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Re: mini-SAS on Thunderbolt?

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Chris Murphy
Re: mini-SAS on Thunderbolt?
on Sep 5, 2013 at 1:00:47 pm

If you built a large array with something, e.g. from ATTO, it should work in a Thunderbolt -> PCIe enclosure. Should. Without someone testing, it's unknown, but someone will test it and I'm reasonably certain if there are problems found that they'll get sorted out. The alternative scenario is just too close to a horror show for video on the Mac - let's face it.

I think the question is, are you needing to actively use a large array now? If you can make good use of it now, then I'd get it now and worry about the compatibility with the next machine later. If you don't really need it now, then the question is what to use as a stop gap.

With any "large" RAID my concerns are: drive quality and raid card options. That you're thinking mini-SAS implies SAS drives which tend to be nearline or enterprise and are more reliable than consumer SATA, and that goes a long way to reduced urgency for using a more resilient file system than HFSJ. Better drives don't totally obviate my HFSJ/NTFS concerns, but it accounts for a lot. Next, whatever raid card you get should explicitly support scrubbing, some of the raid products clearly don't. You want to scrub the array probably once a month. I know people who do it weekly.

Another way to get around this is look at a non-Mac host for big storage that's available via 10GigE, and then you can have new and old MacPro that can share the same storage, should you desire an extra workstation which could be useful for transitioning to new hardware. It's more than a bit more complex since you have all the storage concerns with direct attach, but you also have network concerns, and both have to be done right for network storage. But once it's working, you walk away from it until something dies. It isn't affected by OS updates causing conflicts with drivers, you can concurrently use it with more than one computer, you can pick a file system that's as good or better than HFSJ or NTFS.

So I'd state how big you want the storage to be, what your usage is going to be and hopefully some people with more experience respond. I'd also plan on calling some companies who sell and support such storage, get quotes, and then you'll be in a better position to make a decision.

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