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Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros

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Nathan Sangster
Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Dec 3, 2013 at 7:38:34 pm

We are looking to freshen up our 5 year old Mac Pro edit suites to the new Mac Pro coming out soon. We will be switching from FCP 6 to Adobe CS6 and I was wondering if one RAID drive with 2 Thunderbolt connectors could be shared between the 2 Mac Pros.

We mostly shoot 1080i in the 4:2:0 color space and have no immediate plans to increase to higher color depths or data rates, but would still like to look ahead speed wise to higher data rates.

Suggestions or advice?



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Dec 3, 2013 at 8:30:25 pm

[Nathan Sangster] " I was wondering if one RAID drive with 2 Thunderbolt connectors could be shared between the 2 Mac Pros."

Reliably? Possibly, but probably not.

As has been discussed here numerous times over the last few weeks, without proper protocol, Packet loss issues will most likely create issues streaming video between multiple workstations.

David Roth Weiss
ProMax Systems
Burbank
DRW@ProMax.com

Sales | Integration | Support

David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Petros Kolyvas
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Dec 3, 2013 at 8:43:19 pm
Last Edited By Petros Kolyvas on Dec 3, 2013 at 8:44:36 pm

If the storage device doesn't have some kind of NAS/shared-storage software/firmware, it's not worth trying.

But a setup is most likely possible (all signs point to TCP/IP over Thunderbolt) where you'd connect the array to one Mac Pro via Thunderbolt, configure a share or two and the appropriate user permissions, and then connect the Mac Pros via Thunderbolt for speeds that may even exceed 10GigE and will probably provide more than enough bandwidth for a small(ish) (say 12 drives or less) array without a major speed deficit.

At least, that's what I'd experiment with! :)

--
There is no intuitive interface, not even the nipple. It's all learned. - Bruce Ediger


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Nathan Sangster
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Dec 3, 2013 at 9:02:00 pm

Thanks, you've given me something to think about. I might give it a try with one but have another RAID on standby in case the data bogs down too much.



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Bob Zelin
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Dec 3, 2013 at 11:56:38 pm

I will tell you what, Nathan -
you go out and buy a new Mac Pro cylinder, and use your other iMac/MB Pro with Tbolt as the other computer, and attach a new Promise Pegasus 2 to this (get the 8 bay - it will probably be fast enough). And you contact me - and I will do ALL of the setup and testing for you FOR FREE. Will it work ? I have no idea, but you seem like the person that is willing to be the guinea pig to try this out, and for that, I will assist you FOR FREE, so I can find out what the problems are with a system like this (if any). Come on Nathan - tax season is almost over for spending, so order that new Mac Pro and Promise Pegasus 2, and contact me, and I will help you FOR FREE.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
maxavid@cfl.rr.com


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Petros Kolyvas
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Dec 3, 2013 at 11:59:16 pm
Last Edited By Petros Kolyvas on Dec 3, 2013 at 11:59:33 pm

I would jump on that if I were you! (I'm not in the market for new MPs, but I'd love to know the outcome Bob!)

--
There is no intuitive interface, not even the nipple. It's all learned. - Bruce Ediger


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Nathan Sangster
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Dec 4, 2013 at 1:44:02 pm

Bob, Sounds like a great offer. Since I work for a State Government Agency, we have the request for purchases delay that has to go up the chain of command. However, I would love to push something through and take you up on that offer.

A little more background: I work for Kentucky Afield Television, which is an outdoor program produced by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. We are celebrating 60 years of broadcasting this year. Check out our YouTube Channel (KY Afield TV) where we upload our segments from the half hour show after the show has aired statewide on the State PBS network.



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Bob Zelin
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Dec 5, 2013 at 12:15:07 am

Nathan -
you get the state of Kentucky to make this purchase, and I will make sure that Creative Cow does a detailed story on you, your department, and this test with the new hardware - AND I will buy you (and myself) a few bottles of the worlds greatest Bourbon - Kentucky Bourbon !

Everyone is very interested in how a Thunderbolt network will perform in a "real world" situation with the new Mac Pro - and if you get the hardware, I will make this happen.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
maxavid@cfl.rr.com


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Tim Wilson
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Dec 5, 2013 at 1:33:29 am

[Bob Zelin] " I will make sure that Creative Cow does a detailed story on you, your department, and this test with the new hardware"

Bob, you take care of the bourbon. The story is officially greenlit.

Yr pal,
Timmy

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW



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Jacob Cirksena
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Apr 4, 2014 at 11:53:15 am

So... Do we have a status update on this?


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Nathan Sangster
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Apr 4, 2014 at 7:51:47 pm

I am sorry to say that we are on a spending freeze until July 1 (which will be our first quarter of the fiscal year). Even then with budget cuts we may only be able to upgrade only if our existing equipment dies on us.



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Nathan Sangster
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Dec 6, 2013 at 1:36:32 pm

Sorry I haven't gotten back with you sooner, I was off yesterday. I will do my best to push this through with my superiors. They agree that we need an upgrade but making the connections to push through the paperwork is a challenge. Will be in touch.



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Chris Murphy
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Dec 5, 2013 at 7:48:02 am

Maybe I'm missing something in the topology, but I don't see how this works without SAN software. Otherwise it's basically like connecting two Macs to one drive via FW 800 (or USB or SCSI for that matter), and doing writes to the single drive. If the connections actually let you do this, and the file system mounted on the two computers at the same time as read-write volumes, the file system would quickly corrupt itself beyond repair. Hence the need for SAN software.


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Errol Lazare
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Dec 7, 2013 at 8:19:23 pm

I have been seriously curious about this as well! Glad you are on to this. You will be giving us all the gift of knowledge this Christmas once you try this out! Can't wait. By the way, happy holidays everyone!

Errol X. Lazare
EXL Films
http://www.exlfilms.com


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topher rehpot
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Jan 9, 2014 at 2:38:09 am

Yes it is possible without san setup as this forum conversation states


http://reduser.net/forum/archive/index.php/t-38307.html


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Jan 9, 2014 at 11:32:46 pm

[topher rehpot] "Yes it is possible without san setup as this forum conversation states

http://reduser.net/forum/archive/index.php/t-38307.html"


Do you mean this post?

[Brandon Kraemer] "We have been able to stream M_proxies off of a Promise RAID, served by a X Serve in a NAS configuration via gigabit ethernet for cutting to multiple workstations. This doesn't require FCServer or a SAN setup. We don't rely on this, typically cut with DAS (direct attached) RAIDS, but it can be done."

Afraid it's a whole different animal vs. what is being discussed here. Any DAS or SAN can be "shared" using a NAS front end, but this entirely changes performance expectations.

The thread discusses whether a TB storage box can be shared among multiple TB-equipped Macs at full TB speeds without the added costs and complexities of using a NAS front end or SAN software.

-- Alex Gerulaitis | Systems Engineer | DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Chris Murphy
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Jan 11, 2014 at 11:39:00 pm

Right. Without IP involved, I don't see how this works with two computers taking control of a single HFS+ file system.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Apr 4, 2014 at 8:10:26 pm

of course, Chris is correct as always. You just can't plug in two computers to a single drive without something managing the drive. In the simplest form, you have simple NAS products like QNAP, Drobo, Synology, Netgear, etc. Or you can use an existing computer as the "server", like a Mac Mini which connects to our drive array. But you just can't take a drive (like a Promise Thunderbolt array) and plug in
two computers to it, and expect to have shared storage.

It is now April 2014. Since this original offer, we have tested Thunderbolt Networking with the new Mac Pro, and it is very inconsistent with speeds, and does not work. The simplest 1GbE network offers more reliable results than a Thunderbolt network - even using the new 2013 Mac Pro.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
maxavid@cfl.rr.com


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Apr 4, 2014 at 10:45:38 pm

[Bob Zelin] " Since this original offer, we have tested Thunderbolt Networking with the new Mac Pro, and it is very inconsistent with speeds, and does not work. The simplest 1GbE network offers more reliable results than a Thunderbolt network - even using the new 2013 Mac Pro."

Hey Bob,

According to our engineers at ProMAX, the explanation is: "The issue is using the 'Thunderbolt bridge' which is built into Mavericks (any maybe older versions). Because there isn't a NIC card, all of the processing has to be done in the CPU, which creates inconsistent results over Thunderbolt."

David Roth Weiss
ProMax Systems
Burbank
DRW@ProMax.com

Sales | Integration | Support

David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Dina Mande
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Sep 23, 2014 at 12:36:21 am

Hi all,
I'm just now reading this and researching affordable SAN solutions for a tiny shop with three editors. Has anyone found any solution here?
Thanks!
Dina


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jose fuentes
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Apr 30, 2015 at 8:28:26 pm

I was looking into doing this myself but wasn't sure if it was possible or if it would work well enough. Has anyone tested this successfully?


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on May 1, 2015 at 8:08:07 pm

Silence speaks volumes...

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on May 2, 2015 at 1:38:34 pm

Hi Jose -
This is an old thread. Before I answer, I don't get it. If you own a thunderbolt RAID and two Thunderbolt Mac computers, why not just test this yourself to see what happens. All you do it plug in the two thunderbolt cables to the RAID's thunderbolt looping ports, and try it. You will find the answer in 2 seconds.

OK - the answer is NO - it still does not work. Thunderbolt networking, with reliable speeds that you can edit with does not work. Once again, at NAB 2015, I spent a lot of time with the Intel guys in the UPSTAIRS south hall discussing this. It's still being worked on, but it does not work. Intel showed a demo of 6 computers daisy chained to each other with Thunderbolt. You lose 10% performance with each daisy chain, and that does not account for the sporadic poor speeds that you get with a direct thunderbolt connection.

However, if you simply hookup some thunderbolt to 10G Ethernet adpators from Sonnet, ATTO, or Promise, you can do exactly what you want using a Mac Mini as the server. If you want a pure thunderbolt product, you can buy the new Accusys that allows you to connect up to three computers (no expansion) with thunderbolt - $10,000 for 64 TB, and you need a mac mini server for the XSAN metadata and Tiger share or XSAN running on your workstations.

SO NO - there is no cheapo solution where you just plug in two computers with simple thunderbolt cables. Not as of May 2nd, 2015.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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jose fuentes
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on May 4, 2015 at 8:21:33 pm

Hi Bob,

The reason I didn't just test this out myself is because I'm not the one doing the setup, rather I'm trying to find the best solution for my IT guys that will be implementing a shared raid. I'm a bit wary of this but they believe it's a viable option so I'm just doing my research. I do really appreciate you taking the time to give your input on this matter.

In your testing, was it done with Thunderbolt 2? I'm wondering if that would make a difference. Thanks for your other suggestions as well. I think that'll be helpful in trying to figure out a budget friendly solution.

Best,

_jose


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Chris Murphy
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on May 4, 2015 at 8:44:32 pm

Since there's no hardware, and thus no hardware offloading, it's all being done in the kernel. So Thunderbolt 1 vs 2 isn't the issue. Clearly the hardware has the ability to do the work when using 10GigE physical cards.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on May 4, 2015 at 9:20:01 pm

[Chris Murphy] "Since there's no hardware, and thus no hardware offloading, it's all being done in the kernel. So Thunderbolt 1 vs 2 isn't the issue. Clearly the hardware has the ability to do the work when using 10GigE physical cards."

Chris,

There is simply no TCIP protocol built into Thunderbolt, so packet loss inevitably causes video playback issues across the network.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Chris Murphy
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on May 5, 2015 at 3:18:46 am

Why would there be packet loss with a properly built network? And how does checksum offloading mitigate packet loss? My answers are, it wouldn't, and it doesn't. The issue is strictly performance because at 10GigE speeds (possibly 20Gbps since it's full duplex) it's a massive amount of checksumming occurring. This siphons CPU cycles away from all video editing tasks when done in software than hardware since it's the kernel that has to do that checksumming work, instead of the NIC.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on May 5, 2015 at 3:57:17 am
Last Edited By David Roth Weiss on May 5, 2015 at 4:23:19 am

You don't seem to have read what I wrote, or seem to be missing something. So, let me repeat, Thunderbolt has no built-in TCIP protocol, without it you get packet loss, and thus inconsistent video playback over networks.

***Just to be sure you understand what we're talking about here Chris, we are NOT discussing 10GbE connectivity via Thunderbolt expansion chassis - the original poster wants to share video from a single T-bolt RAID over T-bolt, with no server, no expansion chassis, and thus no 10GbE PCIe NIC cards.


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Chris Murphy
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on May 5, 2015 at 6:18:17 am
Last Edited By Chris Murphy on May 5, 2015 at 6:20:42 am

I said from the outset that without hardware (a NIC) there's no hardware offloading. The work the NIC hardware would otherwise do is being done in the kernel. If you disagree with some aspect of that, address that separately.

Twice you've referred to TCIP protocol, so now I'll have to assume it's not a typo and I'll ask you to define that acronym because I don't understand it. If you mean TCP/IP (they are two different things, they're not the same protocol) then what you've written doesn't make much sense. Airport cards typically don't offload TCP/IP checksumming, this gets done in software, and yet packet loss results in retries (when using TCP, not UDP of course), so this wouldn't make any difference with TCP/IP over Thunderbolt (minus NIC).

Also I advise not passively calling someone a moron by stating the only two possible reasons for miscommunication is they're not reading what you've written or that they're the one missing something. It has a tendency to degrade the conversation.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on May 7, 2015 at 11:49:27 pm

[Chris Murphy] "Twice you've referred to TCIP protocol, so now I'll have to assume it's not a typo and I'll ask you to define that acronym because I don't understand it. If you mean TCP/IP"

Actually, I looked back over several posts and I noticed the same typo three times. Clearly should have been TCP/IP - that's spell check at work...

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on May 4, 2015 at 9:16:14 pm

[jose fuentes] "I'm trying to find the best solution for my IT guys... ...I'm a bit wary of this but they believe it's a viable option so I'm just doing my research. "

IT guys invariably think they know everything if it's in any way related to computers and networking - unfortunately most know nothing about the requirements of video, which differ greatly from the day to day data requirements of most businesses.

In this case, your IT guys "believe it's a viable option," because sharing video over T-bolt between two computers seems logical. Unfortunately, what sounds logical does't always translate into reality, and this is one of this cases.

The issue is, there is no TCIP protocol built into Thunderbolt, so your IT guys will discover packet loss issues will prevent them from achieving seamless playback of video files across the network.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Christopher Robertson
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Jan 7, 2016 at 7:49:13 am

Kind of lost me with some of the tech talk but I do gather it isn't currently possible to playback video reliably on two computers simultaneously.

My wife and I do photography and work from the same home office. We often need to access the same external drive to retrieve photos or load adobe lightroom catalogs. I've considered a NAS system but that will not work for us for two reasons. 1. Lightroom catalogs will only open when stored locally or on DAS. 2. I use Backblaze as an offsite backup solution and they don't support NAS drives only DAS.

Our current setup is several external drives connected to my computer that she can connect to through the network and pull files off the drives if she needs them. If she needs to open a lightroom catalog she has to wait for me to not be using my computer or drag the whole lightroom catalog to her computer so she can open it. This is obviously not efficient.

Solution? Could both of us connect to a Promise Pegasus drive through the 2 thunderbolt ports and access files at the same time and possibly even run different lightroom catalogs simultaneously? We can't obviously open the same lightroom catalog at the same time but we create different catalogs for every client so that would rarely be an issue. Reliability in transfer speeds isn't completely moot, but what's of more concern though is could we even both be connect to the drive at the same time? Any thoughts or solutions would be greatly appreciated!


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Bob Zelin
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Jan 7, 2016 at 10:38:17 pm

simple answer - no.
Better answer - use a Mac Mini as a server, connect your Pegasus R8 or G-Tech Studio XL to this, as well as a thunderbolt to 10G dual port adaptor, and now you have exactly what you want.

Or get a NAS, like e QNAP or Sinology with a minimum of 8 drives and multiple ports on the back of the QNAP.

But can you just plug in 2 computers to the Pegasus, or anything else ? No.

And before Accusys responds, YES, Accusys sells what you want - plug in your 2 thunderbolt cables and you are sharing. It will take up to 3 computers, no expansion - $10,000.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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Travis Hoggard
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Mar 21, 2016 at 7:00:12 pm

Bob,

So with your answer, my solution could be:

Pegasus -> Mac Mini -> Sonnet Dual Port Thunderbolt 2 10G Adaptor -> [2] iMacs via Thunderbolt 2 (in my case I'm using iMacs, not MPs)

So the Sonnet Adaptor takes care of the single drive to two computers issue?

I'm ready to buy the Sonnet right away if this solves the issue. Let me know! THANKS :)


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Chris Murphy
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Mar 21, 2016 at 7:20:10 pm

I don't understand the proposed topology. The Sonnet adapter is connected to computers. Assuming you want 10GigE for all computers, you'll need three of them, one for each computer, with the mini connected to the Sonnet adapter which is in turn connected to the Pegasus.

Be aware that to support LACP 802.3ad to bond those two 10GigE ports into a single 20GigE logical link is often non-trivial. You'll need a 10GigE switch that explicitly supports this and is compatible with how OS X implements it.


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Travis Hoggard
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Mar 21, 2016 at 8:17:53 pm

Without a switch I'm SOL, correct?

I'm in the same boat as the OP; 1x Thunderbolt 2 RAID Storage, and 2x machines (iMacs) that want to use the RAID. I also have 1x spare Mac Mini I can use as the server.

Since I don't have switch in there, what are my options?

Could I connect the RAID to the Mac Mini, and the Mac Mini to a switch, and then the two iMacs to same switch, then have the RAID shared to network via Mac Mini OSX Server? Using 1 Gigabit Ethernet, is this speed ok for offline HD editing?


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Bob Zelin
Re: Sharing a thunderbolt raid drive between two new Mac Pros
on Mar 21, 2016 at 9:10:53 pm

for 2 computers you do not need a switch
Mac Mini - go to thunderbolt to 10G box (dual port) - loop your Thunderbolt drive arrays (Promise, Maxx Digital, Areca, G-Tech) onto this thunderbolt loop. Remember, if you don't have an 8 bay, you will get crappy performance.

Hook up client computer 1 ethernet to one of the two ports on the 10G adaptor. Hookup client computer 2 ethernet to the other port of the 10G adaptor. Assign static IP addresses, setup file sharing, and you have shared storage.

If you need further info, just contact me.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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