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SNS - here we GO!

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Jason Silzle
SNS - here we GO!
on May 18, 2013 at 12:17:17 am

OK so many of you saw My other thread here Where we tried a "ProMax Studio" and as cool as it was it didn't work for us so here is what we are doing.

For the software server, meta control, and san clients we have decided on STUDIO NETWORK SOLUTIONS "Xtarget" and "SanMP". When we are all done we will end up with an iSCSI SAN environment with much MUCH more capabilities than I had originally expected!

While I'm sure several of you on this forum will beat me over the head for this approach (because I will now have to be the network maintenance guy)I have to say i am very very happy about this decision.

The guys at SNS have been very helpful in getting me everything i need. Mind you it arrives next week so I'll have to review more about performance and my install process after we get it here and installed. For now I can say the sales support and even the preliminary technical help I have gotten has been incredible. Thank you Steve (sales) and Steve (Support) at SNS!

One of the things I am so excited about with the SanMP software is being able to give out very specific permissions. In fact it is going to change our workflow but for the better. Currently everything is in the box raid "O" and all media assets are in the folder with the clients name and project files, cache files, waveform files etc... This is nice and tidy but one slip of the finger on the delete key and we are HOSED! Well, when I'm the only editor with my hands in the cookie jar that is OK but with bringing someone else on we will be changing the way we work and I'm pretty excited about it.

I have built my raid and broken it into several pieces. One large chunk is going to be for ingest and all assets. All my editors will have read only access to this so no accidental deletions. Then i have another large chunk that will be all our stock footage and library stuff (i.e. Sound effects, CineGrains, Flares, Visual effects, bumpers etc...)and this volume will also be read only. then everyone will have a smaller personal volume that they will work from (full read and write access) and this will hold cache files, titles, VFX they are creating etc... When a job is complete those files and the client folder on the assets volume will be combined and archived off the server. SanMP will be perfect for login an monitoring of all the volumes. I'm still learning about what it does so if my terminology is off a bit, my apologies.


Here is what I am building:
- I picked up a MacMini Server 2.3ghz 4 Core i7 and i put 16GB of ram in it.
- I picked up an Areca Thunder Raid 8050 box for storage (800Mhz Dual Core raid controler with Thunderbolt connectivity)
- I got a killer steal on (8) 3TB Hitachi drives so 24TB Raid 5 here I come!
- I also picked up a SMALL TREE 6 port Thunderbolt Nic (Card/Chassis Combo)


This should give me a 6 Port Direct Connect (over 1GBE) server with 24TB of storage.

I'll write back more after i set it all up (i'm just waiting on the SNS hardware and software). So far the rest of the config has been great.

Thank you,

Jason Silzle
http://www.dovedigitalmedia.com
Owner/Founder
Dove Digital Media


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Eric Hansen
Re: SNS - here we GO!
on May 18, 2013 at 12:40:24 am

hey Jason

I'm a bit confused. You stated in your earlier thread that you were disappointed that you couldn't get 3 streams of ProResHQ over 1GbE on Promax Platform. But now you're going with a setup that uses 1GbE? Are you expecting this 1GbE to be faster than Promax's 1GbE?

I have been testing a similar setup as this. Be aware that Thunderbolt doesn't have as much bandwidth as SAS for the same number of drives (ie, the Areca SAS box will be faster than the Areca TB box). This configuration might not be able to scale as large as you're hoping.

e

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


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Jason Silzle
Re: SNS - here we GO!
on May 18, 2013 at 1:06:22 am

Thank you Eric for the input.

I (respectfully) hope your wrong, but you probably arn't. I'm expecting 95 to 105MB/s with SanMP based on what I have heard from the sales team and what they say they see over iScsi protocal on 1GBe. The reality for us is most our work isn't proResHQ but I would like to have that much bandwidth just in case. Even when We are just editing H264 sometimes it is a multi cam edit with 6-9 streams for that one editor. So, with 2 or 3 editors trying to do the same it might get dicey...? We will see

Thank you,

Jason Silzle
http://www.dovedigitalmedia.com
Owner/Founder
Dove Digital Media


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Bob Zelin
Re: SNS - here we GO!
on May 18, 2013 at 1:58:19 pm

I am confused to. While I would love to bash ProMax here, their product can certainly provide the # of streams that you are trying to do - certainly the same performance as a 6 port Ethernet card. Both Eric and myself have extensive experience with the multiport Ethernet cards, and we know what these cards can, and cannot do. I LOVE Studio Network Solutions - they have a great product, but you are not buying an SNS EVO - you are basically building your own system with a Mac Mini, an ARC8050 thunderbolt chassis and a multiport Ethernet card. So I assume that you are going to use XTarget on the Mac Mini from SNS, and put SANmp clients and iSCSI initiator on your client computers. The performance of ProMax should be identical in this situation.

Maybe I am not understanding what you are saying properly.

Bob Zelin



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Jason Silzle
Re: SNS - here we GO!
on Jun 14, 2013 at 12:46:21 am

Thanks Bob for the input. Yes it should be similar but I think I'm seeing a bit more performance and I'm assuming that is because of the "BLOCK" level access. The Promax system was using IP protocol not iSCSI.

The other things is I now have secure luns with user access setup by iSanMP login with varying Read/Write permissions and I love that.

Last but not least is the comparison of what we got in the end for the same money.

Both rigs well under $10K as mentioned below.

PMX-------------------------------SNS--------------------------
===============================================================
16TB______________________________24TB (thunderbolt expandable+)
Toshiba Desktop___________________Hitachi Enterprise
4Ports (4 clients)________________6Ports (6 Clients)
Windows 2012 Server_______________OSX (mac Mini) + SNS XTarget&iSanMP
IP File/Folder sharing____________Block Level Access w/Security

We are still in the midst of configuration so I will say the jury is still out but we have rock solid connectivity on a MacPro/Win7 Dual boot box plus a macbook pro and another separate Windows 7 box running Paragon (File system is HFS). I'll report back with more details as we wrap up the install. The SNS guys have really been very help full with the setup so that is a great thing as well.

Thank you,

Jason Silzle
http://www.dovedigitalmedia.com
Owner/Founder
Dove Digital Media


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Bob Zelin
Re: SNS - here we GO!
on Jun 17, 2013 at 10:07:50 pm

Hi Jason -
I hope that you will keep us up to date with the Studio Network Solutions system that you have installed, and let us know how things are going. I greatly appreciate your comparison of SNS to ProMax.
It's great for these forums.

thanks -
Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
maxavid@cfl.rr.com


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Steve Modica
Re: SNS - here we GO!
on Jun 18, 2013 at 6:40:18 pm

It's been my experience that iSCSI is much faster than AFP/Samba. AFP and Samba are shared protocols and have to do a lot of stat'ing of directories before they do anything (in fact, as you copy files, they are constantly double checking that you are still allowed to copy the file).

iSCSI is not a shared protocol. So it doesn't do any of this. So the access is either volume shared or SAN/metadata controller based. iSCSI can generally hit line rate on 1Gb and 10Gb. (This is exactly why I was using it at NAB to do my 1GByte/sec Adobe demo, although as you might recall, Thunderbolt 1 forced me to use 2 10Gb ports to go that fast)

I think the problem in this scenario is going to be the Thunderbolt port. I don't think it's capable of more than 600MB/sec. Divide that between the two devices (RAID and network) and your at 300MB/sec. Divide that amongst 6 Gigabit ports and you're at 50MB/sec.

Steve

Steve Modica
CTO, Small Tree Communications


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Eric Hansen
Re: SNS - here we GO!
on Jun 18, 2013 at 6:54:44 pm

man, i can't wait to build and test one of these setups

Steve, a few questions:

- Barefeats got the Areca 8050 up to 900MB/s. it stayed there in a few different configs (RAID0, RAID5, etc), so that looks to more or less be the limit for TB1. Now, I may be totally wrong here, but with TB1, doesn't that mean the storage is using a single 10Gb lane of the 2 available on the port? would that mean that a 10GbE card on the same TB1 port (daisy chained) would use the second 10Gb channel? thus the drive would still keep hitting 900MB/s while the 10GbE card will go as fast as the 10Gb channel allows?

- in your Adobe demo, you say "Thunderbolt 1 forced me to use 2 10Gb ports to go that fast". does that mean you used two Thundernet boxes and bonded them in System Prefs to hit 1GBs? if so, does that mean 10GbE bonding works differently than 1GbE bonding, where you can't actually increase speed with bonding unless there's something "smart" controlling it, like Avid ISIS?

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


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Steve Modica
Re: SNS - here we GO!
on Jun 22, 2013 at 12:33:34 pm

[Eric Hansen] "- Barefeats got the Areca 8050 up to 900MB/s. it stayed there in a few different configs (RAID0, RAID5, etc), so that looks to more or less be the limit for TB1. Now, I may be totally wrong here, but with TB1, doesn't that mean the storage is using a single 10Gb lane of the 2 available on the port? would that mean that a 10GbE card on the same TB1 port (daisy chained) would use the second 10Gb channel? thus the drive would still keep hitting 900MB/s while the 10GbE card will go as fast as the 10Gb channel allows?

- in your Adobe demo, you say "Thunderbolt 1 forced me to use 2 10Gb ports to go that fast". does that mean you used two Thundernet boxes and bonded them in System Prefs to hit 1GBs? if so, does that mean 10GbE bonding works differently than 1GbE bonding, where you can't actually increase speed with bonding unless there's something "smart" controlling it, like Avid ISIS?"


On TB1, the graphics channel is not available for IO. (It is on TB2).
I think the theoretical limit for TB1 is 1GB/sec (which a storage controller can approach), but for 10Gb and non-optimal IO (like many users reading from the storage) you'll see much lower numbers. Areca loves to post those high BW numbers :)

As for the 2 TB ports at NAB, I didn't use bonding. I used iSCSI and MPIO. That allowed me to ping pong scsi commands between 10Gb cards (each on its own thunderbolt port). LACP would have stuck me with a single socket using only one of the ports.

Steve Modica
CTO, Small Tree Communications


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Jason Silzle
Re: SNS - here we GO!
on Jun 24, 2013 at 7:22:35 pm

Update on the SNS system....

Well I have the system 90% up and running smooth as glass and it has been very fast (for a network).

I have one windows 7 box (running Paragon because the Luns are HFS+) and Edius 6.54 running fine. Then a second MacPro that dual boots between OSX FCP7 and Win7 Edius 6.54 and this one works flawless. I also have a MacBookPro (FCX) and it works great. However my editing box (Windows 7 Edius 6.54) won't work. I will say the SNS guys have been helping my around the clock for weeks and we still can't figure it out so I'm at my whits end and figured I would bring it up here. I believe it is really something inherent to my software/hardware combination and possibly some sort of I/O collision over the iSCSI.

I can see the iSCSI target and connect and authenticate through iSanMP but when I try to mount the Vol it always wants to format the Disk. I have tried everything from actually formatting a Vol to installing a new version of windows 7 on another disk and on that stripped down disk (Win7OS and SanMP only) it runs fine! I'm worried if I install everything else I need I will be right back to a non working system. Has anybody every experienced anything like this?

FYI... My system is not only a video editing system but also music production so the things that make my box different than the others is I have hardware inside like; UAD Card, TC powercore (via FW800), Grassvalley HDSpark Card. Then a ton of other software like Sample libraries, VST instruments (virtual synthes), Cubase 6.5 etc...

Anybody have any ideas?

Thank you,

Jason Silzle
http://www.dovedigitalmedia.com
Owner/Founder
Dove Digital Media


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