3 years after setup, SoftRAID 4 saves Futureproof Record’s files

August 2017

In January 2014, Nigel Hobden configured a Mac Pro 5.1, running Mac OS 10.8.5 (Mountain Lion), for Phil Legg and the team at FutureProof Records. Futureproof Records and Promotions—a UK music company dealing in music promotion and distribution—needed a system to store and protect a large amount of crucially important files and applications.

Nigel’s configuration included a pair of 2TB drives, mirrored with SoftRAID 4.5.4, plus a Time Machine backup disk in one of the bays, as an extra precaution.

Critical applications running on the Mac Pro required them to stick with Mountain Lion, so they just let the system keep running, which it’s been doing continuously since setup. Two or three times since January 2014 the machine crashed. When this happened, SoftRAID 4 alerted them that the volume was out of sync, then successfully rebuilt the Mirror volume. Other than these occasional glitches, the configuration has been totally stable. The OS was never updated, and neither was the version of SoftRAID.

Fast forward to July 2017: Three and a half years after setup, on July 9, 2017, SoftRAID 4 popped up a dialog box: “Disk predicted to fail”

Even though the system appeared to be running fine, Phil at FutureProof was concerned, so (as advised in the online help) decided to generate a technical support file and send it to SoftRAID support. When he launched SoftRAID to create the file he discovered that one of the disks had a “Failure Predicted” alert – a much more critical issue. Sectors were being reallocated at an alarming rate.

Phil immediately emailed SoftRAID, writing “This is obviously most concerning in terms of data loss, and [we] would appreciate if you could let me know how to resolve this issue in the best possible way as quickly as possible.”

Remember this was an much older version of SoftRAID (the current version is 5.6.1). SoftRAID 4.5.4 is no longer shipped. Not many companies would rush to help someone using an older, unsupported version of their software, but, fortunately for Phil, SoftRAID stands by its software, and its customers.

Mark James, at SoftRAID technical support, got back to Phil right away, telling him that the disk urgently needed replacing. Mark explained that when a disk starts reallocating sectors that quickly, the disk is in a death spiral and may not last even a few days. Phil ordered new disks on the spot.

No matter how old the version, we stand by our software and its ability to protect the user against the disaster of disk failure—SoftRAID Team

Mark also noted that the Mirror disks used in the system had over 30,000 hours of use each, so were at the end of their expected life. In addition, the system’s older Hitachi boot disk had over 50,000 hours of use—well past the expected lifetime of that drive.

Although the disks have been replaced, the Mac Pro is still in service, still running Mountain Lion, but is now benefitting from the even greater protection offered by SoftRAID 5.6.1, which displays reallocation sector counts directly in the disk tile.

A story with a happy ending and a satisfied customer due to the SoftRAID team’s belief that no matter how old the version, we stand by our software and its ability to protect the user against the disaster of disk failure.

We also believe in providing amazing technical support, with pretty much round-the-clock service, to ensure that our customers get the help they need—whenever they need it—to keep their data safe!

Phil Legg and FutureProof certainly think so!

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