OS X is a system full of options that for a large number of users go unnoticed, mainly for those who are new to the platform. One of them is the possibility of creating RAID drives through software. This feature, which is available through Disk Utility, is often used by users who have a dual-drive Mac Mini and install a server on it, or by previous Mac Pro owners.
But that doesn’t mean that everyone with an iMac or laptop can’t take advantage of it, even if they only have an internal storage unit. Of course, if we remove the Super Drive on the Mac that came with it and put in two drives, we can create a RAID and boost performance or increase the security of our data.
Setting up a RAID under OS X
Disk utility and RAID option
As we saw in the video, setting up a RAID on OS X is very simple. Just go to Disk Utility, select a drive and click on the RAID tab. There we’ll set the name, shape type, and type of RAID we want to create.
- RAID 0 or Stripe is a configuration where we improve performance (more read and write speed) by distributing data between both drives. Improving write and data access times. The only thing we must know is that in RAID 0 both drives will add their capacities but always providing both with the same capacity. That is to say, if we have a 100GB and a 200GB disk, we will have a 200GB capacity RAID 0 drive because each disk provides 100GB. Besides, if one of the drives fails we will lose everything. So, be careful, it’s good for performance but less secure.
- RAID 1 or Mirror offers us greater security for our data. Each file is copied to both drives. This way, if one fails we always have the copy on the other.
- Concatenated disks, this option only adds up the capacities of both disks and manages them as one but we don’t get any advantage. No performance or security advantage.
Once we know what type of RAID to use, we click on the icon + and drag the partitions of each disk or memory we are going to use to the created RAID group. Click Create and within minutes it will be created and mounted in the Finder.
Uses of the OS X Software RAID Option
Creating a RAID with USB 3.0 sticks is an interesting option to have a fast volume to work with
The uses we can make and the interest of this feature are very varied. If you have one or two disks and you want to work faster with applications that need a higher transfer speed is one of those reasons. Of course, here it is worth mentioning that the ideal is to use USB 3.0 devices . And yes, not only external hard drives, if you have several pendrives that you don’t use you can connect them all to a USB HUB and create a higher capacity drive.
Now it’s your turn to take advantage of this and make the best of it. And if you want to create a RAID and then install the Server version of OS X, Apple documents the process on its support page.