Product Review: Promise Pegasus2 RAID

Posted: January 12, 2014

( Please read my disclosure on product reviews here. )

Recently, the folks at Promise Technology sent me an 8-bay Pegasus2 Thunderbolt RAID to evaluate.

NOTE: This is due to my meeting Elaine Kwok, product marketing manager for Promise, at the recent Storage Visions 2014 conference. You can hear her audio interview here.

As I was researching and testing this unit, I realized that this article needs to be part technical review and part a discussion on our expectations on storage technology today.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Promise Pegasus2 Thunderbolt RAID is fast, easy to setup, fast, easy to use, fast, provides a ton of storage space, fast, and runs like any other Macintosh hard disk. Oh, and did I mention that it is fast? It is.

It provides massive storage, excellent speeds, all at a reasonable price. It isn’t as fast as an all-SSD unit, but it costs far less and holds far more.

WHAT I WAS SENT

Promise sent me their latest Pegasus2 8-bay RAID, containing eight 3 TB drives configured as a RAID 5. It formatted to 21 TB of usable space. All the drives were installed prior to shipping. It has a retail price of around $3,500, including all drives.

NOTE: Here’s an article that describes what RAID 5 means.

In the box are seven Quick Start Guides in fourteen languages. New users should quickly skim this because of an important note on synchronization. Connecting the drive is trivial: Plug in two cables – power and Thunderbolt – turn on your computer and the Pegasus, and get to work.

The Pegasus arrived formatted, but not synced. What syncing does is build the parity data between all the drives so that if a drive dies, you don’t lose all your data. While the drive is useable immediately out of the box, you don’t get access to its full performance until syncing is complete. For a drive this size, syncing took 10 hours, 42 minutes and 33 seconds. (Um, why, yes, I did time it.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Before doing any work requiring maximum performance, wait until syncing is complete. The best advice is to plug the unit in and let it do its thing overnight. In the morning both you and it will be ready to work.

I ran these tests based upon the factory default settings. You can improve performance a bit more by turning on “Forced Read Ahead,” which is disabled by default. However, this requires working with Terminal and the Unix command line interface. Promise can provide instructions.

This unit comes configured as a RAID 5. You can also configure it using Disk Utility as a RAID 0.  This will be faster than RAID 5, and store more, but in the event one drive dies, you lose all your data. I happily use smaller RAID 0′s in my editing. But for something this big, I want the security of knowing my data is safe in the event of a drive crash.

WHAT MAKES THIS SPECIAL

The Pegasus2 is the first RAID that supports Thunderbolt 2, the new communications protocol that was released with the new Mac Pro. This new protocol supports data transfer rates up to 2.2 GB/second.

NOTE: That preceding paragraph is a completely true statement, but it leads to some wildly incorrect conclusions. I’ll explain further in the next section.

Thunderbolt 2 is fully compatible with Thunderbolt 1 devices. As you’ll see below, the Pegasus works perfectly – though not at the same speeds – with both iMacs and Mac Pros, and operating systems 10.8.5 and 10.9.1. In other words, you can use this unit on any Mac with a Thunderbolt connection.

THE PROMISE RAID UTILITY

Shipped on the Pegasus RAID is a utility that allows you to configure and monitor your RAID. I found this utility cleanly designed, simple to navigate and with access to the controls that I needed to configure and monitor the unit.

My only wish for this was that it would allow us to turn on Forced Read Ahead and avoid a trip to the Terminal.

THE THUNDERBOLT TRAP

Thunderbolt 1 supports data transfer speeds (also called “bandwidth,” or “data transfer rate”) of up to 1.1 GB/second. Thunderbolt 2 supports data transfer speeds of up to 2.2 GB/second. EXCEPT… that is the speed of the connection between the two devices. Actual device speeds are less, sometimes FAR less, than the protocol will support.

In the “olde days” of USB 2 and FireWire, both of which are communications protocols between hard disks and computers, the protocol was slower than the hard disk. So the protocol determined how fast your storage could transfer data.

Now, with Thunderbolt, the protocol is FAR faster than a hard disk. This means that the speed of your storage is determined by the speed of the hard disk, NOT the protocol.

Here’s the secret formula: For every hard disk in your storage device, the data transfer rate is about 120 MB/second. There is some variation between drives, but this number is a good place to start.

Solid State Drives (SSD) will transfer data faster that spinning hard disks, but even an SSD drive is slower than the protocol itself.

NOTE: The Pegasus2 only uses spinning hard disks, driven by a hardware RAID controller, without any SSD acceleration. Hardware RAID controllers are MUCH faster than software RAID controllers. (Drobo, for example, uses a software RAID controller.)

Here are some speed examples:

  • A single hard drive, connected via Thunderbolt 1, will transfer data about 120 MB/sec.
  • A single hard drive, connected via Thunderbolt 2, will transfer data about 120 MB/sec. (The protocol does NOT determine speed, the fact that you only have one hard drive connected determines speed.)
  • A two-drive RAID 0, connected via either version of Thunderbolt, will transfer data about 240 MB/second. (You’ll see an example of this in the testing below.)
  • A four-drive RAID 5, connected via either version of Thunderbolt, will transfer data about 360 MB/second. (The speed of one drive is lost due to the RAID 5 configuration.)
  • An eight-drive RAID 5, connected via either version of Thunderbolt, will transfer data about 840 MB/second. (Again, the speed of one drive is lost due to the RAID 5 configuration.)

In other words, the Thunderbolt protocol is screaming fast. But the speed of your storage is determined by the number of drives contained in it.

NOTE: For comparison of how much speed you need, a single ProRes 422 clip in HD requires about 18 MB/second for playback. AVCHD files require about 3 MB/second. So if you are doing single-camera editing, ANY Thunderbolt device will be fast enough for editing. The challenge comes in editing multicam footage, or higher resolutions than 1080p HD.

The advantage to the Pegasus2 supporting Thunderbolt 2 is that, while the RAID won’t take advantage of the speed of this protocol, any Thunderbolt 2 devices (think monitors) that are connected into the Pegasus will get the full benefit of the Thunderbolt 2 protocol.

MAC PRO PERFORMANCE TESTING

I decided to do four types of performance testing:

  • Raw speed on the Mac Pro – 12-core 32 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD internal drive
  • Raw speed using a recent model iMac running 10.8.5
  • Raw speed using the same iMac running 10.9.1
  • “Real-world” testing using multicam editing in Final Cut Pro X v10.1

All speeds were measured using the Blackmagic Design Disk Speed Test utility.

The Pegasus2, when directly attached to the Mac Pro, generated these results. Write speed shows how fast the unit records information (think importing, rendering and exporting), while the Read speed shows how fast it plays back information (think editing).

These speeds are the fastest of any RAID I’ve measured to date.

However, compare the speed of the Pegasus to the internal SSD drive of the Mac Pro. WOW! Much faster. Obviously, we should only use the internal Mac Pro drive for all of our editing.

Wrong. Really, really wrong!

First, the internal Mac Pro drive only holds 256 GB of data. Just one season of my 2 Reel Guys web series has more than 2 TB of data, which far exceeds the size of any SSD drive affordable by mere mortals. Or, more recently, my FCP X training created 8 TB of master video files! SSDs can’t handle media files of this size.

Second, as I discovered later in my testing, performance drops when background processes run, in fact, it often fell 30 – 50%. This means that we can’t count on consistent performance from the internal drive, because it is serving the needs of the operating system, all active applications, and all background processes. What may be fast enough one second is too slow a second later because some process is now running in the background.

Third, it is easy to add more external storage. Expanding the internal SSD is not simple.

Fourth, it is easy to move external storage from one computer to the next by simply unplugging the cable.

The internal drive is useful and has some advantages for certain specialized edits, but external media storage is essential for any except the smallest projects.

I also wanted to test whether there was any loss in speed when connecting a second RAID to the Promise. These are the results when connecting a G-Technology 2-drive RAID 0 directly to the Mac Pro.

NOTE: The G-Tech, too, is a Thunderbolt device, but its speeds are less because it only contains two drives. Hence my earlier discussion about the protocol not determining the speed of your storage.

These are the results when connecting the G-Tech RAID as part of a three-drive chain. The RAID was at the end of the chain. It was faster, in fact. So there does not appear to be any significant speed loss when daisy-chaining devices. Essentially, the G-Tech transferred data at the same speed, regardless of whether it was attached directly to the Mac Pro, or as part of a storage chain.

NOTE: Another weird fact is that test results vary. Hard disk speed is a factor of how empty it is – empty is faster, how big the files are – bigger files transfer faster, and the size of the data blocks being transferred at one time – bigger blocks transfer faster.

iMAC PERFORMANCE TESTING

Here’s the speed of the iMac’s internal Fusion drive, running under Mac OS X 10.8.5, in a dual-boot configuration. Notice that it is about 1/3 the speed of the Mac Pro, even though the iMac is accelerated with an internal SSD drive.

NOTE: It was when running this test that I saw the 35% drop in performance when a background process started running.

To further complicate matters, this speed test shows the same iMac, running under Mac OS X 10.9.1, and accessing its internal drive. The speeds are 50% slower than when running 10.8.5.  This is probably because the dual boot drive doesn’t have enough free space. Using the internal drives is easy, but is no guarantee that we will get consistent performance.

Here’s the speed of the Pegasus direct connected to the iMac running 10.8.5. Not as fast as when connected to the Mac Pro, but still pretty darn quick.

Here’s the speed of the Pegasus direct connected to the iMac, running 10.9.1. Essentially, while the speed of the Pegasus is not as fast as the Mac Pro, the speeds are pretty much the same for both 10.8.x and 10.9.x.

Here’s the speed of the G-Tech when connected to the iMac. In this case, it is about 10% faster on the iMac than on the Mac Pro. (The speeds were the same regardless of operating system, and regardless of whether the unit was directly connected or looped through the Pegasus.)

REAL-WORLD TESTS

The Pegasus copied a 23 GB file from the Mac Pro’s internal drive to the Pegasus at more than 800 MB/second. I ALWAYS want file transfers to go faster, but these are excellent numbers.

The Pegasus duplicated a 23 GB file stored on the Pegasus back onto the Pegasus at about 550 MB/second. This is slower because the file needs to be read from the RAID, then written back to the RAID all at the same time.

MULTICAM EDITING

Multicam editing taxes your computer and storage systems more than any other form of editing.

So, to test this, I created 12 versions of a 12 minute 2 Reel Guys episode.

Each movie was 23 GB in size, using the ProRes 4444 codec with a 720p image size and 59.94 frame rate. (ProRes 4444 is both the highest quality and largest file size of all the ProRes codecs.)

Upon importing into Final Cut Pro X v10.1, the software immediately started creating audio waveforms and transcoding the media into proxy files (at my request). Just as a test, I tried doing multicam editing while those background processes were running. Didn’t work, I got dropped frames immediately. It took the system about fifteen minutes to finish all its prep work.

Once the background processing was done, FCP X could play and edit a nine-camera multicam clip with image quality set to Better Quality with no dropped frames. Wow. Just, wow…

NOTE: I did get dropped frames when trying to play 12 clips, however.

As you can see, playing all nine streams did not tax the storage system….

… or the CPUs.

However, my STRONG recommendation for multicam editing is to edit using proxy files. For example, the Mac Pro edited all twelve proxy streams without breaking a sweat. Based on what I saw, I would expect the Mac Pro, combined with a Pegasus RAID to easily, easily edit 24 streams of multicam video with horsepower to spare.

MISC. OPERATIONAL NOTES

The Pegasus follows the computer in terms of sleep. If the computer goes to sleep, so does Pegasus. It can take up to 20 seconds for it to wake back up after going to sleep. It the computer doesn’t go to sleep, the Pegasus stays awake, too.

The Pegasus took longer to mount to the desktop than the G-Technology drives. G-Tech was ready in about five seconds. The Pegasus was ready in about 15.

The RAID management tool shipped with the Pegasus is very nicely done.

CONCLUSIONS

The Pegasus2 is a very fast RAID, easy to setup and as easy to use as any other Macintosh hard disk.

It runs on any Mac that has a Thunderbolt connection, with the added advantage of supporting the new Thunderbolt 2 protocol. It runs the fastest on a Mac Pro, but, for most editing projects, the Promise has speed to burn for any editing project on any Mac.

Apple has long supported these devices for any intensive media application, and, now, after working with one myself, I can agree.

The Promise Pegasus2 Thunderbolt RAID is an amazing tool at a very reasonable price.

Learn more at www.promise.com.

Comments
113 Comments to “Product Review: Promise Pegasus2 RAID”
  1. Bob Cole says:

    What about RAID 6? With all that storage space available, the added reliability would be well worth the hit to capacity.

  2. Great article Larry, but I’m interested to know what hard drives Promise ships in this unit. Like you, I use a 2 disk Raid0 Thunderbolt drive for my work, but I use a Lacie Little Big Disk 6Tb Thunderbolt instead of your G-Drive. The Little Big Disk uses two Seagate Barracuda drives and that gives 330Mb/sec performance. (See my results here: http://www.girafxmedia.com/images/LaCieLittleBigDisk.jpg) If the Seagate Barracuda’s perform that much better than the Hitachi drives in the G-Drive, it would be interesting to see this Promise Raid with 8 Seagate drives. One could expect a performance of say 165Mb/sec x 7 = 1,155 Mb/sec. a 63% improvement over the stock Promise Pegasus2 RAID. That would be an interesting test wouldn’t it now?

  3. Al B. says:

    Interesting. I just ran the BM tests on my iMac 2012 16GBs RAM 10.9.1 connecting my almost empty 2TB RAID 5 OWC box, through a LaCie eSata to TB hub. My speeds were 193 and 251 (if the BM are an accurate measure). Going to 1GB testing upped my write speeds to 210 and 251. My speeds for a GTech esata drive (through the LaCie hub) with a single 7200 drive in it were 108 and 88. USB 3 RAID 1 OWC w/dual 1TB 7200 RPM drives came in at 155 and 147.

    So it would appear without deeper testing, that you will not get even close to the same throughput going from esata through a TB converter as you saw Larry on a native TB RAID array. Since I can’t test the eSata directly anymore, as my older MacPro is gone, folks might want to run this test before upgrading to a newer machine. It’s an interesting problem, whether it’s worth it to upgrade my OWC eSata to a TB drive…

    So it means moving all project work video to the RAID 5 machine and storing everything on any of the other drives. Ok. That’s good to know, though I suspected it all along.

    What might I be missing in this test? Is the product (BM speed test) as trustworthy as it appears?

    By the way, I tried this both with my normal array of background processes running (Adobe Cloud, Intego Anti-virus, Chrome, etc.) running and then with them turned off. No real difference. No reason to shut down background processes on my machine while editing.

    • Larry Jordan says:

      Al:

      I consider the Blackmagic tester highly trust-worthy. Another good one is the AJA Speed Test – also free, from AJA.

      Keep in mind that measuring disk speed is somewhat variable. So results that are ±20 MB/second at these speeds are, essentially, the same.

      Whenever you convert from one protocol to another, speed is lost — as you saw in your tests. Still, for single clip editing (meaning not multicam) your speeds are perfectly OK. You don’t need to rush out and buy all new gear immediately.

      I also agree that there is no reason to shut down background processing – especially because you are storing media on external drives. Background processing only becomes a factor when you are storing media on the internal boot drive.

      Larry

  4. Al B. says:

    A word of caution on buying diskless RAID enclosures. The RAID controller is very important in the building of the RAID array, I believe. When I tried to do that, on a RAID 1 drive from OWC, moving it to *another same OWC RAID array that had a built in controller* it killed the RAID and broke the drive into two identical drives with no ability to get the RAID restored. If you do that on a RAID 5 unit you might never get the data back, because of the striping. I could not *recreate the RAID 1 once it was broken!* My understanding from researching that, is that if you buy an empty RAID array, you will still have to *backup all your data off the current RAID* and reformat the drives in the new RAID. Luckily, I had backed up all the data, because I was worried about that very issue, and unfortunately was proven right. Just sayin’.

    • Larry Jordan says:

      Al:

      An EXCELLENT caution, thanks.

      However, as I was writing this article I was told by the folks at Promise that moving disk arrays was possible. I’ll send a new note to Promise to double-check my facts.

      - – -

      UPDATE

      I’ve just been told that Pegasus 1 drives will work in a Pegasus 2 as long as you move all the drives as a set and keep them in the same order, from top to bottom, as they were in the Pegasus 1.

      Larry

  5. HaR says:

    It would be very interesting to see, if the RAID performance drops durind video playback when a thunderbolt videocard is used (eg aja or blackmagic). Or were the FCPX Multicam tests already conducted with a thunderbolt videocard connected?? I am worried, the PCI bridge behind the thunderbolt controller could be quite a bottleneck …

    • Larry Jordan says:

      HaR:

      I tested this on a new Mac Pro, which includes Thunderbolt ports. I don’t have a way of testing this using a Thunderbolt bridge card.

      Larry

      • HaR says:

        Thank you for your fast response, Larry. I meant the PCI bridge INSIDE the MacPro 2013 to which the 6 thunderbolt ports (and 3 thunderbolt controllers) are connected. I am no computer expert. But I do know there is still tons of electronics that separate those 6 superfast thunderbolt ports from the superfast CPU that needs to process all data. And under certain circumstances those electronic circuits will turn into bottle necks and data lanes will jam. I was wondering, if the Pegasus RAID is still able to sustain 9 streams of ProRes 4444 720p59.94 on the MacPro 2013 if you connect a thunderbolt I/O solution to display video, since this will be a very common scenario. This could be either the AJA Io XT (or the announced Io 4K) or the Blackmagic Ultrastudio series.

        • Larry Jordan says:

          There is one Thunderbolt controller for every two ports, and Apple is using the latest version of PCI3 bus architecture AND bragging about this will support up to 3 4K monitors as well as an external RAID.

          I suspect this isn’t an issue – worst case, we would plug the RAID into one set of two ports and the monitor into a separate set (up or down).

          However, I don’t have the ability to test this to be sure.

          Larry

  6. Jon Roemer says:

    Larry – How does this compare to the Areca 8050? I assume it’s a bit easier to set up. What about size and noise?

    It also looks like thunderbolt 2 gets you a bit faster speed on a new Mac Pro but not a huge difference.

    • Victor says:

      Hi Jon..

      i’ll let Larry reply on the unreleased Areca 8 bay.. From Promise Pegasus R8 you can expect:
      What is the real throughput of Pegasus2 R8?

      Using Promise home grown bench test tools:

      For RAID 0 ForcedReadAhead enabled:
      -1340MB/s sequential writes
      -1350MB/s sequential reads

      For RAID 5 ForcedReadAhead enabled:
      -1020MB/s sequential writes
      -1030MB/s sequential reads

      What parameters does Promise use in their testing to gauge the above performance?

      100% sequential write, IO request size 1MB, Queue depth 8, file size 100GB
      100% sequential read, IO request size 1MB, Queue depth 8, file size 100GB

      What about the noise level of Pegasus R8?
      Super quiet.. Just like the new Mac Pro..

      Test Condition:
      Bandwidth: 100Hz~20K Hz Environmental correction K2A=-0.1Db Measurement duration: 30 sec
      Product operating noise is measured by acoustic noise tester. The acoustic noise test condition refers to ISO 7779(SPL)

      Results:
      Idle mode: Smaller than 27 dB
      OP mode: Smaller than 32 dB

  7. Kw says:

    I just purchased the Pegasus2 R4 (diskless) and installed 4 Seagate ST3000DM001 3TB drives into it and the drive will NOT mount. I’ve swapped cables, tried both ports, moved the drives around inside and nothing. The unit powers on and all lights are blue, but nothing is displaying. I’m on a Macbook Air 10.7.5 OS. Any ideas why I can’t get this thing to mount? I’ve seen the drive compatibility list, but this drive is supposedly on there. Thanks in advance for any tips to get this to work…frustrated!

    • Larry Jordan says:

      Kw:

      I appreciate your frustration, but I don’t have an immediate answer. However, I know Promise is monitoring this review – at least for a while – so I’ll wait to see if they have an answer.

      If not, contact Promise support directly – that is always a good first step.

      Larry

    • Michiel says:

      Hi all !

      I have purchased the Peagsus 2 R6 12TB. A 2000 euro box. Same problem here, it does not mount at all. PRAM reset, SMC reset, cable swap, restart, etc, etc.

      Disk Utility told me it was mounted but it could not unmount while it did not appear in the finder and the link from Disk Utility (show in finder) was dead.

      Here is the remedy i found after two days research that ‘worked’. It mounts now on the desktop but i’ll return it anyhow. I am not waiting for a crisis like this in the middle of a project !

      -Go into Promise Utility and click on Subsystem Information.
      -Click on ‘Shutdown’ and follow the instructions on screen.
      -Turn the Promise on again with the I/O button on the front.
      -Open Disc Utility and erase the Pegasus like you would any other drive.

      POOF ! There it is… finally !

      This means in my opinion that the subsystem is unreliable and is able to crash and cause this mount-unmount dispute between the Finder and the Pegasus which makes it, for me at least, an unreliable system.

      I am not sure what to try next. Probably a LaCie 5Big. No RAID-5 but none of their drives has ever let me down since… my memory goes back in the digital age.

      Cheers,
      Michiel

      • Agustín says:

        Hi everyone! I’m about to buy between two options, and I’m all ears to know what do you think of it!!!
        1- Pegasus R4 Thunderbolt 2 with 4 Seagate Barracuda 3TB or…
        2- LaCie 10TB 5big Thunderbolt.

        Which option do you think is better? I’m a video editor, HD 1080p maximum. I hope someday I can edit 4K, but most of my clients work with 720p and 1080p.

        Thanks for your answers!!!
        Bye!!!!

    • Jeffry Morgan says:

      Dear KW
      On the 4 Disk Pegasus 2 R4 The Max size of the Drives can only Be 2 TB X 4 any larger it wont Work. If you want more Storage space you need to Daisy Chane them together

  8. Al B. says:

    The only clue I have is your OS is old. I wonder if 10.7.5 is on the supported OS list? This unit is TB2, right? Good luck!

    • Larry Jordan says:

      Al:

      i can’t speak for the OS, but Thunderbolt 2 is fully backwards compatible with Thunderbolt 1. I know, because I was easily running this RAID on my iMac which was OS 10.8.5 and Thunderbolt 1.

      Larry

  9. Al B. says:

    Right. I was wondering more about whether the 10.7.5 supported any TB. There are more clues. Googling TB and that version of the OS shows lots of issues, mainly around displays. It’s where I’d assume the problem may lie.

    Enough for one night…Watson should be by soon.

    Sherlock Holmes…

  10. 10.7.5 has support for thunderbolt 1 (Pegasus 1) how ever
    At least for Promise Pegasus 2 it requires 10.8.5 on up.

  11. Tom Wheeler says:

    Larry,

    Partly as a result of your thorough and excellent review of the Pegasus2 raid system, I purchased a Pegasus2 R6 (18TB) model and installed it on my new fully maxed out Mac Pro which just arrived last week. I am delighted with the Pegasus2 and get speed results fully in line with those you determined for your Pegasus2 R8 unit (about 700 Mb/sec read/write measured using BMD’s Disk Speed Test software).

    However, in your review of the Pegasus2 you stated: “If the computer doesn’t go to sleep, the Pegasus stays awake, too.” While thes is technically true, i.e. the Pegasus2 unit itself does not go to sleep when my Mac Pro is running, I do find that the hard drives in my Pegasus2 do spin down, and that I have to wait for the drives to all spin up when about 15-20 minutes has passed without my using the Pegasus2. Please note that I have made certain to uncheck “Put hard drives to sleep whenever possible” in System Preferences>Energy settings so that is not responsible for the hard drives in the Pegasus2 spinning down.

    I have writen Pegasus2 Support asking them if there is any way to set the time before the Pegasus2 hard drives to spin down in the Promise Utility, but I have not received a response. It is a bit irritating to be frequently waiting for the hard drives in the Pegasus2 raid to spin up. Note that I have a Drobo 5D attached to the same Mac Pro and I do not have any issues with its hard drives spinning down between intervals of use.

    Thank you for your fine review, and I appreciate any thought you might have on this issue of the hard drives in the Pegasus2 spinning down after some period of not being addressed.

    Tom

  12. Victor says:

    Hi Tom. Currently we cannot turn off the power management. appreciate your candid feedback.
    i have this on my radar and plan to have an improvement in the next service release. Meanwhile this feature is a “feature” and not a
    bug. You don’t see it on Drobo or prior generation Pegasus because they don’t offer this level of advanced power management.
    in reality this feature prolongs the life of the drives..

    Noted and thanks again.

    Victor Pacheco

  13. Tom Wheeler says:

    Larry and Victor,

    Thank you both very much for taking the time to respond.

    Victor, I am very pleased to hear that this is on your radar. I can well appreciate that this advanced power management feature does indeed lengthen the life of the drives in the Pegasus2. What I really would like to see is the means within the Promise Utility to turn on or off this feature or to set a period of time when the feature is turned off. My reasoning is that most of the time having this feature on and having the hard drives in the Pegasus2 spin down after a period of no use is a good thing. However, when I am editing and don’t want to have to wait for the Pegasus2 hard drives to spin up when I need them, it would be great to be able to turn the feature off while editing or to have been able to set a longer period before the hard drives spin down. The Pegasus2 is a great product, and thank you again, Victor for responding.

    Tom

  14. Victor says:

    Tom,

    Messaged received and noted.. the enhancement is along those lines.. will make it happen.
    in my book the customer is always right!

    Best Regards,
    Victor Pacheco

    • Victor says:

      Tom,

      I was digging into how to disable the spin down of the drive. Turns out this can be done from our GUI (Promise Utility).
      We can set the interval or disable all together. I want to test this out before i send you the KB link with the steps.

      Stay tuned..
      Victor Pacheco

      • Tom Wheeler says:

        Victor,

        This is great news! I really look forward to learning how to change the hard drive spin time settings and how to disable it when needed. Thank you so much for looking into this and I really look forward to hearing from you when you have tested the procedure

        Tom

        • Victor says:

          Tom,

          A KB is in the works.. meanwhile follow these steps:

          1. From a terminal in your Mac host type “promiseutil”

          2. From our CLI type: ctrl -a mod -s “powersavinglevel=0″

          3. Confirm the settings by typing: ctrl -v

          This will completely turn off the various levels of power management.
          Let me know the results.

          Thanks
          Victor Pacheco

          • Tom Wheeler says:

            Victor,

            Here is what I got on following your instructions within terminal:

            RevertibleGlobalSparePresent: 0 RevertibleDedicatedSparePresent: 0
            RevertibleGlobalSpareUsed: 0 RevertibleDedicatedSpareUsed: 0

            WriteThroughMode: No MaxSectorSize: 4KB
            PreferredCacheLineSize: 64 KB CacheLineSize: 64 KB
            Coercion: Enabled CoercionMethod: GBTruncate
            SMART: Enabled SMARTPollingInterval: 10 minutes
            MigrationStorage: DDF CacheFlushInterval: 3 second(s)
            PollInterval: 15 second(s) AdaptiveWBCache: Disabled
            ForcedReadAhead: Disabled

            PowerSavingLevel: 0 SpindownType: All drives
            IdleTimeToParkRwHeads: 1 minute IdleTimeToLowerRotationSpeed: 5 minutes
            IdleTimeToSpinDown: 30 minutes

            SGPIOBackPlane: Default/Generic (0) SASReadyLED: Off
            SpinUpDelay: 0 millisecond PowerManagement: Enable

            SecurityAdminPassword: N/A

            PciFuncAddr: N/A PciLinkSpeed: N/A
            PciLinkWidth: N/A

            I’ll confirm that this has turned off power management when I see that the hard drives do not spin down.

            Tom

        • Tom Wheeler says:

          Victor and Larry,

          I have to say that I am feeling rather stupid. I decided to read the manual for the Pegasus2 R6 that is available on the Promise web site. On page 13 of the manual it says: “The Pegasus2 includes a power saving feature that spins down the hard disk drives if the logical drive is idle for 30 minutes. This can be enabled or disabled and the idle time
          can be changed in the PROMISE Utility. Click on the Controller link in the Dashboard, then click
          the Settings button to see how to change this setting.?

          I followed these instructions and changed the idle time before spin down to 60 minutes. You can set it for much longer if desired. The change was marked as successful and showed up in the Promise Utility.

          I short, what I was requesting is already available in the Promise Utility which I would have known if I had bothered to read the manual before using the Pegasus2. I apologize for the time that you have spent on this.

          Tom

          • Tom

            There are different levels involved that GUI does
            Not cover.

            The current firmware release drive default setting for spindown parameter are:
            IdleTimeToParkHead : 1 munites.
            IdleTimeToLowRotation: 5 munites.
            IdelTimeToSpinDown: 30 munites,

            There are levels 1-3
            The GUI only covers level 3 and not 1 or 2.

            Here is PowerSavingLevel: 3 that GUI covers

            If the user unchecks “Enable Idle HDD Spin Down” on the GUI only, the disable Spindown for level 3 will be disabled. After 5 minutes, you will see phydrv (using Promise CLI “phydrv -v” command)
            drive status: low rotation, when accessing drive, It will take around 10 seconds to be ready (from spin down to spin up may take around 15 seconds)

            So user MUST set parameter on CLI: ctrl -a mod -s “powersavinglevel=0″ to disable all three status: “park head”, “low rotation” and “Spin Down”

            For next firmware release we plan to disable park head and low rotation. This way the user only needs to change from the Promise Utility GUI i.e uncheck “Enable Idle HDD Spin Down”

            Best Regards,

            Victor Pacheco

          • Thomas Wheeler says:

            Victor,

            Many thanks for explaining the sophisticated power management features of the Pegasus2 in detail. I now understand why I had to enter the commands in terminal mode that you gave to me and why just using the Promise utIlity only changes the drive spin down time and not the other two levels of power management.

            One more question for you. More than a week ago I filed a web support ticket with Promise asking how to control the power management on the Pegasus2. The next day I received an e-mail indicating I had received a reply. However when I logged into my Promise web support page, there was no response shown. I filed the question again and again the next day I received an e–mail saying there was a response but when I logged in no response was visible. There seems to be some problem with the Promise web support site which you might wish to look into.

            Thank you for all your help.

            Tom

          • Victor says:

            Tom

            Sounds like your pop up blocker is enabled on your browser when you log into our CRM https://support.promise.com
            Email me your case ID. I will forward over to
            our Support to have a closer look.

            victor.p@promise.com

  15. Tor Lindseth says:

    Larry and Victor, Norway says hello!

    My long time raid supplier tried Pegasus in the Norwegian market, and quickly got into trouble because of poor performance from the disks. He says that if the disks supplied in the 8-bay (P2-R8 4TB) is 5900 rpm, it’s probably low-end Enterprise disks. He feels he cannot take responsibility selling raids with “inferior” disks and advocates that a high performance system (read Thunderbolt 2) needs enterprise disks. Any reason why Pegasus R8 cannot come with 7200 rpm enterprise disks?

    Best regards from the deep forests..:)
    Tor Lindseth

    • I second your request Tor ! We are using these devices for professional applications and we expect high performance and enterprise disks. Why can’t Promise offer enterprise disks?

      • Victor says:

        Hello Gentleman,

        Not sure how I missed your post. Promise offers a range of Pegasus2 options optimized for overall performance, capacity and cost. We monitor the best devices available for these configurations and expect to update these periodically.

        Thanks
        Victor Pacheco

  16. Tom wheeler says:

    Victor, you are correct. I had the popup blocker turned on and hence could not see the reply. The Promise support WBC site needs to have a warning prominently displayed that you should turn off the pop up blocker because I only discovered this buried deep on the Knowledge Base.

    Victor, thank you so much for all your help. My new Mac Pro and the Pegasus2 are now a match made in heaven.

    Tom

  17. Fabrizio Rizzo says:

    Hi All,
    Thank you for a very informative dialog. I’m convinced and will be ordering a Promise2 R8 fully loaded shortly.
    I plan on keeping my edit bay as quiet as possible by using the 10m optical TB cable and placing the array (along with other stuff) in a rack one floor down (directly below with appropriate conduit runs, etc…).

    The Pegasus look great on the desk, but really don’t fit well in our desk-side or co-located racks.

    My question (for Victor) is this: Will there be a rack-mountable version of the Pegasus2 or other Thunderbolt 2 direct-attach arrays anytime soon?

    -Fabrizio

  18. Marc says:

    I’m waiting for my Promise2 R8 24 just commanded.
    It will be connected to a Macbookpro Retina 2.6 Ghz with Thunderbolt 1.
    I actually work with FCProX on 4 Hd multicam pists with no problems with external disk 3TB connected with USB 3.
    If i have understood everything here, the Pegasus will allow me to work fluently in the future with 4 multicam pists in 4K without needing the new Macpro?
    Thank you
    Marc

    • Larry Jordan says:

      Marc:

      Maybe.

      You should convert your 4K files to ProRes 422 HQ, unless they are shot using ProRes. 4K H.264 will choke the system.

      Then, while you *can* edit the 4K natively, for initial rough-cuts, I’d recommend editing using proxy files until you finish using the multicam, then switch to optimized media for final color grading and polish.

      Larry

  19. Fabrizio Rizzo says:

    Larry,

    Can you please provide a good link to docs/training that give example of how to switch between proxy/optimized media for different stages of our workflow?

    Thanks,
    Fabrizio

  20. Fabrizio Rizzo says:

    Thanks Larry.

    Interesting side-effect now that the Pegasus2 R8 is hooked up – My Drobo 5D is continuously disconnecting and reconnecting every few minutes. Devices before and after the Drobo appear to remain mounted stabily.

    A bit of explanation of my array connectivity first:

    I have the P2R8 connected to a Mac Pro on TB port 0 with nothing else in TB Port 1 (nothing else directly connected on TB Bus 1)
    I’ve used the 10m optical TB cable purchased from the Apple Store.
    The P2R8 is humming along initializing itself and mounted happily. The promise utility says everything’s just fine – and it seems to be.

    Connected to the P2R8, I have a Drobo 5D (backup / archive array) and a Seagate TB 3.5″ Desktop drive adapter with 3TB single drive after that. Both using the standard electrical TB cables from Apple.

    The chain looks like this:

    Mac Pro -> Optical 10m TB cable -> P2R8 -> Black Apple 2m cable -> Drobo 5D -> White Apple 2m cable -> Seagate 3TB w/ TBolt Desktop Adapter.

    The Seagate has 2 HFS+ volumes: one for CarbonCopyCloner use to backup the internal boot volume, and a time machine volume.
    The Drobo 5D has a single large 20+ TB HFS+ volume
    The P2R8 has the default single 28 TB HFS+ volume.

    The OS tells me that the Drobo volume has been dismounted without being ejected and attempting to access the volume fails until it eventually disappears from Finder, then later it shows back up but I still can’t access it when it does. It keeps doing this ever few minutes. Doesn’t happen to any of the other volumes.

    It did NOT happen prior to connecting the 10m optical cable and the P2R8 array.

    Any ideas?

    I’m going to power down all but the Pegasus2, then disconnect everything from the optical cable and reconnect just the Drobo to the optical cable and see if isolating to just the cable reproduces the problem.

    If not, I’ll add the seagate drive on the end (without inserting the Pegasus2 into the chain.)

    If that works and remains stable, then I’ll add the Pegasus2 in between the optical cable and the Drobo (as the “first device”) and test again.

    If all three scenarios fail (or just the first one) then I’ll bring everything back upstairs to the edit suite and try the same 3 tests again using just the short 2m electrical TB cables.

    If it was just the cable, I’d expect all of the volumes to exhibit the same issues.

    Betting it’s a problem with the Drobo in combination with the optical cable.
    Can’t help but wonder if it’s something weird about channel allocations / Mac Pro EFI firmware issues with TB 2 and TB1 drives on same chain, or a mutant variant of the WD disk issues with Mavericks.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    I’m not looking forward to trying to manage a 3-way support case with Apple, Drobo, and Promise.

    -Fabrizio

    • Fabrizio Rizzo says:

      It seems the move of the Drobo 5D (power down, move, reconnect, power-up) may have caused a hardware fault of some type. Even disconnected from all interfaces, the Drobo 5D will now randomly reboot – even when left alone “disconnected”.
      I won’t hijack this thread any further with Drobo issues unless there comes conclusive proof that something relevant to the Pegasus 2 comes to light – related to Mavericks, the optical TB cable, or “inserting” the Pegasus2 into the chain had anything to do with it. It does NOT appear to be the case at this time, but the investigation continues.

      -Fabrizio

      • Barry Wul says:

        I experienced some difficulties with my own Drobo 5D, after adding the Pegasus2 (with replacement drive) to my MacPro 2013 System. Looking into the Drop tech support files, I found a recommendation to uninstall the Drobo Desktop application / utility, reboot the system, download a fresh copy of the latest Drobo software, reinstall & finally reboot one more time. Several steps; but this fixed everything. (Note, if your user file is stored on the Drobo … mine was … simply create a new user with administrator privileges. By default, that user file will be on the internal drive. Boot into that user profile, perform the actions prescribed above, then switch back to your primary user profile. Everything should be fine from that point.)

  21. Al B. says:

    The best thing you can do is isolate this first. Once you know where the problem is coming from, you can deal with the appropriate tech support. It seems you are on the right track. If you can isolate it, you likely won’t be dealing with all three companies.

  22. Fabrizio Rizzo says:

    Now that the P2R8 is fully sync’d and ready for action, BM disk test with ForcedReadAhead enabled with a RAID-5 logical volume is showing 816.1 & 795.7 MB/s (read , write respectively).

    My system wasn’t perfectly idle during this test though. In fact, an 11-TB data merge between old firewire arrays is in progress. 56% after 18.5 hours, yeesh! Can’t wait to move this data once and for all to the Pegasus2…

    I did observe the oscillation of the I/O performance during the test. Informally, i’d say I was able to observe 30-50%-ish swings as the OS dealt with the the other massive copy threads running in the background. I think I saw it slow down to the low 300 MB/s range at one point.

    Thanks for a great article and helping us understand how this all really works.
    Much appreciated Larry!

    -Fabrizio

  23. Fabrizio Rizzo says:

    One more question: Is there any benefit to enabling the adaptive write back cache option?

  24. Barry Wul says:

    After receiving a new Pegasus2 2/24 RAID DOA due to a defective Drive (Preinstalled by Promise Technology) and pathetic customer service / support from Promise Technology; I’d caution others from seeking any technology solution from Promise and searching elsewhere.

    After my RAID reported errors almost immediately after installation (on a new MacPro 2013) I immediately contacted technical support. (First, I had to register the unit online; which automatically assigned a warranty expiration date based upon the date the unit shipped from their warehouse to the authorized reseller, not based upon the sales / ship date to me.) Regardless of the detailed information I provided regarding the multiple bad sector detections and subsequent designation of the drive as being bad (by the promise RAID management software) Tech support would not even begin cooperating until I generated a specific HTML based report via their software & uploaded it to Promise’s Tech Support.

    They did immediately (upon receipt of the report) acknowledge that the drive I reported as being DOA was indeed dead. In order to receive a warranty replacement I was informed that I could either return the defective drive; after which I would be shipped a replacement or I could provide a credit card # for them to place a hold of about $250.00 (on a drive that can be purchased on Amazon for $109 with free 2-day shipping) and that they would only provide complimentary GROUND shipping. If I wanted Next Day or 2-Day shipping; it would be at my expense. Considering that this was a defective unit shipped from Promise; I was astounded by the lack of support on a $3,500.00 piece of hardware. I provided the Credit Card # and finally received the replacement drive, only to discover that I was expected to pay the return freight on the defective drive.

    This was bad enough; but part of my dissatisfaction is rooted in the fact that such a high-end RAID system was equipped (once again by Promise Technology) with consumer grade Segate Baracuda Drives. Considering the premium price they charge on storage size; one would think that they would at least use the higher grade Enterprise Grade drives from Seagate. In fact; at the time that tech support authorized the drive replacement, I asked if it would be a problem if I simply installed a 3TB Western Digital Red drive that I had on-hand as a spare for a separate RAID system. I was informed that the WD Red was not on their list of approved drives; and would not be supported. I later downloaded Promise Technology’s complete list of approved drives for the Pegasus2 system and discovered that only 2 drives (in 3 TB capacity) were on the approved list; both of which were lower-tier consumer grade models. There is no indication that they ever tested any higher quality drives or what system requirements of the Promise2 RAID would limit full compatibility with any other drive; just a failure to reference any other models. My personal opinion / interpretation is that they leave the higher quality (higher priced) drives off of their list as a convenient excuse as to why they do not provide better drives in the first place. It seems counter-intuitive to produce an ultra high-speed storage system aimed largely towards video editing, then supply that system with anything other than enterprise level hard drives. Based upon this experience, I will NEVER purchase another product produced by Promise Technology. I have purchased products from a number of other manufacturers over the years and have never had such a poor experience with any other companies tech support staff.

    • Barry Wul says:

      Minor Correction, the system was a Pegasus2 8/24, not 2/24

    • Barry, I feel for you.

      My thoughts are the same as yours, this unit is for professionals and should NOT ship with consumer level drives but Enterprise drives. It has made me hesitant to purchase.

    • Victor says:

      Barry

      The RMA process you described is the norm.
      Product registration and providing a subsystem
      Report is a must. The subsystem report contains
      An X-ray of the unit. This info is used for diagnosing and troubleshooting
      Purpose as well as warranty purposes.

      With regard to warranty validation. It sounds
      You overlooked the statement in the CRM (customer relationship manager)
      User interface. We honor warranty two ways:

      -manufacturing date based off chassis serial number
      Or
      -customer provide invoice

      The above is very standard practice.
      Regarding supported drives these units come integrated
      So off the shelf drives ate not supported.

      What was overlooked was (I will personally
      Look into this) our DOA policy.
      If the unit has been in your possession
      Less than 30 days we will make the exemption
      And cover an advanced replacement and also
      A call tag for the return of the defective part.

      You will be contacted shortly.
      Please note that a failed disk out of the box is
      Not normal. It’s plausible the unit may have been
      Mishandled in shipping.

      In any case I apologize for the inconvenience.
      Give us the opportunity to make this right.

      The support manager will reach out to you shortly.

      Victor Pacheco

      • Michiel says:

        Hi Victor,

        I can confirm that your warranty-date issue is real. My warranty expired in 2013 while i have it less than a week. There was no way whatsoever to correct this date.

        I can’t care less to be honest. I’ll return my Promise Pegasus asap and i don’t want a replacement. Mine did not mount on the desktop. I have posted a comment on this forum earlier.

        Not only this 2000 euro box was a pain in the neck, your registration-procedure is a pain in the neck as well. I received a reply from the store that my ‘request to return it is pending and that this can take a couple of days’.

        Very disappointing.

        Cheers,
        Michiel

        • Victor says:

          Michiel,

          Upon product registration there is a section clearly highlighted in red:

          Product warranty will be honored two ways:

          -Valid invoice showing proof of purchase (attach invoice at the time you open a support case or RMA)
          -No invoice: Warranty defaults to the unit manufacturing serial number (manufacturing date)

          And no, the end user cannot modify the warranty date. Only the Promise Support personnel can do that.
          Gauging the product warranty based the product serial number is standard practice.. The most important part is that we will honor the invoice date.

          Email me offline if i can do anything for you. On the technical problem at hand.. surely there is a logical explanation.
          Not sure that enough information was exchanged. Sounds like a configuration problem at a high level. The storage has a clean bill of health. I would love to look into this for you.

          Best Regards,
          Victor Pacheco
          victor.p@promise.com

  25. Josh says:

    I was going to purchase the R8 with 3TB modules until I learned the modules are Seagate hard drives, which are terrible and have the highest failure rate.

    Backblaze, a cloud data backup provider, recently published their experience with different brands of hard drives. Results indicate Seagate Barracuda hard drives have approximately a 10% annual failure rate. This is terrible and unacceptable if the R8 will be used for archiving critical data.

    Two questions for Promise Technology: Why did they choose to include/ship Seagate Barracuda hard drives in the Pegasus2? Is it possible to purchase Pegasus2 spare hard drive modules with Toshiba hard drives instead?

    NOTE: Toshiba DT01ACA300 3TB hard drives are compatible with the R8.

    • Victor says:

      Josh,

      Promise integrates the drives in house. Meticulous screening takes place on each drive with media scanning end to end.
      Drives with greater than one grown defect are rejected from the line. This improves reliability tremendously by weeding out “infant mortality” drives. BTW we also ship Toshiba DT01ACA300 with Pegasus2 line.

      Best Regards,
      Victor Pacheco

      • Barry Wul says:

        Yet my Pegasus2 8/24 arrived with a drive that immediately reported dozens of defects / bad sectors. The outer and inner boxes were in perfect condition with no signs of abuse or damage. Since modern hard drive heads retract and lock away from the physical media when properly powered down; I find it difficult to believe that my DOA defective drive was in perfect operational condition when it left your factory.

  26. Barry Wul says:

    While it has been a bit over a week since I last posted / responded (busy with family issues) I would like to finally respond to Victor from Promise Tech and his response to my initial posting.

    First, the one positive thing that I can state is that I did receive a prepaid return label for shipping the defective drive.

    That of course does not make up for the fact that despite my pointing out to tech support (over the phone) that a DOA drive replacement should not have been replaced via ground shipment (with only option for express shipment being at my personal expense). At that point I was so upset (the tech’s telephone skills were less than optimal) I was unwilling to pay anything additional to/for Promise products. I chose the free FedEx Ground; since prior experience with delivery from California typically took 3-4 days total (with packages continuing to transit over the weekend.) With shipment on a Friday; I figured the free ground shipment would only delay delivery by about a day over 2nd day delivery. Unfortunately, it ended up taking just under a week. A major inconvenience which could have been avoided via proper handling by Tech Support.

    Victor did not address the point that I raised (and has now been raised by several other individuals) about the fact that Promise preinstalls the RAID with consumer grade hard drives that do not have a stellar history of reliability. As I and others have pointed out; a high capacity Thunderbolt 2 RAID is (or should logically be) targeted towards a professional audience with a critical need for both speed and reliability. Not utilizing enterprise level drives is completely counter-intuitive. It’s akin to buying a Ferrari and putting the least expensive generic tires available on all 4 wheels. Sure you can go fast; but you’ll be holding your breath and keeping your fingers crossed the entire time – praying that you don’t experience a blow-out.

    My personal distaste for Seagate drives comes from personal experience with a RAID system that WAS equipped with Seagate Enterprise level drives. (Level 5 RAID) After the first year of relatively light use, I began to experience ongoing drive failures, every few months. While Seagate did replace the drives under warranty (while the warranty lasted); this did not negate the fact that I had to operate with a degraded RAID; until the hardware drivers were able to rebuild with a spare drive. Unfortunately; I eventually experienced an almost simultaneous failure of two drives; where the second drive died during a RAID rebuild from the first drive failure. If not for the fact that I had most of my files backed up to a NAS, I would have been in serious trouble. I still had to spend over a week obtaining new drives (Samsung at that time); formatting a new RAID logical disk and restoring my original file structure as best as possible. While I continued to use existing Seagate drives for secondary storage; they all eventually died. THUS, my less than stellar response to finding out that my brand new $3500 RAID was full of economy level Seagate drives.

    Also, as outlined in my first posting; I found it somewhat curious that Promise Technologies only “Officially” supports two 3TB Hard Drive models; the Seagate Barracuda and a Consumer Level Drive from Toshiba. Why would this system not support Enterprise or Server series drives? Is there an inherent design flaw that prevents the Pegasus2 from working with more reliable drives? Was this a deliberate decision to not evaluate or simply not officially support such drives as an excuse for why the Pegasus2 RAID systems used the far less expensive drives? If some other reason; I and I am sure other users / potential customers would like to know the answer.

    Regarding the warranty registration issue; Victor pointed out that I simply needed to supply my purchase receipt. The problem here is that the less-than-stellar Tech Support that “assisted” me wasn’t quite so open about getting my Warranty Period correct. I was informed that if I had a problem during the 2 1/2 month window between when Promise had assigned my warranty expiration date and the actual 2-year period from when the drive was shipped; I could submit a copy of my invoice at that time. I mentioned the fact that there were obvious chances of misplacing the original receipt over the next two years and that I preferred to get the warranty coverage date corrected now. I offered to send a copy of my receipt to him immediately; but he was very resistant to cooperating with such a solution. The best I could do was get him to admit that I could attach / upload a copy of the receipt with my existing support case file and that Promise “might” get the date corrected now; rather than in the future.

    Based upon excuses as to why Promise can not do X or Y; rather than positive signs of taking care of customers and taking end-user experience into consideration; I am far from thrilled with my original decision to purchase my Pegasus2 system. For now, it is likely that I will end up sacrificing 3TB of storage capacity in order to reconfigure the RAID for Dual Drive Redundancy / Protection. Without physical drives that do not fill me with fear of disk-failure; I’ll always feel uncomfortable about fully trusting this RAID with my Data. If I did not have a Time Machine backup to a Drobo 5D; with additional files archived on a NAS and other backup drives, I’d probably dump the Pegasus2 immediately.

    Again, these are my personal opinions based upon individual experience; but based upon other posts, it seems that I am not alone. I would truly like to see some PROACTIVE moves by Promise to address these concerns for current and future customers. (Then again; considering the 2.2 out of 5 rating of Promise Technology by its own employees via glassdoor.com, I wonder if anyone there has any motivation remaining.) … is it an omen that my Captcha to submit this comment is “ROT”?

  27. Michiel says:

    Hi,

    I just tried to view my ‘case’ on the Promise website. To see if it has been updated by the Promise-staff.

    Still i wonder how it is possible that the site generated a warranty-date till march 2013 while i bought it the 12th of February 2014 but hey, not all hard disc companies are website-builders. I can’t edit the date at all while i wonder if the Promise Pegasus 2 was even available in march 2013.

    Unfortunately it was impossible to view my case on my iPad but hey, not all hard disc companies have arrived in 2014 yet.

    Changed my operating system from Linux to Max OSX, saved the changes, did it again, saved the changes… again… again… Somehow i am branded as a Linux-user till i lie in my grave. Reminds me of the warranty-date that will probably be there till the end of days.

    No updates in my case yet. I have uploaded the invoice from the store in case they feel compelled to ‘update’ my warranty-date !

    Am i getting cynical ? I hope not !

    Cheers,
    Michiel

  28. Michiel says:

    Hi Larry,

    Your review was inteded to generate more sales for Promise, as it did because your review made me take the gamble and buy one. Unfortunately i must use the word ‘gamble’ because it did not feel right after all the negative news about the Promise Pegasus series 1.

    Indeed it was DOA and after a couple of days with numerous emails and explanations i was called today by Promise to ask me what was going on. They did not have a clue after all those emails and registration-fuss !

    Fair is fair. Future Promise-customers have the right to know what they are buying into.

    I have personally returned it today to their warehouse.

    Personally i won’t take the gamble with Promise again. But all the best to those who do and good luck !

    Cheers,
    Michiel

    • Larry Jordan says:

      Michiel:

      I’m truly sorry you’ve had a bad experience with Promise and I appreciate your sharing your thoughts with the rest of us.

      I just want to clarify one thing – my reviews are designed to help readers better understand a potential product before they buy it. For me, generating sales is not important because I don’t work for, nor am I compensated by any of the companies who’s products I review.

      This is why I am grateful to you and many other readers for sharing their questions and experience. Our industry changes on a daily basis, no one can know all of it. However, together we can all help each other learn more.

      Thanks,

      Larry

  29. Victor says:

    Michiel

    Regarding the warranty derived from the serial number you provided. I see now whats going on. Seems you provided the controller SN# which is not the correct serial number. Please provide the support rep the chassis serial number on the back of the unit.. He will unregister and register the correct serial number. This explains why the CRM is pulling
    incorrect warranty information.

    Makes sense now. As stated previously we will also honor the invoice date. Please append a copy of the invoice to your case.

    Thanks
    Victor Pacheco

  30. Agustín says:

    Hi everyone! I’m about to buy between two options, and I’m all ears to know what do you think of it!!!
    1- Pegasus R4 Thunderbolt 2 with 4 Seagate Barracuda 3TB or…
    2- LaCie 10TB 5big Thunderbolt.
    Which option do you think is better? I’m a video editor, HD 1080p maximum. I hope someday I can edit 4K, but most of my clients work with 720p and 1080p.
    Thanks for your answers!!!
    Bye!!!!

    • Michiel says:

      Hi Agustine,

      I would wait for the LaCie 5Big with Thunderbolt 2. It will be announced this autumn. That is what i will do.

      If you go for the Pegasus, buy it at the Apple Online Store. If something is wrong with it you are covered and you’ll have a replacement or your money back within 5 days. I am still waiting for my money and i am sure they’ll use the whole 30 days to do so.

      Good luck !
      Michiel

  31. I’ve had an excellent experience with my Pegasus2 R8. Faster than anything I’ve ever used before. Setup was flawless and simple. migrating 12 TB of data from other arrays and drives was limited only by the speed of the other devices, which I copied from in parallel once things got rolling along. Considering the source of my copies in many cases was from various Drobo arrays… I’m MUCH happier now. The Pegasus2 is downstairs in an equipment rack with the 10m corning fiber thunderbolt cable to the desktop. Couldn’t be happier. Lightroom with 250,000+ 25MB RAW photos in the library, 2.7k & 4k video editing in FCPx… zipping along smoothly.

  32. Also just wanted to say that having built and owned a variety of arrays from Drobo, LaCie, Promise, Arena, and worked with configuring and supporting commercial enterprise EMC and NetApp arrays over the last 25 years… I’ve _never_ had a vendor rep collaborate and be as transparent and helpful as much as Victor has here.

    Victor, Thank You Sir. Your participation here was a big influence on my purchase decision this year, as was Larry’s.
    Larry, kudos to you too. Thank you for a great site and useful, relevant articles.

    • Tom Wheeler says:

      I would simply like to agree completely with Fabrizio’s comments above. I purchased a Pegasus2 R6 array shortly after Larry did his excellent review of the Pegasus2. I have been exceeding pleased with the speed and reliability of the Pegasus2. Mine sits on my desk next to my new Mac Pro and is very quiet. Only when pushed hard, as in editing several streams of 4K video, do I even hear the fan in the Pegasus2.

      When I first got my Pegasus2, I had some questions and asked them here. Victor promptly replied to my questions and even responded promptly to my private e-mails. He could not have been more helpful. I highly recommend the Pegasus2 for any purposes such as video editing where high sustained data throughput is required.

      Thank you Larry for your review, and thank you Victor for your remarkable support.

      Tom

      • Michiel says:

        I am sure i would have been as happy with it as you are, IF they had sent me one that actually works !

        Not every single one is checked before it’s sent to the customer as advertised, that’s for sure.

        A good product can do very well without a fancy After Sales, that much is true.

    • Agustín says:

      Thank you for your answer Fabrizio! I will try to look for a little bit more. The first choice was the Promise Pegasus2 R4, with 3 Seagate Barracuda 3TB, (in the promise web they say that support until 4TB each).
      Thank you, and i will post a comment once I have one of those!
      Bye!
      Agustin

  33. Well… I can say that I am now a bit disappointed… The array is showing physical drive 7 as “Dead”. Red light on front of array and all. Support Ticket 20140319152210S submitted to Promise. Less than 90 days after invoice. Let’s hope another drive doesn’t decide to fail. I’m in the process of attempting repairs on two failed Drobo arrays (long story)… suffice to say that I’m in transition from those arrays to this one and I don’t have any backups yet of this new array with 16TB of data on it.

    Probably should not have accepted the default RAID5 8-drive configuration right out of the gate. Setting up one of the drives as a spare and sacrificing some space would have made me a LOT more comfortable about my current situation…

    What do you think my chances are of Promise drop-shipping a replacement drive, and doing so quickly?
    Do I need to head to my favorite on-line store and pick up my own Seagate ST4000DM000-1F21 (or two…) with overnight shipping?

    I rather expected the Promise Utility to have an agent running to warn me of critical issues with the array. I would never have noticed if I hadn’t looked in the equipment closet for a totally unrelated reason. Have I missed something in my setup?

    • Larry Jordan says:

      Fabrizio:

      While Promise monitors this page, when you have a problem with the gear your best bet is to ALWAYS and immediately contact Promise technical support. Let us know if, for any reason, they don’t respond.

      Larry

  34. Bob Cole says:

    I bought an extra hard drive and tray with my CalDigit HDOne, years ago. I felt a little extravagant until the day a drive failed. Swapped in the new drive, CalDigit’s software rebuilt the RAID in about 4 hours, and all was good – except that then I realized I didn’t have a spare drive. Since then, I have kept TWO spare hard drives on hand. And when I buy a new RAID, I’ll use RAID 6. When you use RAID 5, and a drive fails, you are in RAID 0, and a failure of any single remaining drive is fatal. Not good, even for a few hours.

    I am following this page because I’m in the market for a Thunderbolt RAID, when I upgrade my computer. The comment about the Promise not notifying the user about a dead drive is alarming. I don’t know whether this is “user error” or a design flaw, but the default should be lots of alarms going off.

  35. Hi All,

    Promise tech support helped me through the issue very precisely and as quickly as could possibly be expected. Other than the really poor support website (c’mon guys, it’s not the 90′s any more, hire a good UI/UX web designer or two), I ended up calling them. MUCH better experience via telecom.

    Anyway, no drives had actually failed. It was a firmware issue.
    Evidently, firmware prior to 5.04.0000.18 has a defect where a transient instantaneous drop in power to a drive (not loss, just a drop explained only as “insufficient power”) causes the earlier firmware to declare the drive “DEAD” and remove it from the array.
    This is really curious as this disk array is on a dedicated UPS and the UPS indicated nice clean steady power to the array when the array said it… “murdered” the drive (status says “DEAD” after all…)

    Support had me update the firmware and then rebuild the “DEAD” drive. 20 hours later, redundancy restored. Support said it should rebuild a 4TB drive in approximately 8-10 hours, but I began making backup copies of the data during the process, so my additional I/O slowed things down quite a bit.

    A couple of obligatory gripes offered to Support, which the tech graciously documented in the support ticket:

    1. Don’t use the word “DEAD” if the drive (and it’s SMART status) isn’t really physically deceased and in need of replacement.

    Promise evidently has a long legacy of array status labels which seem challenging and non-intuitive. The support tech was rather candid, offering solace in that he has to explain that frequently and that it’s more of a tradition combined with language barrier issues for the dev team. I could only laugh.

    2. Why didn’t the Promise Utility warn me that a drive was “DEAD”?

    I wouldn’t have noticed at all, the array is in an equipment rack separated from the workstation by a 10-m fiber cable. It was only chance that I had to go downstairs and work in the rack for another issue when I noticed the nice bright red status light.

    The Promise Utility WOULD have warned me, if I had actually had it running. Question: why would I open the Promise Utility unless I wanted to modify the array? Having to run the full desktop app to know that my data is at risk is a really bad design idea. It also has the ability to send email notifications – but only if it’s running, and you bother to set it up to do so.

    Promise needs to add a monitoring service demon process to the Promise Utility installation that will monitor and notify from behind the scenes. This is the 21st century, we know how to do this properly/efficiently. I hesitate to call Data Robotics a direct competitor because the arrays are in totally different leagues, but I do have to say that the Drobo Dashboard and service demon are really good at communicating array status and errors. For all it’s other faults, Drobo Dashboard does that really well.

    Summary / Lessons Learned:

    A. Make sure you keep up-to-date on firmware updates.
    Run PromiseUtility on a regular basis so it has the opportunity to prompt you for available firmware updates.

    B. Check on the status of your array if you have it located where you can’t see the lights all day long.
    Run PromiseUtility on a regular basis just to make sure the controller hasn’t done something stupid to your physical disks (or have a legitimate drive failure).

    All things considered, the array performs as promised. (pun intended)
    The software provided work great for install/config/maintenance, but get a complete thumbs-down for pro-active monitoring capability

    Your data may be at risk if not manually monitored appropriately.

  36. Michiel says:

    For anyone who is not sure about the Promise Pagasus, this is most definately worth a look !

    http://www.lacie.com/nl/products/product.htm?id=10622

    Or the 5 Big with hardware controlled RAID 5 and Thunderbolt 2.

    Cheers,
    Michiel

    • Agustín says:

      Ey Michiel, thanks for the link, I’m waiting for the date to buy one 5big 10 TB Thunderbolt 2.

      Thanks! bye!

  37. David says:

    Hi guys,

    We’re working through some Mavericks / SMB2/AFP connectivity issues currently.. we’ve been looking mainly at OS X however.. I’ve had a hunch that it may be something to do with the power save on the Pegasus?

    We’re providing shares from that Pegasus via Thunderbolt to the LAN, we’re having quite a bit problem with dropped connections/unable to save files randomly etc..

    In the log of the Pegasus I can see those Power Save events occurring, is there a way to safely disable that function? Just as a test to see if we get a more stable environment. The server/Promise device are never turned off.

    • Larry Jordan says:

      David:

      While Pegasus monitors this thread, you would be better off, and would get faster response, by contacting their support directly.

      Personally, I don’t know the answer to your question.

      Larry

  38. Hi Guys,
    Question: Shouldn’t the Pegasus2 automatically start up when I power-on my mac pro? I performed a quick shutdown to adjust some other cables safely, but the P2 didn’t power back on automatically. I have to run downstairs to the rack in the data center to power it back on manually. Page 13 of the Promise_Pegasus2_R4_R6_R8_Manual.pdf describes the power modes as follows:

    power modes on the pegasus2
    The Pegasus2 introduces new power saving and response features. These are described below. The automatic power features are:
    • Sleep – When your Mac computer goes to sleep, the Pegasus2 unit automatically shuts down after all background activities are finished.
    • Wake – When your Mac computer wakes, the Pegasus2 unit automatically powers on.
    • Shutdown – When your Mac computer shuts down, the Pegasus2 unit automatically shuts down.
    • Restart After Shutdown – When your Mac computer powers up, the Pegasus2 unit automatically powers up.

    The “Restart After Shutdown” bit doesn’t seem to function as described.

    I’d be interested in everyone’s thoughts before I open another service request with Promise.

    Also, FYI, Just had a couple of drives go bad – one dead, one with intermittent errors. Promise was really good about setting up the RMA, I did have to call them directly after entering my service request though to get prompt service. 2 replacement drives should arrive on Monday. I did give the support tech an ear-full regarding feedback on at least testing/certifying and offering at least one enterprise-grade drive option, even if it required a premium price to cover the additional expense on the drives.

    • Bob Cole says:

      I’m having an Internet Moment, a lot like when I go online to check out reviews for hotels or restaurants. It’s hard to evaluate the significance of negative comments, perhaps because people who are happy aren’t even on this thread.

      Probably like a lot of people, I’ve been reading these posts because I am considering the purchase of a Pegasus2.

      Naturally, many of the customers who’ve written in are those who have had some problems. What I can’t tell is whether this represents a tiny majority of customers, or a substantial percentage.

      Does anyone have an insight into the Big Picture?

      • Larry Jordan says:

        Bob:

        Good question.

        First, no company makes perfect products, nor provides perfect service. There will always be problems, that’s why tech support exists.

        Three things to keep in mind:
        1. Do your needs match the specs of the product. If you are running a data center and need 100% uptime with complete fail-over with the highest possible performance, you won’t get that from a $2,000 system. That’s why companies like Dot Hill exist with RAID solutions that start at $20,000. In storage, as in life, you generally get what you pay for. However, very few of us can afford to spend $20k and more for a storage system. So we look for tradeoffs. That’s where it is important to balance needs against wants against budget.

        2. If Promise did not make good, reliable gear Apple would not sell them in the Mac Store. Apple has been recommending Promise for years. To me, that says a lot. Look at all the hard drive manufacturers that are NOT in Apple’s on-line store.

        3. Never buy solely on price. Green drives save energy and cost less, but they are not particularly fast. Enterprise drives are really fast, but cost a lot more. The more you understand about any technology the more informed you are when purchasing.

        4. Look to see if there is a pattern to the complaints. Is one person posting lots of comments or is there a large pool of unhappy people? Do the complaints span multiple sites? Remember, no product will get perfect reviews. Especially in storage, different gear is configured to meet different needs. When in doubt, call the company and ask to speak to pre-sales support. Ask questions. Give yourself a chance to learn.

        Personally, while I don’t own any Promise gear, I think they are a good company, making good products to serve the middle group of users. Not data centers, but small workgroups that need a good balance between performance and price.

        It also says a lot to me that they are the only company who’s products I’ve reviewed, who then dedicated a person to monitor the comments in the review and answer them. I’ve never seen that kind of attention to customers before.

        Larry

    • Fabrizio Rizzo says:

      Hi Bob,

      Larry makes some excellent points. I bought the Pegasus2 for this generation of my primary storage needs based on the specs, but also due in no small part to the level of information everyone here provides. That includes Victor especially. Again, thank you Victor!

      I’d buy another one if I needed it, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Pegasus2 for the home or low-budget edit bay/recording studio.

      Yes, consumer drives are not the most reliable devices… As Larry mentioned, understand the consumer raid product space and decide what you really need. I believe I have made a good choice with the Pegasus2, and the support/RMA process for drive replacement is occurring efficiently and as-advertised. The price/performance/pain ratios are pretty good, much better than what I’ve dealt with from other vendors in the past.

      If I was to “start over” with an empty Pegasus2 R8, I would consider some configuration enhancements for additional safety:

      1. Reconfigure to have one of the drives as a hot spare, reducing active capacity in favor of fail-safe reliability. There is nothing quite as scary as having one dead drive and a second with non-fatal errors when editing under production deadlines. (Other than losing your array completely and having to explain that…)

      2. Order a spare drive as a cold replacement to eliminate the wait and dependency while a dead drive is RMA’d.
      Options:
      - pay a premium (~$500 USD) for the extra sled and drive via Apple to get Promise-direct support and RMA capability
      - buy the correct disk model from Internet ($160 USD), find and flash the correct firmware revision manually (MS Windows required), and have to deal with seagate or HGST directly for failed disk replacement outside of Promise support as well as a screwdriver to swap disks in the sleds.
      The Promise support tech only recommend the first option, but did talk me through the effort, risks, and support consequences of the second option quite thoroughly, which was pleasantly surprising.

      3. Consider RAID 6 to survive two simultaneous failures – and performance test that option to assure you can edit efficiently/acceptably at that level of performance.

      That said, there may be some hyper-strict logic in the controller firmware… The last FW update supposedly fixed an issue where the controller would mark a drive dead due to a transient short drop in voltage, effectively removing a good drive when it shouldn’t. At least that’s how I recall the Promise tech explaining it to me.
      Updating the firmware and rebuilding the array without replacing the drive was sufficient to restore redundancy.
      That same drive has been marked dead again, so it’s getting RMA’d. I was able to temporarily rebuild the array successfully to continue using that “dead” drive restoring full array redundancy until the RMA shipment arrives. It hasn’t “died” a third time yet…
      All said and done, I’d rather have a “paranoid” hyper-strict controller failing a suspect disk and forcing me to deal with it, than risk anything that puts the file system I/O at risk of corruption due to a dodgy failing disk.

      More work for me, but ++1 in the safety department.

  39. Michiel says:

    If *i* read all the comments i feel even more relieved that i have received my money back and that i am done with it. My Pegasus 2 disconnected from my desktop and there was no way i was able to make it mount again other than kill all Pegasus Controller processes manually. Rebooting, PRAM reset, erc. All the regular tricks didn’t work. It scared the cr** out of me.

    It took me several hours before i was able to access the Pegasus again. I was and still am done with it.

    The Customer Service website is a joke and does not even meet the lowest standard of web-hosting. My ticket was time and again closed by Promise without adding comments. It was a ‘warranty-issue’ while i just received it the other day.

    No, i am relieved and the chance of trying again are zero.

    It’s your money but if you do buy one, buy it in the Apple-store. If you need Customer Service, dont count on Promise. Apple will take care of your issues swiftly and in a professional way.

    I’ll stay with LaCie witch wich i haven’t had a single issue in over 15 years and recently released veriy interesting RAID solutions with more bang for your buck.

    Cheers,
    Michiel

  40. Fabrizio says:

    Promise has not only RMA’d two disks for me, but decided the chassis wasn’t behaving correctly in the process and replaced it. The support website leaves much to be desired, but the support engineers behind it are superb in my experience.

  41. Jeffry Morgan says:

    Windows 8.1 and the Pegasus2 I need the Pam Pro Utility to configure my Array I had it before but cant find it now. does anybody know if And when they will have it for windows or where to find it? They only have the Mac one on there site. If my array goes down and I need to Re configure it i an screwed.

  42. Eddie says:

    Interesting article. I have a few questions I am hoping Larry or anyone else can answer. I am a film score composer and bought the R6 to use as storage for my sounds libraries. I use a DAW (digital audio workstation) and run various instruments through it. Some instruments sometimes load my sounds to ram but the most intense instruments streams from the HD. I thought the R6 running Raid5 with thunderbolt 2 would be perfect but I have since seem some articles telling me that when streaming multiple samples, it’s better to have multiple drives so they work independently. The fact that you can run 9 streams of video would make me think that I shouldn’t have any problems. I presume it’s a similar to streaming multiple samples. My question are

    1. If i formatted the R6 as individual drives, would that be similar to daisy chaining 6 drives via thunderbolt ?
    2. Would there be a bottleneck ?
    3. How can I check if raid 5 is better or 6 individual drives are better ?
    4 I read that the promise can be formatted as 6 individual drives, does anyone know how ?

    Many thanks in advance.

    Eddie

    • Larry Jordan says:

      Eddie:

      I don’t do music composing, but even the most over-sampled audio file is a fraction of the size of even a small video file. I would expect the Pegasus to easily handle a couple of dozen musical instrument streams.

      However, since these are samples and very small files, you may want to reconfigure the Pegasus to handle smaller block sizes. Pegasus support can explain how.

      For answers:
      1. Yes.
      2. No bottleneck, but you lose the redundancy that a RAID provides. If a drive dies, you lose all the data on that drive. That what a RAID 5 prevents.
      3. Contact Pegasus tech support.
      4. Yes. Contact Pegasus tech support.

      Larry

    • Eddie says:

      Thank you for your reply Larry.

      Some more from people in my biz if you are interested to read.

      http://community.vsl.co.at/forums/p/22167/151318.aspx

      Eddie

  43. George says:

    Larry,

    Thank you for sharing your insight in this article. I was hoping to pick your brain a little more.

    I am upgrading from a “legacy” MacPro to a new MacPro and I am at a quandary with what to do about storage.

    If I understood your article correctly, it would take an array of 11 or more drives set as RAID 0, or 12 or more drives set up as RAID 5, to exceed the bandwidth of Thunderbolt 1. Is this correct?

    And if so, does this mean that there is NO advantage to the Pegasus2 over a Pegasus (Thunderbolt 1) in terms of real word speed?

    Confused.
    George

    • Larry Jordan says:

      George:

      Well… I’m not going to say “no difference,” because I haven’t tested both units. But the difference is not likely to be great.

      The big advantage to Thunderbolt 2 is 4K video monitoring, not storage speed; because remember that Thunderbolt is both a video monitor protocol and a data transfer protocol.

      Larry

  44. Considering the wide audience following this post, I decided to ask this here:

    Viideographers, Larry, Victor, What are your recommendations for maintaining high-performance on the Pegasus2 R8 array with regards to defragmentation utilities, minimum available free space, etc…?

    With the default maxed-out configuration resulting in a 28 TB (usable) volume, and having only 4.3 TB free space available, performance has dropped considerably.

    Thoughts, Recommendations?

    • Marc says:

      My first though and question (having an 8*3 Pegasus, 24 usable)
      In which manner the 3TB harddisks could be changed with 4TB (or even 6TB) harddisks?

      • LarryJ says:

        Marc:

        You will need to upgrade all your disks to the larger size at one time. The only way to do this is to copy the data from your existing RAID drives somewhere separate, then, install the new drives, and copy the data back.

        This is, as you can guess, neither quick nor simple.

        Larry

    • LarryJ says:

      Fabrizio:

      Absolutely correct.

      The fuller a hard disk gets the slower it goes. The general rule of thumb is to keep about 25% free space or more on a hard disk or RAID. When drives get fuller, it takes the RAID OS longer to figure out where to store stuff, or to play it back.

      There are 8 drives in your RAID, containing a total of 4 TB of free space (roughly). This averages out to 500 GB per drive – which is WAY less than 25%. In fact, its about 12% free space. Not dangerously low – but definitely impact performance.

      Larry

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  1. [...] Larry Jordan and Studio Daily both have reviews of the Pegasus 2 with Larry summing up that “It provides massive storage, excellent speeds, all at a reasonable price. It isn’t as fast as an all-SSD unit, but it costs far less and holds far more.” [...]

  2. [...] Jordan has written up a very thorough and practical review of the Promise Pegasus 2 with the largest 8-bay [...]

  3. [...] Jordan ha escrito un artículo a fondo sobre este producto, puedes leerlo aquí Concluye que el Pegasus 2 “brinda almacenamiento masivo, excelente velocidad y a un precio [...]



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