Apple has announced their new Fibre
Channel Xserve RAID. Xserve RAID combines leading-edge technologies
in a 3U rack. Fast throughput and flexible configuration makes
Xserve RAID ideal for businesses that demand high-performance
protected storage. With up to 2.5TB of capacity and tools for
remote management make this RAID solution a powerful data storage
Xserve RAID architecture combines low cost, high-capacity ATA
drive technology with a dual independent 2Gb Fibre Channel host
interface for fast, reliable data access. Each 180GB Apple Drive
Module uses a dedicated drive channel, maximizing the 400MB/s
Fibre Channel host connection. This means that as you add drives,
Xserve RAIDscales in both capacity and performance. And by adding
more systems, you'll have virtually limitless expansion. Xserve
RAID offers RAID that's fast enough to support real-time HD 1080i
video editing. In the event of a drive failure, access to your
data remains unaffected while Xserve RAID automatically rebuilds
the contents of the failed drive on a spare drive.
- -2 Gb Fibre Channel - dual independent
channels - low cost host adapter.
- -Fourteen drive bays hold up to 2.5TB
- -Independent ATA drive channels eliminate
- -RAID levels 0, 1, 3, 5, and 0+1. Also
hybrid RAID levels 10, 30, and 50.
- -Redundant load-sharing power supplies
and cooling modules.
- -Set up, manage, and monitor local or
on the Internet.
- -AppleCare Premium Service and Support
Plan and Service Parts Kits.
- -System requirements: Xserve or Mac
G4 Tower (800MHz or more)
with Mac OS X v10.2.4 or Mac OS X Server v10.2.4 (or later) plus
an Apple Fibre Channel PCI card or compatible.
Suggested Retail Prices:
- -720GB Xserve RAID - with 4-180 GB Drive
Modules - $ 5,999
- -1.26TB Xserve RAID - with 7-180 GB
Drive Modules - $7,499
- -2.52TB Xserve RAID - with 14-180 GB
Drive Modules - $10,999
- -Apple Dual Fibre Channel 2Gb Card -
With Two Cables - $499
-180GB Apple Drive Modules - For Xserve or Xserve RAID - $499
- -Upgrade Controller Cache - From 128+128
to 512+512 MB - $300
-Cache Backup Battery Modules - $350
-AppleCare Service Parts Kit Includes:
- Controller, Fan, Power Supply, 180 GB
Drive - $1949
- -3 years of AppleCare Service and Support
Plan - $999
- -XtroVert by XtremeMac is a sculptured
aluminum pedestal designed
for Xserve RAID when not being used in a rack - $299
Cow Expo last week ProMax showed the new Xserve RAID running HD video with a CineWave card as well as a DeckLink card running SD video. We used both a tower G4/1000DP and an Xserve G4/1000 DP. We expect no issue with Kona SD and HD. Our tests showed data rates to be 190 MB/sec reads and 168 MB/sec writes. The Xserve RAID unit we used was not a final shipping product thus we expect data rates to go up maybe 10 to 15% or possibly even more. It was configured with 512+512 MB cache controllers and a total of 14 drives. We configured each side of 7 drives into RAID-5. We then striped these two pairs as RAID-0 which is called RAID-50 - with this you get redundancy with RAID-5 and with RAID-0 you get maximum performance.
If you format Xserve RAID in a horizontal position and then move it to run as a tower the data rates will change. Always format Xserve RAID in the position you plan to use it. We were given a prototype vertical enclosure to test by XtremeMac that was designed for mounting the Xserve RAID next to a desk. The noise level of Xserve RAID is pretty low thus could be used in same room - unlike the older Xserve that is very noisy.
The new Xserve G4/1.33 is reported to
be 12 DB quieter. The XtroVert by XtremeMac is a sculptured
aluminum pedestal enclosure that works and looks great...List
price is $299.
The Xserve RAID is very well built with
lots of features including a well thought set of management tools.
One should always upgrade to 512+512 MB of cache which adds performance.
Its a good idea to purchase the Cache Backup Battery Modules
to protect any data thats in cache should there be a power failure.
We strongly suggest the 3 years of AppleCare Service and the
purchase one extra drive in case of a failure which can replaced
Many asked if you can populate the drive
bays with off-the-shelf drives. The answer is no. Why? Apple
puts every drive they ship through a long torture test. The rejects
can be very high. And they modify the firmware for added performance
and diagnostics. The Xserve RAID will run with only one power
supply and one fan in case of emergency.
Apple offers AppleCare Service Parts
Kit that includes a controller, fan, power supply, and extra
180 GB drive. These Service Parts are affordable, field serviceable,
and easy to install.
Fibre Channel PCI card comes with two copper cables 2.7 meters
long. This is long enough to connect to a G4 Tower or Xserve.
Cables like this can cost as much at $150.00 each which makes
this bundle an excellent buy.
The AppleCare Premium Service and
Support Plan provides 3 years of coverage for either Xserve
or Xserve RAID and Mac OS X Server when purchased with Xserve
or Xserve RAID. Whether you experience a hardware failure or a Mac OS X Server configuration issue, Apple's technical support will work to get your system up and running as quickly as possible. The plan includes: 24/7 up-and-running EMAIL and telephone support, 4 hour onsite response for hardware repairs during business hours, and next day onsite response for hardware repairs after business hours. Onsite response time and availability of onsite service depends on your location. For details about the AppleCare Premium Service and Support Plan, including availability of onsite service in your area, visit http://www.apple.com/xserve/raid/support.html
You must purchase separate AppleCare
Premium Service and Support Plan for each Xserve or Xserve RAID
you purchase. To be eligible, the system must be under its original
one-year warranty. Coverage is not activated until after you
enroll by following the instructions in your enrollment kit.
Coverage ends three years after Xserve or Xserve RAID system
Did you know?
Did you know that often the cheap drives that are offered by
various chains are often those from major server vendors who
have put them through torture tests and they failed? You get
what you pay for.
Besides Mac OS 10.2.4, Xserve RAID will
boot under Solaris, Windows (back to 98), and Linux. At this
point in time there is no SAN software utility that has been
approved. You can set up LUNs and assign them. More as we learn
about the Xserve RAID.
Charles F. McConathy
Copyright © Charles
F. McConathy, 2003
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