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Best storage & workflow solution for small production company

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Pascal Greuter
Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Dec 11, 2012 at 4:51:52 pm

Hi everyone

Please forgive me, if I picked the wrong forum for my question and maybe an admin can move it to the right place.

Me and 2 friends will start our own production company in a few months. We will make some corporate and news packages and also produce some video content for the web with FCP 10 (or maybe Final Cut Studio 2) or Adobe Premiere CS6. We are looking for an affordable but yet powerful solution to share the video footage and make it accessible to every Mac in our office.

We will have:

1 x MacPro for Editing
1 x MacPro for Graphics
1 x iMac for Editing
1 x iMac for Editing
1 x MacBook Pro for administrative purposes

I'm open to any idea, tip or solution for this.

Thank you!
Pascal

BTW. We are based in Switzerland/Europe (if someone knows a partner that is specialized in setting up small offices for collaborative video work in this area, feel free to post your answer also).


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Jon Schilling
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Dec 11, 2012 at 9:27:37 pm

Pascal,

Right forum, but for what you want to do, it's one or the other.
Affordable or Powerful. That I know of, having both would be a tough call.

Of course much of the answer to your question would be to define your budget, as to the affordability end of your requirement.

You mentioned sharing the video footage & making it accessible to every Mac in your office. Doing so at any appreciable speed is going to cost money.



Jonathan Schilling
Vertical Sales Manager
Proavio Storage by Enhance Technology Inc.
12221 Florence Ave.
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
Dir: 562-777-3498
Main: 562-777-3488 X106
Fax: 562-777-3499
Email: jon@proavio.com





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Pascal Greuter
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Dec 11, 2012 at 11:50:15 pm

Thank you for your answer.

Yes, I am aware of the costs. I work for a small TV station and we have a SAN that costs roughly 200k and it works perfect but it's obviously too much for a small company with 5 Macs.

I have no budget yet, I'm just in the process of checking out what's out in the market. I think our scenario is very common and maybe there is kind of a "standard solution" for requirements like we have.


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Dec 11, 2012 at 11:29:43 pm

I second Jon that the first step is to define the budget and requirements, although to even start thinking about a budget, it helps to know what the choices are.

NAS vs. SAN: NAS is more affordable, less rigid, less complicated - so let's look at NAS.

Assuming video bitrates under 1Gbs (ProRes, H264, MPEG, etc. - no uncompressed HD), and four simultaneous editing sessions each working with one video stream, the aggregate bandwidth the NAS must sustain is roughly 4Gbs.

The ingredients for such a NAS are:
- a box holding the motherboard and 8+ drive bays
- 4+ 1GbE ports with link aggregation capability, possibly with an option to add 10GbE ports later on
- a decent switch that also supports link aggregation and possibly 10GbE add-on modules
- Linux Storage Server (or custom flavor of it)
- Drives

The above BOM (bill of materials) is less than $2K diskless and around $4-5K for 24TB - both without Linux, purely for the hardware.

Synology and QNAP will charge around $3-4K for a diskless appliance and will not support anything related to editing. (Been there, tried that.) I also don't know of any good VAR that uses Synology and QNAP or other general purpose NAS products for editing.

Then there are people like Maxx and GB Labs who sell and support NAS servers specifically for editing - and they charge for it.

GB Labs Space, for instance, costs over $20K for a 24TB box meeting above requirements. Not sure about Maxx - probably in the same ballpark. GB Labs Space NAS is an amazing piece of tech though, scalable to 10+ simultaneous editing sessions with high bandwidth video streams.

So the choices are, as of today, a roughly $5K NAS appliance that is not supported for editing, or a $20K+ NAS or SAN that is.

I am not sure if this helps - but figured I'd share my findings with you. :)

The ingredients are simple and relatively affordable, it's the cooking that costs.

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Engineer
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Bob Zelin
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Dec 11, 2012 at 11:46:55 pm

my suggestion is to find a dealer that is qualified in your region, to work with you to accomplish this. There is no cheap solution for what you want to do. Anyone on these forums can sell you a system, but you will need support - probably local support, especially when you get started. I can only assume that you must have a local pro video dealer that can assist you with this. There are many good brands of shared storage, but it all means nothing without support.

Bob Zelin



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Pascal Greuter
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Dec 12, 2012 at 12:07:19 am

Bob, thanks for replying. I read a lot about the Maxx Digital 10Gig Final Share. There are quite a few nice reviews online and I thought that a solution like this may be the right choice for us. Do you have a local dealer in Switzerland or Germany or do you sell it outside of the US? Maybe we can talk about prices, delivery and support via Email.

I know at least 3 companies in Switzerland who have experience in this area but I wanted to do some research, before I get in touch with them.

I am totally aware that this will cost a few bucks. And we didn't even talked about a backup solution...

It would be nice, if we could stay in contact about this.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Dec 12, 2012 at 2:41:32 am

http://www.vidsharx.com/

This is David Norden's company in Sweden. I was surprised to see that he doesn't have direct contact info on his new website. Before you consider Final Share, try to see what David can offer you locally. I realize that this is not in Switzerland, but it's closer than I am.

Alex recommended GB Labs.
http://www.gblabs.com/about/

they are in England. You should look at them too.
If you don't like the response you get from either of these two companies, please write back on this forum.

Bob Zelin



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Pascal Greuter
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Dec 12, 2012 at 12:45:57 am

Hi Alex

Thank you very much for your detailed infos. It helped me a lot especially that you pointed out the differences between a NAS and a SAN solution. I think a NAS is to simple and not reliable enough for what we want to achieve.

Thanks!
Pascal


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Dec 12, 2012 at 1:05:31 am

[Pascal Greuter] "I think a NAS is to simple and not reliable enough for what we want to achieve."

Can't say I agree with that assessment but glad I could help:
- Maxx Digital Final Share 10G is a NAS
- GB Labs Space is a NAS
- complexity is the No. 1 enemy of reliability
- SAN (in its video-related sense, not General IT) - was and is a "hack" to bypass Ethernet and TCP/IP limitations, that are much less limiting these days vs. 5 years ago.

For video related purposes, there is no question for me that the future is in NAS, for collaborative editing.

Bob Zelin's support for Maxx Digital Final Share is the perfect indication of it. :)

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Engineer
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Pascal Greuter
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Dec 12, 2012 at 1:11:13 am

[Alex Gerulaitis] "Can't say I agree with that assessment but glad I could help:"

I see what you mean and I think I was a bit too quick with my reply. I definitely need to do some further research and learn the differences between NAS and SAN.

Cheers!


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Rainer Wirth
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Dec 12, 2012 at 3:57:18 pm

I would recommend a SAN network, server, FC Raid (Small tree, Dulce, Sonnet or Axus) and find a local dealer with professional support. Also I would't mix Windows and Mac.

Cheers

Rainer



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Jay Heikkila
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Dec 13, 2012 at 10:54:56 pm

Hi Pascal,

You should also consider EVO from Studio Network Solutions. EVO is an industry proven shared storage server solution that fits and exceeds the needs you have outlined for well under $20k. SNS has a reseller network throughout Europe and have a partner based in Switzerland who has installed many of our EVO systems over the years. I would be happy to put you in touch with him.

Every SNS EVO shared storage server comes standard with the following:

- Multi-user write file sharing and volume sharing
- NAS and SAN or use hybrid NAS/SAN volumes
- Direct connect your clients over 1& 10Gb Ethernet/iSCSI ports or 8Gb Fibre Channel
- No external Ethernet or Fibre Channel switch required
- Adobe project sharing
- Avid Bin and Project sharing
- FCP project sharing/FCP X workflows
- Pro Tools file sharing
- No per seat licensing
- Re-purpose existing assets
- Start with as little as 4TB
- Includes SAN management software but also compatible with all other 3rd party file systems (Xsan/Stornext)
- Ability to coexist with existing 3rd party storage

Here are a couple recent industry relevant case studies about the SNS EVO

1. - http://www.studionetworksolutions.com/solutions/casestudy_detail.php?pi=12&...
2. - http://www.studionetworksolutions.com/solutions/casestudy_detail.php?pi=12&...


Please contact me for more information and/or to make an introduction with our Swiss integrator.

Jay Heikkila
Studio Network Solutions
jheikkila@studionetworksolutions.com
314-456-4053

Complete SAN/NAS solutions for FCP, Avid, Adobe, ProTools, Davinci, Smoke and all leading production applications.


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Brett Sherman
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Mar 12, 2013 at 3:17:03 pm

[Alex Gerulaitis] "Synology and QNAP will charge around $3-4K for a diskless appliance and will not support anything related to editing. (Been there, tried that.)"

Just curious. What about these NAS' doesn't work? Throughput, Access Times? Would using Sparse Disk images make these viable options?



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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Mar 12, 2013 at 6:05:28 pm

[Brett Sherman] "Just curious. What about these NAS' doesn't work? Throughput, Access Times? Would using Sparse Disk images make these viable options?"

Sparse image bundles is exactly what would bring a Synology NAS to a grinding halt, and from perusing their forum, that's just the beginning of the troubles.

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Engineer
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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David Nordén
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Jan 19, 2013 at 11:18:24 am

Hi Pascal! We are the ones behind VidSharX, so everything I say here is biased:) Anyway, there are many solutions, as others have pointed out, and some of them are software based. One thing to consider is if you have the time and knowledge (and the interest!) to set things up your self.

If you do, VidSharX is an option for sharing work between Avid editors. VidSharX is not (yet...) for the "other" NLEs, it only developed for Avid. If you consider Avid as your NLE, VidSharX will need at least a Mac Mini, a network switch and an ethernet network. Add raided thunderbolt drives - you will need a bit of speed there, all depending on how many clients (editors) you want to connect, and the resolution/number of tracks etc, in your Avid projects/sequences.

You can reach me at info@vidsharx.com, or at david.norden@gmail.com

All the best

David - http://www.vidsharx.com


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João Marcos Marchante
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Apr 16, 2015 at 3:36:33 pm

Hi guys! I've been lurking for quite a while now and registered for the sole purpose of posting in this thread :)

Pascal, how is our project at this point? What type of setup did you go with? I have the exact same challenge - small, boutique studio with two cameras (GH4 and A7s, so we can tackle 4k/slo mo/low light situations), 2 imac for everything from editing to grading on the Adobe suite. (Shared) storage is our current achilles' heel and 4k is also creeping up on us... interesting time ahead.

Even if Pascal didn't go forward as planned with his endeavour I'd like like to hear you guys shedding some light on

a) a studio setup, considering all the tech advancements since this thread, and

b) the best way to work with these kinds of parameters (mac, adobe based workflow with 4k footage from these 2 cameras.

I'd love to hear you guys chime in again on this!

Thanks,

JMM


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Arvid Eriksson
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Apr 28, 2015 at 2:08:25 am

Hello

I'm also setting up a small studio with a MacPro and two iMacs. We use Premiere and AE. I like the idea of using local Pegasus RAID drives connected via Thunderbolt. It allows me to grow gradually without a big one-off investment, and more importantly it's a proven simple workflow.

I'm envisaging a workflow where each suite's job folder (media and work files), stored on the local Pegasus RAID, is synchronised via a gigabit ethernet to a NAS, such as the QNAP TS-853 Pro.

Once the NAS has pushed the media files to all edit suites, the project files can be shared as long as you re-link the footage to your local Pegasus RAID.

Slow and manual, but stabile and cheap. I guess it comes down to the usability and stability of the server's ability to synchronise.

Has anyone had any experience with QNAP's Qsync, or done something similar with OSX Server? A penny for your thoughts.

Kind regards,
Arvid

Arvid Eriksson
http://www.arvideriksson.com/


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Jess Hartmann
Re: Best storage & workflow solution for small production company
on Apr 28, 2015 at 2:40:52 am

Arvid,

You may want to consider the workflow we created for the ProMAX Platform Portable. I thought I would chime in here because we built the device precisely for the kind of workflow requirement you mentioned. The Platform Portable will allow you to connect your Thunderbolt RAID directly to it, and then connect your macs to it as well thru 1GbE or 10GbE. The device basically lets you to turn your attached storage into shared storage and if you Thunderbolt drive(s) are fast enough, you can eliminate the push/pull workflow and edit directly off of them from multiple workstations.

more information here: http://promax.com/products/platform-portable/ MSRP $5,995. No per seat license all included and comes with asset management built in.

Just one more consideration to get collaborative workflows more affordable. I hope this is helpful.

Jess Hartmann
ProMAX Systems
http://www.promax.com


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