Thunderbolt leads the charge for fast storage

News 8 Mar, 2012

Devices using the new Thunderbolt interface for high-performance external storage debuted at CeBIT, plus new unified network storage systems.

Western Digital showed off its latest My Book Thunderbolt Duo external storage box at CeBIT this week.

Each box holds two hard drives for up to 6TB, and thanks to their use of the new Apple/Intel-developed Thunderbolt interface, up to seven can be daisy-chained off a single host, with data access at up to 10Gbps over copper cabling.

Among the others at CeBIT with Thunderbolt technology were MSI, Promise and OCZ.

MSI showed a PC motherboard with Thunderbolt fitted as standard. Until now, only a few PCs have had Thunderbolt as standard, most notably the latest Mac systems.

Promise's offer was its J4 disk array which takes 2.5-inch hard disks or SSDs (solid-state drives), and OCZ which said it would add the technology to its SSD range later this year.

Of course, while hard disks can use Thunderbolt, its high speed will be of bigger benefit to SSDs.

Also showing new storage at CeBIT was Qsan Technology, which unveiled two new unified storage devices for networks.

Top of the line was the U600Q, which offers two 10Gbit iSCSI ports and three Gigabit Ethernet ports, and is based around the Sun-developed ZFS network file system.

Qsan claimed that, thanks to ZFS and Qsan's own unified user authentication software, the U600Q can talk to pretty much any client, whether it runs Windows, Linux/Unix or MacOS, or connects via FTP or WebDAV.