Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A week with DIY Apple Fusion Drive on my 2011 Mac Mini

So far so good

It has been a week since I setup my do-it-yourself Apple Fusion Drive. The little Mac Mini is still impressively fast. And it is so quiet, and the Mac Mini is a pretty quiet system to start with. I have gotten so used to this new level of performance and refinement that I get disappointed when I arrive at the office to use an (2010) iMac that up until last week, had been my favourite desktop computer.

What still concerns me?

If one of the SSD or hard drive dies, the Mac Mini will become unusable. Like RAID-0 striping, if one member of the Fusion Drive volume should become unavailable, the entire Fusion Drive is hosed. Granted I have no real knowledge about how Fusion Drive would recover from the loss of a member, but it is obvious you can't recover data that is not physically accessible.

How do I stop worrying?

Twice weekly scheduled replication with SuperDuper to the external Firewire drive. And backing up all the important files to Crashplan.

What I wish for?

Better diagnosis and monitoring. There is NO diagnosis and monitoring facility in Fusion Drive that I am aware of. I suppose I can do iostat disk0 disk1 5 but that doesn't tell me how much of the SSD is utilised or how much of each active file resides on the SSD or how much of the read/writes have been optimised over just plain ol' spinning rust.

More information about Fusion Drive

Patrick Stein's blog is a treasure trove of information about Fusion Drive. It is unfortunate that Apple hasn't seen fit to share any information about the inner workings of the Fusion Drive. But through the persistence and generosity of the like of Patrick, there is a decent amount of technical information that can be revealed with a bit Google'fu.

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