1 Start up your computer using the Mac OS X or Mac OS X Server installation disc that comes with the computer. 2 When the Installer opens, choose your language and click the Next button to see the Utilities menu at the top of the screen. 3 Choose Utilities RAID Utility. SoftRAID is the premier disk driver for Mac OS X, replacing the basic functionality of Apple's RAID driver, which has not been updated since 2009. Best VPN Services for 2020 Curated by Cnet. How to set up a RAID in macOS Sierra’s Disk Utility. This will erase any data that exists on the disks you want to use for the RAID. Back up that data if you want to save it.
Setting up a software RAID (or random array of independent disks) is a great way to inexpensively provide a huge boost to read/write speeds, or add an internal back up solution (or do both!).
All you need is a Mac with the ability to install more than one SSD or HDD (such as a Mac Pro 5,1) and some HDDs or SSDs, we recommend using matched drives in most cases, however, simply matching capacity (2TB etc.) and type (HDD or SSD) is usually fine.
A RAID is basically a collection of physical drives, linked together, that are seen by your system as a single drive. You can set up a RAID in a number of different ways. A striped RAID will boost read and write speeds by splitting your data between all 4 drives and reading/writing to them all at the same time. A mirrored RAID will write the same data to a number of drives, meaning you have real time back-ups that are fully bootable and can repair themselves. You can even set up 2 striped RAIDs in a mirrored RAID. This may sound confusing, but we’ll explain which configuration is best for what soon enough.
Setting up a striped RAID is a great option when you need to maximise read & write speeds, regardless of your budget. Theoretically you could set up a striped RAID using 4 PCI-E flash storage blades in an external PCI-E expander, you would hit around 4GB/s read & write speeds with a set up like this, but it wouldn’t be cheap. Alternatively, you could use 4 HDDs in a Mac Pro’s internal HDD bays and hit speeds of around 600MB/s, about 20% faster than the best consumer 2.5″ SSDs, but the cost would be much less. There are also a myriad of options in-between for every budget, you don’t have to use 4 drives, a 2 drive RAID is still extremely effective.
A striped RAID will have disk read & write speeds that are around the sum total of your drives separately. So if you use two 500MB/s SSDs then your RAID will read & write at around 1GB/s.
With a bootable USB installer, you can even install OS X on your new RAID set. You can also use Disk Utility when booting from the USB installer to create a RAID set without having to have another OS X drive for Disk Utility, extremely useful when creating a 4 drive RAID in a Mac Pro.
With a striped RAID set it is essential that you keep a back-up. Should one of the drives in your RAID fail, the whole RAID will fail.
Setting up a mirrored RAID set is a great internal back-up solution, providing a real-time back-up that can even automatically repair itself should a drive fail, this is achieved by writing your data to both disks rather than just one. Again we would recommend using matched drives, but you don’t have to.
You can use SSDs, HDDs and even PCI-E flash storage, it all depends on your needs and budget. You can also use as many disks as you like, you shouldn’t need more than 2, but using 3 or 4 will give you even more security should a drive fail.
You’re now all set to install OS X on your mirrored RAID set, or to just use it as a data drive. Again use a bootable USB installer if you have no other drives to install from.
Want the speed of a striped RAID set as well as the security of a mirrored RAID? If so, RAID 10 might be the one for you. A RAID 10 set comprises of two mirrored RAID sets in a striped RAID formation. Should a drive fail, it will auto repair, and you will still get the speed boost of striping (4 drives in a RAID 10 formation will read/write at double the speed of a single drive as opposed to 4 times the speed with a pure striped RAID).
For example, using 4 HDDs in a RAID 10 set will achieve read & write speeds of around 300MB/s as well as having real time back-up and auto repair functionality.
Technically this isn’t actually a RAID 10 set, as a RAID 10 set is a hardware RAID. But it is a software clone and does exactly the same thing. You can call it a mirrored-striped-software-RAID-set if you like.
Again, you can now install OS X on your mirrored striped RAID set, or simply use it as a data drive.
You can also set up a striped mirrored RAID set (as opposed to mirrored striped), just set up two mirrors and stripe those together instead. Functionality and performance will be the same.
As with any storage drive, you should always keep a physical or online back-up of your RAID set, regardless of the type. In most cases software RAID sets are very reliable, but they can be susceptible to things such as power cuts, again unlikely, but the possibility is always there even with a mirrored RAID.
And remember, it’s not really a back-up unless you have two.
We do also provide hardware RAID controllers for the Mac Pro 5,1 at Create Pro. Complete with on board battery and controller for extra security.
If you’ve purchased a Mac mini Server you’ll realize that the default configuration is two 500GB hard drives. If you do not need more than 500GB of storage you can use that second drive to add redundancy. By mirroring the two drives together you have the ability withstand a drive failure and not lose any data. However, it does not replace a standard backup policy! You mirror the drives by setting up a software RAID. RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, and there are many levels of RAID configuration. The one we are focusing on is RAID 1 or “mirroring”. Heres how to easily make the change over to RAID 1:
First things first. We have no DVD drive in a Mac mini Server. You can easily remedy this by using a USB DVD drive (hold down “C” while turning your mini on). The other option is to use another computer’s DVD drive. To do that, follow the steps in the Apple Knowledge Base Article link below. We want to boot off the OS X Server disk that was included with the mini.
Once we’ve booted the OS X Server disk and selected your language, you’ll want to use the Disk Utility program under the Utilities menu. Use the RAID tab and drag both drives over to create a new mirrored set. Warning, you will lose any data on these drives.* Create a standard Mac OS Extended Journaled volume. Apply your changes and exit the Disk Utility. Continue installing OS X to the destination drive (RAID Volume) you just created. See the following Apple Knowledge Base Article for details more details.
*Update: If you are brave and your data is backed up (we always recommend you have a good backup policy) – you can try to use the Terminal after booting off the OS X disk instead of the Disk Utility to build the array without destroying data:
You can then reboot and add the second drive to the RAID and kick off the rebuild.
You can open Disk Utility and click into the RAID volume and use the rebuild button under the RAID tab to kick off the rebuild process. You can check up on the status of the rebuild by re-running the checkRAID command: