LaCie is shipping the Flexible Ultra 160 RAID Tower for the Mac.

The device offers a choice of RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) levels, including 0, 1, 0+1, 3 and 5. It hosts a 160MBs SCSI connection and contains 12 drives, with a total capacity of 12TB - which can be scaleable to 24 drives per array.

It requires no special device drivers or software, and can be configured with LaCie's 7,200rpm 180GB hard drives. These drives help the TX12000 achieve data-transfer rates of up to 75MBs with a 2ms average data-access time. Half-height SCSI SCA 36GB and 73GB 10,000 rpm drives are also available. The solution is scaleable up to a maximum of 12 drives per unit, though two units can be daisy-chained together to create the theoretical maximum of 24 drives in the array.

The SCSI interface is Ultra 160, which is backward compatible with legacy SCSI drives or hosts.

LaCie's controller supports up to eight concurrent RAID sets, each with its own unique RAID level, so the unit can be set up to implement fast data-retrieval, or for the best possible data security.

High-speed processing is best handled by the RAID 0 configuration, which is often employed by video producers and data warehouses. Other configurations, such as 1, 0+1, 3 and 5) are better at recovering data lost by a failed drive. In these configurations a RAID array can automatically rebuild data from the failed drive onto a spare drive.

Administration and set-up is managed via an LCD display on the back of the device. The company offers free 24-hour technical support for these units, which carry a three-year warranty and cost £6,149.