accusys thunderbolt raid

We are pretty excited about this one. After a few years of wishing this product existed, Accusys will be demonstrating the first shared RAID storage unit using Thunderbolt at NAB. This is the most interesting piece of hardware news this year!

It had to come as it seemed the logical progression forward in the shared storage/ collaborative workflow solution market. Shared storage via Thunderbolt. 

Previously, for proper shared storage you had the option of going GigE or 10 GigE with a system such as ISIS, Synology or a dedicated Mac doing the file sharing.  Or you could go the whole hog and have a large RAID using Xsan or similar that connected via fibre channel. Problem with that is you needed expensive Fibre Channel to Thunderbolt converters for each client.

Until now.

We were very excited to receive in our inbox this morning the press release from Accusys ExaSan announcing that they will be launching the A16T2 shareable Thunderbolt RAID.

So for the small edit shop, you can have 4 users connected via Thunderbolt 2 to the same storage. These could be all edits, graphics, colour correction stations or ingest and playout solutions on any machine with a Thunderbolt connection. That means not only Mac Pros & iMacs, but MacBook Pros as well. We are not too sure if an Ethernet connection will be required for metadata or if the storage will be in read/write pools allocated to each user.

Whatever method, we will be keeping an eye on this unit as should Apple unveil collaborative workflow in a future version of FCPX, this is the box we would buy. The desktop shared storage solution is here.

Here is the press release:

 accusys thunderbolt raid 2

At NAB show 2015, Accusys storage Ltd. will be exhibiting the innovative shareable Thunderbolt storage, A16T2-Share, a product designed to overcome the limitations of the existed Thunderbolt direct attached storage and to provide its users with a productivity-boosting, cost-effective Thunderbolt shared storage system.

The A16T2-Share is a 16 bay rackmount storage array with 4 Thunderbolt host ports which allow 4 Thunderbolt computers to share the content distributed across 16 hard drives with a total capacity of 128TB, and may be further expanded to up to 512 TB with the extra JBOD system. Users can configure A16T2-Share as a Storage Area Network (SAN) storage pool when integrated with SAN software, or partition the storage array into several storage volumes and benefit from the high performance Thunderbolt ports as direct attached storage with immense capacity.

A storage area network is a crucial element that helps provide content creators with a more effective, high speed, and collaborative workflow. While current direct attached Thunderbolt storage products have been effective at providing a high speed connection to storage, the limitation lies within workgroup editing and productivity.

Accusys has thus leveraged its years of experience as a PCIe SAN designer and high performance transmission technology provider within the video post-production industry, and created the all-in-one A16T2-Share Thunderbolt network storage solution which takes the original peer to peer Thunderbolt interface and transforms it into a more flexible Thunderbolt storage network well suited for Media and Entertainment budgets and workflows.

The advanced technology and innovative thinking will eliminate the high cost of Thunderbolt networking over Fibre Channel SAN or 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Guaranteed to preserve the full performance of Thunderbolt 2.0 in a shared storage environment, A16T2-Share will be the perfect storage solution for the burgeoning 4K video market.

“The A16T2-Share couples the functionality of a complete SAN solution within a single Thunderbolt storage device, the high performance of Thunderbolt 2.0 without any protocol conversion latency, and the reliability derived from an independent hardware RAID system.” says SuSyan Huang, CEO of Accusys storage Ltd. “These features give A16T2-Share its uniqueness that differentiates it from other Thunderbolt storage products, and helps create a brand new working experience for Thunderbolt users.”

No word on price yet from Accusys.

One thought here is the normal copper Thunderbolt cables won't be long enough. To get away from the drives making all that noise you will probably be looking at optical cables such as these from Corning which are Thunderbolt 2 as well.