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Bob Zelin
new Maxx Digital Expando SATA array !
on Oct 29, 2008 at 11:43:12 pm

Holy Cow (no pun intended) -
I have just tested the new Maxx EVO Expando chassis. This is an 8 bay chassis that can be fitted with the new 1.5 Terabyte Seagate SATA drives (that was in my demo unit), so an 8 bay drive array is 12 Terabytes (and becomes 10 Terabytes after the RAID 5 process).

But that is not the cool part. The cool part is that it is EXPANDABLE up to 128 drives !!!! I just got the second chassis in today, and added a second 12 Terabytes. There is no expansion box, or expansion switch, like with other companies. You just daisy chain one chassis to another - you just loop one drive box to another, and you have MORE STORAGE !!!!! No switches, no knobs, no settings. So now, instead of 12 Terabytes (10 terabytes RAID 5), I have 24 Terabytes (20 Terabytes RAID 5) with only 2 8 bay boxes.
And yes, they are almost silent, and they run cool. I am getting slower results than with the regular MAXX EVO2 - I am getting between 525Mb/sec and 620 Mb/sec, where the EVO2 was doing consistantly over 600mb/sec - BUT WHO CARES - I can do 10 bit uncompressed HD with this new box ALL DAY LONG, with no issues.

The new MAXX card has 2 ports on it, and each port can run 128 drives. This mean that I can have 16 8 bay boxes daisy chained on each SAS/SATA port. This means that I can have 192 Terabytes on EACH BUSS. This means that I can have 384 Terabytes running on ONE MACINTOSH !!!!!! HOLY COW !

I have no idea if the MAC OS can even handle this kind of storage. And guess what - the 4 Terabyte drives from Hitachi are coming out in 2009 !!!!!

In answer to the question - "does this SLOW DOWN when you daisy chain the boxes" - the answer so far is NO. The existing 12 TB EVO Expando was 3/4" full and had slowed down to about 400Mb/sec. I daisy chained the new box from the existing Expando box, created the new RAID 5, and ran AJA System Test on the new empty box (with a 2 Gig file at 1920x1080 RGB). The new box wrote at about 600 and read back at about 525Mb/sec. This is slower than the EVO2, but certainly fast enough for 10 bit uncomrpessed HD, and certainly fast enough for multiple ProRes422HQ HD streams or DVCProHD.

This produt is amazing. I will be intalling 4 of these at a big company in Orlando in the next 2 weeks, where they will torture test them. I will let you know the results.

Bob Zelin


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Bruce Colgate
Re: new Maxx Digital Expando SATA array !
on Oct 31, 2008 at 3:40:05 pm

Is there a published price on this box, or is it still pre-release?

Have you tried to break it yet (simulated failed connector, etc)?

Thanks for posting!!

- Bruce Colgate


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Bob Zelin
Re: new Maxx Digital Expando SATA array !
on Oct 31, 2008 at 6:10:38 pm

I believe the 8 TB with "expando" is $6500, and the 12TB with "expando" is $7500. This uses a DIFFERENT SAS/SATA host card than the "old" chassis that we are all using, because it supports multiple drive chassis. I am told that if you have the slots, you can run the old card and the new card in the same MAC.

I have not tried to break it. I hooked up to a system with one Expando in it, and it was already 3/4" full. I simply hooked up the daisy chained Expando with the loop cable, and made it come up, and ran AJA System test on it. Because my client would have killed me if I lost 7TB of info on the original Expando, I dare not "screw around" trying to break this new unit.

It's available now, to my knowlege.

Bob Zelin




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Simon Blackledge
Re: new Maxx Digital Expando SATA array !
on Nov 3, 2008 at 9:08:13 am

Sounds interesting but who would be mad enough to hang that much storage of a single workstation!

Seems everyone is getting into expansion boxes and it's good to see a desktop soloution for when on a project 1 chassis just isn't enough.

John, any thoughts on doing a rackmount version?

With all this expansion possibilities the only issue I have is that your relying on a single workstation.

Now if someone could come up with a sas expansion box with a HBA extender where the raid card is in the chassis and rather than 1 host extender card there are 2 coming out so you can link 2 machines (1 for fallover)

Thoughts anyone?

cheers

Simon





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walter biscardi
Re: new Maxx Digital Expando SATA array !
on Nov 3, 2008 at 12:30:44 pm

[Simon Blackledge] "Sounds interesting but who would be mad enough to hang that much storage of a single workstation! "

Keep in mind high speed SATA storage can now be shared across multiple workstations as Bob Zelin has described in several forums. This requires a dedicated Mac Pro to run the server, but we plan to connect two of our workstations to our two current EVO HD models during the Christmas holidays so instead of having 8TB dedicated to each workstation, we'll have 16TB shared storage.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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Bob Zelin
Re: new Maxx Digital Expando SATA array !
on Nov 3, 2008 at 12:55:18 pm

Simon writes -
Sounds interesting but who would be mad enough to hang that much storage of a single workstation!

REPLY - no one. You can hang it on a server, which is nothing more than a MAC Pro. 12TB on a single workstation seems too much to me, but everyone these days seems to want a minimum of 8TB on each FCP workstation - so what the hell do I know.


Seems everyone is getting into expansion boxes and it's good to see a desktop soloution for when on a project 1 chassis just isn't enough.

REPLY - Both Cal Digit and Dulce have expansion chassis, and both are great, but this is the first one that has the expander built right in. AVID's VideoRAID ST is based on the Advanced Industrial Computing built in SAS expander port, and this is where the concept started. It's real simple - people don't want to spend thousands for an expander box. Like I said, the Cal Digit and Dulce are great (and I have been using the Dulce ProEX ever since it came out), but it costs over $3000, and no one wants to spend this money. Now, that it's built into the box, you don't spend anything.


John, any thoughts on doing a rackmount version?

REPLY - there is a rack mount version, but it costs more money.


With all this expansion possibilities the only issue I have is that your relying on a single workstation.

REPLY - as Walter stated, you don't rely on a single workstation - you setup a server. You get a dedicated MAC Pro, and plug these monster drives into the MAC Pro. You can now either setup an XSAN network, or follow my instructions for doing a Gig E link aggretation network, using products from Small Tree (which is cheap).



Now if someone could come up with a sas expansion box with a HBA extender where the raid card is in the chassis and rather than 1 host extender card there are 2 coming out so you can link 2 machines (1 for fallover)

REPLY - Cal Digit HAS a SAS Expansion box where the RAID card is in the chassis - it exists right now. It's called the HD Pro, and it's a great product. It just costs more money.

Once you have a server configuration set up, you can have anything you want. You can have a redundant server - you can do anything - IT JUST COSTS MORE MONEY. The exciting thing about this new product from MAXX Digital is that it doesn't cost a lot of money.

Bob Zelin







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Simon Blackledge
Re: new Maxx Digital Expando SATA array !
on Nov 3, 2008 at 4:17:13 pm

Thanks guys.

What I was trying to get at wasn't the about of workstations that access it. I get the whole shared gig-e thing with metalan etc.

What I meant was at some point a "single server" is sharing all these drives, rather than having a fallover server incase A goes down.

So my call was for a "multiple host" (x2) switch that sees all the chassis. So if ServerA falls over ServerB is still sharing the chassis.

I suspect this is similar to the shared sans dulce and caldigit are working on. Possibly ilkin to the Accusys switch in development.

I know this is all possible with FC and if you pay more $$. But for us all that storage covered with 2 instead of 1 server1 attached would suffice. Here's to the future.

Si







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Bob Zelin
Re: new Maxx Digital Expando SATA array !
on Nov 3, 2008 at 4:33:52 pm

your observations are correct. This is why countless people get turned off to Apple XSAN proposals from Apple Enterprise group, or AVID with Unity installations. Most people are simply NOT willing to spend the money on redundancy, or fail-over servers. They want an inexpensive system, that is simple to setup and use, that requires no IT administration. Do systems like these have potential problems - of course they do. Is redundancy and fail over important issues - of course they are. But they cost money, and these days, almost no one (other than TV stations) want to spend any money. ]
Just look at most of the questions on these forums - most people simply can't understand why they can't do uncompressed HD with a single internal drive, and can't understand the need for all of these "expensive RAID 5 boxes". So I fully respect everything that you are saying, but I also understand the market that we are dealing with.

Bob Zelin




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Simon Blackledge
Re: new Maxx Digital Expando SATA array !
on Nov 3, 2008 at 4:45:01 pm

Yeah I'm just after fast-ish but with safety. Gige is fine for us as were not after RT to all workstations.

We currently have a mirror of the sever(macpro)+das thats mirrored every hour onto exactly the same set-up. semi-bodge for now, though it works well as it's just the new data thats sent.

thing is people always want cheap. lol.

Suppose it's a matter of "how much do you value your data" :-/

Si







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Simon Blackledge
Re: new Maxx Digital Expando SATA array !
on Nov 3, 2008 at 7:13:36 pm

Gen 2 Switch will allow 2 hosts to connect to storage. Fallover sorted.

http://www.accusys.com.tw/SolutionItem.aspx?Lan=en&Product=59&PID=2&PName=P...






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Kris Anderson
Re: new Maxx Digital Expando SATA array !
on Nov 13, 2008 at 12:04:28 am

With regards to who would want 12TB on one workstation... unfortunately it's necessary at times to keep projects hanging around. At least for some of my clients anyway. As a recent example I cut a 3 hour (yes, 3 hours!) doco for my client tracking the Classic Moments of a sporting event here in Oz. It's bound for in-flight entertainment and cable sports channels but it's been sitting on the drives for close to 4 months now due to additional versions being needed. It's sitting on the client's Unity which my suite has access to via fibre so ultimately it's their storage issue, not mine!

I for one am very glad I have held off buying an external array, although I should have bought in August when our dollar was much stronger. This is exactly what I am looking for. I have bookings until January 2010 at the moment for longform work. I will be ordering soon.


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Bob Zelin
Re: new Maxx Digital Expando SATA array !
on Nov 13, 2008 at 12:31:01 am

the only tests I have done are with a MAC Pro and FCP. I have NOT done any tests with this product on a PC (like an AVID) - so buyer beware - don't assume anything. But if you are on a MAC with FCP, it works great.

Bob Zelin




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Kris Anderson
Re: new Maxx Digital Expando SATA array !
on Nov 13, 2008 at 12:51:32 am

Thanks Bob. I'm running Mac Pro. 3.0ghz, early 2008 model.


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George Hazuda
Need your advice
on Dec 4, 2008 at 3:56:02 am

Dear Bob,
I just purchased a new mac pro 2 X 2.8 Quad - 4mb ram - nvidia geforce 8800gt. i have 500gb hd in bay 1 that all apps are on and three 750 gb in bays 2, 3 and 4 that are raidO together where all project files, render files, etc rest. All software is up to date. I'm running FCP Studio 2 - all up to date.

My problems: FCP crashes alot and is slow. Motion is a dog!!!! I spend more time apple/save and rebooting then editing. I'm new to hd editing (from sd) and work mostly dvcpro hd format.

My questions: Is this a ram issue? If so, what manufacturer of ram do you use/recommend? How much ram do I need to be productive again? Is this a gfx card issue? If so, what card do you use/recommend. Anything else I can do to make this mac run as it should?

I've been a mac user since 1980 and use to love them - this one, not so much.



Thank you in advance for your help,
George Hazuda
Moree' Advertising, Inc.
Erie, Pa.



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Bob Zelin
Re: Need your advice
on Dec 4, 2008 at 6:02:29 pm

This is not a Maxx Digital question, why is it on this forum.
This should be on the FCP forum. I will answer here, but I will not respond after this. Any additional questions belong on the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.



4mb ram

REPLY - you mean 4 Gig RAM - do you have 4 1Gig chips, 2 2Gig chips, or a mixture of 2 256Meg, with additional chips. They should all be the same size, split among the RAM risers in the MAC.


My problems: FCP crashes alot and is slow. Motion is a dog!!!! I spend more time apple/save and rebooting then editing. I'm new to hd editing (from sd) and work mostly dvcpro hd format.

REPLY -
trash your FCP preferences. Repair your permissions. DVCProHD will work fine on 3 internal HD stripped RAID 0. Use AJA System test to test the speed of your 3 internal drives. You should be getting over 130mb/sec. If you are not, you have a problem.


My questions: Is this a ram issue?
REPLY - I answered this in the first paragraph.

Is this a gfx card issue?
REPLY - no

reply on the Final cut Pro forum for more information - this is a Maxx Digital forum.

Bob Zelin




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George Hazuda
Re: Need your advice
on Dec 4, 2008 at 7:16:38 pm

Thank you for replying Bob. I wanted your expert advice and I didn't see a link to you on the cow site so that's why i sent it to you on the maxx site. my bad -sorry.


I have 4gb ram - they are four 1gb chips installed by apple in riser A dimm1 and dimm2 and riser B dimm1 and dimm2. I want to add more ram. do i have to stick with 1gb chips or can i go with 2gb or 4gb chips? can they go in the dimm slots after the current 1gb chips? Also, what manufacturer of memory do you like/had solid success with?


Thank you in advance for your help.


George



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Bob Zelin
Re: Need your advice
on Dec 4, 2008 at 9:18:56 pm

Kingston and Crucial both work. Theoretically you should stick with 1 Gig RAM chips, if you already have 4 1 Gig chips.

You really need to trash your FCP preferences, repair permissions in
the Apple Disk Utility, and run AJA System Test on your 3 RAID 0 drives.

BobZelin




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George Hazuda
Re: Need your advice
on Dec 4, 2008 at 9:27:34 pm

Bob - Thank you. I did trash the preferences - repaired the permissions and ran the aja test. the test said 179mb/sec - so i'm good there.


Thank you for all your help!
George







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Bob Zelin
Re: Need your advice
on Dec 4, 2008 at 9:43:24 pm

so, you just did all of this.
Are you still crashing all the time ?

bob




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George Hazuda
Re: Need your advice
on Dec 4, 2008 at 10:41:20 pm

I did do it - No crashes yet. Haven't tried Motion yet. I really think I need more ram. I know I should keep the ram grouped together but do you think I can get away with adding 8gb (4X2) without any problems? I know - it's probably a crap shoot! (btw - the apple tech's talked me out of 8gb when I ordered -- stupid me)



Thank you,
George







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Bob Zelin
Re: Need your advice
on Dec 4, 2008 at 10:59:56 pm

AJA recently scolded a client of mine for having mixed RAM in the slots. I have done it all the time, but if you get into trouble, the "big boys" will yell at you. Because you are having problems, I would be nervous about mixing in different size ram. If you were having no issues, I would not think twice about it.

Bob Zelin




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George Hazuda
Re: Need your advice
on Dec 5, 2008 at 7:41:14 pm

Thank you Bob. I will probably just match all the ram for now.



Cheers!
George



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