Hardware: JBOD 4HDD minimum external storage?

Hey Tidbits members! I’ve a OWC Thunderbay that is acting up as drives spin up randomly, or disconnect on via Thunderbolt to TB3 adaptor to my CalDigit on M2 Mac Studio running Sonoma. Just did the 14.1.2 Mac OS Sonoma update ( macOS Sonoma 14.1.2: This update provides important bug fixes and security updates and is recommended for all users.)
and it was aggravating how the drives would spin down…then up…then idle., then down. Then as the Apple logo and progress, the drives would spin up.

I’ve contacted OWC support but that was over 2 weeks and no support follow up. Bummer.

So I am thinking to just replace. Do I go NAS Synology and have expansion, but limit speed to my gigabit network? Or is there a 4HDD or more Tbolt4 array for HDDs that I can use as JBOD (just a bunch of disks)?
I’m seeing similar Thunderbay4 chassis like OWC, Akitio, StarTech, Terramaster (?), Orico (USB3 only), Caldigit T4 (no show? N/A yet?).

Purpose: video footage storage (not editing…yet…might go SSD or RAID setup for that), and files storage (photos…). I could put the drives in separate chassis and chain but hassle with 4x the power adaptors, etc. Currently, I’ve an 8TB, 6TB, 3TB and 2TB *(CCC mirror) in the Thunderbay.

Thoughts, suggestions, appreciated!

Have you tried connecting the Thunderbay directly to the Studio? I ask because I had an older CalDigit dock that would disconnect drives attached to it. I have 2 OWC drive enclosures (don’t remember model) directly attached to a Mini and they never disconnect.

Thanks Glen. I just saw this and was like, “Duh. I didn’t think of that”. And moved the Thunderbay to another port on the studio. The Caldigit is still plugged in to feed a printer and headphones. I’ll check later this weekend on if the drives spin down/up as frequent. IIRC, when on my MacMini (intel 2012), it wasn’t doing that so yes, the added T4 could be culpable.

I’ve had several OWC Mercury Elite Pro enclosures, initially back when they were hardware RAID and the most recent I have (FW800 version, connected via adapters to USB-C) supports JBOD. I use CCC to copy drive 1 to the others once a day. This has worked for years and stores all my digitised movies (from, DVD, VHS and Laserdisk) and all my photography. Hence the multiple backups! I leave it connected to an older MBP used as a server, and the drives never sleep. They used to when it was connected to an older MBP, but not with the 15" 2018 MBP running Sonoma. I should probably replace it with a newer version that connects directly to USB-C, as it will be faster, but I’m waiting for OWC support to confirm it will run the disks as JBOD just like the older model. It’s also true that since the swap to the 2018 MBP, one of the disks often dismounts and will not mount again until I restart the Mac. Never did that when connected by FW800, so that makes another reason to upgrade.

I checked with CalDigit’s site and found this about firmware updates. I will verify my version although I got this T4 this Summer so unless its old stock, if the version is current, I might open a support with them IF the isolation of the Thunderbay to its own port not through the CalDigit T4 dock, hasn’t resolved its spinning up and sleeping of the drives.

For what it is worth, I have a CalDigit T4 dock and I find the power deliver and connections a bit flakey. I would suspect it first. I hook up my usb-c iPad and it may or may not be recognized through the CalDigit T4 doc.

Well, came home today to find on login and wake from sleep that the Thunderbay “improperly” ejected all the drives. Not connected to the Caldigit TS4. This Thunderbay is a Thunderbolt 2 version, unlike OWC’s newer Tbolt 3 version. I’m just leery of a replacement (spend $500ish for another chassis that might do the same?).

What kind of UPS do you use to protect the enclosure and hub from power glitches? I have multiple TB2 and TB3 Thunderbay enclosures and have never had this problem over many years of use. But, poweer for all my network and computers and storage enclosures is protected by UPS.

Its a 1 year old Cyberpower 1350PFC… its not power issues as I have monitoring app. I emailed OWC (again) support for query on ticket opened on 11/12… and just auto-repy.

I also have had hardware issues requiring help from OWC. I found their chat support service pretty responsive.

Got an answer from OWC after several days: the new version of the Mercury Elite Pro Quad does support JBOD, so I ordered an empty enclosure and swapped my four drives into it (didn’t even have to take them out of the old sleds, as they haven’t changed). Connected by USB-C and all drives mounted but then the same one dropped out. Restarted the Mac and now it stays mounted, so it is likely that that drive is a bit flaky. However, it stays mounted and works once the Mac is restarted, so I’ll hold off replacing it until it dies.

I also got, rather later, a response and confirmation that Apple’s Thunderbolt 2 to 3 adapter is compatible. I also noted that certain apps had “removable drive” access which I had disabled like Firefox. And that my energy settings didn’t allow for HDD to sleep when mac is slept. Which I noticed that if setting is off, and I force sleep my mac, all the drives in the Thunderbay will spin up and run. But still, I have two HDDs of the four that will just spin up after idle and not use. Could be spotlight indexing or calibration or something. Down the road, I might get another device with more slots/bays like a NAS like Synology and use the network for storage and non-editing files.