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OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 Hardware RAID

Support Manual

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Introduction

1.1 System Requirements

Operating System

  • Mac: macOS 10.15 or later

Hardware

  • Works with any Mac with a Thunderbolt (USB-C) port

Supported Drives

  • 4 Upper Bays: 3.5”/ 2.5” SATA, SAS, and NVMe U.2 SSDs/adapters
  • 4 Lower Bays: 3.5”/ 2.5” SATA and SAS drives

Supported Flash Media

  • SD (up to 4.0 UHS-II) cards
  • CFexpress (Type B) cards

Supported PCIe Devices

  • Dimensions: Supports one card up to half-length, single-width, full-height
  • Mechanical: x16 PCIe slot
  • Electrical: x4 PCIe 3.0
  • NOTE: Cards with drivers must be Thunderbolt-aware & GPUs are not supported

1.2 Package Contents

  • OWC ThunderBay Flex 8
  • Thunderbolt cable
  • External power supply and power cable
  • Security lock keys
  • SoftRAID license (with select solutions)

1.3 About This Manual

The images and descriptions may vary slightly between this manual and the unit shipped. Functions and features may change depending on the firmware version. The latest product details and warranty information can be found on the product web page. OWC’s Limited Warranty is not transferable and subject to limitations.

General Use Precautions

  • Read this user guide carefully and follow all recommended usage steps and precautions.
  • To avoid damage, do not expose the device to temperatures outside the following ranges:
    • Environmental (Operating)
      • Temperature (ºF): 41º — 95º
      • Temperature (ºC): 5º — 35º
    • Environmental (Non-Operating)
      • Temperature (ºF): -4º — 140º
      • Temperature (ºC): -20º — 60º
  • Always unplug the device from the electrical outlet if there is a risk of lightning or if it will be unused for an extended period of time. Otherwise, there is an increased risk of electrical shock, short-circuiting or fire.
  • Do not use the device near other electrical appliances such as televisions, radios or speakers. Doing so may cause interference which will adversely affect the operation of the other products.
  • Protect your device from excessive exposure to dust during use or storage. Dust can build up inside the device, increasing the risk of damage or malfunction.
  • Do not block any ventilation openings on the device. These help to keep the device cool during operation. Blocking the ventilation openings may cause damage to the device and cause an increased risk of short circuiting or fire.

Safety Precautions

  • Read this user guide carefully and follow the recommended steps for assembly.
  • Use proper anti-static precautions while installing drives into this enclosure. Failure to do so can cause damage to your drive mechanisms and/or the enclosure.
  • Do not attempt to disassemble or modify the device. To avoid any risk of electrical shock, fire, short-circuiting or dangerous emissions, never insert any metallic object into the device. If it appears to be malfunctioning, please contact technical support.
  • Never expose your device to rain, or use it near water or in damp or wet conditions. Never place objects containing liquids on the drive, as they may spill into its openings. Doing so increases the risk of electrical shock, short-circuiting, fire or personal injury.

1.4 Front View

A. (1) Power LED – LED will display white when powered on without a data connection. The LED will display blue when powered on with a data connection.

B. (8) Drive Status LEDs – The top row of (4) LEDs display the status of SATA and U.2 drives. The bottom row of (4) LEDs display the status of SATA drives. The LEDs will flash green for SATA drive activity. The LEDs will flash blue for U.2 drive activity.

C. (1) Security Faceplate Lock – Use the included keys to lock or unlock the faceplate for access to the drive bays.

D. (2) USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A Port – Supports USB devices with a Type-A connection

E. (1) USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C Ports – Supports USB devices with a Type-C connection

F. (1) CFexpress Slot – Supports CFexpress (Type B) cards

G. (1) SD Media Slot – Supports SD 4.0 in UHS-II (Ultra High Speed II) with bus speed up to 156 MB/s (full duplex) or 312 MB/s (half duplex).

1.5 Rear View

A. (1) PCIe Slot Cover – Becomes replaced by available I/O ports of any installed PCIe card. GPUs are not supported.

B. (1) Remote Management Port – Additional details are available by visiting and downloading the ARC-12x6 series User Guide, see section 2.5 “Hardware RAID Utility & Driver”.

C. (2) Thunderbolt 3 Ports – Connect a compatible host to the 85W port. Connect Thunderbolt devices to the 15W port.

D. (1) DisplayPort 1.4 – Supports DisplayPort 1.4 displays

E. (1) Power Port – Connect the power cable to power the device

F. (1) Power Switch – Engage and disengage power to the device.

G. (1) Kensington Security slot – Attach a Kensington Security lock.

Getting Started

2.1 Device Set Up

This section describes the process of setting up the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 if purchased with pre-installed drives. The OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 is available with several assembly and configuration variations.

  • If the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 is assembled with (8) SATA drives. All drives are configured as a Hardware RAID 5.
  • If the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 is assembled with (8) SATA drives. All drives are configured as a SoftRAID RAID 5.
  • If the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 is assembled with (7) SATA drives and (1) U2 Shuttle containing (4) NVMe drives. The SATA drives are configured as a SoftRAID RAID 5, and the U2 Shuttle is configured as a SoftRAID RAID 0.
  • If the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 is assembled with (7) SATA drives and (1) U2 ShuttleOne containing (1) NVMe drives. The SATA drives are configured as a SoftRAID RAID 5, and the U2 ShuttleOne is configured as a Hardware RAID Independent.
  • If the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 is assembled with (2) U2 Shuttles containing a total of (6) NVMe SSDs. All drives are configured as a SoftRAID RAID 0

  1. Plug the power cable into the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 power port located on the back and into a power outlet. The Power LED will illuminate a solid white.
  2. Connect the included Thunderbolt cable the 85W Thunderbolt 3 ports located on the back of the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 and into a system. The Power LED will illuminate a solid blue.
  3. Downloading and installing the latest version of SoftRAID is recommended to experience the best performance from the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8.

Mac SoftRAID set up:

2.2 Assembly Options

The OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 offers multiple drive and RAID configuration options. This device supports 3.5”/2.5” SATA, SAS, and U.2 drives/adapters. NOTE: U.2 drives and adapters are only supported in the top 4 bays of the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8:

  • (8) SATA HDDs configured as a Hardware RAID 0, 1, 10(1E), 3, 5, 6, 30, 50, 60, Single Disk, or JBOD
  • (4) NVMe M.2 SSDs assembled in a U.2 adapter (OWC Shuttle) configured as a SoftRAID RAID 0, and (7) SATA HDDs configured as a SoftRAID RAID 5
  • (1) NVMe M.2 SSD assembled in a U.2 adapter (OWC ShuttleOne) configured as a Single Disk, and (7) SATA HDDs configured as a SoftRAID RAID 5
  • (6) NVMe M.2 SSDs assembled in (2) U.2 adapters (OWC Shuttle) configured as a SoftRAID RAID 0.

2.3 Assembly Steps

This section describes the process of installing drives into the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 if purchased as an empty enclosure.

1. Begin by placing the device on a static free work surface. Obtain drive tray access by insert a security faceplate lock key into the lock located near the upper right of the security faceplate. Turn the key clockwise and pull it forward. The security faceplate will swing out. Once the security faceplate has swung out, lift upwards and outwards to remove the security faceplate.

    2. For each drive tray you wish to remove, turn the thumbscrew counterclockwise until you no longer feel resistance. Then hold onto the thumbscrew and pull to remove the drive tray.

    3. Set the drive tray flat on the work surface and place a 3.5”/ 2.5” SATA, SAS, or U.2 drive/adapter into the drive tray. The label should be facing upwards, and the drive connectors away from the front of the drive tray. Carefully seat the drive. Minimal force is needed.

    • NOTE: If there is any data on the drives being installed, changing the RAID mode will result in data loss.

    4. Affix the drive to the drive tray. Holes for 3.5” drive screws are circled in red, and the holes for 2.5” drive screws are circled in green.

    • NOTE: (6) drive screws are required to secure 3.5” drives to the drive tray ((3) on each side), and (4) drive screws are required to secure 2.5” drives to the drive tray ((4) on the bottom).

    5. Slide the drive tray back into the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 and push until it is seated fully. If you encounter resistance, do not force the drive tray into the drive bay. Remove it, check to make sure there are no obstructions and that the drive tray is lined up correctly, then try again. Once fully seated, push in on the thumbscrew and turn it clockwise until it stops turning.

    6. Slot the security faceplate back onto the front of the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8. Push the security faceplate flush with the front of the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8. Secure the security faceplate by inserting a key into the lock and turn clockwise.

    7. The RAID mode of the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 will need to be configured. Move onto Section 2.5 “Hardware RAID Utility & Driver” for instructions on how to configure or reconfigure the RAID Mode of the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8.

    8. Plug the power cable into the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 power port located on the back and into a power outlet. The Power LED will illuminate a solid white.

    9. Connect the included Thunderbolt cable into one of the two Thunderbolt 3 ports located on the back of the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 and into a system. The Power LED will illuminate a solid blue.

      2.4 PCIe Card Assembly Steps (Optional)

      This is an optional section that describes the process of install a PCIe card in the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8.

      1. As you face the front of the device, the side-panel on the left needs to be removed. Use the included hex key to loosen and remove the four fasteners holding the panel in place. Remove the side cover and safely store for later reassembly.

        2. Remove the PCIe slot cover then set the screw aside. Store the slot cover; it will not be needed to complete this installation.

        3. Align your PCIe card’s connector with the open slot then install the card as you normally would when installing into a desktop computer.

        4. Use the screw from Step 3 to affix the card’s bracket to the case.

        • If your PCIe card has I/O Ports, double-check the back of the device to ensure the bracket is level / that none of the ports are obscured by the plating on the back of the case. If needed, loosen the screw you set in Step 4, re-align the bracket as needed, and re-tighten the screw.

              5. Set the side cover back on the case, making sure the holes are aligned with the four fastener holes, then re-affix the four fasteners removed in Step 1.

                2.5 Hardware RAID Utility & Driver

                This section describes the process of downloading and installing the required driver and RAID utility for managing the RAID functionality of the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8. Additional details can be viewed by visiting and downloading the ARC-12x6 series Quick Installation Guide and User Manual: ttps://www.areca.com.tw/products/sasadapters-12x6.html#section_download. Filter through to find the quick installation guide and user guide by selecting: Documents > Download “ARC-12x6 series Quick Installation Guide” and also “ARC-12x6 series User Manual”.

                • The OWC Thunderbay Flex 8 Hardware RAID enclosure/solution requires a RAID utility and driver to work properly with Mac. The RAID utility and driver can be downloaded by visiting: https://www.areca.com.tw/products/sasadapters-12x6.html#section_download ;
                • There are many software options available once the site has been accessed. Filter through to find the correct RAID utility and driver by selecting:
                  • Driver & Utility > MacOS > Download Utility “Install-mraid-20220520” & Driver “ArcMSRu-1.4.7-BigSur”.
                  • Download and install the RAID utility and driver.
                    • The MRAID Software utility is a program used to manage RAID functionality of the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 Hardware RAID. Please consult section 2.6 “RAID Card Utility Quick Start Guide” for configuring the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 RAID mode.

                2.6 RAID Card Utility Management

                This section describes the process of configuring an enclosure that was purchased without drives. If purchased with drives, The RAID utility can be used to reconfigure the device. The RAID card is managed by a utility to configure the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8. Additional details can be viewed by visiting and downloading the ARC-12x6 series User Manual: ttps://www.areca.com.tw/products/sasadapters-12x6.html#section_download. Filter through to find the quick installation guide and user guide by selecting: Documents > Download “ARC-12x6 series User Manual”.

                1. Launch the MRAID software utility. A command line window and an ArcHTTP Configurations browser window will appear. The configurator available in the browser window will be used to set the RAID mode of the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8.

                  1. Note: If prompted with a security window requesting login credentials, The RAID controller default Username is “admin” and the Password is “0000”.

                  2. Select from “ARC-xxxx Web Management” located under “SAS RAID Controllers”. Choose “Create RAID Set” from the folder “RAID Set Functions” to select the desired drives and RAID mode.

                  1. Note: The number of drives supported by each card can vary. This Areca card supports the full complement of up to (8) drives installed in the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8.

                  3. Choose “Create Volume Set” from the folder “Volume Set Functions”. Select the previously created RAID set and click Submit.

                  4. Additional volume attributes will become available. Select the desired RAID options and click Submit.

                  1. NOTE: It may take a long time for the RAID to finish the initialization process. For example: (8) 4TB HDDs in a RAID 5 may take 8 hours to initialize.
                  2. NOTE: If the Mac goes to sleep, the initialization process will be paused. It is recommended to not let your Mac sleep during the initialization process

                  5. When the initialization process is finished, a macOS message will appear with options to initialize, ignore, or eject the new disk. Select Initialize to format the new volume in Disk Utility. After the volume mounts to the system, you can quit the utilities and begin to use your OWC ThunderBay Flex 8.

                    The full guide can be viewed by visiting and downloading the ARC-12x6 series User Guide: https://www.areca.com.tw/products/sasadapters-12x6.html#section_download. Filter through to find the user guide by selecting: Documents > Download “ARC-12x6 series User Manual”

                    Device Management

                    3.1 Drive Failure

                    • If the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 was configured as a RAID 0, the data on the array is lost and the disk is no longer usable.
                    • If the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 was configured as a RAID 5, the RAID card will alert the user with a beeping tone. The RAID can continue to be used, but the drive should be replaced immediately.

                    3.2 Replacing Drives

                    • The Hot-Swap function can be used to rebuild disk drives in arrays with data redundancy such as RAID level 1, 3, 5, 6, 10, 30, 50 and 60. The data will remain accessible via the functioning drive until the array is rebuilt with a new drive.
                      • If the enclosure was purchased with drives and it is still under warranty, contact OWC technical support for assistance (see Section 4.4 “Contacting Support”). If the unit is outside its warranty or was purchased without drives, follow the assembly instructions to access and replace the failed drive.
                        • NOTE: A failed drive must be replaced with an identical drive (model, capacity, firmware). Refer above to section 2.3 “Assembly Steps” for drive replacement steps.
                        • NOTE: The OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 needs an active data signal to remain powered on. If it is disconnected from the computer, or if the computer goes to sleep or turns off, the device will power off. To minimize the rebuild time, it is recommended to keep the device connected to the computer (with the computer powered on), and disable any drive sleep settings on the computer for the duration of the rebuild.

                    3.3 Unmounting Drives

                    To ensure no data is lost during normal use, always eject or unmount the corresponding disk(s) from your operating system before powering off the device. Unmounting options are provided below.

                    OWC Dock Ejector

                    This application safely ejects all drives connected to the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 with a single click, adding peace of mind to fast-paced mobile workflows. To install this app, please follow the steps below.

                    1. Download the installer file for Mac: go.owc.com/dockejector
                    2. Launch the installer and follow the prompts. No restart is required.
                    3. Once the app is running an icon like the one shown below will appear in the macOS menubar. Clicking on the icon will provide options to unmount the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8.
                    4. Full user manual can be viewed by visiting go.owc.com/dockejector/manual

                    Manually Unmounting Drives

                    macOS

                    1. Drag the icon for the disk you wish to unmount to the trash can; OR
                    2. Right-click the disk icon on the desktop, then click “Eject”; OR
                    3. Highlight the disk on your Desktop and press Command-E.

                    3.4 OWC Innergize Software

                    • A software application included with OWC Atlas media cards that currently provides three basic functionalities to the user: Health, Sanitize and Field Firmware Upgradability.
                      • The Health function allows the user to know how much life is left on their OWC Atlas media card
                      • Sanitize removes ghost data on OWC Atlas media cards which will allow the media cards to perform at their peak and out of factory condition performance in matter of seconds  
                      • Field Firmware upgradability allows OWC to deliver live updates to our memory cards without the hassle of sending them in for an update.

                    Installing OWC Innergize

                    • Download OWC Innergize for Mac.
                    • Open the downloaded Innergize.dmg file to begin and complete the installation process.
                    • For additional information regarding OWC Innergize please consult the support manual "OWC Innergize User Guide"
                      NOTE: Only SDXC memory cards are supported with Innergize software through the OWC Thunderbolt Pro Dock.

                      Required Firmware Update

                      OWC Innergize requires a firmware update to work properly with select OWC Memory Card Readers, Docks, and Storage Solutions.

                      • Ensure the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 is powered and connected to a compatible system with the included data cable.
                      • Insert an OWC Atlas SDXC memory card into the SD Media Slot of the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8. Align the memory card notches with the internal card reader connections. The gold contacts should be facing left when the memory card is inserted. This allows the system to recognize the card reader.
                      • In a Windows environment, download the OWC Innergize Firmware Update for the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8.
                        NOTE: Mac users will require additional steps to complete the installation of the firmware. The firmware update is completed through the Windows operating system, therefore a Windows operating system emulator “Parallels” will need to be downloaded.
                      • In a Windows environment, access the system Downloads folder and open the downloaded Compressed Folder. The compressed folder will open showing a firmware updater folder, and PDF/Word instructions for completing the firmware update process. Before accessing the firmware updater folder, open the instructions and proceed through the provided steps.
                      • For additional information regarding the OWC Innergize for Mac firmware update please consult the support article based on the system: "Innergize for Mac: Firmware Update".

                      3.5 Usage Notes

                      • U.2 drives supported only in the top 4 drive bays. The left-most bay provides x4 PCIe lanes for maximum performance; the remaining three provide x1 lanes each.
                      • 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch SATA or SAS drives accepted in all 8 bays.
                      • The ARC-12x6 can only manage the SATA or SAS drives. NVMe drives are not supported via hardware RAID.
                      • NVMe drives can be configured into a RAID using Disk Utility or SoftRAID. Additional information regarding SoftRAID can be discovered by visiting: go.owc.com/softraid/qsg 
                      • Front USB ports can connect at up to 10Gbps even though they are Type-A ports (USB 3.2 Gen 2).
                      • Thunderbolt device chains can support up to six Thunderbolt devices.
                      • By using the DisplayPort feature, the overall performance of the drive may decrease as the DisplayPort shares bandwidth with the Thunderbolt 3 ports. The same is true if you connect a display to one of the available Thunderbolt 3 ports (this can be done with either a native Thunderbolt 3 display or with a Thunderbolt 3 display adapter).
                      • Thunderbolt 3 is backwards compatible with Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt, but speeds can be impacted depending on where in the chain a device is connected. If mixing Thunderbolt 3 with Thunderbolt 2 and/or Thunderbolt devices, use the device order shown below, if possible. Computer > Thunderbolt 3 devices > Thunderbolt 2 devices > Thunderbolt devices.
                      • Use of HDMI display via thunderbolt port requires USB-C to HDMI adapter. (Sold separately at go.owc.com/nwt/usbchdmiadapter.).
                      • USB ports on the back of the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 are backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices.
                      • Thunderbolt/Thunderbolt 2 device compatibility requires a certified Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 (mDP) adapter and a Thunderbolt 2 cable.
                      • Compatibility and performance will be at Thunderbolt/Thunderbolt 2 speeds. (Sold separately at go.owc.com/apple/tb3tb2adapter).
                      • Experienced display support will vary among systems. Please consult the system manufacture specifications to determine the maximum supported resolution, refresh rate, color depth, and number of external displays over Thunderbolt.
                      • To ensure no data is lost during normal use, always eject or unmount the corresponding disk(s) from your operating system before powering off the device. Several options are provided below for Mac.
                        • Drag the icon for the disk you wish to unmount to the trash can; OR
                        • Right-click the disk icon on the desktop, then click “Eject”; OR
                        • Highlight the disk on your Desktop and press Command-E.

                      Support Resources

                      4.1 Troubleshooting

                      • Begin troubleshooting by verifying that the power cable is connected to the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 and to a power source. If the power cable is connected to a power strip, make sure that the power switch on the strip is turned on. Then, verify that the Thunderbolt 3 cable is properly plugged into the computer and the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8.
                      • If the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 is still not working properly, try connecting to another computer or using another Thunderbolt 3 cable. When the computer goes to sleep, the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 will go to sleep. If you are still experiencing problems, consult Section 4.4 for OWC technical support contact information.
                      • If the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 volume isn’t appearing on the Mac system, ensure the driver is installed by going to System Information > PCIe, and verify that “Driver Installed” says yes.

                      4.2 Online Resources

                      4.3 About Data Backup

                      To ensure that your files are protected and to prevent data loss, we strongly suggest that you keep two copies of your data: one copy on your OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 and a second copy on either your internal drive or another storage medium, such as an optical backup, or on another external storage unit. Any data loss or corruption while using the OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 is the sole responsibility of the user, and under no circumstances may OWC, its parents, partners, affiliates, officers, employees, or agents be held liable for loss of the use of data including compensation of any kind or recovery of the data.

                      4.4 Contacting Support

                      Terms & Conditions of Sale

                      Warranty

                      The OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 has a 3 Year OWC Limited Warranty or 5 Year OWC Limited Warranty if it was bundled with drives. OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 enclosures that do not ship with drives have a 1 Year OWC Limited Warranty. For up-to-date product and warranty information, please visit the product web page.

                      Changes

                      The material in this document is for information purposes only and subject to change without notice. While reasonable efforts have been made in the preparation of this document to assure its accuracy, OWC, its parent, partners, affiliates, officers, employees, and agents assume no liability resulting from errors or omissions in this document, or from the use of the information contained herein. OWC reserves the right to make changes or revisions in the product design or the product manual without reservation and without obligation to notify any person of such revisions and changes.

                      FCC Statement

                      Warning! Modifications not authorized by the manufacturer may void the user’s authority to operate this device.
                      NOTE: This equipment has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a Class B digital device, pursuant to Part 15 of the FCC Rules. These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against harmful interference in a residential installation. This equipment generates, uses and can radiate radio frequency energy and, if not installed and used in accordance with the instructions, may cause harmful interference to radio communications. However, there is no guarantee that interference will not occur in a particular installation. If this equipment does cause harmful interference with radio or television reception, which can be determined by turning the equipment off and on, the user is encouraged to try to correct the interference by one or more of the following measures:

                      • Reorient or relocate the receiving antenna.
                      • Increase the separation between the equipment and receiver.
                      • Connect the equipment to an outlet on a circuit different from that to which the receiver is connected.

                      Copyrights And Trademarks

                      No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written consent of OWC.

                      © 2022 Other World Computing, Inc. All rights reserved. OWC and the OWC logo are trademarks of New Concepts Development Corporation, registered in the U.S. and/or other countries. OWC ThunderBay Flex 8 is trademark of New Concepts Development Corporation. Mac and macOS are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Thunderbolt and the Thunderbolt logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other marks may be the trademark or registered trademark property of their owners.

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