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Ethernet SAN for 3 FCP users?

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Jared Rosenberg
Ethernet SAN for 3 FCP users?
on Nov 3, 2010 at 12:56:21 am

Hi All-

We’re running a MacPro 2.66 Quad-core Intel Xeon w/ 8GB RAM attached to a 6TB CalDigit HD Element - RAID 5 (CalDigit claims 340mb/s read and 290 write speeds).

Our project is a feature-length documentary film with 100+ hours of XDCAM original footage (24fps) and lots of archival footage in various formats.

We are hoping to set up an Ethernet SAN that will allow three FCP7 systems to edit simultaneously (either the MacPro server as an edit station +2 iMacs, or the MacPro as an exclusive server +3 iMacs) using 2009 intel core2duo iMacs to avoid running into limits on the newer iMac ethernet cards.

That said, we're looking for some advice:

- Is simply running a cat-6 cable from the MacPro to a router to the edit stations sufficient? If so what specs do we need for the router?

- If not, we’re looking at Small Tree’s PCI-Express Quad Port Ethernet Card to a router (perhaps Small Tree’s Edge-corE 24 Port 10/100/1000 Web Smart Switch?).

What does this second option do for us – is it worth the extra $1300? Would this option allow us to use the MacPro server as a third edit station, saving us the cost of an iMac?

- Are there other, more affordable options that we’ve overlooked? Would Small Tree’s Dual Port Ethernet Card be sufficient?

- What about software? Is it necessary? Does it help avoid corruptions?

- Any LA-based network techs looking for a job configuring/setting this up?

Thanks very much for your help.

-Jared


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Bob Zelin
Re: Ethernet SAN for 3 FCP users?
on Nov 3, 2010 at 2:49:43 am

We’re running a MacPro 2.66 Quad-core Intel Xeon w/ 8GB RAM attached to a 6TB CalDigit HD Element - RAID 5 (CalDigit claims 340mb/s read and 290 write speeds).

REPLY - too slow for what you need. Cal Digit makes the HD Pro, which will work fine with their wonderful Super Share shared storage system. Your cheapo HD Element will NOT work in a shared storage enviornment.


Our project is a feature-length documentary film with 100+ hours of XDCAM original footage (24fps) and lots of archival footage in various formats.

REPLY - then this is a real job. Spend some money, and buy a system that works, not a toy that you will try to piece together, that will not work.


We are hoping to set up an Ethernet SAN that will allow three FCP7 systems to edit simultaneously (either the MacPro server as an edit station +2 iMacs, or the MacPro as an exclusive server +3 iMacs) using 2009 intel core2duo iMacs to avoid running into limits on the newer iMac ethernet cards.

REPLY - You CANNOT CANNOT CANNOT use your "server" Mac as an editing system. Let me make this clear - if you are not willing to spend $3000 for a dedicated MAC Pro to act as a server, and just sit there and collect dust, and do nothing, other than to act as a file server for your HD video footage, then you will FAIL - you are WASTING YOUR MONEY. Don't even try - just continue to use firewire drives, and move them from system to system. You can use new iMAC's if you are willing to deal with NON jumbo frame speeds (50 - 60MB/sec per client) instead of 90 - 100MB/sec with jumbo frames. The shared storage enviornment will work both ways. But yes, the older iMacs work better because they support an MTU of 9000.



That said, we're looking for some advice:

- Is simply running a cat-6 cable from the MacPro to a router to the edit stations sufficient? If so what specs do we need for the router?

REPLY - this is your advice, and your specification - you will NEVER figure out how to do this yourself. There are countless companies that do this for a living that offer very cost effective soultions. Your friends who are IT people will never figure out how to do this. You already mentioned Cal Digit, who makes Super Share -this is a great product. If this is too expensive, there are etheret solutions from Studio Network Soltuions, Maxx Digital, Small Tree, Apace, EditShare, and others, that will all work for you. A router is used to distribute a single internet feed to your network via a switch. You need a SWITCH, not a router. What you really need is professional help, just like every company in the world that does this.


- If not, we’re looking at Small Tree’s PCI-Express Quad Port Ethernet Card to a router (perhaps Small Tree’s Edge-corE 24 Port 10/100/1000 Web Smart Switch?).

The Small Tree Web Smart Switch WILL NOT WORK. You are looking at the ES4324, becuase it is $495, instead of the more expensive Small tree ES4528V, which is about $1200. "But I don't want to spend $1200" - then it will not work.


What does this second option do for us – is it worth the extra $1300? Would this option allow us to use the MacPro server as a third edit station, saving us the cost of an iMac?

REPLY - to build a complete system, it will cost you about $12,000
This will include a MAC Pro(that you can provide yourself to act as a server), a RAID 5 array, a good host controller card, a Level 2 Managed switch, and a multiport ethernet card. You can certainly choose a wonderful turnkey solution from Cal Digit or Studio Network Solutions, but it will cost more. You will not build a complete shared storage system with a cheap switch, and an HD Element. As I said, Cal Digit makes fantastic drive arrays that are designed for shared storage enviornments. The HD Element is not this drive, however.

- Are there other, more affordable options that we’ve overlooked? Would Small Tree’s Dual Port Ethernet Card be sufficient?

REPLY - exactly what are you saying - can you build a shared storage system for 500 bucks ?


- What about software? Is it necessary? Does it help avoid corruptions?

REPLY - no, Apple file Sharing works fine.


- Any LA-based network techs looking for a job configuring/setting this up?

REPLY - of course there are. And they will charge money for this as well. My advice is that you start calling the companies that you mentioned, and that I mentioned. They will give you accurate information of what you need, and how much it is going to cost. And if you or your boss says "there is NO WAY that I am going to spend 10 grand for a shared storage system" - then you will not have shared storage.

Bob Zelin



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Jared Rosenberg
Re: Ethernet SAN for 3 FCP users?
on Nov 3, 2010 at 3:15:48 pm

Thanks Bob, that's helpful. I'll take it to the man upstairs.

Best,
Jared


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Jared Rosenberg
Re: Ethernet SAN for 3 FCP users?
on Nov 4, 2010 at 9:35:59 pm

Hi Bob,

Thanks again for your abu... advice. Clearly I'm a little out of my league here.

To clarify the problems with our HD element, is there a minimum bandwidth we'd need, ie - a middle ground between the Element and the HDPro2?

Basically, if our Firewire drives clock in at 80MB/s (which is fine for our 35MB/s XDCAM footage), shouldn't our HD Element's 300MB/s split three ways be sufficient?

Thanks,
Jared


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Bob Zelin
Re: Ethernet SAN for 3 FCP users?
on Nov 7, 2010 at 6:09:48 pm

Hi Jared -
I will tell you what - we can try it with the HD Element (even though I told you to use the HD Pro or other manufacturer). Hey, if it works, then I am an idiot, you were correct, and I will post the results on this forum. We can always try it, and if it does not work, then you can buy the right equipment - ok ?

Let me know how to contact you.

Bob Zelin



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john gyldstrand
Re: Ethernet SAN for 3 FCP users?
on Nov 5, 2010 at 9:40:11 pm

Jared,
If you still have questions regarding this please contact me at johng@maxxdigital.com or 714-374-4944 ask for John Gyldstrand.


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Ron Amborn
Re: Ethernet SAN for 3 FCP users?
on Nov 3, 2010 at 3:24:29 pm
Last Edited By Ron Amborn on Mar 6, 2015 at 1:57:00 am

Hello Jarred
Bob Zelin will be in LA for training tomorrow as I have flown him out for some deals we are working on. I am now in Buenos Aires setting up some of our first customers with Final Share in South America. You will love Final Share so just give us a call or an email. Looking forward to taking care of your storage needs. We also offer onsite support and services all the best. Maxx Digital 714-374-4944

Sincerely,
Ron Amborn President
Maxx Entertainment Digital
21562 Newland Street
Huntington Beach , Ca 92646
Direct 714-374-4944
Cell 714-713-4492 Fax 714-374-3404
ron@maxxdigital.com
http://www.maxxdigital.com




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Steve Modica
Re: Ethernet SAN for 3 FCP users?
on Dec 30, 2010 at 5:22:27 pm

The raid vendors MB/sec numbers are not going to be the same when you start a shared load. You'll find that it performs much slower since the IO is not sequential. The tuning is also different since things like read ahead can hurt rather than help in shared environments.

Given the raid you have, I don't think you need more than 2 Gigabit ports because they will top out that raid. You could go to a 4 port card but to get the stream counts we get, you'll need something with more spindles and a higher stream count capability in a shared setup.

Steve Modica
CTO, Small Tree Communications


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