One of the most poignant uses for Thunderbolt has always been Direct Attached Storage (DAS). Alongside supporting high resolution displays, Thunderbolt is all about the daisy chaining of both storage and displays. Anand has previously looked at the Pegasus storage options, but OWC is delving more into the mix with a Thunderbolt based DAS using software based RAID 5.

The ThunderBay 4 RAID 5 Edition will support four drives up to 5 TB each (this may change depending on QVL), and is rated at 675 MB/s for sustained data rates. This number is not listed as either the read or write speed, and OWC is keen to point out that their software RAID 5 solution is up to 35% faster than other hardware solutions. If we get a unit in to test, we will let you know if that figure holds true.

Alongside RAID 5, the device will support RAID 0, 1, 4 or 1+0 using the software RAID solution. The software interface will also include drive monitoring, e-mail notification and rebuild capabilities. The dual Thunderbolt 2 ports and the software will allow users to create larger extended RAID arrays, with the example given in this press release showing 16 drives across four devices all in the same array. It would be interesting to see how that large array deals with a power failure in an intermediate device, depending on which RAID option is in place.

OWC will sell the ThunderBay 4 RAID 5 Edition in either a version with the device by itself ($649) or with sets of four drives totaling 4 TB (4 x 1 TB, $870) to 20 TB (4 x 5 TB, $1770).  Each model comes with a one meter certified Thunderbolt cable, and a three year limited warranty.

Source: OWC

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  • Bob Todd - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    I think the aim is to fill the small niche for people who need uber fast DAS storage but don't have a desktop chassis to stuff the drives in (which would obviously be cheaper). Like someone who wanted to do HD video work on a Macbook Pro.
  • nevertell - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    Or an iMac. Or a Mac Pro.
  • milleron - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    I notice that their prices WITH drives are both for FOUR drives. If RAID is achieved via an industry-standard RAID controller, is there any reason to believe that one couldn't set up a 3-disk RAID 5 with this device?
  • wicktron - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    You can buy the enclosure by itself and fill it up with whatever drives you prefer. I have a few FCPX editors with a 4-drive SSD (4x 512GB Crucial MX100) RAID-0 on these things and it's really fast.
  • vdidenko - Saturday, August 9, 2014 - link

    Sorry I was not clear enough.

    There are more and less expensive existing SSD media used among other things in 2.5" drives. What I meant is use that cheaper media to populate 3.5" shell. I think it will make a good near-line store for NASes, for photos and whatnot. May report errors through existing SMART. Will simplify product catalogs and IT inventory by having less of storage form-factor diversity. I have seen storage shelves populated with 2.5" SSDs in 3.5" adapters - lots of waste.

    And although I did not think about it from the angle you brought up, I still think there may be some (albeit small) savings in a bigger capacity shell's management.
  • mikbe - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    Thunderbolt prices are, ironically, keeping thunderbolt prices high and will eventually end in the sidelining of it as a viable technology:

    The price is too high so no one buys them. Because of the low demand, but high license and hardware costs, the prices have to be high.

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