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RAID Shared Storage

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Max Blecker
RAID Shared Storage
on Jul 27, 2009 at 11:12:16 pm

Hi all, I work for a small production company out of Red Hook Brooklyn and we're trying to figure out a way to improve our workflow, centralize our storage and thus increase productivity. I went through the common solutions I've heard about like xsan and fibre channel systems, quickly realizing they were too pricey for our company at this point in time.
Then I went to the old standby, creativecow and read about this awesome ethernet based system that seems to be exactly what we need. I've spoken to the folks at small tree and maxx digital about our specific needs and am only confused about the storage aspect of it at this point. The companies selling the system understandably are shying away when I ask about buying an empty chassis and filling it with drives that we already have or will purchase. I'm wondering if that will compromise the whole thing realistically if the rest is done by the book. We have six TB hitatchi deskstar 7200 rpm SATA drives that could be used for our new SAN system if I was confident that it wouldn't compromise the entire thing.
I'm not trying to cut corners here I really would just rather not waste perfectly good drives and buy a $10,000 array if its not necessary.

Thanks in advance for the time to read and respond.

-Max


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Bob Zelin
Re: RAID Shared Storage
on Jul 28, 2009 at 2:13:27 am

Hi Max -
As you know, even the best Hitachi Enterprise drives cost under $200 each for 1 TB drives. As you can see by going to B&H Photo and others, no company is interested in selling you an empty chassis, becuase there is too little markup on the finished product. Do you know why? Because it costs MONEY to advertise on places like Creative Cow, Post Magazine, and to sponsor LAFCPUG user meetings. Someone has to pay for it.

Cant' we just go to NYU and hire some kid studying editing, instead of hiring you ? You get the point. If you want to try out a configuration like this, you can just get the Small Tree gear, and try it with the internal SATA drives on your MAC Pro server (use your Hitachi Deskstar drives for this test). This way, you can see it work. Once that is done, you can then figure out a way of building a larger RAID 5 enclosure that will act as your central storage.

You see Max, companies like Apple (XSan), Facilis (Terrablock), and Editshare make excellent products, and charge a lot of money for them. So companies like Maxx Digital and Small Tree make MUCH cheaper products (they dont' do as much, but do what you need) - and its STILL not cheap enough for you. You are a smart guy, you know that 8 drives cost under $1600, and it's bad enough you have to spend $2700 for a MAC Pro to act as a server, to just sit there - let alone pay a big markup for a drive array, that you know the drives can't cost more than $1600. It's just not fair - is it.

Welcome to business Max. Even the "cheap" companies have to make a living. I just discovered wonderful DVI monitor extenders from IO Gear that cost $30 bucks, that work as well as a $499 Gefen DVI extender. Do you actually think that ANY American company (including you) is going to sell ANYTHING (any technlogy product) for 35 bucks ?

You will hear about different chassis, and you can search ebay and google for "no name" empty drive chassis to do this job. Maybe you will get lucky, and find a good one. Maybe you won't. I can assure you that the brands you see advertised on Creative Cow are all good ones - and they pay to advertise, and they pay to have qualified support people on staff to help you out when you are having technical difficulty with your products. When you buy a 1 Terabyte OEM drive for $88 off of http://www.amazon.com, no one at Hitachi is going to assist you when nothing works.

Let me know what happens - I am always here.

Bob Zelin
ps - drive arrays don't cost $10,000. Complete systems do.





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Mark Raudonis
Re: RAID Shared Storage
on Jul 28, 2009 at 4:18:02 am

[Bob Zelin] "ps - drive arrays don't cost $10,000."

You're right. They cost more. They cost $21,000 (AVID 16tb VideoRaid SR)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/568958-REG/Avid_7010_20444_01_16TB_Vi...

Mark





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Max Blecker
Re: RAID Shared Storage
on Jul 28, 2009 at 3:31:48 pm

Bob-

Thanks so much for your speedy and very thorough response. It truly lived up to what I've come to expect from reading most of the posts in this wonderful forum.

That makes perfect sense, I totally understand why a company would want to sell a complete array rather than an empty chassis I think I was mostly confused by another thread here at the cow that mentioned an AIC XJ1100 16-bay chassis for 1500 bucks but if you tell me they wouldn't sell me that without drives I'm inclined to believe it since you invented the system I'm looking into.

The idea to test with the internal drives of the computer is a good one, that was actually going to be my next question for you. I think we might just try that and then deal with the array after we get it up and running, that way they expenses are somewhat spread out and will be easier to pitch to the boss.

The only other thing I was really wondering about was your maxx digital installs and whether you run the cable in addition to setting up the hardware or if we would need someone else to do that part of it. In the event that we go to them for the whole thing, I'd like to have as close to a complete estimate as possible.

Again, thanks so much for taking the time to respond to my questions


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Bob Zelin
Re: RAID Shared Storage
on Jul 29, 2009 at 12:00:58 am

Hi Max -

you write -
I think I was mostly confused by another thread here at the cow that mentioned an AIC XJ1100 16-bay chassis for 1500 bucks but if you tell me they wouldn't sell me that without drives I'm inclined to believe it since you invented the system I'm looking into.

REPLY - I never said that the AIC chassis was not excellent. There are LOTS of products that work. AIC is not only recommended by AVID, it's recommended by ATTO Technology. It's a great drive enclosure, and their are others as well.


you write -
The idea to test with the internal drives of the computer is a good one, that was actually going to be my next question for you. I think we might just try that and then deal with the array after we get it up and running, that way they expenses are somewhat spread out and will be easier to pitch to the boss.

REPLY - just contact me (check my website) and we can discuss this further. There are LOTS of great companies out there.

you write -
The only other thing I was really wondering about was your maxx digital installs and whether you run the cable in addition to setting up the hardware or if we would need someone else to do that part of it. In the event that we go to them for the whole thing, I'd like to have as close to a complete estimate as possible.

REPLY - I do not work for Maxx Digital. Maxx Digital sells a complete solution, and makes excellent equipment. When I personally do an installation - even out of state, I provide ALL cabling necessary for the installation, and everything is labeled with Panduit computer labels. I don't trust anyone with the cabling for any of these systems.


Contact me off list if you like. All the companies on Creative Cow are excellent companies.

Bob Zelin




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Max Blecker
Re: RAID Shared Storage
on Jul 29, 2009 at 6:54:46 pm

Bob-

Thanks again for taking the time to advise a newcomer to the SAN game, I really do appreciate it.
After all that talk about empty chassis and internal drives it seems we're going to go with the full solution minus a computer from Maxx Digital so a lot of that great advice has become moot unfortunately.

I didn't mean to insinuate that you worked for Maxx Digital I guess they just are using your name to help sell their final share solution because your name is on the quote they sent me. The "Bob Zelin Install" was one of the deal-sealers honestly.

I left a message with one of their reps, who will surely get back to me soon and we'll be off and running. I will definitely keep you updated either here or through your site. It's an exciting development and I'm happy to be doing it the right way in the end. Thanks again for your guidance we will speak again soon I'm sure.

-Max


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Eric Hansen
Re: RAID Shared Storage
on Jul 29, 2009 at 10:15:04 pm

hey max

responding you your initial question about getting an enclosure and filling it with hard drives yourself. i think the big differentiator is the one-vendor solution vs. the multi-vendor solution. there are 2 types of people on the SAN forum - 1. installers like Bob and myself, and 2. End users that may or may not understand the technical underpinnings of these systems. most of the first time visitors who are asking questions are in the second group. if i install a system for a client, i have no problem going multi-vendor because if they have a problem with the system, they will contact me first and i have to deal with it. but for the End Users on here, a one-vendor solution may make more sense.

if you (or someone else reading this thread) want to drop drives into an empty enclosure, here are my quick rules:

1. get Enterprise or Server-grade drives. these things will likely be running 24/7 - you need hard drives designed for this. they aren't "Green" and they won't spin down. "Green" drives or drives that run at less than 7200 RPM will not work for this. too much latency among other issues. yes they are twice as much money. your Deskstars technically will work, but many of them now are "Green" and you will have issues.
2. get a longer warranty if you can. most Enterprise level drives come with a 5 year warranty. keep the receipts and mark on the drive the date that they were purchased. this has saved me money and headache when a drive fails.
3. avoid Seagate for RAIDs. search the forums to find out why. i don't buy anything from them anymore. i think what irks me the most was their horrible customer service and "who cares" attitude.
4. the Hitachi Saturn seems to be the most popular right now for these RAIDs. they are not as expensive as Hitachi's higher end Enterprise level drives, but they still meet all of my requirements listed above. many one-vendor solutions use Hitachi. i had a Hitachi laptop drive die on me a few months ago and their customer and replacement service was awesome.
5. don't mix and match drives. obviously you shouldn't mix and match the GB sizes of the drives, but i'm more referring to the types or speeds. Enterprise drives and Desktop drives have different levels of latency and spinup/down. if you mix them, different portions of your RAID will react at different times to I/O. this will cause your system to either pause for a second, or to hang.

e

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


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Jim Boas
Re: RAID Shared Storage
on Aug 7, 2009 at 7:03:22 pm

Hello Max,
You should check out Rorke Data as they have some very good cost effective RAID systems in different sizes 8Bay, 12Bay, 16Bay and 24Bay)and different interfaces (SCSI, SAS, Fibre, iSCSI) and many others to choose from.

On average - Price per GB is about $.69cents
Just an Example: 4Gbit Fibre 16x1TB GalaxyHDX2 RAID - under $11,000

Rorke could also look at selling you a half populated 16Bay RAID and have you send us the drives that you have to be incorporated into the other half of this RAID.

Bob Zelin was right - Avid 16Bay RAID = $21,995
Give me a break Avid!!!
Rorke Data sells the exact same RAID system (called the Galaxy 3G) and a 16x1TB Dual Controller Galaxy 3G RAID = less then $15,000
A Single Controller 16x1TB Galaxy 3G RAID = less then $11,000

Rorke Data also supports and services everything they sell.

feel free to call me if you want to talk - 610-793-7513


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