Using Mercury Elite Pro Quad as a Time Machine drive and SoftRAID with BigSur
You are 100% correct, of course.
Use 6.0.1 beta 53 to create an APFS volume, until this makes it into a release. Then go back to 6.0.3 for use.
APFS creation should have been in this release.
This is generally successful, so lets work on it. This is Big Sur. You created an APFS volume. Time Machine asked you to prepare the disk and you said yes. (essentially, correct?)
Is time machine "preparing data"? or what is its status message?
@softraid-support Yes, essentially correct. I'm never prompted to make it a Time Machine drive, but I believe that has to do with already having an external drive also as a Time Machine drive. I can add the SoftRAID drive fine to the Time Machine system preference. It tried to do its first backup. The first backup progress bar always gets right to the end and then I get a generic unable to complete first backup error. It alternates attempting to backup with the other external drive, but always fails.
With Big Sur, new Time machine volumes on SoftRAID disks must be APFS or it gets stuck like that. I do not think this will be fixed.
Use a SoftRAID 6 beta to create an APFS volume, then it will work.
You can get one here:
No need to install the driver, just Create the new APFS volume and quit.
@softraid-support This has been already done if you review this now two-page thread. The latest volume is an APFS RAID 5 volume created in the beta and then SoftRAID updated. It's not hanging in the creation/assigning of the volume in Time Machine, but rather right at the end of completing its first initial backup.
Responding too quickly, sorry.
This has to be a Time Machine issue, then. I have not seen this error in testing. If you run "First Aid" (Disk Utility) does it see any issues?
After the failure the first time, did you try "erase" the volume in SoftRAID?
@softraid-support First aid sees no issues.
I've tried a bunch of different things, including reinitializing the 4 individual drives, erasing, and deleting the volume -- all in separate tries. It's able to almost complete the backup. As it is now, 2.92 TB of the 6 is free. If I list the root directory of the drive in terminal, it shows a bunch of interrupted directories and a single .inprogress.
Can you try this test?
get Carbon Copy Cloner (free trial period is 100% functional)
Clone your volume to the Time Machine volume. Lets make sure all the data is readable. It uses rsync, which I think is the same copy mechanism as Time Machine (not certain, but it is likely)
As a test, yes. Use the same volume as a target using CCC. See if it succeeds. Just to be sure this is not a file system read error. Afterwards, you can erase the volume and try Time Machine once more, but you would know the data is readable.
I don't know anyone else with this specific problem yet. So I have to guess at the cause.
Lets do it this way then:
Unmount the volume
Delete it with SoftRAID
Create a new APFS volume
Use CCC to clone to it and make sure it succeeds. there is an option to "verify" all files, I think in the advanced section.
Lets see if it completes.
then you can erase the volume (you know your data is readable) and try Time Machine again.
Weird issue, I have to assume there is an unreadable file.
@softraid-support Sorry for the delay in getting back to this. Started the process from your last reply and it's said SoftRAID Evaluation has expired. Any chance to get a license trial extension? I'm not comfortable buying the license till we get this ironed out.