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Jonathan Fowler
Shared Storage - Medium Sized Post Production
on Mar 25, 2011 at 3:06:16 am

If there is a post or thread devoted the solution I'm seeking - please point me in the right direction. I'm guessing most shared storage situations have a handful of solutions and the accompanying variables must factor in. Here are the details.

I currently need to determine the best (and that includes cost-effective) solution for managing and sharing my small company's grwowing video archive.

-- We currently have about 20TB of video spread over countless hard drives. We have no server of any sort. All post-production work has been done locally, which, as we have grown has meant a contant game of musical hard drives depending on the workstation, pushing and pulling media, and unfortanately poorly logged media such that projects often point to offline media. Time for enterprise-level shared storage, right?!

-- We use nothing but Mac. We cut on FCP only. We integrate Adobe AfterEffects footage in about 10% of our projects (as well as the occasional Motion project). Nothing fancier graphically at this point, but as we grow, we could see ourselves with much higher-level graphics and post sound work done.

-- "Archive" is about 10TB of digitized mini-DV tape plus 10TB of p2 footage (DVCPRO-HD 720p). We have had third parties shoot XDCAM and HDV footage, but that is only a very, very small fraction.

-- Going forward, will originate in AVCCAM HD (From the AF-100). We will shoot and cut 3 to 4 hours of footage per week. We plan to ingest/transcode everything in the future as ProRes HQ (1080). All footage will have at least 3 camera angles... and we will cut multitrack sequences. So 3.5 hour per week x 3 cams.

-- We currently have 4 workstations that could be running simultaneously. One iMac, one MacPro (8 core), 3 new MBPs. Looking at fiber channel to the tower, ethernet everywhere else. This could easily expand to 6 within a year.

-- We need to have swift access to our archival media (mixing formats). Much of our older media will be repurposed for use in new projects. Whatever storage solution we go with, all media will be reconnected and tidied up.

-- We need to have different editors collaborate on projects at different workstations. (e.g. one might start with prepping an assembly, then on to the fine cut by someone else, back to someone else for tightening/grading/mixing/polishing, then finally compression. This is where musical hard drives is killing us.

-- Being budget conscious, we considered an Apple server machine and 32 TB of Promise RAID storage? Problems with this? Would this require pushing and pulling of media to the local machine??? Apple software?

-- Only slightly more expensive it is looking like the 32TB Evo system from StudioNetworkSolutions would do the trick. Ability to simultaneously cut 2-3 ProRes HQ multitrack projects. No "pushing or pulling". Easily expandable it seems. In the top end of our budget.

-- Waiting to hear back from Small Tree (waiting for the product they offer - but they suggested part of the equation would be getting a 12 (or minimum 8) core Mac Pro?! Claim simplicity of use, but possibly paying a high premium for 10Gb connection required for the multitrack sequences.

-- Then we need to consider backup. Assuming LTO tape. Monthly or weekly backup. Stored off-site. Worth it to pay more for LTO5???

-- Any use for all of the older HDs as a cost-saver, either in terms of shared storage or backup??

I realize these are basic enquiries for what seems to be a very complex strategy?

Anyone familiar with the EVO system or StudioNetworkSolutions? Are there similar alternatives?

Thanks in advance.


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Nate Cooper
Re: Shared Storage - Medium Sized Post Production
on Mar 25, 2011 at 5:14:22 am

Hey Jonathan,

There are lots of options out there that will work for you. 3 Streams of ProRes HQ on 4 or 5 workstations would really be pushing the limits of what you can do if you go with a Apple Server hooked up to some fast storage. You might wind up doing some pushing pulling with this system. Also if you go this route, you're in it to save money so don't both with the Promise storage, it's great for Xsan but for this type of installation get a cheap fibre array. It'll work just as well.

EVO will definitely handle it performance-wise and is a great option, I've had many clients be very happy with EVO. It's pretty nice in it's scalability, mixing topologies, etc.

There's several other options out there ShareMAX, Facilis, Final Share. If you can make it to NAB it might be worth while just for this. Tell everyone at the booths you're a student and ask for a demo on their shared storage solution.

As far as LTO5, if you can pay the extra go for it, if you're budget tight LTO4 is still 800GB, not bad.

If you want more specifics feel free to hit me up outside of the cow.

Nate Cooper
nate.cooper@promax.com
949.375.2738

Scuba Dive? http://www.postproductiondivers.com/

I support:
Xsan
MXFserver
ShareMAX
EVO/SANmp
Facilis
MetaSAN


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Andrew Richards
Re: Shared Storage - Medium Sized Post Production
on Mar 25, 2011 at 5:16:39 pm

Jonathan,

I'd love to show you Motion Media Suite if you are attending NAB. I think MMS would suit your desired workflow very well. I'm also happy to discuss it here or offline if you like.

Best,
Andy


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Andrew Richards
Re: Shared Storage - Medium Sized Post Production
on Mar 25, 2011 at 10:12:15 pm

I forgot to add:

You won't be able to use the built-in gigabit Ethernet ports on your iMac or MBPs to stream ProResHQ unless they are the older Core2 powered models that have support for jumbo frames. The newer Core iX models do not have jumbo frame capabilities, which seriously limits your ability to stream video in real time. If your MBPs have ExpressCard slots, they can have jumbo frame NICs added, but there is no solution for a Core iX iMac.

Best,
Andy


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Jeremy Strootman
Re: Shared Storage - Medium Sized Post Production
on Mar 25, 2011 at 8:13:24 pm

Hi Jonathan,

EVO is a good fit. Then again, I am partial to it. As you stated, the Apple server in front of Promise storage will most likely not meet the performance requirements. Furthermore, there is little to be said about the Apple Server (MacPro Tower?) possessing any server features. There are no redundant power supplies or high availability fault-tolerance. The Promise storage, of course, possesses some of these features.

Another interesting point is the 10Gig option seems like an odd suggestion too. 3 streams of ProRes HQ comes to around 90-100MB/s. Why do you need a 1000MB/s pipe to fit that in? What do you do with the other 900MB/s?

With EVO, you can connect 1Gig or 10Gig Ethernet, or fibre. You will get over 100MB/s on the Ethernet pipe easily handling 3 streams of ProRes HQ. Therefore, I would not recommend our 10Gig option. Fibre is nice if you want it. Although, you can always add fibre to EVO later on down the road if you decide that you would like it. It is very inexpensive to throw an extra port on to EVO.

Come by the booth at NAB.

Jeremy


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Bob Zelin
Re: Shared Storage - Medium Sized Post Production
on Mar 26, 2011 at 12:14:56 am

Professional Ethernet based shared storage systems can be purchased from:
EditShare
Maxx Digital
Small Tree Granite Store
Studio Network Solutions
ProMax
Apace System
Facilis
AVID Unity ISIS 5000

10 Gig (and partial 10 gig - meaning a couple of clients) from -
EditShare
Maxx Digital
Small Tree Granite Store
Studio Netowrk Solutions
Apace Systems
Facilis
AVID Unity ISIS

10 Gig is an excellent solution, except you don't need it if you are only working in ProRes422HQ, etc.


Fibre based solutions from
Studio Network Solutions
Facilis
AVID Unity ISIS 5000
JMR
Apple XSAN (use Active Storage, never Promise)
ATTO FastStream
Sonnet Technology

Infiniband based solutions from:
Cal Digit Super share.

If this is your project, and you have been put in charge of choosing a shared storage solution, based on budget, it is your responsibility to contact all of these companies, and it is your responsibility to read the last 100 threads on this forum, to see what systems are out there, and what people are using. If you think this is a casual decision, you are fooling yourself.

All of the companies I have mentioned make good products. If you are foolish enough to think that buying an Apple Server with a Promise drive array and an ethernet switch is a working solution, then you are fooling yourself (and anyone that advised you is a moron), and you will be fired for making that decision. To use an Apple Server and a Promise drive array, you must build an Apple XSAN system which is a LOT more pieces than a server and a drive array.

If you find all of this confusing and overwhelming, you should hire someone to help you. But all of the companies you have mentioned, and that I have mentioned are all good companies. All of these products will absolutely work for you (except your suggestion of the Apple Server and Promise drive).

Bob Zelin



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