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DIY: SAN what software is good for what reason?

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Sean McPartlin
DIY: SAN what software is good for what reason?
on Feb 8, 2011 at 5:59:21 am

Let me start by saying Bob Z your posts are hell of a laugh to read.

Truthfully I'm looking into an alternative to traditional SAN products IT buys. We own two or three low end modern HP EVA's and !ow end IBM SAS disk arrays. We use FC and do not like iSCSI but may go FCoIP next year as port costs come down.

I know video people are always riding the bleeding edge with tech because they have to. I'm a novice in that area at best but that's why I am here. As someone with a lot of servers and stuff lying around that can be reaproprated I have been wondering about building our own SAN vs using traditional purchased gear for non production uses. iE if it blows up nobody is pissed but us because we need to fix/rebuild/replace.

Our main needs revolve around backup to disk targets, using them for de-dupe, then aux copying to tape. And having DR data in far away places.

I need to look into METASan it seems...

I had been looking at Microsoft Storage Server but see some limits.
Falconstor seem to have a product.

On our last project we were pointed to volume sharing product HP bought but it was retired.(polyserve)
So we looked at data plow and sanbilogic and I think data plow was slower. These products allowed two windows servers access to the same volume at the same time.

We use backup software called Commvault and it freaked out with both of these do to scsi 3 reservations not woRking thus one server would not "unlock" something and basically the backup stopped.

I am more curious about the software side on the server side. If there are other products to look at I would love to know.

I do want to know more about the SAS arrays that can do 1600mbs that are coming out... See where they fall in costs. Lately we have been buying refurbished gear at such steep discounts new hardware is just not worth it to buy.

The sAN controllers are not doing anything we consider magical and often are using age old tech because it has to be reliable. (avoiding pink slip generating events lead you to big storage vendors). My guess is with newer servers with piles of RAM running the right software could make old in the tooth disk arrays usefull again. But knowing who is blowing smoke and who is real can be hard to figure out without tring.

I found a posting saying to comment on the forum so here I am.... Sorry in advance. :)

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David Gagne
Re: DIY: SAN what software is good for what reason?
on Feb 8, 2011 at 2:25:14 pm

You might be a good candidate for Isilon if you have some money.

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Mark Raudonis
Re: DIY: SAN what software is good for what reason?
on Feb 8, 2011 at 5:49:49 pm

Here's perhaps the best explanation of why typical "IT centric" systems DON'T WORK for video.


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Chris Blair
Re: DIY: SAN what software is good for what reason?
on Feb 9, 2011 at 12:57:23 am

The only way you're going to make use of old, mismatched equipment in a shared video editing environment is if you're editing standard def DV based projects. Since it's only about 3.5MB/sec per stream, if you setup a system that's capable of 30-40MB/sec of sustained throughput, it will probably work ok.

Anything else just flat out isn't going to work in any sort of reliable, seamless way when it comes to video....especially anything HD.

There are half a dozen affordable, turn-key solutions out there that don't require third-party SAN management software or any sort of specialized setup. Old drives, ethernet switches, HBAs etc.... regardless of how fast you think they are, are likely not going to give you the throughput needed to work reliably.

But you can certainly try! A better route would be to use that equipment to build a RAID 1 or 6 based backup system (if the drives are only a couple years old). If the drives are 3 years old or older, you're asking for trouble using them for anything critical, unless you have redundant backup in place (either a version of RAID that mirrors or mutliple backup targets).

That's just my $.02.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
Read our blog

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Steve Modica
Re: DIY: SAN what software is good for what reason?
on Feb 10, 2011 at 10:50:05 am

Small Tree sells NAS solutions that will be less expensive than any of the san stuff you've purchased or are considering. Plus, we know a lot more about storage than most of those guys. We have our own FCoE driver that runs on our 10Gb cards as well as having written an entire FCoE storage stack for a large vendor. We know this stuff pretty well.
NAS works better, it's easier to manage and scale, and it's more robust.
As Bob.

Steve Modica
CTO, Small Tree Communications

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