAID, it wants to install (update) the driver. This is because the 5.6.2 driver version, which is bundled with OS X, is unable to be updated for some reason. So despite SoftRAID updating the driver extension file, the older 5.6.2 loads at startup.

When we get a permanent fix, we will post.

Here is a set of steps that might work, but they are not confirmed:
Unmount your SoftRAID disks
Unplug the cable to the enclosure(s)
restart
Run SoftRAID 5.6.3
Update driver.
Restart.
Now connect your disks and they (and SoftRAID) should work normally. We have had mixed reports on the results from above, so we are not 100% confident this is a permanent solution.

We will update this thread as we learn more. When we are confident we have a permanent solution, we will replace the steps above with the final steps.

It didn't work for me. Waiting for a software fix.

Regards,
Bud

ReplyQuote
Posted : 29/12/2017 5:25 pm
(@velgor)
Active Member Customer

Tried the suggested solution, but no joy on my machine. With my Thunderbay 4 unmounted, SoftRaid doesn't prompt to update the driver.

The new iMac Pro has an issue that makes it very difficult to update the SoftRAID driver. It appears to be a bug in OS X, triggered by a new driver security mechanism in the iMac Pro.

The symptom is each time you launch SoftRAID, it wants to install (update) the driver. This is because the 5.6.2 driver version, which is bundled with OS X, is unable to be updated for some reason. So despite SoftRAID updating the driver extension file, the older 5.6.2 loads at startup.

When we get a permanent fix, we will post.

Here is a set of steps that might work, but they are not confirmed:
Unmount your SoftRAID disks
Unplug the cable to the enclosure(s)
restart
Run SoftRAID 5.6.3
Update driver.
Restart.
Now connect your disks and they (and SoftRAID) should work normally. We have had mixed reports on the results from above, so we are not 100% confident this is a permanent solution.

We will update this thread as we learn more. When we are confident we have a permanent solution, we will replace the steps above with the final steps.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 30/12/2017 9:51 am
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

Launch SoftRAID and "Update driver". That will allow SoftRAID to update it.

The question is whether the OS in the iMac Pro allows the driver to be updated.

We do not have a solid fix yet.

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : 30/12/2017 11:02 am
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

It didn't work for me. Waiting for a software fix.

Regards,
Bud

We may not be able to "fix" this, as it is an OS X bug (or some change in the iMac Pro that Apple has not documented.

What we can do is:
A) find a workaround short term.
B) Encourage Apple to fix this in the next OS X update.

Right now, we are still trying to figure out a workaround for this. If we can find a solution using SoftRAID, we will release an update that addresses this issue.

The best idea so far is restarting with no drives connected, and re-installing the driver. What is odd is that "uninstall SoftRAID" is not removing the bundled 5.6.2 driver.

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : 30/12/2017 11:07 am
(@velgor)
Active Member Customer

I don't see an "Update Driver" command anywhere in the UI or prefs. I'm running SoftRaid for Thunderbay not the standard app, could that be why?

Launch SoftRAID and "Update driver". That will allow SoftRAID to update it.

The question is whether the OS in the iMac Pro allows the driver to be updated.

We do not have a solid fix yet.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 30/12/2017 11:59 am
(@velgor)
Active Member Customer

Never mind, found the option to reinstall the driver—didn't work though, I'm still prompted for an install when the drives are re-connected.

Launch SoftRAID and "Update driver". That will allow SoftRAID to update it.

The question is whether the OS in the iMac Pro allows the driver to be updated.

We do not have a solid fix yet.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 30/12/2017 12:08 pm
(@budjames)
New Member Customer

It didn't work for me. Waiting for a software fix.

Regards,
Bud

We may not be able to "fix" this, as it is an OS X bug (or some change in the iMac Pro that Apple has not documented.

What we can do is:
A) find a workaround short term.
B) Encourage Apple to fix this in the next OS X update.

Right now, we are still trying to figure out a workaround for this. If we can find a solution using SoftRAID, we will release an update that addresses this issue.

The best idea so far is restarting with no drives connected, and re-installing the driver. What is odd is that "uninstall SoftRAID" is not removing the bundled 5.6.2 driver.

After many frustrating hours spent over the past 3 days with no fix, I resorted to the Nuke option.

1 - I uninstalled SoftRaid and Drobo Dashboard.
2 - Unplugged all external drives..
3 - Rebuilt drive permissions using Disk Utility run from recovery partition.
4 - Reinstalled OS from recovery partition.
5 - Installed Drobo Dashboard and reattached Drobo 5D.
6 - Confirmed that Drobo volumes were mounting properly even after rebooting.
7 - Individually formatted four 4tb drives that were installed in my OWC ThunderBay4.
8 - Created 4 drive Raid0 in ThunderBay4 using Apple Disk Utility.
9 - Rebooted and it all worked.

I will use the Raid0 unit for working storage for my photo referenced folder structure managed with Capture One Pro 11. It is real-time backed up to a Synology DS-1815+ on my gigabyte network using Synology’s utility software.

Hopefully, I will be able install Softraid soon after the bugs are fixed. For now, this is my set up and I am now back in business.

Regards,
Bud James

www.budjames.photography

ReplyQuote
Posted : 30/12/2017 1:02 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

Sorry, and until we can get an iMac Pro in the office, we have to rely on third parties to test this for us. It doesn't help that it is the xmas/new years holidays.

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : 30/12/2017 6:12 pm
(@budjames)
New Member Customer

Sorry, and until we can get an iMac Pro in the office, we have to rely on third parties to test this for us. It doesn't help that it is the xmas/new years holidays.

Mark,
As I told you during our email exchanges, your support efforts are greatly appreciated. I've been using your product for over 10 years and it is great!.

I an confident that you will figure out the issues unique to the new iMac Pro and offer a software upgrade resolution, I hope soon.

Not having SoftRaid running on my Mac is living dangerously, but it works for now.

Thanks again! Have a very Happy New Year celebration.

Regards,
Bud James

www.budjames.photography

ReplyQuote
Posted : 30/12/2017 9:26 pm
(@phodographer)
New Member Customer

iMac Pro experiencing kernel panics while SoftRaid volumes attached. Tried deleting all system files with "softraid" in the name and reinstalling. First installation timed out. Second time it seemed to work but I had 2 SoftRaid icons in the toolbar, and after attaching 2 of my SoftRaid volumes the system froze and restarted. This doesn't happen without SoftRaid volumes attached, nor with same volumes attached to MacBook Pro running High Sierra.

Waiting for software fix or suggestions.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 31/12/2017 1:32 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

I have not had any reports of kernel panics, so this is an unrelated problem to the driver install issue.

Send us a tech support file to support at softraid so we can investigate.

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : 31/12/2017 2:45 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

BTW: SoftRAID can run, but the 5.6.2 (bundled, and limited) driver is loading, which means your volumes can mount, but will not report errors or rebuild. So it is a serious issue, but at least your data is available.

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : 31/12/2017 2:46 pm
(@hoss713)
New Member Customer

I'm not seeing any kernel panics, but I am also seeing the issue reported in the first post of this thread on my iMacPro with a ThunderBay enclosure attached and SoftRAID v5.6.3..

Curious if this is at all related to the new kernel extension blocking security feature enabled in High Sierra...

Apple Technical Note TN2459 User-Approved Kernel Extension Loading

ReplyQuote
Posted : 31/12/2017 3:49 pm
(@hoss713)
New Member Customer

FYI, I have been able to install v5.6.3 with my ThunderBay drives detached, reboot, startup SoftRAID v5.63, then reattach the ThunderBay drives and they show up in the SoftRAID for ThunderBay app and I can monitor the drives.

I was also able to quit the SoftRAID application and restart it. It didn't attempt to reinstall the drivers. Seem like this workaround worked for me....

ReplyQuote
Posted : 31/12/2017 4:24 pm
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