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Using Mercury Elite Pro Quad as a Time Machine drive and SoftRAID with BigSur

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(@rkeefer)
Active Member

Hey everyone. 

I'm brand new to SoftRAID. Bought an OWC Mercury Elite Pro Quad (currently have 4 2GB drives in it) to utilize as a RAID 5 drive solely for Time Machine backups.

First, here's my system:
Mac Mini (2018), 3 GHz 6-Core i5, 32 GB memory
Last week was running Mac OS Big Sur 11.2.2 (Now running 11.3 Beta 3)
SoftRAID v 6.0.1 b52

Initially, had the drives formatted as HFS+ and it kept hanging in the Mac Time Machine dialog with a dialog about preparing the drive for Time Machine.

I enrolled in the Mac OS beta program hoping it would help. Same issue. Then, via SoftRAID, I went ahead and re-initialized all four drives, but formatted them as APFS. Now it gets past the Time Machine preparing the disk, but it keeps trying but fails to do its initial backup to the drive. Also, I'm noting that throughout, it has been able to successfully complete Time Machine backups to a single external drive.

Looking in terminal there are 25 .interrupted files and one .inprogress.

Drive shows up fine and reports properly as 6GB in Finder. I can copy files to and from it fine, but it's not likely something about Time Machine.

Any help would be appreciated.

Quote
Topic starter Posted : 05/03/2021 5:46 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

With Big Sur, Time Machine only works on SoftRAID volumes formatted as APFS .

 

So delete the volume, create a new one and select APFS as the file system. Then Time Machine will work. I do not think this issue will be fixed by Apple.

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Posted : 05/03/2021 8:38 pm
(@rkeefer)
Active Member

Yes, if you re-read my post above, I did eventually reformat to APFS.

It tries its initial backup on the time machine drive, and errors out with the very generic:

Time Machine couldn’t complete the backup to "Drive Name"

An error occurred while copying files.

Within SoftRAID 6 b53 I've been unable to erase or initialize any of the four individual drives to start over fresh/again.

Thanks,

Ryan

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Topic starter Posted : 12/03/2021 12:09 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

@rkeefer

Did you unmount the volumes first from the desktop? SoftRAID UI cannot unmount APFS yet.

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Posted : 18/03/2021 10:13 pm
(@rkeefer)
Active Member

@softraid-support Yes. Tried everything again this morning to be sure.

1. Ejected the volume.

2. Deleted the RAID 5 Volume in SoftRAID.

3. Initialized the four drives in SoftRAID.

4. Create new volume in SoftRAID (APFS)

4. Added drive to Time Machine.

5. Tries to do its first backup

6. Fails with a generic message, "Backup Not Completed. Time Machine couldn't back up to 'Volume Name'"

 

I've got another external drive that it takes turns with. The other drive completes its backups fine, but the SoftRAID volume continues to be able to complete its first backup. 

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Topic starter Posted : 19/03/2021 1:23 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

@rkeefer

Interesting that one volume can complete, another cannot. this indicates that the source volume itself should not be damaged.

Not being a Time Machine expert, its hard to know what is causing this and how to get past this problem.

BTW: to retest, all you need to do is erase the volume in SoftRAID.

What if you erase the volume with SoftRAID, select Time Machine, then restart? then Backup now?

Same result?

The one thing I can think of is if this is a disk issue.

Make sure SMART USB drivers are active via the SoftRAID disk preferences. Shut down. remove ALL USB devices except keyboard/mouse.

Restart. Wait 5 minutes. Plug in your MEPQ and any other devices. This should allow the SMART USB driver to load, hopefully. Look in the disk tiles in SoftRAID. Are any of the disks showing an error condition?

Its worth a try, as I can't think outside of a disk error, why the problem backing up.

 

Anyone in the forum more of a Time Machine expert?

ReplyQuote
Posted : 19/03/2021 2:23 pm
(@rkeefer)
Active Member

@softraid-support Sorry, took awhile to get back and try this. It's unable to erase the drive, error is just:

"SoftRAID Error

An error occurred erasing the volume "name". SoftRAID was unable to create a file system on this volume."

I Will work through the SMART steps next. The drives and enclosure are all brand new. I'm not saying drives don't fail out of the box, but still.

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Topic starter Posted : 26/03/2021 2:50 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

@rkeefer

 

The actual problem is the driver is not loading. Did you "Allow" OWC as an identified developer in System preferences/Security?

 

ReplyQuote
Posted : 26/03/2021 2:57 pm
(@rkeefer)
Active Member

@softraid-support Yeah, I did have to go into the security tab and allow them, but still no luck in getting it to run as a Time Machine backup. Should I try making it something other than RAID 5?

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Topic starter Posted : 29/03/2021 9:47 am
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

@rkeefer

I do not think the volume type is the problem, Time Machine only sees a volume. Try one more time to unmount/delete/create an APFS volume, then when it mounts, does Time Machine ask to add it?

I will assume it does. Then it certainly ought to be able to complete the backup.

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Posted : 29/03/2021 10:05 am
(@rkeefer)
Active Member

@softraid-support Upgraded to v 6.0.1, and now don't have an option to format as APFS at all.

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Topic starter Posted : 06/04/2021 11:18 am
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

We only offer this when you create a new volume, so delete it create a new volume and select APFS.

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Posted : 06/04/2021 5:10 pm
(@rkeefer)
Active Member

@softraid-support That's what I'm attempting to do. No APFS option is available no matter what settings I try for a new volume:

 

new volume
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Topic starter Posted : 11/04/2021 5:40 pm
(@softraid-support)
Member Admin

This is our bug. We used a build script that had APFS disabled for 6.0.1. We are releasing 6.0.2 very shortly, which will have APFS available.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

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Posted : 11/04/2021 7:16 pm
(@rkeefer)
Active Member

@softraid-support Just upgraded to 6.0.3 (rebooted and allowed the OWC driver in Security) Still not seeing the ability to create an APFS volume from the four drivers.

 

new volume 6 0 3
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Topic starter Posted : 13/04/2021 11:55 am
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