Looking for a raid enclosure

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by waloshin, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. waloshin macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    I am looking for a raid enclosure that is fast and quiet. I have a Vantec and it works well with speed, but the fan is unbearable.
  2. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    What RAID levels do you need, how much storage do you need and what type of workloads are you running - random I/O or sequential?
  3. waloshin thread starter macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    Raid level 1, 4 tbs would be fine. Will be using it for video editing and backup.
  4. rolsskk macrumors 6502

    Sep 1, 2008
  5. Garsun macrumors regular


    Oct 20, 2009
    I agree about OWC and have several of their dual drive thunderbolt enclosures.
    I also suggest looking at g-technology.com.
  6. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    Like others have said OWC make good kit. If you only want the two drives in RAID 1 then this would probably do you https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/TB2U3MED0GB/ You can get this with or without hardware RAID - the cheaper version just enables you to use software RAID (either that built in to Mac OS or something like SoftRAID). Hardware RAID is generally faster, but SoftRAID isn't far behind and is very flexible.

    I would however consider your longer term use and whether or not two bays will be sufficient. OWC have 4 bay models too.

    Another route you could go down is the Promise Pegasus. It's more expensive, but it's fast, reasonably quiet and has excellent build quality. It's not quite data centre quality, but it's a step up from most consumer stuff.

    Naturally other flavours do exist - google thunderbolt RAID and you will see a load of other products, I've just suggested the ones I have used myself. I would however say don't be tempted by Drobo. I've tried 3 different units (The original Drobo, the mini and the 5D). The performance of the 5D over thunderbolt was okay (dire under USB3), but on all of them the noise levels were unacceptable.
  7. kjmff5 macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2011
    A little off topic, but if you want RAID and NAS, then I just got the Netgear Readynas 212, and it works really well.
  8. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I'll just throw some thoughts out there ...

    For your present Vantec, is it a system you can get inside and access the fan? Often, there are some nice devices that have loud fans and users may elect to replace the fan with another brand/model that is quieter.

    For video editing - often RAID 0 is used. This combination of 2 or more drives provides the speed that makes editing move along at a reasonable pace. The catch is, RAID 0 is not (as some might argue with any RAID) good choice for a backup.

    Here are two RAID set ups you may consider instead of RAID 1 which is akin to one external drive running slightly slower than normal -

    Investigate RAID 01 which requires 4 drives minimum this is a combination of RAID 0 and RAID 1 and allows for two of the 4 drives to fail before being considered non-retrievable. (There are catches of course to which drives in the set up may fail at a given time). This would be faster than a single drive in many cases and simple RAID 1.

    Investigate an old favourite of days gone by with SCSI - USE at least 3 drives where one drive equals the sum of the other drives in volume. Example - two 2 terabyte drives for a sum total of 4 terabytes and the 3rd drive is 4 terabytes.
    The set up is to use the two drives as RAID 0 (for speed gain) and then back this up to the 4 terabyte drive that serves as the backup. This can all be done in one enclosure. A nice setup might be a 4 bay enclosure where you can use 3 drives in RAID 0 and then the 4th drive equals the sum of the first 3 or more. Example 3 x 2 TB drives for RAID 0 up to 6 TB. The 4th drive might be a 6 TB drive or an 8 TB drive (might store other items as well).

    SO that is RAID 01 with 4 drives
    OR RAID 0 with 3 drives + 1 drive (equal to the sum of the drives in RAID 0)
  9. techwarrior macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009
    Ditto OWC. I just setup a Mercury Elite Pro Dual (Thunderbolt2) as my boot drive on a mini with a Seagate SSHD, rather than tearing it apart and putting an SSD in it. I also have a SATA3 3TB drive for media storage, and set this up as Independent drives.

    The TB2 20Gbps throughput is adequate to keep both drives humming at full potential.

    With a RAID 0 setup (no redundancy but read\write across 2 drive to reduce the SATA3 speed constraint), your speeds even with standard 7200RPM drives would be quite good. If redundancy is needed, RAID1 will work, but you lose some of the speed. If you need speed and redundancy, consider 4bay drives so you can use RAID10 which writes to 2 drives (RAID0) and mirrors to 2 more RAID0 drives.
  10. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    yeah, don't confuse RAID and backup. RAID is about redundancy to protect you against a drive failure, you still need a backup too.
  11. HUGE AL macrumors regular

    Aug 4, 2010
    As most everyone has recommended this product, do any of you know if it is compatible with High Sierra? Got a different brand that the manufacturer admitted won't be visible to the new macOS.

    Have two internal 4GB drives that I would drop into the enclosure, so don't need one that comes with drives.

    Any other suggestions are welcome.

    [running this on a 2012 Mac Pro]
  12. HDFan macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2007
    I have no noise issues with my Drobo 5D. As it is software RAID, you can just easily upgrade to higher capacity drives, although to get the best results you need to upgrade 2 drives with the same capacity. I just updated my 5 x 4 TB 5D with 2 10's (replace a 4 with a 10, rebuild, then replace a 4 with a 10). the process was quite seamless, but it does take time to do the rebuild. The cost for this flexibility is a slower transfer rate (~253 MBs write, ~428 MB/s read)

    The Pegasus is rock solid. Great, but expensive, support. However as hardware RAID it means upgrading to larger drives means you have to use drives of the same size and completely rebuild the RAID volume. I just upgraded from 6 x 2 to 6 x 6 TB drives. During the upgrade I found that one of the 6 TB drives was bad, so I had to configure as 5 x 6. I still have the replacement drive sitting there as it is such a pain to have to back up everything (to the Drobo 5D), rebuild the RAID 5, and then restore from the Drobo. It takes a couple of days. The advantage of a hardware solution is faster transfer rates. I see ~726 MBs write, ~724 MBs read for a 5 x 6 TB configuration.
  13. Garsun macrumors regular


    Oct 20, 2009

    The OWC duel enclosure works fine with high Sierra.
    I have use this inclosure for several years without any issues.
    The enclosure is a hardware based raid with a little rotary switch on the back to pick the raid mode (Independent, Concatenated, Striped, Mirrored)
    It does come with some unnecessary software that I never bothered to load.
  14. HUGE AL macrumors regular

    Aug 4, 2010
    Appreciate the info. Helps a lot.

    Since this all came about since the main system is a completely maxed out 2012 Mac Pro and the Apple RAID Card can only handle up to 2.2GB, would another option be to simply use Disk Utility and implement Apple's software RAID? Configuration would be RAID 1. Wondering if the performance hit would be negligible.

    All advice welcome. This "project" has been driving me crazy.
  15. Garsun macrumors regular


    Oct 20, 2009
    Before I switched from FireWire to Thunderbolt a while back I use a OWC FireWire 4 disk raid array that worked well.

    Not sure if this sort of thing is what you’re looking for but it’s the best I can offer.
  16. HUGE AL macrumors regular

    Aug 4, 2010
    Yup. Looked at that one as well as the 2 bay version. As long as there is USB 3.0/3.1 (sadly faster than FireWire), I'm good.

    Wondering if you (or anyone) can assist with the answer to my Apple software RAID question above. THAT would be the determining factor.

    Appreciate it!
  17. Garsun macrumors regular


    Oct 20, 2009

    I use disk utilitie’s RAID 1 capability to mirror the two internal SSDs in a Mac Mini server (mid 2011) 2GHz i7 running 10.12.4 Sierra. I have not seen a reduced performance and believe the read performance is better than a single drive.
    I use the system for a media server and home control server.
    The home control system has no performance issues.
    iTunes and Photos, on the other hand, runs like a dog. But then I have learned not to expect too much from iTunes.

    I mentioned FireWire earlier because it appeared that system you described didn’t have USB 3 capability. As long as the drive interface is fast it has been my experience the disk utilities RAID system works well.
  18. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    Promise Pegasus is very good, but not cheap. There are plenty of other RAID arrays out there that I could name, all thunderbolt all fast and quiet, but I thought I'd throw a few other ideas in there.
    1. Replace the fan in your existing unit. There are plenty of silent fans out there that don't cost much. See if you can get one to fit your array. This would be my first call as it could potentially be very easy to do and will definitely be the cheapest option.
    2. StarTech makes some good external thunderbolt enclosures. You can use one of these and the RAID built into the OS. Means if it breaks you can get any other thunderbolt enclosure and get your data back easily as there is no proprietary RAID configuration on there.
    I would also add a cautionary note to this. Don't keep your data and your backup on the same disks. Whether you have RAID or not is irrelevant, if something goes wrong you have the potential to lose both your data and your backup.
  19. waloshin thread starter macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.
  20. HUGE AL macrumors regular

    Aug 4, 2010
    Appreciate it. I've set it up and am all good.

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