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Ultrastor RS16 + MetaLAN versus "SAN-in-a-box"

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Ben Holmes
Ultrastor RS16 + MetaLAN versus "SAN-in-a-box"
on Apr 26, 2013 at 10:09:10 pm

Hi guys

As someone contemplating a NAS/SAN for use with 2/3 edits (plus some ingest) in the field, working with compressed HD formats, I'm torn.

Based on the number of jobs I need this setup for, I don't feel I can justify the purchase of a $20,000 solution like Space (I've previously owned one of their Midi Space units) or the clever looking tBox (or all the rest). However, I have an experienced reseller and integrator (who I trust) offering me a much cheaper alternative using an Enhance-Tech Ultrastor RS16 (around £5,000 half filled with 8x2Tb drives so I can expand later) and MetaLAN licences. I also have a couple of Cisco 3750G switches already.

Apart from the obvious support aspects (although I'm not DIY on this - I have a reseller), can anyone give me a compelling reason not to go this route? There's a big price difference, and I'm aware of the MetaLAN costs - and I already have great switches, so there's no real point paying twice for that - is there?

At present, my best options are either to rent ISIS, or go for a lower cost build like the one above - no other options make good financial sense. My needs are not constant, and there is no archive, as the events are self contained OB work - clients bring and remove their archive at each event.

Yours in trepidation (hoping this isn't seen as another "I want to build a SAN for a thousand dollars" post)

Ben

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Eric Hansen
Re: Ultrastor RS16 + MetaLAN versus "SAN-in-a-box"
on Apr 26, 2013 at 10:26:25 pm

Like people say elsewhere on this forum, it's all about the support. I have two RS16 RAIDs and they're awesome. but i've learned a lot over the years and support them myself. Would I recommend someone else do that? No. But if your reseller is making themselves available for that, then I say go for it. If there's no support, then don't do it. You will tear your hair out.

I just run mine with AFP. No need for MetaLAN in my install. I assume that you know that the RS16 is only a RAID. You still need a server, cards, etc.

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Ben Holmes
Re: Ultrastor RS16 + MetaLAN versus "SAN-in-a-box"
on Apr 26, 2013 at 10:32:25 pm

Thanks Eric - that's a very helpful response.

I'm planning on using a xMac with Mac mini as server, and also ingest / media management station, so yes, I have costed the extra bits and pieces. It's still half the cost of even Space. I just don't know if I need the same level of support that a 24/7 setup has - and I'm going to be out in the field as I said, so to a large extent I'm on my own anyway!

Ben

Edit Out Ltd
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Eric Hansen
Re: Ultrastor RS16 + MetaLAN versus "SAN-in-a-box"
on Apr 26, 2013 at 10:41:40 pm

xMac. hmm

Personally, i would test the hell out of that setup before going with it. I've spoken with a few other SAN installers and none of our small group has really put a Mac Mini with TB adapters to the test. We don't know if there's enough bandwidth to support disc IOs and ethernet. AND you want to use it for ingest. might be a bit much for the Mac Mini bus. but i don't know...

you'll definitely be pushing it. and you'll be on your own. I would try it (hoping to soon). But I've been told I'm nuts by quite a few people in this industry.

not sure i would use the RS16 in the field either, if you're trying to save space with a Mac Mini. The RS16 is still a big deep rack mount RAID.

I'm testing a Small Tree Titanium-Z 5 right now. Portable 5 drive SAN with 10GbE option. Might be right up your alley: http://www.small-tree.com/TitaniumZ_5_p/tz-5.htm

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Ben Holmes
Re: Ultrastor RS16 + MetaLAN versus "SAN-in-a-box"
on Apr 26, 2013 at 10:45:41 pm

5 drives? I had an 8 drive unit before on 4 workstations, and it struggled (it was a Midi Space system, so no slouch). How many systems would those 5 drives support?

I have to admit I'm curious about the smaller units (Platform as well from ProMax although I can find no info on UK suppliers or support) and whether they're now quick enough for my use. Ingest always seems to hit a SAN, and I've got a lot of ingest...

Ben

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Ben Holmes
Re: Ultrastor RS16 + MetaLAN versus "SAN-in-a-box"
on Apr 26, 2013 at 10:48:35 pm

As far as Small Tree goes, I approached them a few years ago, and they had no support or dealers for their solutions in the UK - that was a dealbreaker for me.

Ben

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Ben Holmes
Re: Ultrastor RS16 + MetaLAN versus "SAN-in-a-box"
on Apr 26, 2013 at 10:51:15 pm

Sorry - forgive multiple posts.

If I use MetaSAN I wouldn't be relying on the Mac Mini as the server in a small setup would I? One of the workstations would as the Master and I'd run the RAID bonded to the switch. Or have I missed something?

Ben

Edit Out Ltd
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Eric Hansen
Re: Ultrastor RS16 + MetaLAN versus "SAN-in-a-box"
on Apr 26, 2013 at 10:54:18 pm

if you're anticipating a lot of ingest, then i suggest a Mac Pro and not a Mini. That way you can get 600+MB/s on the RAID and transfer cards and hard drives directly on the Mac Pro (using USB3, eSATA, SAS, etc), bypassing the ethernet clients. If you use a Mini in an xMac enclosure, you're going to saturate the Thunderbolt bus, guaranteed.

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Ben Holmes
Re: Ultrastor RS16 + MetaLAN versus "SAN-in-a-box"
on Apr 26, 2013 at 11:47:41 pm

Thanks Eric. I do appreciate the advice. It's clear I need to talk this through more with my reseller - I'm sure he'd agree with you on this.

Edit Out Ltd
----------------------------
FCP Editor/Trainer/System Consultant
EVS/VT Supervisor for live broadcast
RED camera transfer/post
Independent Director/Producer

http://www.blackmagic-design.com/community/communitydetails/?UserStoryId=87...


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Nate Cooper
Re: Ultrastor RS16 + MetaLAN versus "SAN-in-a-box"
on Apr 26, 2013 at 11:50:41 pm

Hey Ben,

You're in a very common position and from what I saw at NAB this year, smaller workgroup SANs are a quickly growing part of the market.

The great news is, smaller workgroups can compete with the big guys because of talent and technology. The bad news is, you have the same infrastructure needs but without the big budgets. There are a few options out there that will meet you in the middle.

We designed Platform Studio for this exact market. http://www.promax.com/s-223-promax-platform-studio.aspx It's not much more than the other solution you were talking about, but it gives you the performance/stability/support benefits of going with a larger 'enterprise' solution.

Here is a thread from a recent client in a similar position.
http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/197/859453

Hope this helps and best of luck to you no matter which way you go!

Nate Cooper
ProMAX
nate.cooper@promax.com


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Ben Holmes
Re: Ultrastor RS16 + MetaLAN versus "SAN-in-a-box"
on Apr 27, 2013 at 12:26:38 am

Hi Nate

What sort of support would I expect in the UK?

Edit Out Ltd
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Nate Cooper
Re: Ultrastor RS16 + MetaLAN versus "SAN-in-a-box"
on Apr 27, 2013 at 8:47:16 pm

Hey Ben,

We are just about to sign up a UK distributor who will be able to support you locally. This should happen within a couple of weeks. That said, if you need to do anything before then, please don't hesitate to reach out directly.

Best,

Nate Cooper
nate.cooper@promax.com


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Ben Holmes
Re: Ultrastor RS16 + MetaLAN versus "SAN-in-a-box"
on Apr 28, 2013 at 4:38:03 pm

Thanks - perhaps you could update the thread when one I'd announced? Can you provide a list price for Platform Studio?

Edit Out Ltd
----------------------------
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RED camera transfer/post
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Nate Cooper
Re: Ultrastor RS16 + MetaLAN versus "SAN-in-a-box"
on Apr 29, 2013 at 2:15:51 am

Will do Ben, it shouldn't be long. As far as pricing, you'll be able to get everything you need under $10k USD.

Nate


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Jay Heikkila
Re: Ultrastor RS16 + MetaLAN versus "SAN-in-a-box"
on May 6, 2013 at 11:21:09 pm

Hello Ben,

My name is Jay Heikkila and I am the territory manager for Studio Network Solutions (SNS) in The UK. SNS is the manufacturer of the EVO shared storage system. http://www.studionetworksolutions.com/evo/

SNS has been providing turnkey shared storage solutions specifically to the media and content creation industry for 15 years now. Our EVO system has been shipping for 6 years now and is supported in 40 countries (including the UK). Full EVO systems with no per seat client licensing and all the workflow tools included start at $6,999. EVO is a SAN and NAS system in one box that needs no additional servers or metadata controllers.

I find it's always best to gather as much info from a prospect as possible to help configure the best solution for your performance and budgetary needs. You said one option of yours is renting an ISIS, so I'm assuming you're on Avid? EVO provides Avid bin and project sharing at no additional costs. What compressed HD codec(s) are you working with? (DNxHD?)

SNS has dozens of EVO installs across the UK including The BBC, Met Film, Discovery Channel, History Channel, Shepperton Studios and many more.

We also provide the tools for editors to start collaborative editing in the field that is included at no charge with an EVO.

Please contact me to learn more or to be put in touch with SNS' European distributor.

Cheers!

Jay Heikkila
jheikkila@studionetworksolutions.com
314-456-4053
Skype: snsjay


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