Apple is not in enterprise storage company to be sure, and news from WWDC dashes any hopes we had for ZFS and iSCSI support. USB 3.0 seems a foregone conclusion, but Apple seems intent on ignoring it as long as possible. Although I welcome the new storage features included in Lion, it is disappointing that these were left out.
I remain impressed by CalDigit’s USB 3.0 products. My own tests show that these cards are fast and compatible, and I was pleased to see that CalDigit recently updated their driver for Mac OS 10.6.7, which changed some of the core features used by the previous driver. This is the kind of commitment I expect, both in terms of interoperability and support.
My experience using USB 3.0 on a Mac has been wonderful. It’s so well-integrated you might not notice it except for the performance. At over 200 MB/s, it blows FireWire out of the water and is even faster than nearly any device you’re likely to throw at it. CalDigit sent me their Mac OS X-compatible USB 3.0 PCI Express card for evaluation, and I’m pleased as punch with the card.
After testing the Iomega USB 3.0 SSD extensively both in terms of benchmarks and real-world usability, I’m sold on it. the only outstanding question is the high price of the unit: The 64 GB drive starts at an attainable $190, but the big 256 GB drive is downright expensive at $620 (street price). It’s hard to knock the drive’s performance, component choices, or build quality, but is it worth more than a budget laptop?
Apple is a funny company, happy to go their own way even as the rest of the industry piles on to the latest trend. Such is the case with storage, with Apple ditching floppy drives, optical drives, and even hard disks. On the expansion side, Apple was an early and aggressive proponent of USB but stubbornly ignored eSATA. Now that PC makers are turning to USB 3.0, many are wondering when Apple will follow suit. My sources tell me that “Super Speed” USB 3.0 is indeed coming to the Mac, and very soon!