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Forums Storage & Archiving OWC Mercury Pro LTO to Mac mini M1

  • OWC Mercury Pro LTO to Mac mini M1

  • Todd Gill

    January 13, 2021 at 10:00 pm

    When I found out about the news that Tolis was no longer, I’ll be honest, I panicked. A little history. I felt that I am on that edge where I do need to update my archiving solution. I have been running Bru since 2014, now at 3.X.X quite easily on my iMac which is fairly old and is now locked in and will never be updated.

    Through out this year, I was trying to be proactive and setup Argest on my PC but was never able to get it to run properly. Then the news of Bru came out. I then devised a plan( probably to hastily.) I have been archiving LTO-5 until late 2018 when I upgraded to LTO7. In November, I figured now is the time to just bite the bullet and move up to OWC MercuryPro LTO8.

    Thinking I would Restore LTO-5 on my LTO-7 deck and archive those to LTO-8. I was archiving some sessions(testing) with the LTO-8 deck and a thunderbolt3 enabled PC using Pre-Roll Post with some frustration as I would get errors in the LTFS archiving rendering the tape un-readable. There was a time or so I was able to go back a session and re archive, but that was once. Not sure this is the fault of PreRoll Post, LTFS drivers or possibly the connectivity. It just feels unrealiable after two -three weeks of testing and trouble shooting.

    So I purchased a mac mini with a M1 chip. I had great success with my LTO-5 and now LTO-7 via SAS-to-Thunderbolt to the iMac. It was and is still solid. So why not think that would be the same for the newer technology of thunderbolt 3 LTO deck to the Mac Mini.

    Long story short… I am having issues getting the software to see the LTO deck. I see that it is being seen in the OS level(System Report), but I have tried at least three LTO Software with out any luck of them seeing the LTO deck. I have reached out to OWC with no technical help as of yet. Any thoughts or suggestions would be helpful.

  • David Fox

    January 14, 2021 at 11:01 am

    I’ve read that the SAS <-> Thunderbolt bridge requires a driver update to work with the new M1 architecture Macs. I don’t know which bridge you’re using, you don’t say, but check with the vendor to see if it’s compatible with M1 Macs and there should be a firmware update available now or soon.


  • Martin Greenwood

    January 14, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    Inside the unit there will be a SAS card and as David says you will need a new driver for an M1 Mac. Likewise a new driver will be needed for your SAS to TB adaptor. Magstor have released an M1/Intel driver for their tape drives, but other manufacturers are still working on this.

    Martin Greenwood

    YoYotta Ltd

  • Todd Gill

    January 14, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    That is what I have figured, I have asked support at OWC to see if they have an updated driver, but I have yet to hear from them.

  • Tim Jones

    January 20, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    Hi Todd,

    We are working on the driver and have run into an Apple kernel problem that we are working with Apple to sort out. Hang in there as the solution is coming.

    Also, the BRU PE update to ArGest Backup works properly under Big Sur and is a Universal app for the M1 units.


    Tim Jones

    Chief Solutions Architect
    Other World Computing, Inc.,

  • Todd Gill

    January 21, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    Thank you Tim, this is encouraging. I do have Argest Backup installed on the Mac mini and does seem to work,but the issue at hand is keeping me from using it.

  • Tim Gerhard

    January 22, 2021 at 12:20 am

    Thunderbolt 3 devices require a strict certification for both Windows and MAC. OWC has not passed certification for Windows, so that’s why you’re probably not getting anywhere. MagStor is the only Thunderbolt 3 drive certified for Windows, and also has Apple M1 compatibility to boot.

    Anyone serious about preserving their data shouldn’t use dead software that is out of business. A YoYotta license runs you less than $490 and they offer top notch support on their software, and have a wealth of vendor-neutral hardware knowledge.

    I’d suggest returning that Mercury PRO LTO if you can. They just released it in September or so and it isn’t certified for Windows or working on M1 MACs yet, while they’ve had plenty of time to do so.

    I’m also a bit surprised by the amount of misleading information on the Mercury Pro product page.

    360 MB/s native speed is inaccurate. The OWC Mercury PRO uses a Half-Height tape drive, which is limited to 300 MB/s. Only full-height LTO8 drives run at 360 MB/s that’re commonly only used in enterprise tape libraries. This isn’t what you’re getting with a Mercury PRO.

    5 Year Warranty badge everywhere, but it’s only for the enclosure

    <b style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;”>Industry leading support, you already saw the level of response you get. Every other brand responds same business day generally.

    Windows Compatibility – Already covered that above. No certification per Intel’s website.

    Full disclosure – I represent MagStor, and our company ONLY deals with tape drives. Do you want to buy a complicated storage device from a company that has a spread out focus on accessories/docks and is attempting to make an LTO drive? Or do you want to deal with a company that is laser focused with years of experience?

  • Bob Zelin

    January 22, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Tim –

    this is a great post. MagStor is a great company, and YoYotta is a great company. Martin is a pleasure to deal with and is very very responsive to customers. And so is Hedge with Canister.


  • Bob Zelin

    January 22, 2021 at 3:26 pm

    I am also very very happy that Other World Computing is currently recommending the LTFS format for their own branded LTO products –

    LTFS Compatible: archive files/folders with drag and drop easeSimple Interface: mount, format, and backup to an LTO tape and hard drive simultaneously via included myLTO® app

    There’s a priceless convenience of familiarity in using the OWC Mercury Pro LTO to protect your data. By using archiving industry standard Linear Tape Open (LTO) tapes formatted with the Linear Tape File System (LTFS), the tapes can be accessed on your computer just like a hard drive or SSD. Files appear in folders and moving them to/retrieving them from tape is drag and drop easy. And compatibility has never been more simple…thanks to LTFS, LTO tapes can be read from a Mac, PC, or Linux system so there’s no extra software to buy or proprietary hardware concerns.

    you can see that this product comes with myLTO software from Imagine Products. And OWC is also recommending Pomfort Silverstack XT, Hedge Canister, YoYotta LTFS, XenData6 Workstation, Archiware P5, and more.

    So I think it’s pretty clear as to the direction that OWC wants to go with this product line.

    Bob Zelin

  • Tim Jones

    January 22, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    Thunderbolt 3 devices require a strict certification for both Windows and MAC. OWC has not passed certification for Windows, so that’s why you’re probably not getting anywhere. MagStor is the only Thunderbolt 3 drive certified for Windows, and also has Apple M1 compatibility to boot.

    Absolutely not correct Tim and you need to retract that statement and the implication that it creates. Our lack of a Mac M1 driver has no bearing on our certification on Windows, it has to do with a bug that we’ve discovered in the M1 STUC layer. One that will probably affect your driver as well, since it’s related to the kernel.

    Next, BRU is NOT dead software. it is now owned by OWC, I am still it’s primary architect, and we are continuing in its development and growth based on its 36 year legacy of reliable backups. Also, BRU solutions have no dependency on open source software that can break depending on the version used or dependent packages like ICU and FuSE. You should really use caution when making such statements.

    Your performance statement is also FUD and needs to be clarified. You are correct that the half height drives are only rated for 300MB/sec native throughput like its LTO-7 older brother and we will update that on the website, but with BRU driving the I/O instead of LTFS, we’re easily achieving 325MB/sec+ processing average M&E file data with the half height LTO-8 drives.

    Finally, OWC’s product line breadth has no bearing on how we support a new product. Again, your deliberate use of misleading statements needs to be retracted.

    Tim Jones

    Chief Solutions Architect
    Other World Computing, Inc.,

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