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Interesting 8bay RAID test on Barefeats.com

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Eric Hansen
Interesting 8bay RAID test on Barefeats.com
on Apr 6, 2009 at 10:14:23 pm

i just saw an interesting test of a RocketRAID 4322-based RAID on barefeats.com

http://www.barefeats.com/hard115.html

what i liked most is that the tested system, featuring a Proavio enclosure, is that it's only a little over $3k for 8TB, and about $2500 if you get an empty enclosure and fill it yourself (using 1.5TB Seagates from OWC for $148 each). during the tests, it was getting RAID 5 read/write speeds of 633/686MBs. which compares very favorably to the 688/697MBs for the 8TB Evo2, which is $5500. i know a few people here are fans of the Evo2 series.

it seems the one limitation of the card is that it only supports 8 drives. but according to Highpoint, you can have multiple cards in the same system. and it supports SAS drives (like the Cheetah) for a theoretical limit of 1GB/s. i think the Evo's can be daisy chained. anyone know if that's true?

sorry if i'm hijacking the SAN forum, but i think its relevant to those of us who use these RAIDs as the basis of our SAN server's connected storage. it amazes me how fast this segment of the market is evolving.

e

Eric Hansen, The Audio Visual Plumber - http://www.avplumber.com


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Bob Zelin
Re: Interesting 8bay RAID test on Barefeats.com
on Apr 6, 2009 at 10:31:58 pm

Eric writes -
what i liked most is that the tested system, featuring a Proavio enclosure, is that it's only a little over $3k for 8TB, and about $2500 if you get an empty enclosure and fill it yourself (using 1.5TB Seagates from OWC for $148 each). during the tests, it was getting RAID 5 read/write speeds of 633/686MBs. which compares very favorably to the 688/697MBs for the 8TB Evo2, which is $5500. i know a few people here are fans of the Evo2 series.

REPLY - I have started hearing good things about the new Highpoint card. As you may know, the older Highpoint cards were pretty terrible, with not great support. The G-Speed eS is plagued by the Highpoint card. With that said, companies change, and companies learn from their mistakes, and I have heard good things about the new Highpoint SAS/SATA card, but I have not personally tested it.


Eric writes -

it seems the one limitation of the card is that it only supports 8 drives. but according to Highpoint, you can have multiple cards in the same system. and it supports SAS drives (like the Cheetah) for a theoretical limit of 1GB/s. i think the Evo's can be daisy chained. anyone know if that's true?

REPLY - Both Maxx Digital Expando (not EVO) and Sonnet chassis can be expanded, because they have SAS/SATA port expanders in them. I think that ProAVIO may have an expander as well, but it is not discussed in this article. If the Highpoint card will not support more than 8 drives, you can use a Dulce Systems ProEX expander (about $3000) to give you 7 more PCI-e slots, so you can have 7 host cards. I used to use these in older Maxx EVO systems, but now that the Expando series is available, why spend the extra $3000 for the Dulce Pro EX (Magma Systems also makes a PCI Expander for the same price). Newer SAS/SATA cards like the ATTO and Areca support 128 drives. This is what Maxx Digital uses for the Expando. So if you plan on going over 8 TB in the future, why would you consider a card that can't expand beyond 8 drives. I am not saying that the Highpoint cannot do this - I just don't know - I have not tried it - but you are giving the impression that it "dead ends" at 8 drives.

Eric writes -
sorry if i'm hijacking the SAN forum, but i think its relevant to those of us who use these RAIDs as the basis of our SAN server's connected storage. it amazes me how fast this segment of the market is evolving.

REPLY - why are you surprised. Look at the ads on Creative Cow, and in every magazine. Everyone uses one of 3 edit systems - AVID, FCP or Adobe Premier (and one or two Vegas users). But EVERYONE is scrambling for more and more storage, and with card based (not tape based) cameras evolving every day, storage is becomming EVERYTHING !
Storage is where it is at if you are in post production or graphics.

HIGHPOINT DETAILS -
this is from the Highpoint hptmac site on the 4322
Support RAID 0,1,3,5,6,10 and JBOD
Up to (8) SAS and SATA Hard Drive Support
Intel IOP348 1.2GHZ I/O Processor

It clearly states "up to (8) SAS and SATA hard drive support".
The chip is the IOP348. This is the same chip used by ATTO and Areca, who can run up to 128 drives with their cards. You tell me what you would prefer to purchase, if your clients ever plan on adding a second chassis. You should look at the prices of the Dulce ProEX and Magma Systems PCIe expansion chassis' before starting to jump up and down about this card.

Bob Zelin







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Bob Zelin
Re: Interesting 8bay RAID / one more thing
on Apr 6, 2009 at 10:41:11 pm

There are two reviews on the Highpoint 4322. One on BareFeats and one on AMUG.

This quote is from AMUG, on the expandablitiy of the Highpoint 4322.

"In addition, SAS expanders provide the ability to increase the number of hard disks attached to the RocketRAID 4322. The built-in SAS expander compatibility of the RocketRAID 4322 provides support for up to 128 hard disks connected to a single controller. This expansion option is not available with SATA controllers."


SO, before I go bashing the 4322, Highpoints own website may be wrong. This is typical of Highpoint, with mis information from "loss in translation". This does not mean that the 4322 is not a wonderful card (like I said - I am hearing that it is teriffic) - but I often say "support is everything", and if you can't get straight answers, it's tough to make a decision.

Bob Zelin





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Eric Hansen
Re: Interesting 8bay RAID / one more thing
on Apr 7, 2009 at 12:07:20 am

hey bob, thanks for the quick and detailed reply. also, thanks for the reference to the AMUG review. very glowing. it looks like a lot of the performance is thanks to the Intel chip. so it looks like this chip, coupled with a SAS-expander chassis is a great bang-for-the-buck solution. also, the 8-bay ProAVIO does not have a SAS-expander from what i can tell. but for only $650, i could definitely see using it as an 8-bay solution until more drives are needed, then pulling the drives out and putting them into an SAS-expander chassis such as the Enhance UltraStor referenced by the AMUG review.

in my original post, i did mean Expando when i wrote Evo2. my apologies. and i definitely agree about support, thats why i'm hesitant about HighPoint. i have used Atto for years for SCSI, so i think i will look at their cards that use this same chip.

thanks

e

Eric Hansen, The Audio Visual Plumber - http://www.avplumber.com


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Matt Geier
Re: Interesting 8bay RAID / one more thing
on Apr 14, 2009 at 3:18:05 pm

Hi Eric,

I thought I would chime in on this one, just because I want you to be careful.

If you have plans to edit Pro Res from these boxes you are looking at, please please please, make sure you know they will do it without a doubt. There are a few reasons I suggest making sure, which really means, making a phone call to these vendors, and asking specific questions about the performance of the SAS Card, Drives, and Bandwidth capabilities.

The RAID cards and storage should be specs that meet the specifications that final cut requires for real time performance. There really are no other products on the market that do.  (esata, other sata raid controllers and other SAS raids.. we've tried almost all of them at this point).  Many of them go fast, however the fastest once tend to have the worst real time characteristics and even 2 or 3 streams of low bandwidth video tip them over.

In terms of comparison, use a Small Tree RAID solution. The latency on the Storage RAIDs are low enough that they will be able to support 6 x Streams of ProRes422HQ minimally. The latency will be very key here using ProRes422HQ streams, and again, you'll be hard pressed to find anything out the box that works well to do this right!

Still, I would encourage you to make the phone calls to these vendors and see what details they can give you about latency performance of the RAIDs and also performance of the SAS Card (Specifically what size I/O's it capable of outputting at once) - this is very important, because this will really determine what Video the card is really capable of editing in "real time.""

Do post us back with your research results, I'm sure we are all wondering now....


Just my $.02

Matt



Matt G.


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Eric Hansen
Re: Interesting 8bay RAID / one more thing
on Apr 14, 2009 at 8:01:10 pm

interesting. the only time that latency has been talked about on the SAN forum, in regards to ethernet-based systems, is the latency of the ethernet networks themselves, or AFP specifically. not the latency of a RAID system. are you saying that using a Mac Pro server with direct-attached SAS storage in conjunction with a 6 port ethernet card will have more latency than Small Tree's own NAS?

i have only done 2 ethernet-based SAN installations, both using components from Small Tree, and i have not had an issue with latency. i've had no complaints from the editors whatsoever (they're over the moon to be done with firewire drives). it almost sounds more like you're referring to tuning the systems to the specific file sizes for ProRes (block size, stripe breadth, etc), which i do on my Xsan systems and i also did for these systems.

could you be more specific and perhaps point to the systems you've tested and your numbers? i do agree that the highest total throughput doesnt mean anything when you're trying to serve multiple editors multiple streams, which increases the random reads and writes. i'm actually looking at using OCZ's new Vertex SSDs as boot drives for some upcoming systems. but video is still way more sequential than not, so the total throughput number still has a lot of importance. but please let me know if you think i'm going in the total wrong direction with my thinking.

thanks

e

Eric Hansen, The Audio Visual Plumber - http://www.avplumber.com


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Matt Geier
Re: Interesting 8bay RAID / one more thing
on Apr 15, 2009 at 2:31:53 pm

Eric,

I'm certainly not trying to start a conversation in the public forum that allows people to gather the wrong impression. People just need to be weary, when they are trying to set themselves up for Video Editing.

What I'm saying is that if a solution is not implemented and configured the RIGHT way, it will eventually fail, even if it's working today. Have you ever heard of the "green light syndrome?" The idea is that if the lights are all on, my thing is working. When the lights do something other then stay green, I realize only then do I have problems.

Just try to remember that Small Tree is a bunch of Hardware Engineers that have a ton of engineering experience with fast I/O. They have engineered (or helped with...) some of the World Fastests and Largest Super Computers working at SGI and CRAY. Me Personally, I understand this because I sold to the Federal Government when I was at SGI, assisting with major installs for things like Satellite Imagery, Scientific Flow Analysys, and other types of "REAL TIME" deployments. Real Time super computers and fast fast I/O performance is something we understand very very well together. That's where we focus our solutions.

My point here really is to say that Small Tree understands that setting up a Real Time video environment is not trivial and there are several factors to take into consideration and planning when doing so. It's not trivial, and people should realize this and turn to people who have done this and understand what it takes to make it right. We have tested products and we have designed our own solution with the needed components to make a real time environment fast, reliable, scalable, and more productive!



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Helmut Kobler
Re: Interesting 8bay RAID / one more thing
on Apr 21, 2009 at 8:36:46 am

Eric, just a quick note that I love my Vertex 250 SSD. Been running it for about 3 weeks as a boot drive with a new Mac Pro. Machine boots in about 10 seconds after the grey Apple screen comes up. PhotoShop loads in 2 seconds, Final Cut in 3, Word and Excel in 1.5 or 2 max.
No problems so far with sleep functions or anything else, either.



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Jeffrey LaFrance
Re: Interesting 8bay RAID / one more thing
on Apr 17, 2009 at 3:31:24 pm

Hey guys - Condre Storage makes a 12 port SAS expander. It is
3 gigabit with 12 ports. Contact Jeffrey LaFrance jlafrance@condre.com 952-253-6908 I can send you a spec and
an engineering spec.


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