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*Willing to Spend!* - FCPX SAN for 3 Stations

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Declan Casey
*Willing to Spend!* - FCPX SAN for 3 Stations
on Mar 28, 2014 at 12:31:47 pm

Just to note, I’m not looking for something for nothing - willing to pay for new machines/systems/solutions ( our budget would be up to €5k ex HDs) - just don’t know where to start.

Been reading the forums here for a while looking for ideas. Alas my hopes for a utopian world of thunderbolt shared networking has been utterly smashed by Bobs post… oh well.

We’re a small video production company in Ireland ( which rules out most service/installation offers :(). We’re in the process of expanding and keep banging our head against storage amounts and time spent keeping everything unto date / backed up etc. We currently have 2x full time editors plus myself who occasionally needs to edit too, so we’re looking for a system that can support 3x workstations. I don’t see out needs in post expanding beyond this for sometime.

We shoot DSLR and occasionally ProRes - LT & HQ ( for events ).

Just to note, we did try gong down the Synology route but lost at least an inch of hairline because of it… :/

We use FCPX 10.1.1 exclusively.

Current Set Up :

Server :
Mac Pro 1, 1

4port SeriTek 2ME4 eSATA Card
2port eSATA Card

2x Icy Box 4 Bay in RAID 5 - 7200rpm Barracudas
2x Icy Box 4 Bay in RAID 5 - 5900rom WD green

2 x Lacie Thunderbolt 6TB RAID 0 “Live Work Drives”

2x USB 3 4TB RAW Footage Drives

1 x 4TB WD “Spare/Unimportant data Drive”

Offsite Backup - a mix of “left over” drives of varying sizes, copied individually once a month.


Bonded 1GE to stations ( single 1Gb to one station - MBP - only has one Port)

iMac Bonded using Thunderbolt to GigE adapter.

God, even writing it all down hurts my mind..

This gives us 9TB on each of these RAIDs, the two of them act as our “ archive” - Disk Images are copied over to the local Thunderbolt RAIDs ( and put in a “Holding Cell” on the Archive RAID) until the work is done, the newer disk image is then copied back and the holding cell one deleted.

So, What would be ideal for us?

All of us working from the Live Work folder in a SAN would be great. There would be Live Work and Archive on the one SAN, everything goes there. - Copying to local TB drive is what we’ve been doing up until now.

X-Factor - one of our editors has requested to work from home towards the end of the year. I would like to accommodate this. We’re thinking referenced files on the SAN and Libary/Event/Project files on Dropbox ( or Google Drive) - He takes away a replica of the Live Work folder and syncs it on his return the next week. Would this work?

I know close to nothing about network locking, jumbo frames etc.. please be gentle. Open to a turnkey system but would obviously be interested in a way to retask the RAIDS we have ( for instance - adding 4 More IcyBoxes ) and making them into two big RAID 0 Drives and using that as the storage in our SAN. ( using something like this into a soon to be updated Mac Mini - just a thought.

I'm also conscious that NAB is nearby, is there anything expected there to turn this on its head?

Really grateful for any advice/guidence. Let me know if anything here needs clarification.


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Bob Zelin
Re: *Willing to Spend!* - FCPX SAN for 3 Stations
on Mar 29, 2014 at 3:30:58 pm

I am not going to give you a complete reply.
5000 euros is not a lot to spend for this solution. You said that you already tried Synology and
you lost an inch of hair. You may have lost an inch of hair, but not an inch out of your wallet.
Synology (and everyone else that you will research, and ask "what about this company") sells exactly
what you want. But it's the EXPENSIVE version, with the 10gig ethernet option, and the 10 gig switch, that will allow the Synology (and everything else) to work. Yes, you buy the big Synology rack mount with 8 or 16 drives, and the 10gig option, and the 10gig switch, and then you have what you want.

So when you ask, "well, what about this one" - my generic smart ass answer is NO NOT THAT ONE, the other model, the EXPENSIVE ONE, with all the features and options, and that one will work. I can sit here and say "buy brand XYZ and that will work for you", but I won't because it is above your budget.
Everyone you see on these forums, and everyone that advertises, can sell you a working solution. Every brand that you mention will have "the cheap stuff" and "the expensive stuff". And the expensive stuff is bigger, faster, more powerful, and have the features that you need to accomplish this. Unfortunately, Thunderbolt networking does not work (yet), and even when it does, it's not going to work with 4 SATA drives. And Blackmagic does not offer a miracle solution for "$295.

When you look at all the solutions, and you say "wow, this top brand has a model that is cheap!" - it means that it has limited users, or no expansion, or can barely accomplish what you want (or simply can't accomplish what you want). You have already found this out with synology, and let me assure you, Synology has a model that does exactly what you want - you just don't want to pay for it.

bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.

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Declan Casey
Re: *Willing to Spend!* - FCPX SAN for 3 Stations
on Mar 29, 2014 at 6:49:13 pm

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your response. I do appreciate where you're coming from ( I get it every day from clients - the best one yet was "we want our video to be like the opening title sequence of Iron Man 3.." for 2000euro).

I would happily spend the 10K or so required if we had it, but that just not the case. So I guess it comes down to what would be possible in our price bracket ( if anything at all) and what performance we could expect.

Just to clarify, we're currently using 4x4 eSATA cases, not one, and only really need 2 "proper" seats, I only edit very rarely now.

If there's nothing we can do in our price bracket so be it, thanks again for your help.

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David Gagne
Re: *Willing to Spend!* - FCPX SAN for 3 Stations
on Mar 29, 2014 at 10:20:06 pm

You didn't mention how many iMacs you have.

For $5k I'd say just forget true shared storage. You simply can't do it justice.

If I were in your shoes and I had $5k to spend I'd first sell that mac pro so you have $5.2k to spend :)

Then I'd work on properly equipping each workstation with it's own direct attach storage (Promise, Lacie, etc, RAID5). If you need to copy files around, you can share them amongst each other, but don't try to work off each others drives.

If you have any money left over after getting that setup, I'd save it towards your future upgrade, which in my mind should FIRST be a large backup storage (not production). After you get that in place, THEN get some shared production storage.

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Bob Zelin
Re: *Willing to Spend!* - FCPX SAN for 3 Stations
on Mar 29, 2014 at 11:43:19 pm

I would like to expand on David's response. Lets just say that you "could" network with a $100
switch from the office store, and regular ethernet cable. Or lets just say that you "could" successfully
network with Thunderbolt cables (which may be the case one day soon). Even when this day comes, you are not going to have shared storage without a lot of drives and a disk drive host controller that is able to provide the speed that you will need to support multiple workstation. When you see some of the companies show systems with 3 drives or 4 drives, and say that this is a full shared storage system , well, it's not. It will only offer you limited streams, and limited number of client connections. And for these very entry level systems, when they say "we can do 4 ethernet clients", this usually means that they can get each of the 4 clients to do ONE stream of compressed video (like ProRes).

From my experience, without having 8 drives running in a RAID array, you will have very very limited performance, no matter whose system you purchase. Bottom line - 8 drives and a good host controller to run these drives costs a lot of money. So no matter what miracle product is coming down the line, the drive array will be your limiting factor.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.

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