Thunderbolt, a Cheap High-Speed Storage Interconnect?

Fri 25 February 2011 Category: Storage

Intel and Apple released Thunderbolt a high-speed (10 Gigabit/s) interface, that seems to replace both USB and Firewire. It is mainly targeted at end-user systems allowing to connect peripherals with just a single cable to a computer. Thunderbolt devices, like external hard drives or displays can be daisy chained, like Firewire. In short, Thunderbolt removes the cable clutter and ads a significant speed bonus.

For NAS owners and storage enthusiasts, this is also a very interesting technology. Just like Firewire, it seems to support computer-to-computer communication. So Thunderbolt could be used as a high-speed link between your homegrown NAS device and your PC workstation. Or between two storage / server system.


The only downside to Thunderbolt is the maximum cable length of 3 meters between devices. Thunderbolt doesn't seem to be the ideal replacement for your Gigabit network, but if most of your computer systems are close to each other, it might be very interesting.