Making a Thunderbolt 3 Akitio drive enclosure work with Proxmox on a NUC

I recently tackled the task of setting up a home lab/server using Proxmox on an Intel NUC8i7HVK. The NUC is a very powerful little box that has a very small power draw, making it great for a home server application. I also got a hold of two 10TB drives that I shucked from western digital easystore enclosures and purchased an external Akitio Thunder 3 Quad X enclosure that I figured would work well with the 2 TB3 ports that the NUC sports.

After putting the two 10TB drives into the Akitio enclosure I plugged it into the NUC to see if it would be detected:

lspci -v # shows the thunderbolt 3 ports
fdisk -l # drives are not showing up yet

So the thunderbolt 3 ports are recognized by the OS, but the drives are not showing up yet. I also know that one of the Thunderbolt 3 ports is working because I had used it to plug in my monitor to setup the NUC initially. Searching around I found this info on That led me to execute the following commands to see that first the device was not yet authorized, and then to authorize it:

cat /sys/bus/thunderbolt/devices/0-3/authorized # returned a 0 meaning it wasn't yet authorized
echo 1 > /sys/bus/thunderbolt/devices/0-3/authorized

I set the authorized flag to 1 and then went back into proxmox and hit the reload button on the Disks page, and viola, I have 2 10TB disks showing up.

This is not the ideal way to authorize TB3 devices within Linux/Debian. There does exist a utility called bolt which is for managing TB3 devices within linux. To install this I first added the package repo that has bolt to my sources.list:

nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Add the repo deb sid main then apt update and install it.

Update 08/17/2019: I had reinstalled proxmox to version 6 and followed the instructions on servethehome which adds the non-subscription repo at step 1, so one does not need to add the repo I mentioned above if they’ve done the same.

apt-get update
apt-get install bolt
# you may need to fix broken dependencies with:
apt --fix-broken install

Now you should have a boltctl command and can see what is available with it using boltctl --help. To store the device for future connection authorization issue boltctl enroll <uuid>. I did this and got a message like The name org.freedesktop.PolicyKit1 was not provided by any .service files. This was because I did not install policykit, so after a a quick apt-get install policykit-1 and then reissuing the boltctl enroll command the device was authorized and stored.

About: geek

A software engineer that started at CompuServe back in 1995 and is going strong helping develop the web still today.

4 thoughts on “Making a Thunderbolt 3 Akitio drive enclosure work with Proxmox on a NUC”

  1. Thanks. Could you share experiences on using this setup? I plan something similar using the Gen 6 Skull canyon.

    1. John, so far it is working great. I am still in the process of determining the best NAS type of setup using Proxmox while also wanting to run VMs and containers, however the TB3 enclosure with four 10TB WD red drives (white label) has been working without issue. I’ve reconfigured it a few times already, since I started with 2 drives and Proxmox 5, then just a little later added 2 more drives and reinstalled Proxmox to update to 6. I have created ZFS pools with the 4 bay TB3 enclosure, but am testing things to determine if I should setup an L2ARC on the internal nvme drive as a cache for the ZFS pool. I hope to post some performance stats with the setup here soon.

      1. Thanks. I am currently running ESXi on my Nuc with local storage only. However, my trusty NAS (QNAP 239 Pro) is end of life with respect to security updates by October next year, so I aim to replace it with Thunderbolt 3 storage connected to the Nuc, switching to Proxmox if needed to get thunderbolt 3 running. Not decided on file system or raid setup just yet.

  2. +1 Thanks mate…this solved a lot of heartache!    I was running Proxmox VE 5 and could only see the Thunderbolt bridge devices with lspci.  After upgrading to Proxmox VE6 and then following your instructions  then I was able to see my Sonnet SFP+ 10Gb NIC in Proxmox.  🙂

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