I am getting quite tired of Mac OS X locking itself into the spinning beach ball of death due to failing hardware. In the last year or so I’ve had two LaCie hard drives go out on me, and a third seems to be going now. In each case, the Mac got thrown into a completely confused funk because the drive didn’t respond quickly enough or at all. Note that these drives were used strictly used as external backup device. They didn’t hold any operating system or application files.
Haven’t we learned by now that I/O is an unreliable operation, and that you should never assume that any read call will succeed, or will return data in the format you want? That’s true whether you’re talking about files or FireWire packets. Furthermore, critical components like the Finder should not block on synchronous I/O. Any I/O needs they have should be serviced asynchronously.
It’s hard to take the Mac seriously as a reliable server platform when it’s so easily brought to its knees by one misbehaving hard drive.