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Avid Unity with Debian linux

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João Santos
Avid Unity with Debian linux
on Jul 27, 2012 at 9:46:26 pm

Avid Unity with Debian Samba
by João Santos on Jul 27, 2012 at 7:52:52 pm

I have a Unity 5.1.3 Server at work. I think is too slow for the hardware the system have. For example my samba server (for internet file sharing) have only one 2 TB Seagate drive 7200 rpm 64 mb cache. I can get around 95 mb/s Write and 74 mb/s Read.
On Unity copying a file is around 25 mb/s ?!?!?. Both tests from a HP editor workstation.

My network:
1 Unity 5.1.3
1 Router Gigabit supplied by avid i can't remember the brand/model)
1 Debian 6 64 bit Samba 3.6.6
15 HP wx4600 workstations Avid 5.5 (can't upgrade to 6 because unity, that is 2 years old...)

My Testing for Unity:

Make a hardware RAID 5 (with 16 drives 1TB of unity)
Install Debian 6 64bit with Samba 3.6.6
Debian on RAID1
And make a folder for each editor like Eugeny Korkhin have told us about.
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/197/858470

Can i have more performance from unity hardware?
Or this no make any sense and no worth trying?

Thanks

----
Best Regards
João Santos
Portugal


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Chris Gordon
Re: Avid Unity with Debian linux
on Jul 28, 2012 at 2:22:12 am

Have you done any tuning of the IP stack or Samba configuration or are you just using the defaults they ship with? Have you done any tuning on the HP workstation side?


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Bob Zelin
Re: Avid Unity with Debian linux
on Jul 28, 2012 at 1:53:39 pm

Hi Joao,

I am confused with your setup. AVID Unity 5.1.3 is a Fibre based solution, that uses a QLogic Fibre channel switch. You can configure a port server with a generic 1GbE switch for ethernet clients, but the performance has always been very poor. Modern AVID systems, like AVID Unity, that use 1GbE connection to the client computers get about 100MB/sec.

I just setup an old (2007) AVID Unity 5.1.3 system yesterday, that uses ATTO FC-41ES fibre cards, connected to a QLogic switch. From the Mac Pro client, I ran AJA System Test to the AVID Unity Media Engine server (with 16 500gig drives in it - 8TB total), and I was able to get 200MB/sec READ speed with AJA System Test. I don't even bother with the 1GbE connection on unity, because it is slow - slow as any generic office network.

I don't know what you are trying to accomplish here, but If you are trying to use an old AVID Unity 5.1.3 system as a more modern 1GbE shared storage system, you will have nothing but frustration. If you are using AVID Media Composer (and not FCP or Premiere) - you can get teriffic results with a modern AVID ISIS 5000, or an EditShare. Or use a volume based system from Studio Network Solutions, SANmp, or Command Soft Fibre Jet. But you are not going to ever have a wonderful 1GbE system with an old Unity 5.1.3 system, that is designed to be used with Fibre Channel interface to it's clients.

Bob Zelin



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João Santos
Re: Avid Unity with Debian linux
on Jul 28, 2012 at 3:45:45 pm

My Avid is Gigabit based no fiber. It was installed in December of 2010. At the time there is no money for fiber and i was not involved in the upgrade.

But i think performance is very poor compared with linux samba server with 1 hardrive. The samba in Linux is standard configuration with enabled SMB2 support.

The idea is to convert the Unity server remove the Avid and Windows software and install Linux with samba server using is hardware.

Or is not a good idea? Think that there is no money and justification for upgrade a 2 years system...

Thanks!

----
Best Regards
João Santos
Portugal


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Chris Gordon
Re: Avid Unity with Debian linux
on Jul 28, 2012 at 6:40:18 pm

The out of the box Linux and Samba configs are not going to get you the best performance they can deliver. Building a system like this is going to take a lot of expertise. Things you need to look at (off the top of my head): kernel network settings, samba configurations, file system configuration, IP network tuning. This isn't a couple of quick things someone can tell you to do over a forum -- you're going to need to spend a good bit of time reading, learning, experimenting and testing to get the most out of the system. And after you do all of that, the hardware itself may not be up to what you want as Bob mentioned.

You are probably going to need to balance two different costs:
1. The cost of your time to learn all of the different skills to build this yourself and make it work.
2. The cost to hire someone that does know all of this and can get it done quickly.

Of course, as Bob said, you may be end having to buy new/proper hardware to get the results you need.

Hope that helps.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Avid Unity with Debian linux
on Jul 28, 2012 at 8:16:37 pm

In my entire life, I have never heard of anyone having to purchase a VERY expensive AVID Unity 5.1.3 system, only to use Port Server, and no fibre channel. Port Server uses one of the native ethernet ports on the chassis to feed a little switch (like a cheap Netgear switch) - and this single port is shared to the multiple clients. It ALWAYS gets very poor performance. But with Fibre (which involved nothing more than the purchase of a QLogic switch, and ATTO FC-41ES cards) gave you teriffic performance.

Of course, AVID ISIS 5000 resolved all of this, and now AVID's can do 100MB/sec per client with simple ethernet (not fibre). But this was NEVER the case with Unity 5.1.3. I am sorry that you wound up with a system like this. Even back then, the EditShare would have been a much better system for you, for less money.

Bob Zelin



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João Santos
Re: Avid Unity with Debian linux
on Jul 30, 2012 at 9:31:24 am

As I suspected that was a bad business...So i don't have any alternative. And what do you think about my idea to install Linux and make a RAID 5 with a samba share?

Thanks

----
Best Regards
João Santos
Portugal


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Bob Zelin
Re: Avid Unity with Debian linux
on Jul 30, 2012 at 3:41:43 pm

AVID Unity is a specialized software program that can handle the AVID databases properly.
A standard network might drive you crazy - if you have read Eugeny's posts about setting up a standard
network, and using AVID, you will see the limitations that you must follow to have this work.

I build the Final Share shared storage system, and I follow Eugeny's recommendations, or I use
Studio Network Solutions SANmp, with GlobalSAN, which creates an iSCSI target, with initiators for the clients. This allows for a volume based shared storage solution for AVID - but not the slick implementation that AVID gives you with Unity or ISIS software.

So if you build a generic linux server, you will face limitations, even if you get better performance.

Bob Zelin



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João Santos
Re: Avid Unity with Debian linux
on Jul 30, 2012 at 8:15:41 pm

Thanks for the information. I have tried Eugeny's recommendations and i have tried on debian server whit two clients with good results. When i have time to format the avid server i will try a RAID 5 with 16 drives with debian samba with xfs file system. With Linux i ca aggregation the two ports and i have check that the switch support also. first i will test and maybe pass to production work.

Best regards

----
Best Regards
João Santos
Portugal


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