New Flex 1U4 Brings OWC’s Thunderbolt Storage to Server Racks

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OWC has expanded its Flex product line with the Flex 1U4, a four-bay Thunderbolt-based storage and docking station that can be rack-mounted with servers.

the OWC Flex 1U4 is not your typical docking and storage station, in that it is not designed specifically for use on or near a desk like the ThunderBay Flex 8. Instead, the Flex 1U4 is intended for use by businesses and enterprises, alongside servers and other equipment installed in a rack.

Containing four bays, the Flex 1U4 can house up to four drives, including a mix of 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch SATA or SAS drives as well as U.2 and M.2 NVMe drives. Drives are kept in hot-swappable bays, allowing for quick storage changes when needed.

In addition to future-proofing with support for U.2 drives, users can also take advantage of RAID storage configuration, using OWC’s included SoftRAID tool.

Along with the drive bays, the 1U4 also includes a host of ports, like its desktop counterpart. This includes two USB-C ports connecting at 10Gb/s, as well as three USB-A ports at 10Gb/s.

A pair of Thunderbolt ports are provided, with the upstream offering up to 85W of power to charge a MacBook Pro. The Flex 1U4 can be used in a daisy chain of up to five devices, using the second Thunderbolt port.

It is also possible to use the Flex 14U with a monitor. The model’s DisplayPort 1.4 port allows it to work with a single display up to 8K.

The Flex 14U offers more expansion options, with the ability to install a card in the PCIe x16 land x4 speed slot. This means businesses can add their choice of networking, audio, or other connectivity options, depending on their needs.

OWC sells the Flex 1U4 in a variety of configurations, with hard drive storage from $1,899 with 16TB of capacity across four 4TB hard drives, increasing to 72TB of total hard drive storage for $3,179.

Configuring 4TB of NVMe storage using four 1TB SSDs costs $1,849, with 32TB on four 8TB drives priced at $7,379.

A third option combines four NVMe SSDs in an OWC U2 shuttle in one bay and HDDs in the other three, providing a combination of high-speed and high-capacity storage. This option starts at $2,729 for 4TB of NVMe and 12TB of HDD storage, with the highest configuration of 32TB of NVMe and 54TB of HDD storage priced at $9,499.

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