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SoftRAID 6.0.1 b42 Beta on macOS Catalina (APFS RAID) and Big Sur

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Henry-In-Florida
(@henry-in-florida)
Trusted Member Customer

Hello, this question is about the beta SoftRAID 6.0.1 and use an array within macOS Catalina and Big Sur. I have issues using the RAID4 array installed with APFS and migrated data from HFS volume->APFS Volume. I was all set to write a very complimentary post about how well the newest beta work (b42) in both Big Sur and Catalina... Until I discover a few flaws within the Array. 

I started from scratch, erasing my drive and reformatting each Disk to APFS, then the built a new Volume from the disks as an APFS Volume. Afterwards the data was restored to the Volume from a working data backup in Retrospect Multi-Server. All seemed smooth (12 hours later) with the rebuilt Array. I also replicated a standalone Extra non-RAID Disk volume. 

The noticed the following problems when using it either in Big Sur or Catalina with the new drivers and the new app: 

  1. Do you have comments about some (apparent) visual issues with the status displays in the app when showing all devices:
  2. The attached screenshots show the formatting of the Volumes as incorrect (type of device format = "Unknown Format").
  3. Mount status of the Volume shows as "unmounted" when the volume is clearly mounted and usable in the Finder window and opens up just fine. 
  4. Cannot be Excluded in Time Machine because a duplicate appearance is shown when setting up the drive.
Screen Shot 2020 11 17 at 09.46.39
Screen Shot 2020 11 17 at 09.46.01

 

Macbook Pro Retina 2019, internal 1TB storage, 32GB RAM, two external T3 enclosures (2.5TB online storage) RAID 4; MacOS Mojave.

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Topic starter Posted : 17/11/2020 11:50 am
Henry-In-Florida
(@henry-in-florida)
Trusted Member Customer

I found out how to work around item #4. Duplicate source appearance. The appearances were created when setting up the Volumes in SoftRAID 6 and working with the appearances in either Big Sur or Catalina. The indications and warning were very unhelpful in doing so (See #1 & 3 in the list of troubles above. I was able to use Disk Utilities to delete the duplicates.

SoftRAID's menus were not active to remove ANY SoftRAID created duplicate Volumes. This picture seems accurate as to the Volumes that were intended to be installed. Still we have in addition the issues #1-3 plus this new deficiency.

Screen Shot 2020 11 17 at 20.28.55

 

Macbook Pro Retina 2019, internal 1TB storage, 32GB RAM, two external T3 enclosures (2.5TB online storage) RAID 4; MacOS Mojave.

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Topic starter Posted : 17/11/2020 7:31 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

SoftRAID application does not support APFS. We can create them, but the UI needs a major overhaul. Some of the concepts in APFS do not carry over into the simple volume/link to disks concept. We are still working on the conceptual design for how to support APFS so users can understand it.

 

Thanks for the feedback. You are ahead of us!!

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Posted : 18/11/2020 9:45 am
Henry-In-Florida
(@henry-in-florida)
Trusted Member Customer

@softraid-support,

It figures. I have played with your Beta as it is, worked around the problem areas still in existence and other than those I found, like it very much with the noted exceptions.

The completion of SoftRAID 6 is high priority for me and one reason I am NOT migrating to Big Sur for normal operations. Hope the workaround holds. But I plan to revise my RAID 4 ASAP after you have a working product. The application as it a way I can demo it between systems. 

SoftRaid is pretty useful on a day-to-day with my version of Catalina. Too bad that you guys fell behind Apple's timeline for release of their product. I recognize the disparity of resources and the rush to release on Apple's part to correspond with their hardware plans. Fine and dandy for them, not so much for 3ᴿᴰ party devs and users. There're plenty of issues out there. And I'm waiting on their hardware, too, FWIW. 

Good luck. Happy Thanksgiving! 😀 

Henry

Macbook Pro Retina 2019, internal 1TB storage, 32GB RAM, two external T3 enclosures (2.5TB online storage) RAID 4; MacOS Mojave.

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Topic starter Posted : 19/11/2020 10:44 am
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

Thank you for the support.

We are struggling with post-prototype changes to M1 and Big Sur now. Everything takes much longer than it should!

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Posted : 19/11/2020 3:30 pm
Henry-In-Florida
(@henry-in-florida)
Trusted Member Customer

Big Sur Startup, similar test results, similar config.

Screen Shot 2020 11 20 at 10.13.19

 

Macbook Pro Retina 2019, internal 1TB storage, 32GB RAM, two external T3 enclosures (2.5TB online storage) RAID 4; MacOS Mojave.

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Topic starter Posted : 20/11/2020 6:24 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

@henry-in-florida

 

I just noticed you are not using RGBA codec. Use that in your test as it puts less video resources on the data, so writes may be faster. You should really get a similar number to reads and writes on SSD's.

 

Thanks!

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Posted : 20/11/2020 9:01 pm
Henry-In-Florida
(@henry-in-florida)
Trusted Member Customer
Posted by: @softraid-support

@henry-in-florida

 

I just noticed you are not using RGBA codec. Use that in your test as it puts less video resources on the data, so writes may be faster. You should really get a similar number to reads and writes on SSD's.

 

Thanks!

Yes, that's true. But at best the Write speed (on a single execution) is about ±⅓ as fast as the Read. Multiple iterations change that slightly as does the Sample Resolution size, continuous runs or other parameters. The codec type results, with RGBA codec results in much less oscillation of the speed graph (jitter?). After 10 iterations the write speed falls off a lot and the test is not usable. This is only true on a RAID array. 

Macbook Pro Retina 2019, internal 1TB storage, 32GB RAM, two external T3 enclosures (2.5TB online storage) RAID 4; MacOS Mojave.

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Topic starter Posted : 21/11/2020 9:20 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

@henry-in-florida

 

I think you need to certify the disks and create new volumes. This may simply be an SSD issue.

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Posted : 21/11/2020 10:51 pm
Henry-In-Florida
(@henry-in-florida)
Trusted Member Customer

@softraid-support,

Will look into it as time permits. I don't want to start over again recreating the volumes and retransferring the  data until your software is performing properly for my hardware (Intel). Regardless of the new struggles with recent hardware, there needs to be better operation with APFS than there is now on Intel devices. I think you've already been informed of the issues there, so far. As I see some movement in that regard, I'll make further decisions as to how to proceed. 

Macbook Pro Retina 2019, internal 1TB storage, 32GB RAM, two external T3 enclosures (2.5TB online storage) RAID 4; MacOS Mojave.

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Topic starter Posted : 22/11/2020 6:02 am
Henry-In-Florida
(@henry-in-florida)
Trusted Member Customer

As to your struggles, and the new reality of development my goal was to give feedback and status. That's completed. The rest is in your court. Sorry for your struggles, hope that you get a handle on it. 

Macbook Pro Retina 2019, internal 1TB storage, 32GB RAM, two external T3 enclosures (2.5TB online storage) RAID 4; MacOS Mojave.

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Topic starter Posted : 22/11/2020 6:05 am
Henry-In-Florida
(@henry-in-florida)
Trusted Member Customer

@softraid-support,

The only way to certify a APFS disk in any of your apps, is to attempt it on APFS "Friendly" software and a hardware environment. That is in Big Sur and using SoftRAID 6.x. Even there, it proved dicey last time, so I see no reason to re-attempt it until there is a compatible software version that adapts SoftRAID across all existing platforms. What I have now is a work-around that barely does what I need with beta software. One you admit to be (and I have demonstrated as) full of holes.

When you have something that works in a current Beta version of Big Sur and on a release version of Catalina, it probably will need a complete reboot and reconfiguration anyway. So, let me know if that's available to test, I'll be happy to look into it further. 

My next step is more likely to be to put everything back to 5.x and HFS+ once again giving up on a failed experiment of SoftRAID6. That was the last stable configuration (which, BTW, as previously reported) one that had the same speed results as reported.

I would have to discount the equivalence of Write and Read speeds you claimed, as that has NEVER been my case. Not that SoftRAID isn't worthwhile for speed improvement and large storage. It's just not nearly as you have claimed with my Samsung SSD's and use case - on MBP 2019 and T3 (OWC brand Thunderbay 4) connected enclosures. 

You've got a ways to go, brothers (or sisters). Best wishes and happy holiday. 

Macbook Pro Retina 2019, internal 1TB storage, 32GB RAM, two external T3 enclosures (2.5TB online storage) RAID 4; MacOS Mojave.

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Topic starter Posted : 22/11/2020 7:42 am
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

We are working on this of course.

Notes on your comments:

You cannot certify an "APFS" disk, a certify is a raw mechanism test. There is no file system during a certify. Maybe what you mean is the inability of the application to unmount an APFS volume, so that the disk is released for a certify? If you unmount the volume first, then you can certify a disk.

 

APFS on windows was a big deal. We have that now, but only for RAID 1/0. More is coming.

 

I do not understand your write speed issues, I feel it has to do with Samsung. the SoftRAID driver will push any drive about as fast as possible, withing a few percent of its abilities. (RAID 4/5 parity calculations on slower CPU's excepted) I have seen Sameung blades perform slowly in the office, until they were certified again. I have read threads on places like tom's hardware and anandtech complaining about Samsung write behavior. But I have not researched this.

Thanks for the support and good luck!

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Posted : 22/11/2020 12:11 pm
(@mgarrucho)
Eminent Member

@softraid-support Hi, sorry to intrude but can't find a definitive answer. Is APFS now stable to use? I am on softraid 6.0.5. Thanks.

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Posted : 22/07/2021 3:28 am
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

@mgarrucho

APFS appears stable, yes. We are working on full application support for APFS, which is why we only support creating APFS in beta versions.

However, keep in mind two things:
APFS has no repair tools if there is damage to a volume directory

APFS is much slower file system and especially with HDD's can quickly get 50% slower than an HFS volume.

In 6.1, we should have full APFS support, the application change is not in the beta yet, but coming soon.

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Posted : 22/07/2021 10:16 am
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