Build your own Apple Fusion Drive; No need to pay 3x the price

Yes, with just a tiny bit of typing, you can make a DIY Fusion Drive, using a regular SSD. A Mac developer, Patrick Stein—a/k/a jollyjinx—wants us to know that you don't have to buy a Fusion Drive at Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) eyewatering prices, and that you can have it on older Macs.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers fire up the command line.

Fusion Drive

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

Vincent Chang reports:

...last week, [Apple] announced Fusion Drive, which appeared to be similar to hybrid drives...allow[ing] users to reap the benefits of an SSD while having the storage capacity of a standard HDD. ... [But] Fusion Drive seemed to involve the actual copying of frequently-used files from the HDD to the SSD portion of the drive to enhance performance.


However, an enterprising Mac user seems to have created his own Fusion Drive using an older Mac outfitted with an SSD. [It] involves using a command-line disk utility to merge two physical storage devices into a single volume. ... Fusion Drive-like behavior kicked in without further configuration.  MORE

Lee Hutchinson adds:

Fusion Drive marries a solid-state disk and a spinning hard disk drive...relying on the speed of the SSD to accelerate all writes and reads on the most often-used [blocks] and the size of the HDD to hold...less often-referenced [blocks]. ...a software-based...automated tiering solution. ... [But will] it work on older Macs, or only newer...Macs with Apple-provided SSDs?


Based on [jollyjinx's] findings, Fusion Drive is indeed a base operating system feature, either contained within Core Storage or built into OS X 10.8.x. ... It appears that Fusion Drive detects the SSD-ishness of a drive. ... If a Core Storage volume contains an HDD and an SSD, Fusion Drive appears to be automatically activated.  MORE

Patrick "jollyjinx" Stein tests for FUD:

Fusion drive uses a core storage VolumeGroup [so] let’s try to create our own Fusion drive. ...after giving it some time it actually did transfer the data to [the SSD]. ... The SSD is a old Vertex2 so nothing Apple specific. ... I was using plain old 10.8.2, nothing special.


[I] wondered if it might be in fact be block oriented. ...the first Megabyte was read from the SSD. ... [So] FUD is working block oriented. ... So I wonder if it’s possible to use...ZFS ;-) As stated before, I would never trust Data onto HFS+. ... You can use the disk that core storage creates and use ZFS on it. ... [It's] filesystem agnostic.  MORE

And Trik de-obfuscates:

The Fusion drive is software based, it is not hardware. A hybrid drive IS hardware. ... The Fusion drive is a SSD & a HDD...and at the OS level, it is picking and choosing where to store programs / data. ...if you also own a Mac, and own a SSD & HDD attached to that Mac, you can also have a "Fusion" drive (assuming Apple doesn't shut down these command line hacks).


I have a Mid 2011 Mac Mini...and I cannot wait to try this out. ...with this setup, the OS can choose where to put everything, which is truly ideal.  MORE

Meanwhile, Viv Collins has been thinking:

I think [Apple] will develop it in to a generic storage that the actual storage "device and its location" becomes will just be storage that appears on an Apple device and synced...seamlessly and transparently. ...this is what you would have to do if you intended to take the next logical step and solder the SSD...chips directly to the logic board.


After all this Fusion drive as presented would work just as well to local SSD on a device and...a cloud as it does with them both contained locally. ... It will be a big selling point to seamlessly present and manage a users data across all their devices. ...specifications like ram and ssd will simply become meaningless to marketing, replaced by features and abilities.  MORE

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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