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FCP X now with Xsan support

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Andrew Richards
FCP X now with Xsan support
on Sep 20, 2011 at 4:31:05 pm

Apple's update page:

"Create and edit your Final Cut Pro X projects and Events on Xsan. Ideal for multi-user workflows, you can import media through Final Cut Pro X and place it directly on the SAN. Multiple users can access the same source media, and each editor can create separate projects and Events on the SAN. Users can then edit from any system attached to the SAN, making it easy to move between computers and continue working."

Best,
Andy


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James O'Connor
Re: FCP X now with Xsan support
on Sep 20, 2011 at 7:28:15 pm

Great - but does this mean I have to have Apple's Fibre Channel system for Xsan or can I find a way to get my GraniteSTOR by Small Tree Networks (GBE and SATA) to host FCPX Events ***and now, more importantly, PROJECTS*** on the server?

Right now it actually works fine - we connect to media on the server by just leaving content where it is (referenced) when importing. But the projects... as we all know... are stuck on the client machine until you "move" them via sneakernet... which sucks.

Is this only going to work with "XSan approved" hardware?

James


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Bob Zelin
Re: FCP X now with Xsan support
on Sep 20, 2011 at 8:32:01 pm

I have asked about this on the XSAN forum recently - with no reply - in anticipation of all of this. If you have a Mac Mini, and the Promise Thunderbolt to Fibre adaptor (non yet released) - can you run an XSAN enviornment - or do you have to to the WHOLE EXPENSIVE COMPLEX THING - with the 2 servers, dual switches, plus fibre cards in every MAC Pro, no iMAC's, no MacMini clients, no MacBook Pro clients ? None of this is made clear.

Simple question (which I know that no one can answer) - will XSAN become "simple" or is the the same deal with the dual servers, three switches, and same complex administration ?

That is not made clear.

The idea of having to buy a Promise VTrak, dual servers, Fibre cards for every MAC Pro, and a QLogic Fibre switch kind of defeats the purpose of a "simple" SAN from Apple. And as this forum demonstrates on a daily basis - there are LOTS AND LOTS of simple, easy to use, and inexpensive SAN's already out there. So what secret (if any) is up Apple's sleeve ?

bob Zelin



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James O'Connor
Re: FCP X now with Xsan support
on Sep 20, 2011 at 8:34:57 pm

Well, back to waiting on Apple to decide whether it's worth caring or not! Right now we use FCPX and Premiere Pro side by side but until they let FCPX play on the same setup as just about every other serious (not even pro) editor, then we have it sandboxed and it doesn't get to play with our bigger projects at all. Shame because I really like the interface!

Thanks Bob.


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Andrew Richards
Re: FCP X now with Xsan support
on Sep 20, 2011 at 10:01:43 pm

[Bob Zelin] "If you have a Mac Mini, and the Promise Thunderbolt to Fibre adaptor (non yet released) - can you run an XSAN enviornment - or do you have to to the WHOLE EXPENSIVE COMPLEX THING - with the 2 servers, dual switches, plus fibre cards in every MAC Pro, no iMAC's, no MacMini clients, no MacBook Pro clients ? None of this is made clear. "

Short answer: it has to stay complicated.

Long answer: Xsan is essentially StorNext, and for a client to participate in a StorNext filesystem, the fibre channel switching is essential. Xsan probably won't let you, but StorNext can actually make a SNFS filesystem on internal disks. But if you want more than the MDC to be able to access the filesystem as well, that's where the switch comes in. Xsan/StorNext clients need block-level access to the disk for it to work. The only way to get multiple clients seeing disk at the block level is via switched block-level protocols like fibre channel.

[Bob Zelin] "The idea of having to buy a Promise VTrak, dual servers, Fibre cards for every MAC Pro, and a QLogic Fibre switch kind of defeats the purpose of a "simple" SAN from Apple."

You don't need redundant MDCs to run an Xsan filesystem, but redundant MDCs is the de facto standard install. Every client does need to have a fibre channel HBA of some kind (be it a card or a Thunderbolt adapter). The most complicated part of Xsan by far is the FC switch.

[Bob Zelin] "And as this forum demonstrates on a daily basis - there are LOTS AND LOTS of simple, easy to use, and inexpensive SAN's already out there."

It's hair-splitting, but some of the "SANs" you're referring to are really NAS. Technically, Xsan is a shared disk clustered filesystem atop a SAN.

But for video editing purposes, none of that really matters. Video editing doesn't require block-level access to work. File-level access via TCP protocols works just fine as long as the bandwidth is there.

[Bob Zelin] "So what secret (if any) is up Apple's sleeve ? "

I too am puzzled about Apple's strategy for Xsan. It pretty much can't be dead simple due to the required infrastructure for that type of SAN, but now they are giving the software away with Lion. Thunderbolt makes it possible to physically connect to Xsan with iMacs, Mac minis, and MacBooks, but that doesn't make it easy- you still have to set up and zone a very complicated fibre switch. What's up their sleeve? The magic eight ball says "cannot predict now".

Best,
Andy


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Andrew Richards
Re: FCP X now with Xsan support
on Sep 20, 2011 at 10:37:29 pm

[James O'Connor] "Great - but does this mean I have to have Apple's Fibre Channel system for Xsan or can I find a way to get my GraniteSTOR by Small Tree Networks (GBE and SATA) to host FCPX Events ***and now, more importantly, PROJECTS*** on the server?"

According to Larry Jordan, it is NOT Xsan exclusive.

Best,
Andy


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Simon Blackledge
Re: FCP X now with Xsan support
on Sep 21, 2011 at 6:46:55 pm

XSan only. Tried it.

You have to go in finder /Network > etc.. can't just click an already mounted afp mount.

then click add and says not correct format. Which is wrong wording... but hey.. no wormy :(

Thing is this is a PRO feature. So just allow AFP and add a warning about bandwidth.

Ah well...

s



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Matt Killmon
Re: FCP X now with Xsan support
on Sep 23, 2011 at 9:26:14 pm

It's a shame. I was hoping this would work with my Terrablock, but no dice. It lets me add the volume, and create events, but trying to import any footage results in a lot of disconnected clip icons (as though it cannot read the files it just tried to add), and it claims it can't even find the event to move it to the trash. I'm wondering if they'll expand the SAN capabilities to be more generic in future revisions or keep it locked to just XSan (which would be a shame).



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Matt Killmon
Re: FCP X now with Xsan support
on Sep 23, 2011 at 10:06:17 pm

UPDATE: A quick test with creating a single-user write volume formatted as HFS+ was surprisingly more effective, however. I checked "copy media" and it didn't, and it crashed during an import of a folder of media from another multi-user write volume. However, when I opened it again, the media from that folder had been imported to an event created on the single-user write volume (revealing in finder showed a folder full of links, not actual movie files), and I could scrub through all the media in the Event viewer. Dragging clips into a project worked as well.

So, good in that it's possible to use with TerraBlock SAN volumes, bad in that one's events and projects have to live on a single-user write volume. Seems like it cuts down on the potential for collaboration.



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Tim Ward
Re: FCP X now with Xsan support
on Jan 11, 2012 at 12:40:01 am

Small Tree has Xsan running over iSCSI on our next generation "all-in-one" storage appliance. Pretty cool.

Tim Ward
Small Tree Communications
http://www.small-tree.com


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