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Drives Full, Upgrading to OWC Thunderbay 6 with Six 14TB Drives (84TB total space)

See my OWC storage wishlist.

Update: see Reader Comment: Hard Drive Error Rates and


When shooting 45/50/100 megapixel cameras, storage is a big deal, and backups more so.

To get my stuff to fit very recently, I had to rejigger a bunch of storage, but that is a short-term solution. So moving to more capacious storage. I could have put it off a few months, but it's inevitable by March or so, and I do not expect the price of 14TB drives to come down much during that time.

I don’t need 84TB total primary storage*, but it breaks down that way in terms of managing storage and attached backups and keeping high performance. One core issue is keeping backups as simple as possible so I prefer to standardize on a “chunk size”, which has gone from 8TB to 12TB and now to 14TB. That’s the size I make my volumes so that they match up to backup drive sizes.

* Using RAID-4 or RAID-5, 84TB is really 70TB usable (one drive is used for parity). It would be unacceptably risky to use RAID-0 striping with six drives (even 4 concerns me), so RAID-5 or RAID-4 it is.

I’m thinking through the best way to do the storage. I’ll probably do a 4-drive RAID-4 for fault tolerance and performance, reserving the two other drives in the OWC Thunderbay 6 as single-drive always-attached backups.

  • 14TB data volume Archived (RAID-4, one slice off the 4 drives used)
  • 14TB data volume Main (RAID-4, 4 another slice off the 4 drives used)
  • Remainder of space (slowest space) as Spare, MasterClone, BootClone (to backup my boot drive and active working drive, both on the internal SSD)—all RAID-4.
  • 14TB single-drive Archived-Clone (can be easily removed from the unit)
  • 14TB single-drive Main-Clone (can be easily removed from the unit)

The older primary drives (12TB ones) will be repurposed as backups, which is what I previously did with my 8TB and 5TB drives. The 5TB drives have become marginal because even two of them don't total to 12TB or 14TB; splitting backups raises the chance for errors.

NOTE: choose the Thunderbay 6 RAID-5 edition if doing RAID. It bundles the RAID software with the unit. OWC doesn’t offer an 84TB unit as I write this, but you can build your own using an empty enclosure and six 14TB drives, and an 84TB version should be coming soon. My recommendation however is to purchase as a complete unit for one warranteed and pre-tested solution.

CLICK TO VIEW: High Performance Massive Storage

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