OWC ThunderBay 8 offers up to 128TB of storage on Thunderbolt 3

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Mac upgrade specialist OWC has made its ThunderBay 8 Thunderbolt 3-equipped storage appliance available to purchase, giving those with high storage capacity needs a desk-based and compact solution to the problem.




First announced at CES in January, the ThunderBay 8 is a local storage device that can offer vast amounts of capacity. Aimed at video editors and those with high storage requirements, the device is capable of storing up to 128 terabytes of data across eight 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch drives, more than earlier versions like the ThunderBay 6.

Connecting over its two Thunderbolt 3 ports, the ThunderBay 8 can be daisy-chained alongside five other units for even higher storage needs. A DisplayPort 1.2 connection is also possible through the device, which can power a 4K display.

Taking advantage of the connection, "real-world" transfer speeds of up to 2,586MB/s for writing data are possible on the unit, and up to 2,551MB/s for reading from onboard volumes. SoftRAID is included to provide flexible RAID 0 and 1 volumes, with other RAID configurations possible including RAID 4, 5, 1+0, 6, and 6+.

OWC claims the ThunderBay 8 is deployment-ready, with preconfigured solutions that have undergone multiple hours of burn-in available. It is also plug-and-play without a need for additional drivers, with thumbscrew-equipped release trays for rapid drive swaps.

The storage is packed into a compact enclosure measuring 10.2 inches by 9.4 inches by 7.1 inches, and weighing 16.1 pounds unladen. For security, the front panel is locked with a key, while the back has a security slot for tethering the enclosure in place.

OWC is selling the ThunderBay 8 from $699.99 for the enclosure alone, with drive-equipped versions ranging from $1,219.99 for 16 terabytes, rising to $5,299.99 for the 128-terabyte option. Alternates are also available including enterprise hard drives and with upgraded versions of SoftRAID.
razorpit

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    I haven't been keeping up on these like I should, could you purchase something like this and say, build a RAID 5 or 6, fill it with four 14tb drives now, and then add more 14tb drives down the road to increase capacity? Or do you have to rebuild the RAID?
  • Reply 2 of 14
    Don't know, but I do know that my Drobo 8D - also 8 drives and Thunderbolt 3 - allows for a high degree of flexibility with drive types and capacities, without the need for software RAID.

    I was able to take a 5D (5 bay Thunderbolt 2) set of drives and simply lever them into the 8D and expand the number of drives without reformatting.

    Of course, I did reformat to allow me a single volume capacity > 64 TB, but that process did take a while as I had to backup to and restore from a Synology 1817+.
    razorpit
  • Reply 3 of 14
    jdiamondjdiamond Posts: 105member
    razorpit said:
    I haven't been keeping up on these like I should, could you purchase something like this and say, build a RAID 5 or 6, fill it with four 14tb drives now, and then add more 14tb drives down the road to increase capacity? Or do you have to rebuild the RAID?
    I haven't tried this myself, but the information page is encouraging:

    "You can create two RAID 5 arrays, four RAID 1 arrays, four RAID 0 arrays, or create RAID arrays on-the-fly to suit any project or data need. Heck, with so many drive bays available, you could leave a few empty — enabling you to create a new RAID, or add an additional drive with ease."

    That being said, I can't vouch for how transferable the softraid format is between RAID systems.  I'd be surprised if you could just drop in existing RAID voiumes and it would see the existing data correctly. 
  • Reply 4 of 14
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,006member
    I'm confused with their 2.5GB read speeds claims.  I have a Thunderbolt2 Promise R8 (8-drive) RAID array.  Thunderbolt2 is 2.5GB/s.  I can get maybe 800MB/s on it.  Of course, this is a different brand, but I've seen the same performance with other brands.

    Is OWC claiming 2.5GB/s of actual disk I/O, or are they simply referring to the bandwidth for Thunderbolt3?  

    Last I checked with my brand - the read speeds between TB2 and TB3 RAID towers were about the same.  Is this over-hyped marketing once again?
  • Reply 5 of 14
    rezwitsrezwits Posts: 835member
    Interesting...
    edited March 2020
  • Reply 6 of 14
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,543administrator
    sflocal said:
    I'm confused with their 2.5GB read speeds claims.  I have a Thunderbolt2 Promise R8 (8-drive) RAID array.  Thunderbolt2 is 2.5GB/s.  I can get maybe 800MB/s on it.  Of course, this is a different brand, but I've seen the same performance with other brands.

    Is OWC claiming 2.5GB/s of actual disk I/O, or are they simply referring to the bandwidth for Thunderbolt3?  

    Last I checked with my brand - the read speeds between TB2 and TB3 RAID towers were about the same.  Is this over-hyped marketing once again?
    It looks like OWC is claiming the bandwidth for Thunderbolt 3 -- which you'd get pretty close to if you loaded it up with SSDs. Otherwise, you're limited to the drive bandwidth. You can't realistically expect to get more than 800MB/sec with eight spinning drives, regardless of TB2 or TB3.
    razorpit
  • Reply 7 of 14
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,006member
    sflocal said:
    I'm confused with their 2.5GB read speeds claims.  I have a Thunderbolt2 Promise R8 (8-drive) RAID array.  Thunderbolt2 is 2.5GB/s.  I can get maybe 800MB/s on it.  Of course, this is a different brand, but I've seen the same performance with other brands.

    Is OWC claiming 2.5GB/s of actual disk I/O, or are they simply referring to the bandwidth for Thunderbolt3?  

    Last I checked with my brand - the read speeds between TB2 and TB3 RAID towers were about the same.  Is this over-hyped marketing once again?
    It looks like OWC is claiming the bandwidth for Thunderbolt 3 -- which you'd get pretty close to if you loaded it up with SSDs. Otherwise, you're limited to the drive bandwidth. You can't realistically expect to get more than 800MB/sec with eight spinning drives, regardless of TB2 or TB3.
    Thanks for clarifying that.  Very few people will purchase systems like these and load them with SSD's.  It would just be crazy expensive.  The majority will use these machine for capcity and it's misleading (i.e. "marketing") at best.

    I was going to buy a TB3 Promise RAID array and when I realized I would not be getting any additional benefit in terms of speed, even with TB3 - I ended up buying a lightly used 24TB Thunderbolt2 R8 for $800 and have been perfectly happy with that.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,543administrator
    sflocal said:
    sflocal said:
    I'm confused with their 2.5GB read speeds claims.  I have a Thunderbolt2 Promise R8 (8-drive) RAID array.  Thunderbolt2 is 2.5GB/s.  I can get maybe 800MB/s on it.  Of course, this is a different brand, but I've seen the same performance with other brands.

    Is OWC claiming 2.5GB/s of actual disk I/O, or are they simply referring to the bandwidth for Thunderbolt3?  

    Last I checked with my brand - the read speeds between TB2 and TB3 RAID towers were about the same.  Is this over-hyped marketing once again?
    It looks like OWC is claiming the bandwidth for Thunderbolt 3 -- which you'd get pretty close to if you loaded it up with SSDs. Otherwise, you're limited to the drive bandwidth. You can't realistically expect to get more than 800MB/sec with eight spinning drives, regardless of TB2 or TB3.
    Thanks for clarifying that.  Very few people will purchase systems like these and load them with SSD's.  It would just be crazy expensive.  The majority will use these machine for capcity and it's misleading (i.e. "marketing") at best.

    I was going to buy a TB3 Promise RAID array and when I realized I would not be getting any additional benefit in terms of speed, even with TB3 - I ended up buying a lightly used 24TB Thunderbolt2 R8 for $800 and have been perfectly happy with that.
    For what it's worth, most of my hard drive enclosures are TB1. There's not a compelling reason for my use case to upgrade to TB3 units, as I won't be adding SSD storage to these enclosures.

    That said, there are some nice USB 3.1 type C enclosures on the cheap-ish side that we're starting to look at.
    razorpit
  • Reply 9 of 14
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    Don't know, but I do know that my Drobo 8D - also 8 drives and Thunderbolt 3 - allows for a high degree of flexibility with drive types and capacities, without the need for software RAID.

    I was able to take a 5D (5 bay Thunderbolt 2) set of drives and simply lever them into the 8D and expand the number of drives without reformatting.

    Of course, I did reformat to allow me a single volume capacity > 64 TB, but that process did take a while as I had to backup to and restore from a Synology 1817+.
    I'm a Drobo user going back to Gen 2. I bought a few for the office just because I didn't have the time to mess around with stuff like this.

    Last year I bought a Mercury Elite Pro Quad from OWC for my home, and loaded it up with 4TB drives. I believe that if I were to replace a 4TB with a 6TB I would only be able to use 4TB of that Drive (RAID 5).

    I love the simplicity of Drobo, however here's my problem with them. I spent ~ $200 for my Mercury Elite Pro Quad. It is a USB 3.1 enclosure. Plenty fast enough for what I do at home. A Drobo 5C retails for $349 and is USB 3.0. A 5D3 which is a little faster than what I have retails for $699. Why would I want to buy a 5D3 over a ThunderBay 8? As jdiamond said, you can create multiple RAID 5's on one of these which is pretty cool.

    I love Drobo and agree with what you are saying, however with that said I don't understand how Drobo can continue the pricing they have when everyone else appears to be catching up and/or passing them to a certain extent.
  • Reply 10 of 14
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,824member
    sflocal said:
    sflocal said:
    I'm confused with their 2.5GB read speeds claims.  I have a Thunderbolt2 Promise R8 (8-drive) RAID array.  Thunderbolt2 is 2.5GB/s.  I can get maybe 800MB/s on it.  Of course, this is a different brand, but I've seen the same performance with other brands.

    Is OWC claiming 2.5GB/s of actual disk I/O, or are they simply referring to the bandwidth for Thunderbolt3?  

    Last I checked with my brand - the read speeds between TB2 and TB3 RAID towers were about the same.  Is this over-hyped marketing once again?
    It looks like OWC is claiming the bandwidth for Thunderbolt 3 -- which you'd get pretty close to if you loaded it up with SSDs. Otherwise, you're limited to the drive bandwidth. You can't realistically expect to get more than 800MB/sec with eight spinning drives, regardless of TB2 or TB3.
    Thanks for clarifying that.  Very few people will purchase systems like these and load them with SSD's.  It would just be crazy expensive.  The majority will use these machine for capcity and it's misleading (i.e. "marketing") at best.

    I was going to buy a TB3 Promise RAID array and when I realized I would not be getting any additional benefit in terms of speed, even with TB3 - I ended up buying a lightly used 24TB Thunderbolt2 R8 for $800 and have been perfectly happy with that.
    I think very few people will purchase systems like these, period. 

    BUT if you want to fill it with spinning rust, why pay extra for TB3?

    I would think TB3 only makes sense if you are going for lots of super fast SSD storage. 

    For my own use, I'm intrigued by their TB3 enclosure for 4 2.5" devices. 
  • Reply 11 of 14
    I've never liked software RAIDs because you cannot rebuild the RAID without a computer connected and on to manage it. Rebuilds can take hours or days depending on the setup. Sure, a software RAID is more flexible but I prefer something that is not dependent on the computer's OS.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,006member
    I've never liked software RAIDs because you cannot rebuild the RAID without a computer connected and on to manage it. Rebuilds can take hours or days depending on the setup. Sure, a software RAID is more flexible but I prefer something that is not dependent on the computer's OS.
    Precisely.  I cringe every time I see a vendor advertise their RAID system, only to have the RAID software running on the PC and not the array itself.  It's precisely why I purchased the Promise RAID towers.  Once configured, nothing left to run on the workstation unless one wants to monitor the health of the unit.

    SoftRAID is a bandaid approach.  They're just too cheap to incorporate it into the unit itself, which kind of tells you something.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    sflocal said:
    I've never liked software RAIDs because you cannot rebuild the RAID without a computer connected and on to manage it. Rebuilds can take hours or days depending on the setup. Sure, a software RAID is more flexible but I prefer something that is not dependent on the computer's OS.
    Precisely.  I cringe every time I see a vendor advertise their RAID system, only to have the RAID software running on the PC and not the array itself.  It's precisely why I purchased the Promise RAID towers.  Once configured, nothing left to run on the workstation unless one wants to monitor the health of the unit.

    SoftRAID is a bandaid approach.  They're just too cheap to incorporate it into the unit itself, which kind of tells you something.
    OWC's offering are mostly SoftRaid. They bought up another company that makes a lot of hardware RAIDs. It's called Akito. They have a full line of Thunderbolt and USB-C enclosures.

    Akito
    https://www.akitio.com/thunderbolt3-series
  • Reply 14 of 14
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    sflocal said:
    I've never liked software RAIDs because you cannot rebuild the RAID without a computer connected and on to manage it. Rebuilds can take hours or days depending on the setup. Sure, a software RAID is more flexible but I prefer something that is not dependent on the computer's OS.
    Precisely.  I cringe every time I see a vendor advertise their RAID system, only to have the RAID software running on the PC and not the array itself.  It's precisely why I purchased the Promise RAID towers.  Once configured, nothing left to run on the workstation unless one wants to monitor the health of the unit.

    SoftRAID is a bandaid approach.  They're just too cheap to incorporate it into the unit itself, which kind of tells you something.
    This sold me on software RAID's. https://www.softraid.com/pages/features/software_raid_benefits.html

    Are you saying that's not true?
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