Briefing Note: StarTech’s 4-bay Thunderbolt 2 RAID Enclosure

For the last 60 days, Storage Switzerland has been putting StarTech’s 4-bay Thunderbolt 2 hard drive enclosure through its paces. So far we have found that it provides rock solid storage performance and capacity for a variety of use cases. The unit is delivered empty with no drives installed, allowing you to add your own to it. It took only a few minutes to install the drives in the system and to plug it into our thunderbolt equipped Macs.

Most users will configure the StarTech 4-bay Thunderbolt 2 hard drive enclosure as we did, with four identically sized hard drives or solid state drives. For our testing purposes we installed 4 x 3.5” 2TB SATA hard disks. There are three RAID options available; RAID 0, 1 and 10. We’ve used all three RAID configurations at some point during our testing.

The initial test for the unit was as a backup storage area for some of our servers configured as RAID 0. For that purpose the unit performed well. It also should be noted that the unit is relatively quiet, making it ideal to use desk side. Since we installed four 2TB drives in the system, using RAID 0, the raw 8TB capacity was ideal for backups.

After the backup test we changed the RAID configuration to RAID 10 and used the system as a boot device for one of our production servers. Again, performance was excellent, although obviously not as fast as our internal SSD drives on that system. We did not test the system with four SSD drives but it is safe to assume that if we had, it would have performed at least as well as our internal SSDs but with higher reliability. We hope to test that configuration in the coming weeks.

The biggest data generator, by far for Storage Switzerland, is when we go on the road for our whiteboard video shoots. For this use case we need storage that is somewhat portable, performs well and offers high capacity. We also need some level of data protection; we can’t afford to lose the raw camera data until after the job is complete. The StarTech 4-bay Thunderbolt 2 hard drive enclosure meets all of those requirements. We came away from our testing very impressed. As long as you are comfortable installing hard drives on your own, you will be too.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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