Sonnet Technologies ( will will introduce the RackMac mini Xserver rackmount 1U system with a PCIe 2.0 expansion slot for Thunderbolt technology-enabled Mac mini computers at IBC2011.

This system 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, according to the folks at Sonnet.
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, 10Gb Ethernet cards, and RAID controller cards with a racked Mac mini, all in a 1U rack space.

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 2U of rack space.

According to Sonnet, the RackMac mini Xserver can expand a Mac mini’s potential uses in other ways. For example, users can 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, says Robert Farnsworth, CEO of Sonnet Technologies.

The RackMac mini Xserver is expected to be available at the end of November. Pricing will be announced at a later date.