I've been using DatOptic RAID products for several years now for HD and UHD 4k video production. The dollar per TB price point for a thunderbolt RAID is the best on the market. I rarely have to contact support, but when I do they are always fast and do a great job. (Posted on 3/9/2015)
DAT Optic has created the best bang for buck large thunderbolt 2 RAID out there. With 12 bays it is larger than 99% of the other thunderbolt 2 RAIDs out there and with the option for dual power supplies it makes it more reliable too. We ordered with twelve 4TB Desktop class drives (ours were Hitachi Deskstars, Enterprise drives like the stellar Hitachi Ultrastars are an option too). The setup came in two boxes, the chassis neatly packed in one and the drives ready to go in their sleds and numbered in the other.
The chassis is very solidly built and the guts are easily accessible via a pop off ¾ lid. Everything is serviceable on this system with no proprietary parts to get in the way. Inside is a Areca 1264il-12 controller. It uses a 933Mhz ARM processor and has 1GB of memory. Only downfall of this setup is enterprise SAS drives are out but let’s be honest probably no one is going to be using SAS drives with this setup anyway. The controller itself is very fast and full featured as is typical of Areca. There are two large fans in the back and temperature readings on the drives and controller even under heavy load stayed nice and cool. The rack mount kit is already installed and ready to go making setup a breeze.
I hooked the RAID up to a i7 Mac Mini for testing (so we were working at thunderbolt1 speeds, come on Apple give us a new Mac Mini with TB2!) I set it up with all 12 disks in RAID6 mode with a 128K stripe size. I am getting about 875MB/s Write and 900MB/s read which is certainly a lot faster than the old 16 bay eSAS RAID is is replacing. Tweaking the controller, a larger stripe size, and running on a new Mac Pro should yield even faster results.
Why did I pick DAT Optic over the myriad of 8-bay rebranded Areca RAIDs and other TB2 RAIDs. Support. DAT Optic stands by their product. They are located here in California and so when you need support you get it instead of waiting days in the hopes to hear back from someone. We did have one issue with the latch on one of our sleds and DAT Optic had a replacement to us right away. Another benefit is they will work with you if you need any customizations. We wanted a battery backup on the controller and they were able to accommodate.
The only other downfall of the setup outside of the lack of SAS support is the screws that hold the PCI card chassis stick out a little on the bottom, so they can rub against other racked gear and make sliding the chassis in and out of a rack a little stickier, but that is a minor qualm in an otherwise stellar product. (Posted on 5/1/2014)