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I don't need SAN....Do I?

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Marc Bostrom
I don't need SAN....Do I?
on Nov 28, 2008 at 10:03:58 pm

Hi!

I have a small facility with 3 FCP edit stations and an centralized AFP shared storage workstation. This workstation keeps our FCP project files, non HD media files and stockvideo + graphics etc..
I have set the system up with link agg. on the server and jumbo on the network.
The last couple of weeks I have been evaluating metaLAN server. The shares mounts like they should. And all 3 edit-stations have worked good with metaLAN client installed.
But.... I have a performance slowdown with metaLAN compared to AFP.
Looking back (before metaLAN) I feel that we had good stability and that our data was safe...
So I ask... Do I need a SAN in this MAC / FCP only setup?

Marc Bostrom
-| just another PRO FCP user |-


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Bob Zelin
Re: I don't need SAN....Do I?
on Nov 29, 2008 at 3:31:06 pm

you are the first person to publically post this type of comment. I have been silent up until now, and I "tread lightly". I had the same issue that you had with multiple clients, and I have heard of this exact issue from other people around the country. I have been emailed privately about this as well. What you have discovered is unfortunately very accurate. I too now only use AFP with link aggregation, without issue. I have personally run up to 7 FCP clients in the configuration you are describing without issue, and I have just heard that Pink Sneakers Productions is now running TEN FCP clients off of one link aggregated managed switch from Small Tree.

What switch and multi port card are you using ?

Bob Zelin




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Marc Bostrom
Re: I don't need SAN....Do I?
on Nov 30, 2008 at 12:33:14 pm

Thanks for your reply... I am sure that other setups would benefit in having a SAN. And the answer I got from the Tiger tech. guys was that metaLAN is great when you need to effectively manage the bandwidth allocation, benefit from server failover, virtualization for Avid (on Windows), or if you want easy cross-platform connectivity.

To answer your question:
Our setup is cheapo - but works,

1 x G4 dual 1Ghz vintage machine with two Intel Pro MT1000 gigabit cards that are aggregated. The machines own NIC runs on the office network.
1 x planet GSW-2404SF - doing jumbo

If I should buy today I would probably buy the HP ProCurve Switch 1800-24G.

For Christmas I'd like a HP ProCurve Switch 6400cl-6XG + 4xNICs......pretty please.

Marc Bostrom
-| just another PRO FCP user |-


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Bob Zelin
Re: I don't need SAN....Do I?
on Nov 30, 2008 at 8:32:36 pm

For Christmas I'd like a HP ProCurve Switch 6400cl-6XG + 4xNICs......pretty please.


exactly what 4 port NIC cards with MAC drivers would you purchase (for christmas) ?

bob zelin



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Marc Bostrom
Re: I don't need SAN....Do I?
on Nov 30, 2008 at 8:51:05 pm

Sorry, I meant 4 single 10gbe CX4 NICs. Like the ones at:
Small-Tree: Intel Based 10 Gb PCIE Dual Port CX4 Copper Ethernet Server Adapter
or
Chelsio Communications: 10GBe adaptor N320E-CXA

Purchase...no...no...no... I believe in Santa ;-)

Marc Bostrom
-| just another PRO FCP user |-


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Bob Zelin
Re: I don't need SAN....Do I?
on Nov 30, 2008 at 11:51:49 pm

I am hoping that 2009 will bring us 10Gb cards that will work with RJ45 CAT6A format, and not have to rely on CX4 cables. That would be wonderful.

10Gb will only give us 180mb/sec (which is enough for uncompressed HD, but not 2K work). The fibre people (like ATTO) are aggresively pushing for 8 Gig Fibre, as the ethernet stuff on the market now can do exactly what Fibre can currently do.


I have been using the Small Tree ES4524D switch for all installs, but have heard great things about the HP Pro Curve 1800-24G. I have not tried it however. Someone on this forum contacted me privately and said that they got the inexpensive Netgear GS724T switch to work as well.

Bob Zelin




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john McClary
Re: I don't need SAN....Do I?
on Dec 1, 2008 at 2:43:01 am

Sorry, I think I need a term definition to be able to follow this thread. I know it should be obvious but "AFP" stands for what...?

John McClary


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Marc Bostrom
Re: I don't need SAN....Do I?
on Dec 1, 2008 at 2:09:37 pm

AFP: Apple Filing Protocol
Read all about it here: http://developer.apple.com/documentation/Networking/Conceptual/AFP/Introduc...

Bob, I don't understand why 10gbe only can deliver 180mb/sec. I have searched the web and have found this document:
http://www.myri.com/scs/performance/Myri10GE/#macosx
As I read it, 10gbe can deliver over the TCP stream 9661.82 Megabits/second which would give: 1207 megabytes/second
I know that in real life we could expect it to be slower but there is a long way down to 180 megabytes/second.
Can you help me connect the dots?

Marc Bostrom
-| just another PRO FCP user |-


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Matt Geier
Re: I don't need SAN....Do I?
on Dec 1, 2008 at 8:43:22 pm

Marc,

I can lend some insight here as to the problem you've mentioned.

There are only two manufactures of a 10Gb card that are going to be able to be supported on a Mac (today) - Mryinet (Their own Mac Support), and Intel (Mac Support by Small Tree Communications).

Here are some data numbers around each of the cards ---

The Mryinet 10Gb PCI Express card performs at a 9.5 Gbps.

The Intel 10Gb PCI Express Card performs at a 9.9 Gbps.


When we install either of these cards into a Mac, we can only get them to output 180MB / sec. Why? It's because of AFP limiting the traffic. The limitation is not with the card. The limitation is with AFP. Only Apple can make that better.

It could be said that if you installed these into a Mac that was running another protocol that was not AFP, it *might* go faster then 180MB/sec - it's hard to say without actually testing it, and a lot of that testing never gets publicized or communicated back to the right places, even so.

Some additional notes:

If you are thinking about running 10Gb at your client, I would inquire as to what you're doing that you need the bandwidth for? If you're doing Uncompressed HD formats, 8bit *might* work on Gigabit since AFP lets us get 180MB out and an 8bit stream needs about 127MB of bandwidth...

Given that, I would simply propose that you keep using Gigabit on your clients, and put them into a Managed Switch. Then you either use a multi-port Gigabit Card in your server, OR, a 10Gb card in your server. - Either of these implementations under AFP will support up to 600MB/sec of bandwidth.

You can successfully use a compression, such as ProRes 422, which I hear is very good, and that will be able to be done on regular Ethernet. (35MB/sec)


Hopefully that helps.




Matt G.


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Marc Bostrom
Re: I don't need SAN....Do I?
on Dec 1, 2008 at 11:18:45 pm

Hi Matt,

Thank you for your insight... You guys at small-tree usually know what your talking about!
I now realize that my 10gbe solution is not doable.
I don't need the bandwidth right now...But it is always good to look ahead and know whats out there.

NOW...when are you done with your AoE solution?

Marc Bostrom
-| just another PRO FCP user |-


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Matt Geier
Re: I don't need SAN....Do I?
on Dec 2, 2008 at 3:43:57 am

Marc,

What do you want to know ? :)

It's Ethernet Storage. If you're familiar with any AoE storage, this is no different really. The one exception would be that Small Tree writes our own AoE driver for the RAID Vendor that we offer.

Configurations span from 4TB (entry) to 24TB. The nice thing about it and perhaps one of the biggest compelling pieces is the ability to just keep adding more to the network as your requirements increase. Simply because it's Ethernet, as long as you have something to keep connecting to, you're in good shape.

The other thing of note would be that we can connect them with either 10Gb or Multiport Gigabit (link agg) - The 4TB RAID will go 200MB/sec. There are two Ethernet Ports on that unit. The bigger RAIDS will do 500MB/sec.

As with any storage we simply suggest putting it on your server, and then making sure the server is adequate enough to support the editors, in addition to having the needed bandwidth.

From a $$ standpoint the best comparison I can give here is as follows... (rough numbers of course)

AoE Storage - $1000.00 per TB
compared to
FibreChannel Storage - $1500.00 per TB


What more do you want to know?

:)





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Eric Hansen
Re: I don't need SAN....Do I?
on Dec 1, 2008 at 9:55:09 pm

back to the original post

i have been thinking about a MetaLAN solution for awhile after reading Bob's article (one server with 5 edit systems and a few random laptops and iMacs) and i always wondered why AFP couldnt handle it as i have used AFP at various levels for years. so you're saying MetaLAN is not really necessary if everything is Mac and FCP (no Windows or Avid)? my client wants to run FCSvr and it bugged me that under MetaLAN, the server hosting the storage couldnt use the storage directly. i would have to use 2 different servers instead of one.

marc, i am wondering, do you only allow your edit systems to connect to the server via their jumbo-enabled ethernet? in my setup, i would like to share the storage with both the edit systems (link agg, gigabit, jumbo frames) and non-jumbo enabled office computers over the office LAN. if the server has 2 ethernet connections (one link agg to the managed switch) and one single line to the office switch, can AFP force certain computers to connect over certain ethernet ports? making sure the edit systems get the high speed link-agg connection and the office computers get the slower single connection?

thanks

e

4 G5s, OSx 10.4.11, Final Cut 6.0.2, Kona LH (v5.1)
Xsan: Xserve 2.0 G5, 3GB RAM, 2 7TB Xserve RAIDs, Sanbox 5200
Quantum SDLT600A
decks: Sony HDW-M2000/10 HDCAM, HVR-M10U HDV with HD-Connect, DSR-1500 DVCAM, UVW-1800 BetacamSP
MacBook Pro: 2.33, 2GB RAM, OSx 10.4.11, Final Cut 6.0.2
cameras: Panasonic HVX200, Sony FX1 and A1U, Arri S/B 16mm
skis: Volkl Gotama 183s with 914s and Lange Fluid 120 boots


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Marc Bostrom
Re: I don't need SAN....Do I?
on Dec 1, 2008 at 11:34:35 pm

Hi Eric,

Yes, the recommendation I received from tiger tech. indicates that there is no need for SAN in such an environment.

"....would like to share the storage with both the edit systems (link agg, gigabit, jumbo frames) and non-jumbo enabled office computers over the office LAN...."

That is exactly what I do. The built in ethernet does office IP 192.168.0.xx. and the 2 external ethernet PCI cards do the edit IP 10.0.0.xx.
I make sure that i connect correctly with CMD-k (write ip-adresse) and save these as shortcuts or make them auto-mount at startup.
It works well under 10.5.5.

Good luck!



Marc Bostrom
-| just another PRO FCP user |-


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Eric Hansen
Re: I don't need SAN....Do I?
on Dec 1, 2008 at 11:54:58 pm

hey marc

thanks for the reply. i just got off the phone with Matt at Small Tree and he pretty much said the same thing. i'm happy i read your post before i budgeted in MetaLAN when it appears that its not really needed for this particular installation.

if this installation gets the green light i will post the details and outcome here, as i'm sure others are interested in this method of SAN.

e

4 G5s, OSx 10.4.11, Final Cut 6.0.2, Kona LH (v5.1)
Xsan: Xserve 2.0 G5, 3GB RAM, 2 7TB Xserve RAIDs, Sanbox 5200
Quantum SDLT600A
decks: Sony HDW-M2000/10 HDCAM, HVR-M10U HDV with HD-Connect, DSR-1500 DVCAM, UVW-1800 BetacamSP
MacBook Pro: 2.33, 2GB RAM, OSx 10.4.11, Final Cut 6.0.2
cameras: Panasonic HVX200, Sony FX1 and A1U, Arri S/B 16mm
skis: Volkl Gotama 183s with 914s and Lange Fluid 120 boots


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Daniel Hatch
Re: I don't need SAN....Do I?
on Dec 1, 2008 at 3:31:14 pm

You do not need SAN. Recommendation is to consider Apace Systems vStor and try their SMB share for MAC over Multi-GE. You can collaborate real-time over GE connectivity between your three FCP nodes as well as use it for your fast access to graphics and other media. The advantage is that you can connect PCs to your workgroup as well and not to have to invest in SAN hardware. Also, They do support AFP on vStor as well, but, they do recommend that moving forward to consider SMB for your network. What is the stream type you typically use on your three FCP workstations and the capacity need you have and they can make specific SKU recommendations for you?

They are the best keep secreat out there and understand Video Workflow better than most.

FWIW

Dan



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Chris Blair
Re: I don't need SAN....Do I?
on Dec 1, 2008 at 8:54:59 pm

They are the best keep secreat out there and understand Video Workflow better than most.

I can second Dan's assessment as we have an entry level vStor and it works great, and their customer service is outstanding. Their engineers know what they're talking about and they can actually explain stuff to you in terms that you can understand.

When we were researching products they debunked a lot of the "myths" out there about shared video storage. One example is that everyone else we talked to said we COULD NOT use a network switch and connect our client edit workstations and regular office PC's to it and expect to get the needed throughput for video editing.

Apace actually recommends you use a managed GigE switch and tells you it's fine to have regular office PC's connected to the network on the very same switch. We have it setup that way and it works fine, with NO ill effect from office network traffic.

They also said there was no performance gain by connecting directly from the ethernet connection on the PC to the ethernet connection on the vStor...which other companies claim gives a performance boost by bypassing the switch. We actually confirmed this by connecting one of the edit stations directly to the GigE port on the vStor. It tests out at the exact same speeds and performs the same as when connected via the switch.

Apace also gives you recommendations on the brand of switch to buy, how to cable and configure etc. All based on their experience with many, many installations. I find it incredible that they still seem to be the company no-one knows about.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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