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Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share

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Jason Whetstone
Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 14, 2013 at 5:33:16 pm

Hi all!

I've been plagued with this for almost a year now, and I really need to find a solution. I have a mixed Mac/PC environment with these specs:
Mac: 10.7.5, Xsan
Win: mix of XP and 7
CatDV: 9.0.6
CatDV Enterprise Server: 6.6b13
Media: Primary media stored on an Xsan
Proxies: stored on a 10.7.5 server, shared via AFP to macs and SMB to Win
H264 640x360 128 AAC created with Compressor
Network: ALL gigabit. All machines including the server are connected to the same HP ProCurve gigabit switch.

Everything works GREAT on the Macs. I can edit sequences using proxies, it's fast, it's responsive, it works.
The windows side is entirely different. I can view the proxies in the catalog, even though switching between clips is a little sluggish, everything works. When you are navigating the catalog and you switch between clips, it takes a few seconds for the proxy for the clip to show up in the viewer, but once it does, the video plays back fine. But editing sequences with proxies is unfortunately unusable as everything from opening the sequence window to making basic edits such as adding clips to the sequence, changing in/out points, etc takes FOREVER. It takes almost a minute to just open the sequence window. Adding clips to the sequence takes almost 30 seconds. Usually the message display in the status bar at the bottom of the window says "Building Track VA1." I really need to find a solution to this if one exists -all my producers have Windows machines because unfortunately we are a Microsoft house as far as communication and billing goes.

It doesn't seem to matter what version of Windows I am using, XP or 7. On all tested machines I have the most recent versions of Java and Quicktime installed. Before you respond, please look at what I've tried:

Tried copying the proxies to an actual Windows network share on an NT server (as opposed to the SMB share where the Macs access them). The speed is a little better, but it's still pretty unusable. I've had some people suggest that we should install DAVE on the server because Apple's SMB implementation in Lion is no good. But, even when the proxies are served from an actual windows share, editing sequences is still pretty unusable.

Tried copying the proxies to a location on the machine's hard drive. In EVERY CASE, on EVERY MACHINE, the performance instantly becomes exactly what it is on the Macs. Responsive, snappy, and more than just usable, it works great. So that eliminates concerns about memory, VRAM, processor speed, versions of Java/Quicktime, filename length, proxy format etc. I have a new i5 Dell with 2GB ram here next to me set up as a test machine to play with if there's anything else I can try.

WHY does it work great when the proxies are stored locally but not when they are served over our network? I have also looked at the Resource Manager in Windows to see if the CPU or network activity is pegging, and it's totally fine. Network bandwidth doesn't go over 5Megs, CPU is like 5%. Is there something to change in my switch? Anything else I can check?

WHAT GIVES?? Bryson? Rolf? Matt? Anyone? I'm willing to try anything here, but please keep in mind that:
1) it works great on the Macs - same proxies (hi-res media is offline so I'm not editing with hires)
2) it also works great on the PCs when the proxies are local

Thanks for your time guys, I am really at wit's end here.


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bryson jones
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 15, 2013 at 4:03:21 am

Back many moons ago, we had issues with quicktime proxy over a network on Windows. This was an MS and Apple thing.

Are you using mp4 or mov wrapper?

Have you tried an mp4 over the network?

bryson

bryson "at" northshoreautomation.com

northshoreautomation.com


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Jason Whetstone
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 15, 2013 at 5:55:05 pm

Yep, they are all mp4. sorry, should have specified that.


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Dennis Lisonbee
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 15, 2013 at 5:18:03 pm

Is CATDV running on a MAC or Windows server?

Talkin' bout film is like dancing about architecture.


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Jason Whetstone
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 15, 2013 at 5:56:31 pm

CatDV Server is running on an Xserve running 10.7.5.


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Dennis Lisonbee
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 15, 2013 at 6:10:46 pm

I'm sorry I can't help you. It has to do with mapping drives for the windows side of things. We had CATDV running on a windows server and had nothing but problems with proxies and drive mapping. We switched to a MAC server and dumped all the windows machines in favor of OS X. Now everything works perfectly.

We have a mac mini running CATDV server and a Facilis Terrablock. The Terrablock has a small partition for the proxies. All the partitions are mounted on the CATDV Mac Mini server and everyone is happy. Web client works on either a MAC or PC just fine, but we dumped the windows clients.

CATDV and Windows drive mapping is a complete mystery. CATDV is an incredible and deep product, but if I would have know how hard it is for CATDV to easily map Windows drives and Mac drives we might have gone with another asset management system. Our IT spent weeks trying to get both Linux and Windows servers working with proxies with no luck. Finally I got an old Mac Mini server and had it up and running in just a few minutes. However I'm not going to add windows clients as I don't have the time and money to mess around with the drive mapping.

Talkin' bout film is like dancing about architecture.


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Jason Whetstone
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 15, 2013 at 6:20:12 pm

Thanks for feeding back. We can map the drive just fine on the windows clients, everything technically WORKS, it's just so slow! All of our producers want Macs, and I think the leadership would be open to getting them all macs, but the problem is that all of our other systems are dependent on MS Office and MS Dynamics, which all must run on PCs. Office for Mac, while better than it used to be, still has problems as it really doesn't have native Exchange support... And Dynamics requires Internet Explorer which is no longer supported on the Mac (they stopped developing it before the support for Dynamics was added). So getting them all Macs would have its own challenges on the other end. Blech.


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Dennis Lisonbee
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 15, 2013 at 6:23:32 pm

How are the proxies being stored? On the CATDV server or somewhere else?

Talkin' bout film is like dancing about architecture.


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Jason Whetstone
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 15, 2013 at 6:33:59 pm

They are being stored on a 6TB Sonnet SAS-connected raid 5 volume. The Xserve that hosts CatDV is also serving the proxies.

BUT! before you say "separate the CatDV server from the proxy share server" remember that I did try copying the proxies to another server - an actual Windows NT server, and there was a slight performance increase that could be attributed to the fact that those jobs had been split up... BUT it was not enough for sequence editing to actually become useable.

AND!!! remember it works FINE on the Macs, which are accessing the same share and using the same network pipeline.

However now that I think of it, I believe there would be a performance increase for everyone if I did share the proxies from a different location.


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Dennis Lisonbee
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 15, 2013 at 6:40:52 pm

My terrablock drives are mounted to the desktop of the CATDV Mini server and served out from there. They work fine on a windows web client. Another option is to create a partition on the OS X CatDV server and try serving the proxies from it.

In 2013 when most everyone that is anybody has learned to play nice in the sandbox, it is frustrating we are still fighting leftover DOS dna in the form of drive mapping.

Talkin' bout film is like dancing about architecture.


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Jason Whetstone
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 15, 2013 at 6:23:22 pm

We also thought of adding a few Macs in the producer's area just for CatDV use, but had we known that we'd have to do that, we would not have purchased so many individual licenses of CatDV, we would have just bought the Enterprise Server and used the 10 that came with it.


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bryson jones
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 15, 2013 at 7:12:59 pm

Have you done raw speed tests on the client systems?

Just looking for network issues in here.

This seems like it should be sortable without a platform change but to be honest I'm far better on OS X than Windows. It would seem that if this was a basic issue with CatDV Pro we'd have seen it here as there are tons of deployments with Windows clients.

Try speed testing the volumes on OS X and WIN and see what you get, taking CatDV out of the equation.

bryson

bryson "at" northshoreautomation.com

northshoreautomation.com


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Jason Whetstone
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 18, 2013 at 7:23:08 pm

Bryson,

Here's what I get.

All units on all tests are MB/s
Read/Write test: I used AJA system test on the Mac and LAN speed test on the Windows machine. I tried using AJA system test on the Win machine but it wouldn't let me use a network share like the Mac version does.

Read/Write test

Share: Mac OSX via SMB
Mac: Read 100.6, Write 88.6
Win: Read 59.21, Write 105.3
(weird, on windows, read is almost 1/2 the speed of write? I double checked...)

Share: Windows NT
Mac: 62.8 Read, 40.7 Write
Win: 112.4 Read, 81.9 Write

Disk Read Existing File Test
AJA system test on both systems
174 MB mp4 file

Share: Mac OSX via SMB
Mac: 99.0
Win: 54.2

Share: Windows NT
Mac: 64.3
Win: 72.2

Ok... so if I were going by numbers alone, looking at the read existing file test, I should have a faster experience with Windows CatDV when the proxies are shared from a Windows NT server. Nope, CatDV functions just as well when working with sequences on a Mac whether the proxies are shared from an OSX server or a Windows NT server. However on a Win machine, it's unusable unless the proxies are stored on the C: drive.

Any other suggestions?


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bryson jones
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 18, 2013 at 8:16:06 pm

Speed is not the issue, clearly.

The only other factor I have is the player. Have you tried both Xuggle and Quicktime? That might lead us to see if it's a qt issue as we saw in the past.

Also, can you play these proxies in the QT player on the respective machines? Is playback only an issue in CatDV?

bryson

bryson "at" northshoreautomation.com

northshoreautomation.com


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Jason Whetstone
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 18, 2013 at 9:39:00 pm

I have tried Xuggle and to be honest, it makes CatDV a lot more responsive overall, even on the Macs. Clicking around between clips is faster, they show up in the view window right away. The problem I've had with Xuggle is that often the A/V sync is way off during playback... sometimes by multiple seconds. The other problem is that you can't use Xuggle with sequences. It will work in the preview player window but not the sequence player window. Try it - change your player to Xuggle and then open a sequence. You'll see the yellow X in the left preview viewer, and on the right sequence viewer, you'll see the blue Q.

The videos play back fine in QuickTime Player on Windows over the network. Playback is not an issue at all, once the videos are showing in the play view window in CatDV, playback is always smooth as expected. It's operations such as opening the Sequence window, adding clips to the sequence, and changing in/out points of clips in the sequence that make it unusable.


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Jason Whetstone
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 22, 2013 at 4:52:58 pm

Would someone who is using a Windows client on a regular basis be able to tell me a bit about their configuration? I'm still not getting anywhere with this.

Keep in mind, once again, that if the proxies are local to the Windows machine, sequence editing is working fine for us. So if you are storing proxies locally or on direct-connect storage, I already am having success there. Where it falls apart for me is when the proxies are shared over a network. If you're having success with usable sequence editing in CatDV 9 with proxies stored on a network volume, I'd like to know:
What version of CatDV you have
What kind of network share you're using - tell me about the server sharing the proxies
What version of Java you're using
What version of QuickTime you're using
What format and wrapper are your proxies?

Thanks for the help!


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bryson jones
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Feb 22, 2013 at 5:02:00 pm

I have to bow out on this one. I have no clients using the sequence editor in any substantial way.

That's a bummer about Xuggle on Windows with the sync. I'll bet the JB&A guys have some specifics on their windows deployments. I know I've heard they've done quite a few.

bryson

bryson "at" northshoreautomation.com

northshoreautomation.com


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Jason Whetstone
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Jun 17, 2013 at 6:42:21 pm

I have an update on this in case anyone else has had similar problems. Last week I had an opportunity to do some more testing with this. I have been told that Apple's own SMB implementation in Lion leaves a lot to be desired, and it was recommended to me that I try using Thursby DAVE. I installed the trial version and gave it a try. DAVE allows you to create SMB shares several different ways, with several different user authentication methods. I tried all of them with the same result, the sequence editor in Windows CatDV did not work any better with proxies than it did when sharing over Apple's SMB. I decided to again test the performance when the proxies resided on an actual Windows NT network share. I had tried this a few months ago but did not think the speed increase was that great. However after trying it again, the performance difference is greater than I remembered. It is still very slow on Windows, but usable to the point where if one did not know any better, they would probably accept it. Still takes 3-6 seconds of waiting when opening a sequence, adding a clip to the sequence, or changing its i/o points. But that's better than 15-45 seconds. I also tested the performance from a Mac running CatDV and using proxies from the Windows NT share. (no surprise) CatDV is as responsive as if I was working with the online hi-res media over FibreChannel. So, I guess this is as good as it gets for now.

We will in the next month be moving all of our proxies over to a Windows NT share. Just following up for anyone reading this thread who may have had similar experiences.


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Carla Vidal
Re: Sequences unusable on Windows when Proxies are on a Networked Share
on Aug 28, 2013 at 9:34:59 am

Hi! So glad I found this post. I am in a similar situation.

The situation is the following:

We are working in a MAC/Windows environment. MAC for editors, WINDOWS for producers/journalists. We are establishing the new workflow. We have a SMB Network to a server where we PC/CatDV logguer and MACS/Editors share:

- HiRes location.
- Proxies.
- Shortcut to internal MAC 1's final cut pro x events and projects,
MAC 2's final cut pro x events and projects etc


Cat DV PC is for ingesting, trascoding, renaming, logging and archiving new material ready for new FCPX projects. Everything great so far. Indexing and playing back from different cat dvs was great until this new server set (before was temporarily external hard drives which contained hi res media).

We also need producers to be able to preedit raw footage in sequences and be able to play back XML FCPX sequences but I can't get a proxy of them.

So, I am testing all this series of tasks but server becomes so slow to build proxies, fails and sometimes even crashes. In short, the performance isn't very good in networking...


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