Sonnet announces RackMac mini Xserver, makes Apple desktop IT life seem more legit

We're sure a few of you have made that recently revamped Mac mini your office server, but now you can give it the look of a grown-up server room. Thanks to Sonnet, you'll soon be able to rack mount your Thunderbolt sportin' dainty PC within a 1U shell. The company has announced that, upon the system's expected arrival in November, it'll be decked out with a PCIe 2.0 X4 slot, a 75W power supply and a Thunderbolt daisy-chain port. This Apple speed-port adapter will enable use of that massive Thunderbolt display even in server or metadata controller mode. For more use scenarios, hit the full PR below or peruse the product page via the coverage link.

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Sonnet Introduces Rackmount 1U System with PCIe 2.0 Expansion Slot for Thunderbolt™ Technology-enabled Mac® mini Computers

Sonnet's RackMac™ mini Xserver Enables a Mac mini with Thunderbolt Technology to Become a Full-Function Metadata Controller and More

IRVINE, CA-September 6, 2011-Sonnet Technologies today announced that it will introduce the RackMac™ mini Xserver Rackmount 1U System with PCIe 2.0 Expansion Slot for Thunderbolt™ Technology-enabled Mac® mini computers at IBC 2011. This system securely mounts a Mac mini inside a specially designed 1U enclosure, which also contains one PCIe 2.0 x4 slot, a 75W power supply plus a Thunderbolt daisy-chain port. This system enables users to connect one half-length PCIe 2.0 adapter card to the Mac mini via a Thunderbolt cable, while allowing the connection of additional Thunderbolt peripherals to the daisy-chain Thunderbolt port. The enclosure also delivers strategic airflow cooling to the computer, provides a front panel power button and USB port and can automatically power on/off the PCIe Expansion Slot in unison with the Mac mini.

The RackMac mini Xserver supports one half-length, x16 (x4 mode), PCIe 2.0 card to enable the use of professional video capture cards, 8Gb Fibre Channel cards, 10-Gigabit Ethernet cards, and RAID controller cards with a racked Mac mini all in 1U rack space. This enhanced connectivity boosts the computer's potential as a server in a big way. Thunderbolt provides the path for expansion, and Sonnet's system takes it.

With the addition of a Fibre Channel adapter card plugged into the integrated PCIe 2.0 slot plus an Ethernet adapter (either connected to the computer's USB port or to the second Thunderbolt port via Sonnet's Echo™ ExpressCard™/34 Thunderbolt™ Adapter) RackMac mini Xserver can transform a Mac mini into a full-function metadata controller for an Xsan®, or metaSAN metadata master. Racking up a second RackMac mini Xserver provides two redundant metadata controllers occupying a total of just 2U of rack space and costing a fraction of available alternatives.

RackMac mini Xserver can expand a Mac mini's potential uses in many other ways. Install a high-performance video capture card and connect a Sonnet Qio™ Professional Universal Media Reader through Sonnet's Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter to the extra Thunderbolt port to deploy video capture services to a workgroup. With the addition of one or more storage systems connected to a high-performance RAID controller, users can deploy virtually unlimited RAID-protected shared storage across the network.

"With the discontinuation of Apple's Xserve there has been a gap in the market that the Mac mini Server has not been able to address by itself. The RackMac mini Xserver gives the Mac mini Server the ability handle a new range of services. This powerful computer can now meet its full potential as the heart of mission-critical server environments," said Robert Farnsworth, CEO of Sonnet Technologies. "The possibilities are nearly limitless."

The RackMac mini Xserver is expected to be available at the end of November, with pricing to be announced at a later date.

More information about the RackMac mini Xserver is available at Sonnet's Website at .