We’ve seen Thunderbolt products from Promise before, and we’ve even heard about some of their upcoming Thuderbolt 2 offerings. Today, Promise is formally announcing four upcoming Thunderbolt 2 products. These range from a 4-bay enclosure (R4) up to an 8-bay enclosure (R8), with the Pegasus2 R8; the Pegasus2 is also available in a 6-bay (R6) variant. Of note is that all of the current solutions continue to use hard drives for storage; the target is primarily video and image editing workflows where large amounts of portable storage are important as opposed to ultra-high-speed external storage using SSDs – specific mention of 3D and 4K video is made, and raw 4K video can chew through storage at an alarming rate (up to 15Gbps).

As discussed previously, Thunderbolt 2 effectively doubles the transfer rate of Thunderbolt, up to 20Gbps; it does this by bonding two 10Gbps channels into a single channel. That means aggregate bandwidth for a single Thunderbolt controller remains unchanged, but if you’re primarily reading or writing you effectively double your transfer rate. Interesting to note is that Promise also has their SANLink2 product, which  is a portable bridge with dual 8Gbps Fibre Channel ports and dual 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 ports. This allows the use of the new Thunderbolt-enabled systems with existing high-speed Fiber Channel SANs (e.g. the Promise VTrak x30).

All of the Pegasus2 products support RAID 5. Pricing has not been revealed, but the new Pegasus2 products will be available at the Apple store in November and will either replace or augment the existing Promise Thunderbolt offerings. The Pegasus2 R4 is the entry-level solution with four 2TB hard drives. The Pegasus2 R6 is available with either 2TB (12TB total) or 3TB (18TB total) hard drives, while the R8 will ship with 3TB (24TB total) and 4TB (32TB total) drives. The SANLink2 will be available starting in December, again via the Apple store. Below are the highlights for the new devices.

Pegasus2:

  • Supports maximum throughput allowed by Thunderbolt 2 interface
  • Supports simultaneous streaming, editing, and backup of 4K video
  • Dual Thunderbolt ports for daisy chaining
  • Hot-swappable drive bays for effortless drive access and serviceability
  • Portable hardware RAID protection for offsite shoots
  • Massive storage capacity for backing up creative projects and digital libraries
  • Thunderbolt cable included

SANLink2:

  • Enables Fibre Channel connectivity on systems with a Thunderbolt 2 port
  • Dual 8Gbps Fibre Channel Ports
  • Dual 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 ports with DisplayPort and device daisy-chain support
  • Supports OS X and OS X Server
  • Supports Xsan and StorNext filesystems
  • Supports all VTrak storage subsystems (4Gbps 8Gbps Fibre Channel)
  • Thunderbolt cable included

Source: Promise Technology News Release

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  • easp - Sunday, October 27, 2013 - link

    I suspect the bigger worry is what happens when you disconnect. For the first month or so, there was a ~25% chance my rMBP would have a kernel panic when I unplugged the thunderbolt ethernet. Its been solid since then though. Reply
  • Ncrmro - Sunday, November 03, 2013 - link

    Maybe something along the lines of an initial sudo operating system that sets up drivers and what not and then handshake over to the OS? Reply
  • repoman27 - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    Mac Pro has three DSL5520 Thunderbolt 2 controllers, which AFAIK still have the same PCIe 2.0 x4 back end as the previous generation dual-port controllers, thus PCIe bandwidth would be limited to exactly PCIe 2.0 x4 per controller. I guess there's a possibility that Intel bumped it up to PCIe 3.0, but until Anand fills a Pegasus2 full of SSDs, we won't know for sure :-)

    @Reflex, the issue with getting things to work at all seems to be mostly with EFI/UEFI/BIOS and PCI Reset Delay. If you can power up the GPU after the PC, or have a hardware PCI Reset Delay switch, you can actually boot and load the normal NVIDIA / AMD drivers. Lucid's Virtu works as well. However, drivers that support hot-swap and are optimized for reduced PCIe bandwidth would be a major improvement. Example of DIY Thunderbolt eGPU setup: http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/45...

    @jasonelmore, Thunderbolt support is handled differently on Macs and PCs. Many things that Apple implemented at an OS level were pushed into BIOS / UEFI on PCs because Microsoft couldn't be expected to roll them into Windows 8 / 8.1.
    Reply
  • Reflex - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    Yes, if your willing to hack your hardware it is theoretically possible to make it work. But I doubt that 'solution' is one that would work for, well, almost anyone. It is not a "put a card in a box and dock your laptop to it whenever you put it on your desk" solution, and in fact it requires significant modification of hardware and software, and even then it does not appear to permit hot plugging meaning you'd still have to reboot to dock.

    Pretty inconvenient. Also, at the price in question why wouldn't you just get a laptop with a more powerful graphics card?
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    Oh, I'm totally with you. I included the link to that project mostly because it illustrated the drawbacks of the current hardware setups and where they run into trouble with existing EFI and drivers. Reply
  • Reflex - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    The frustration for me is that if they had prioritized a story like this, TB would have had a real chance in the consumer market. Instead it appears destined as the replacement for Firewire with no real consumer penetration. Reply
  • psuedonymous - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    Many have tried. It seems as soon as a consumer-priced PCI-E -> Thnderbolt enclosure or adapter comes close to market and attempts to acquire certification (in order to sell with the Thunderbolt name, use the Thunderbolt symbol, etc) Intel inexplicably smacks the project down. This has happened several times so far, so it's distinctly suspicous. Reply
  • repoman27 - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    According to a leaked Intel Thunderbolt Developer's Application Form, External Graphics - Graphics controller/card in external chassis = Currently Not Supported. http://cl.ly/0Z3Q432w2I3x

    Granted there are some distinct technical challenges involved in getting this to work in a consumer friendly sort of way, and Intel does state: "Device categories and descriptions are based on general technical assumptions. Final application approvals will be made on a case-by-case by the Thunderbolt team." However, this does reek of an artificially imposed limitation.
    Reply
  • lin2log - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    Yeah, since there are just SO MANY PCI cards that one just can't do without, since there aren't in fact any replacements for their functionality via USB, Firewire or even Thunderbolt and 9 out of ten times even CHEAPER and BETTER...

    Oh wait...

    :facepalm:
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    There are a lot of folks with considerable investment in PCIe cards for applications such as:

    GPU
    SSD / application accelerator
    10 / 40 GbE
    InfiniBand
    FibreChannel
    converged networking
    SCSI
    SAS / mini-SAS
    SAS / SATA RAID
    pro AV
    VoIP
    PCoIP
    Coprocessor

    But I suppose they're idiots for wanting to continue to use thousands of dollars worth of gear they've already paid for, which provides functionality that may be otherwise unobtainable, with a new Mac.
    Reply

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