One of the hallmarks of the original cheesegrater Mac Pro was the 4 drive bays that allowed users to create an internal RAID.
If you don't remember all your acronyms, a RAID is a Redundant Array of Independent Disks. It's basically taking a bunch of disks and bundling them together. By doing this you can get both increases in speed and increases in security since data can be copied redundantly across many disks. You could stick inexpensive hard disks in the old Mac Pro and make a "scratch" RAID that would be faster than a normal hard disk, and that's just what many post facilities and on set downloaders did.
Promise Technology Pegasus3 R4 Mac Edition RAID
Promise Technology, who makes one of the most common external RAID solutions with the Promise Pegasus, has already announced a new unit to allow the brand new Mac Pro, which doesn't have 4 drive bays built in, to have something similar.
Slotting into a PCI card slot, and taking advantage of the newly designed WPX extension for that PCI slot, Pegasus is launching an R4i 4-bay RAID and the J2i 2-bay RAID to allow users to install internal RAIDs into their system. Since these are internal and drive straight off the motherboard, they should be screamingly fast.
The R4i allows up to 4 drives in a RAID 5 configuration. If you stuff 8TB drives in there, that's 32TB in raw storage, and RAID 5 should give you around 28TB of fast storage that can survive with no data loss if one of the drives fails, which does happen from time to time. The smaller J2i only takes two drives and doesn't use the WPX extension.
One thing you'll notice is that these are HDD, not SSD, "hard disk drives" not "solid-state disk drives." While the rest of the industry has moved to SSDs for speed (you can only outfit the Mac Pro with SSDs, for instance, and the same has been true since 2013), with RAID things are different.
Since RAID groups drives together, they can offer speed benefits over the speed of each individual drive. And the price of 8TB SSDs would be crazy, so most users still build their RAID systems around a pile of HDDs, which makes the most sense here. You can buy 8TB HDD for around a grand, for instance, while an individual 4TB SSD is nearly three grand alone. Of course, if you want to really want to party, you could do 4 4TB SSDs, but we think most users will stick with HDDs.
Really fascinating here is the question of how freely Promise Technology was able to work with the brand new WPX format; hopefully, more info on that will arrive soon.
Pegasus R4i: 4-bay PCIe RAID Storage for the new Mac Pro
- Elegant and rugged chassis designed uniquely to fit into the new Mac Pro’s PCIe slots
- Four swappable modules with 8TB 7200rpm SATA HDDs – pre-formatted and pre-installed
- Best-in-class Pegasus hardware RAID5 for an optimal combination of performance, capacity and redundancy
- Use the latest Promise Pegasus Utility for simple-to-use but powerful storage management and monitoring
Promise Pegasus J2i: 2-bay Internal Storage Enclosure for the new Mac Pro
- One 8TB 7200 rpm SATA HDD – pre-formatted and pre-installed
- Bay for an optional additional HDD (to be installed by customers)
- Custom internal cable assembly
Shipping this fall in conjunction with the Mac Pro.