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new Final Cut Server SAN build out

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Tim Vruwink
new Final Cut Server SAN build out
on Jan 29, 2009 at 8:24:43 pm

Hi all -

Has anyone here deployed a Final Cut Server environment on a SAN using non Apple (Promise vTrak) hardware? Say, an Equallogic, or LeftHand iSCSI SAN? Then rather than using Xsan2, deployed a something like MetaSAN iSCSI for shared access from Mac/Win/Linux clients?

The Apple solution (Xserves, vTracks, Metadata controllers and fibre channel) is nice, but pricey and it locks you into one vendor. What if you want to extend your SAN for other purposes - such as virtualization with ESX?

My main concern with going outside of the Apple environment is performance for Final Cut Server and the Final Cut pro workstations.

Another option would be to have two SANs. One with the vTracks + Xsan2 for FCSrvr then another iSCSI SAN for everything else. I could utilize the "cheaper" storage on the iSCSI SAN, buy installing an iSCSI initiator on the final cut server and letting it manage media between the more expensive vTtracks and the cheaper iSCSI SAN.

Thoughts? Has anyone done anything like this? We are a mid sized shop, but want to be future proofed for a bit, and not have silo's of storage.

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Matt Bodman
Re: new Final Cut Server SAN build out
on Feb 9, 2009 at 8:43:09 am

I'm also really interested in exploring non xsan options. We can't justify the cost of fibre for probably another 5 years when we'll finally start working a lot more with HD. We are 99% SD (DV) and will be for sometime.

Like you, I also have other uses for the SAN, boring Windows server type uses so I've been looking closely at iSCSI options too. My biggest questions lie around file format (Mac v Windows) and whether we can edit-in-place if the GIGe network is well setup.

I'm also wondering if there would be any advantage in having FCS connected to the SAN via iSCSI or if a standard network share will suffice. I would rather use iSCSI ports on the SAN to connect the edit clients.

Any thoughts appreciated.


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Tim Vruwink
Re: new Final Cut Server SAN build out
on Feb 9, 2009 at 4:31:01 pm

Matt -
Thanks for the follow up. I am really disappointed no one here has chimed in with some thoughts.

I am still mulling over this - trying to find information/examples of how it could work. I know some of the higher end SANs (EMC, Compellent etc) have FC + iSCSI options but their prices are really high, and there is no promises that FCsrvr + Xsan2/MetaSAN would work correctly with this configuration. The other issue I am faced with is the new promise vtracks don't appear to be on the ESX HCL.

The Promise Vtracks look "ok" but they don't have all the features other SAN vendors provide (snapshots, thin provisioning, dynamic block level management etc). They are really targeted specifically for video production, and are not a true "san" solution.

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Daniel Hatch
Re: new Final Cut Server SAN build out
on Feb 9, 2009 at 10:03:40 pm


You should check out Apace systems:

Apace Systems can offer you a file based storage appliance for collaborative real time editing called vStor that is high performance enough on servicing your multi stream SD, ProRes and DnxHD requirement for your workgroup that avoids you having to deal with iSCSI all together. With file based approach which is the natural state of your workspace and media, MAC and PC deal with your shared storage at the network file system level SMB and CIFS/SMB and as there is no iSCSI protocol agent running on your workstations anymore to steal precious editing CPU cycles from your workstations up to 30% your file baed appliance will handle all of that more efficiently. Also you do not need to worry about any SAN management software for your iSCSI. And you do not have to worry about iSCSI block based interoperability of your PC and MAC set up.

Additionally, vStor network storage appliance interoperates with FCS and will be seen by FCS as a network drive.
Also, if you want a media asset management that not only works with Apple Final Cut but other video editing and graphics workgroups and media, Apace can offer you postMAM their browser based media asset management that has a superset compared to FCS in functionality to support all heterogeneous editing and graphics workgroups. Also as an additional feature called ViEW that is unique to Apace and it offer Remote rough cut editing through your browser and interacting with our postMAM MAM. FCS does not have remote editing ability.

Last but not least all of their storage systems are web browser based, MAC FCS workspace aware and as a server can be loaded with special functional application blocks for MAM and beyond. This level of flexibility allows you to manage the system resource from remote site and is ideal for IT support.

Apace is one of the best kept secrets out there, give them a call and they will do a webex to show you their interface and how easy it is to use.

Hope this helps.

Dan Hatch

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