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ISO:SAN over Gigbit Ethernet using DVCPRO-50 codec?

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Ben Howard
ISO:SAN over Gigbit Ethernet using DVCPRO-50 codec?
on Oct 17, 2006 at 8:37:06 pm

I know very little about the wonderful world of SAN. I have managed a Unity system and helped install a XSAN - but I didn't have the chance to get under the hood and really learn how these types of systems work. When my budget allows, XSAN will likely be the direction I will head, but in the interim I wonder if I can pull off a poor man's version of XSAN by living with a few limitations. Can anyone give me an idea if I'd be able to really work in the following environment:

I've got 9 FCP systems, not all *need* to be on a SAN right now. 2 systems are dedicated to offline editing a series. Another 2 are dedicated to offlining another series. 1 system is a dedicated on line suite. What would be cool is if I could get the 2 of the offline suites (or even all 4) connected on a SAN. Ultimately, if the online suite could be on the same SAN and just mount the appropriate volume as needed, that'd be cool.

I have copper fibre channel cards in 3 of the rooms. Those systems are connected to Medea RTRX 2TB arrays. It'd be really cool if I could locate all the arrays in one room and then share them between edit suites. As I said before XSAN *is* the way I'd like to do this, but I can't afford it. So is it possible to do it on the cheap?

One other thing that might be going in my favor: Due to some earlier decisions we are working at DVCPRO-50 codec. So we don't have the overhead of full uncompressed. I was thinking that that might work in my favor to allow it all to work over Gigabit ethernet. Right now we capture everything at DVCPRO-50 rez and work thru the offline and then pass on the media and project to the online, via FW800 GRAID's.

Obviously a volume-locking san may be my best bet, but I just wondered if there was any way to make it all work without getting too crazy with buying new gear.

Not sure if I've given enough info here...I'll add to the info above if you needed to know more. Thanks.

Ben Howard
Howard Media Works, Inc.


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Francois Stark
Re: ISO:SAN over Gigbit Ethernet using DVCPRO-50 codec?
on Oct 18, 2006 at 7:12:56 pm

Hi Ben

I've been where you are. I started with a volume locking san (20 months ago), and it works. But we grew, and with four FCP systems and three Pro Tools systems, we are now running 11 volumes on volume locking. It gets really messy. I'm fed-up of closing FCP, umnounting/re-mounting a volume just because one of the other editors captured one clip from DVD for me. Or if I use a faster machine to render while I continue working on a slower system - the FCP shutdown/unmount/remount process almost makes it not worth it.

I am now testing a file locking SAN called metasan. It has two distinct advantages over XSAN: it does not need a dedicated metadata server or metadata volume, and also it does not need a dedicated second ethernet network. I got home about 90 minutes earlier tonight because I rendered on another suite while continiung work. Without closing FCP or unmounting anything.

I've been testing metasan for a week now - Bernard will supply you a 30 day eval license for your full san. The only other hardware you will need is a fibre channel switch. Since it seems most of your hardware runs on 2gbit fibre, I would suggest a QLogic 5200 switch, some fibre channel cables and bob's your uncle.

Once you start realing the efficiency advantage of not having to transfer stuff using firewire drives (yuch!), you really won't look back.

Regards
Francois



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