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RAID Do I need it?

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Jonathan Clauson
RAID Do I need it?
on Jun 10, 2010 at 5:01:26 pm

Hello Bob & other CC fellows!

I just left my iMac and got a MacPro to starting really getting my editing done quicker and better. With the iMac I used a FW800 drive for storage and it worked fine as I only otuput for SD broadcast and do not see HD in the near future.

So here is my question: I can't really get my head around if I need RAID in the new MacPro or not. My source footage is HDV 1080i 60i and I use Premiere CS5 and Final Cut Studio 3. My internal storage with the MacPro is currently a 2TB 7200rpm Hitachi and I am not sure if I would benefit from a RAID setup.

What is RAID best used for and at what point does one usually start using it and does it have to be internal? I apologize if that is a really "rookie" question but I am totally new to RAID so any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any helpful insight you might be able to provide. All the articles I have read have been very heavy on the tech speak but not so much application for the layman.

- J

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Bob Zelin
Re: RAID Do I need it?
on Jun 10, 2010 at 11:57:07 pm

this is the simple answer. None of this stuff is a toy. It's all expensive, and it will all be outdated by next year. Do not buy anything unless you absolutely need it. It's not "cool" to own a RAID. IF you are getting away with what you own, and no one is complaining, don't do anything. No one is going to say "wow, we are going to edit with Jonathan, because he has this really new cool RAID array that does 700MB/sec".

When you start dropping frames like crazy, and your clients start rejecting your work, because you cannot produce the level of shows that they need, and you will be unemployed if you don't own a fancy RAID array, then you buy a RAID array (and it will cost you thousands). Until then, buy nothing, enjoy your life, and NEVER thing of buying equipment (especially drive arrays) like it's a cool thing to do.

bob Zelin

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Jonathan Clauson
Re: RAID Do I need it?
on Jun 11, 2010 at 12:56:27 am

Thanks Bob!

I love the humor laced with wisdom. :-)

I never really thought RAID was something I needed to invest in, what got me thinking about it was that in almost every post I read on here a good chunk of people mention it in their rigs. While I am no where near to owning a professional studio/rig I wanted to make sure I was building right. :-)

The price tag on it was high even with the "cheap" methods and even then I am sure you get what you pay for. :-)

I will keep away from it for now and hopefully I won't need it any time soon. Thanks so much!

- Jonathan

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Jordan Woods
Re: RAID Do I need it?
on Jun 12, 2010 at 12:43:16 am

Let me put the other side to this... Hard disks die, it is a fact. If you are working on a single drive, it will die. Make no mistake about that. If you buy a bunch of drives and wrap them together utilizing "RAID" you will save yourself the issue of at least a single dead drive.

Here are the basics:

$1200-$2000 gets you a fairly large basic RAID array that can function at good enough speeds for you (basic E-sata/FW800 4bay 8TB array). Yes that is a lot of money, but here is the alternative:

-Hard drive dies: cost that it takes you to recreate what you lost, cost of customer's data, cost of a lost customer, etc...
-Hard drive dies: you decide the data is too difficult to recreate yourself. You look at the Drive Savers option.

In any of the above scenarios I can guarantee you will be spending more than that meager $2000.

I used to be like you and just run and gun with single drives, but at some point you start to realize that the risks you are taking just aren't worth it. At that point on your graph, it's time to look into RAID options. Luckily you don't have a bandwidth limitation, pretty much any RAID array works for you, which is nice.

If you do decide to purchase a pro/consumer RAID array, don't skimp on the drives. Don't buy some "green," left over, off-the-shelf drive at Frys. Make sure you select a good one that will last and has a good guarantee. We like to use the enterprise or even desktop class of the current Hitachi 2TB drives.

I hope this helps make some decisions. I always keep the quote in my head, "there are those who have lost data, and there are those who will lose data."


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Allan Hughes
Re: RAID Do I need it?
on Jun 16, 2010 at 8:02:44 pm

Great help Jordan.
Appreciate it.

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Alexandra Pérez
Re: RAID Do I need it?
on Aug 8, 2010 at 3:07:47 am

[Jordan Woods] "We like to use the enterprise or even desktop class of the current Hitachi 2TB drives."

1.Are these drives the same as the G-Tech now Hitachi ones?

2.Also, I hear you about using Raid as extra security (Raid 1?) but I see many of the smaller drives just enhancing performance with Raid 0- which has nothing to do (?) with data security. I would appreciate further explanations on this.
I am currently deciding on which external drive to buy, the requirements being 1 or 2 T, 7200 rpm, ESata of course, FW 800, Mac and Snow Leopard friendly, and Raid 1 or configurable. Had almost decided on G-tech G-raid but the fact that it only has Raid 0 scares me.
3. Realiability is a must since I live outside the US and sending back stuff IS expensive. No second chances.

Thanks for any feedback you might have on how Raid configuration should influence External drive acquisition.

Alexandra Pérez, Costa RIca. MBP 17" with FCP, mainly for editing XDCam HD footage on digital media, via OWC Slim ESata Express card/34 adapter.

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