A “Floppy RAID” might sound like the title of a frustrating niche adult movie, but it isn’t. Instead, it is a homebrew project by Daniel Blade Olson* which cobbles together five 3.5” floppy drives into a redundant disk array.
RAID means either extra speed or extra data security, but Olson’s version offers neither. The setup gives a mere 3.9MB of usable space and runs at a speed that makes dialup look quick. Daniel says “I was able to transfer “DEVO Uncontrolable Urge.mp3″ which is 3.6 MB in 32 seconds. Which is pretty good I think.”
The project was ridiculously simple. Or at least, it was simple on a 500MHz Bondi Blue iMac. Attempting the same thing on a modern-day Dell machine running Windows XP was impossible. Olson grabbed a bunch of returned but functioning USB floppy drives from his place of work and simply hooked them up to the iMac: four into a USB hub and one directly to a USB port. OS X’s Disk Utility was used to make the RAID in about six minutes, and Daniel was good to go.
Why not bigger? “I would have connected more units together, but I ran out of USB ports” says Olson. And he’s still going. Already built are a 2X speed floppy RAID (” It was able to transfer the same awesome DEVO song in just 16 seconds! KICK ASS!!!”) and a Sony Memory Stick RAID.