Intel's Thunderbolt 3 announcement was a hot topic at this year's Computex, but it will be a while until we see working products in the field. A trip through the Areca Technology Corporation booth highlighted some of the interesting storage-centric products on the market in the already-mature Thunderbolt 2 ecosystem. Thunderbolt 3 is purportedly coming to market by the end of the year, but these things take time. Fortunately, Areca's products have a modular design that supports an upgrade to the new specification via a simple module swap.
Areca's storage products and enclosures are popular among the enthusiast crowd, but also for professional video applications and in office settings. The ARC-5028T2 RAID enclosure on the left holds up to six 6 Gbps SAS/SATA drives in both 2.5" and 3.5" flavors and supports SSDs, as well. The enclosure has a built-in 933 MHz RAID chip that supports multiple RAID levels.
Connectivity consists of one USB 3.0 port and two Thunderbolt 2 ports that support daisy-chaining. The system provides enough speed to support multiple 4K streams, monitors and file transfers simultaneously. The ARC-4038ML on the right has eight 12 Gbps SAS/SATA drive bays and connects via dual 12 Gbps SAS connections.
The ARC-8050T2 supports eight 6 Gbps HDDs and SSDs. This enclosure also supports multiple RAID levels and features two Thunderbolt 3 ports. On the monitor we see three of Areca's Thunderbolt 2-to-PCIe expansion boxes. These boxes connect to multiple types of storage fabrics, such as 16 Gbps Fibre Channel, 6 Gbps SAS and 12 Gbps SAS. The boxes convert the signal out to two Thunderbolt 2 ports that support daisy-chaining.
The converter boxes allow users to connect multiple types of storage JBODs and enclosures into one central Thunderbolt fabric, as seen at the rear of the display. As the market moves to Thunderbolt 3 over the next several years, Areca will offer its customers the ability to simply upgrade existing models to the new specification.