New 8-Bay TR-008T Thunderbolt 3 DAS from QNAP Leaked
The TR-008T is more than just another brainless box to connect to your NAS drive and in fact, is a product that many users have been waiting to come along for a while now! Let me explain. QNAP has a fantastically diverse selection of expansion devices that allow you to increase the overall storage of your existing NAS drive. This is not new information and their range of NAS expansion boxes over USB is well documented and enables QNAP NAS owners, both desktop and rackmount, to add and expand the existing storage pool easily. However, if you are a thunderbolt 3 NAS owner (such as the TS-453BT3, TVS-x72XT or TVS-x82T3 series) then till recently the options for expanding your QNAP storage are surprisingly limited. Until the leak of the TR-008T, your best official choice was the TX-500p 5-Bay and TX-800p 8-Bay, both of which are JBOD enabled thunderbolt 2 chassis that require you to use the thunderbolt 2-to-3 apple adaptor in the middle. Notwithstanding that these expansion devices utilize a different primary connector (TB2 is very different to USB-C), both existing QNAP thunderbolt expansions are JBOD (Just A Bunch of Drives – so not RAID) in architecture. the good news is that QNAP plan to release a brand new hardware RAID enabled 8 bay desktop expansion for thunderbolt 3 users in the form of the TR-008T. Although very little is known about this device right now, it looks like it will feature all of the latest hardware developments of newer QNAP expansion devices (the TR series), as well as its own dedicated hardware RAID controller and functionality for use outside of NAS. So, why is this device such a big deal?
The QNAP TR-008T – Use as a Thunderbolt 3 RAID Expansion or Standalone DAS
The TR series of expansion devices from QNAP are less than a year old and in fact already exist in a 2 and 4 Bay solution. The TR-002 and TR-004 are USB 5/10Gb hardware RAID Solutions that allow you to expand most QNAP NAS devices easily and via plug and play. These also feature the added benefit of USB-C and a Hardware RAID controller switch that removes the hard work from your NAS to support the storage pool on the expansion. The TR-008T does this job and then takes it that bit further, providing an 8-bay thunderbolt 3 connected DAS solution that can be used to expand the storage potential of your thunderbolt 3 NAS, but can also be used as a stand-alone RAID enabled Thunderbolt 3 storage device. This is a very big deal, as currently there are very few hardware RAID enabled thunderbolt 3 devices available in the market for photo and video editors to use in post-production. This is especially true given that big brands such as LaCie, G-tech and Promise Pegasus only supply their solutions pre-populated with hard drives. QNAP and the TR-008T join just Drobo in the top tier thunderbolt RAID DAS solutions that can be purchased unpopulated, allowing you to buy the hard drive or SSD media you want for your device.
Use Less System Resources with the QNAP TR-008T Thunderbolt 3 RAID Box
A hardware RAID enabled expansion device brings with it a few advantages that are just not available on traditional JBOD devices. For a start, the resource use that a NAS utilizes to maintain the RAID storage on an expansion chassis or spreading it across both the NAS and the expansion are surprisingly high and become even higher if you are using the expansion chassis as a backup or to sync with the NAS storage Pool (As a means to create a synchronized on-going backup of your data. Because the TR-008T has a hardware RAID controller and switch option, full RAID support and the resource consumption needed are all done within the device itself, not the NAS CPU. The result is that greater read and write speeds on both of the NAS, and between the NAS and the TR-008T are greater than those of a JBOD expansion as the resource consumption is more evenly distributed across the whole hardware environment. Add to this that Thunderbolt 3 TR-008T will be popular outside of NAS (in use as an affordable RAID DAS solution) and what you have is potentially a very popular device that will prove useful to both NAS and DAS users.
The QNAP TR-008T Thunderbolt 3 DAS Features USB-C
Much like the previously released TR-002 and TR-004, this new QNAP expansion box uses USB type C. However, unlike the 10Gb/s connection in the former and 5Gb/s connection in the latter, the TR-008T utilises Thunderbolt 3 and that provides a potential 40GB/s transmission. This external connection, combined with the dedicated RAID controller inside the TR-008T, means that by populating the device with enterprise level 7200rpm hard drives (such as Seagate Ironwolf Pro) or SATA based SSD will give you read and write figures in the thousands. However, one question I still do not have an answer to is where the TR-008T can be used by non-thunderbolt 3 NAS devices as an expansion, whereby the USB-C connection can be used as a standard USB? With a 2-Bay and 4-Bay already available in the TR series, it stands to reason and the TB3/USB-C logic that this may well be the case. To be confirmed!
Hardware RAID Support on the QNAP TR-008T Thunderbolt 3 DAS
The TR-008T, much like any RAID enabled NAS or DAS box, allows you to take advantage of more capacity geared configurations, such as RAID 5 (that allows you one drive of disk failure) or RAID 6 (that allows you two discs of failure). It is still very early in this product’s reveal and therefore full details of other RAID configurations support (such as RAID 0, JBOD and RAID 10) should be revealed soon, as well as to whether you can partially populate this device and add drives as you go. My understanding of this kind of setup suggests not (well, unless you reformat the array), but we will have to wait and see.
When will the QNAP TR-008T Thunderbolt 3 DAS Be Released?
Although full information on the QNAP TR-008T is still very thin on the ground, it is still enough information to keep a number of avid QNAP thunderbolt NAS owners happy to know that something is coming. thunderbolt 3 NAS has been around now for a few years (originally arriving with the TVS-1282T3 8-Bay) and those that purchased the first generation will likely be looking at ways to expand their storage pools now several years later. How this device will look when it is fully released and how well it will work with non-thunderbolt 3 devices is still too early to say. Other detaisl such as release and price are still yet to be confirmed and if you want to learn more (or stay ahead of the curve for regular updates), please do subscribe here on the blog, via YouTube or visit span.com below to stay informed on all things NAS, DAS, Thunderbolt and more in 2019 and 2020.
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