How Apple Builds Enterprise-worthy RAID Systems

Apple doesnit just take raw ATA disk drives off the shelf and drop them into the Xserve RAID. There are many tweaks before that drive is ready to ship according to Tom Yageris Infoworld blog posted on Thursday.

Apple considers the Seagate 750 GB drive just a starting point. First, only 100 percent defect free devices are accepted, and those are difficult to get. Next, comes a rigorous burn in period, and no new sector defects are accepted. In addition, Seagate burns special firmware for Apple that matches certain characteristics of Appleis RAID controller. [This may include the anti-acoustic coupling code that suppresses acoustic vibration due to rapid head movement. JM]

In summary, Mr. Yager concludes that these Apple ATA RAID systems are ready for prime time. "Iim a SCSI snob from way back, and Iid never use desktop [emphasis added] ATA or SATA drives in a server." [Referring to the Apple quality control...] "Thatis no Apple brochure talking. Thatis a lifelong server storage wonk speaking from experience."

This reporter, who has sold those Apple RAID systems, concurs.