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SoftRAID Comes to the M1 Macs

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The latest beta release of SoftRAID 6 now supports the M1 Macs. After several weeks of investigating a kernel panic bug we were seeing in the SofftRAID driver, we reached out to Apple’s kernel engineers for help. This kernel panic happened only with RAID levels that used stripes (RAID 0, 4, 5, and 1+0), when reads or writes to those volumes accessed more than one disk, and only on M1 Macs.

Apple engineers were amazingly helpful and, within a couple of days, gave us the suggestion which fixed the bug. It is wonderful to work so closely with Apple engineers! We often tell them about problems in the macOS kernel, and they will make suggestions about how we can improve the SoftRAID driver. It’s truly a win-win for everyone.

As is so often the case, their suggestion involved adding a single line of code to the read and write routines in the SoftRAID M1/ARM driver. This line of code is a call to a function built into the operating system. It is now required on ARM-based Macs (like all M1 Macs are). This call has never been needed on Intel Macs.

Once again, this shows that although Apple has done an incredible job making the M1 Macs look “just like a Mac,” there are quite fundamental differences between the underlying hardware for Intel and ARM-based Macs.

Thank you so much to the Apple engineer who helped us out. I wish I knew your name so I could personally thank you!

Tim Standing
the authorOWC Tim
Vice President of Software Engineering, Mac
Tim Standing has been writing drivers and storage utilities for Mac OS since 1986. He is the creator of SoftRAID for macOS and is currently VP of Software Development - Mac at Other World Computing, Inc. He has patented a write acceleration technique that enables the write speed RAID volumes to be as fast as the read speed. Tim's team is responsible for SoftRAID, OWC Dock Ejector, OWC Drive Guide, and all Mac drivers and utilities that make OWC products exceptional. When he's not writing code, he's creating delicious pizzas in his wood-burning pizza oven.
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