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Fcp and Isis

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Christopher Lowden
Fcp and Isis
on Mar 16, 2011 at 8:26:18 pm

Hello
I investigating solutions to attach 25 fcp suites to a central server using prores hd. For the moment the machines are on Xsan and I do not have intention of upgrading. This leaves me the Isis, terrablock or Dvs as solutions? Has anyone had any experience of large fcp installations with the Isis? Anyother products suggestions are very welcome?


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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Mar 17, 2011 at 12:08:00 am

Christopher,

Where are you located?

Do you already have a SAN switch and a metadata controller?

If so, it's a matter of choosing any decent (optimized for latency and bandwidth) Fibre Optical storage system (Promise, Caen, JMR, etc.), i.e. it doesn't have to be one of the systems you listed.

Alex (DV411)


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Douglas Learner
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Mar 17, 2011 at 1:57:13 am

You've also got metaSAN as an option to Xsan, though I don't know if you consider such a change 'upgrading.'


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Jason Myres
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Mar 17, 2011 at 6:29:39 am

Here is a pretty informative thread regarding the same question:

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/8/1121011

For what it's worth though, I don't think you're going to find a better way to take care of 25 FCP workstations than an Xsan. That includes StorNext (DVS), which I am a big fan of.

If I was in your position, I'd be upgrading to Xsan 2.2.1 and 10.6.4, and riding with that for the next 2-3 years. Even if it required the use of Mac Pro MDCs. There is nothing that can touch a 2.2 Xsan when used with FCP for performance, scalability, ease-of-use, and Apple compatibility.

If you go and get real, comparable estimates, for ISIS, Isilon, StorNext, or even Facilis, those quotes will not be small.

JM


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Bob Zelin
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Mar 17, 2011 at 1:59:16 pm

Just for the record, Michael writes -

With a single 1GB pipe toa client station, we are getting speeds exceeding 100MB/s. Once you start adding on users, or not using supported configs, this drops. The correct NIC on a PC is paramount (onboard doesn't cut it). You can also do a bonded 1GB, and we have seen speeds around 180MB/s. On each chassis, you can expect "around" 300MB/s total.



REPLY - I have a lot of experience with bonding ethernet ports (LACP), and NIC bonding on the client side back to the switch DOES NOT increase bandwidth, so I have no idea of what miracle you performed to bond two 1Gig ports on the client side to get 180MB/sec per client.


You have 25 clients - if they are all going to be doing multiple streams of ProRes422HQ, you will have a bottleneck at some point with the speed of your drive array - no matter what system you purchase. People foolishly think that if they spend a lot of money, they can do anything. Well, you can't.


Bob Zelin



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Michael Kammes
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Mar 23, 2011 at 2:20:02 pm

Hey Bob-

Avid ISIS supports bonding on the client side - 2 single GIGe ports at the time. Don't what else to tell you other than it works, and Avid supports it. It's gotta be some voodoo with the ISIS client software on the client side, and using the qualified Intel Pro NIC cards.

Avid even calls out on their spec page that dual link 1GigE ports are qualified.

~Michael



.: michael kammes mpse
.: senior applications editor . post workflow consultant
.: audio specialist . act fcp . acsr
.: michaelkammes.com
.: twitter: @michaelkammes
.: facebook: /mkammes

Hear me pontificate: Speaking Schedule .


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Michael Kammes
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Mar 23, 2011 at 2:27:21 pm

Ahh, here it is:

http://www.avid.com/US/products/ISIS5000/features

Dual Gbit link

Support for load sharing across two 1GBit Ethernet ports (except DC model.

This works when going through a Force 10 switch, NOT direct connected to the ISIS itself.

~Michael



.: michael kammes mpse
.: senior applications editor . post workflow consultant
.: audio specialist . act fcp . acsr
.: michaelkammes.com
.: twitter: @michaelkammes
.: facebook: /mkammes

Hear me pontificate: Speaking Schedule .


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Christopher Lowden
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Mar 17, 2011 at 2:57:41 pm

Many thanks for the returns.
The current setup of 35 terra promise, xsan 2.2 and 3 xserve controllers in failover, has worked surprisingly well for the past 3 years. It serves 25 FCP suites in PAL for predominately live TV shows. The turnaround is very fast. In the coming year, I am obliged to make everyone work in HD, therefore why I am investigating new solutions. To keep my current workflow in HD, I would need to triple the size of the server and that means loads of money. Money is not the issue, it is all about performance, stability and constructor . But when I look under the bonnet, I see that the servers crash repeatedly, there aer chronic problems with the metadata not being in phase with the fibre, chronic issues with file authorisations changing and terrible problems with licences that disappear and then reappear. You may say these are setup issues, but I feel that the xsan is not a dedicated video solution. It is more of a patch work IT solution that is admittedly very versatile and pretty high performance. It is such a shame that while Apple is leaving the enterprise market, it does not offer a credible alternative for large installations. So I am looking around. As for Metasan, I looked into it and found that it slowed down the system alot.

But all in all, it is logic that I continue with xsan but what future is there for xsan?


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Andrew Richards
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Mar 17, 2011 at 6:47:01 pm

Apple is abandoning enterprise? I guess I missed the press release. I suppose you mean the Xserve, but the death if the Xserve does not augur anything really, especially with Thunderbolt's advent. The dev preview of OS X Lion includes Xsan, so there is no reason to believe Apple is abandoning it. Indeed, Apple specifically mentioned Fibre Channel in their feature page for Thunderbolt, and that can't be an accident. Are your Xserve MDC machines very old? You should look into ActiveSAN as an option when it comes out.

Now, given that you already have the Xsan Fibre Channel infrastructure and the clients in place, all you would need to buy to scale up is more RAID arrays. I can't see how you could find a less expensive storage option to meet your needs than expanding your existing system when you already own the stuff that makes Xsan more expensive than the Ethernet options and it is still good.

Best,
Andy


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Bob Zelin
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Mar 17, 2011 at 7:37:37 pm

Great advice Andrew -
get an Active SAN next month to replace the XServe metadata controller, and replace your antique Promise arrays with Active Storage fibre arrays, and call it a day.

Bob Zelin



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Christopher Lowden
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Mar 17, 2011 at 11:31:39 pm

Dear Bob
Thank you very much for the precious advise. It is just what I was looking for.

Andrew, Also thanks for the reply.
Concerning my Apple enterprise comments, what I mean is that Apple has never really penetrated the enterprise market. They have expensive products that are less reliable in comparison to Windows and with an after sales service that is extremely poor. In france, where I live, it is non-existent.

I also oversee large Avid installations which, like Avid or not, offer a very efficient enterprise class service and solution. Yes, it is not the same price at all and in reality not really the same market, but all the same an ISIS or Unity are still just media server. But that is where the comparison ends. I tried running 25 workstations using Active Directory on an xserve with xsan. It was a disaster. I don't get these problems with Avid or other enterprise oriented products. All the same, personally I would buy a mac over a PC any day.


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Andrew Richards
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Mar 18, 2011 at 12:04:29 am

I'd agree Apple has been inconsistent in their "enterprise" strategy. However, StorNext is a great deal more "enterprise" than Xsan for MDCs, and that is what the new ActiveSAN is going to be- StorNext on Linux. We are all waiting to see what it will cost, but I can vouch for StorNext as a very well-supported product. When all you use Xsan for is as a client of StorNext, the stability improves significantly. However, if you are also an Avid shop I can see why you'd be considering consolidating onto a storage platform both environments can use.

Best,
Andy


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Mark Raudonis
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Mar 18, 2011 at 3:52:19 am

[Christopher Lowden] "I tried running 25 workstations using Active Directory on an xserve with xsan. It was a disaster. "

Christopher,

I've been following your posts for years, so I know you're not a total idiot... but I can't let this comment go unanswered.

Whatever you personal experience there are plenty of people that have had success with X-SAN. I am one of them. Three X-SAN's with over a 100+ users. Active storage is our Raid of choice. Low rez and HI Rez, we handle it all. I don't know quite why you're so down on it, but I just had to offer another opinion.

Mark



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Christopher Lowden
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Mar 18, 2011 at 7:20:47 am

Dear Mark
I am very happy to not be considered to be a complete idiot. I can confirm to you that I am a complete idiot. If not I would not need the advise of so many of you generously offer on this forum.

Concerning my experience on XSAN, I know of an xserve that serve up the IT needs of a large advertising agency with 500 clients and it work reasonably well. My problem is that IT is non-critical and the XSAN I am talking about supplies media for numerous live TV shows. There is not a week that goes bye without a system crash. When I call Apple, they have no real answers and I get the impression that it is not a priority for them. If I had the same apple care service for the xsan that I get for my iphone, I would be a very happy camper.

I look forward to see what FCP8 is as it will give me an idea as to what the future of FCP is. Apparently it is really impressive.


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Andrew Richards
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Mar 18, 2011 at 1:02:57 pm

StorNext MDCs. Quantum's support is excellent and enterprise is all they do. Night and day versus Apple's Xsan support. Plus it opens you up to more features like HSM, replication, and you could even look into Marquis Medway to let your Avids hook in.

Best,
Andy


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Bob Zelin
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Mar 18, 2011 at 8:46:11 pm

Christopher writes -
I can confirm to you that I am a complete idiot.

REPLY -
well Christopher, I am a complete idiot too. The only thing I am smart about is that I know that I have to choose a company that has GREAT SUPPORT - and let me tell you, Apple Enterprise is not one of them. This is why I can't understand why you insist on relying on Apple.

Companies like Active Storage, Quantum, Infortrend, etc, etc, etc. have DRAMATICALLY better support than Apple ever had - this is why there are so many independent guys that make a living doing this stuff - because Apple never did it properly. Apple sells iPads, not enterprise solutions. It's the independents that made XSAN possible, not Apple. And this is why there are SO MANY shared storage solutions on the market today - because Apple dropped the ball, and everyone else from Facilis to Editshare, to Active, to pidley me, took advantage of this fact.

My example is similar to people that still think that they are in a large company and have to rely on IBM support for their PC networks ? Who would do that ?

Bob Zelin



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Christopher Lowden
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Mar 19, 2011 at 7:10:13 am

Many thanks to you all for your advice. I am definitely less ignorant now.
I am not an engineer but a workflow consultant, so I juggle user problems whilst developing future proofing solutions for both production and post-production.
What comes out of this is that my client needs to reassure its TV channel clients that it can guarantee delivery. Companies like Avid reassure TV channels that there will not be any surprises. Personally, I know Avid very well but I find that their servers are very expensive and do not offer a cost effective failover solution. Therefore, I am looking for a compromise. The XSAN could have been a real alternative except it seems that Apple is not too bothered.

Bob, there is nothing piddley about what you do. You are at the front end of one of the most important and exciting parts of the audio-visual industry. On top of that, you are one of its most generous and well informed specialists.

Below is a non exhaustive list of server solutions that could be considered as 'professional' or 'enterprise' level.

Apple - XSAN
http://www.apple.com/xsan/

Active Storage
http://www.activestorage.com/activesan.php

Quantum
http://www.quantum.com/Solutions/Broadcast/index.aspx

Rorke
http://www.rorke.com/products-hyperdrive.cfm

Apace Systems
http://www.apacesystems.com/index.php

Promax
http://www.promax.com/Solutions/ProStorageSolutions/

Editshare
http://www.editshare.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=131

Terrablock
http://facilis.com/

Avid
http://www.avid.com/US/products/family/ISIS

DVS
http://www.dvs.de/en/products/storage-solutions.html

Archion
http://www.archion.com/prod-main.php

DDP
http://www.dynamicdrivepool.com/

Isilon
http://www.isilon.com/media-entertainment


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Neil Sadwelkar
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Apr 5, 2011 at 11:34:17 am

Bob,

I think it's piddly, not pidley.

-----------------------------------
Neil Sadwelkar
neilsadwelkar.blogspot.com
twitter: fcpguru
FCP Editor, Edit systems consultant
Mumbai India


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Christopher Lowden
Re: Fcp and Isis
on Apr 5, 2011 at 1:58:34 pm

I think you are right.


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