I have a small production company and to edit we have two Mac Pros with fcp, one has a raid 5 with 2TB also hooked up to it. They are connected across our network but I would like to get a server because all of our hard drives are filling up and we would like a get a server so the two systems could share data easier and faster and to have a large place to dump raw footage. I was wondering would it be better to get a quad core mac pro w/ snow leopard server and 4tb as a server or to get an xserve. Once the 4tb or 3tb (depending on which one I get) fills up I am planning to get the gtech gspeed FC XL 12tb. Is this a good plan?, can someone suggest whether to get the mac pro or xserve, or does anyone have any other suggestions.
unless you are doing DV25, you cannot have shared storage, even between 2 computers, with a simple network - MAC Pro or XServe.
You can connect via Fibre, 10 Gig ethernet or link aggregated multiple ethernet ports. If you are trying to do ProRes422 for example, simple ethernet, even with the fastest server won't work.
The Xserve gives you the option of redundant power supplies and includes Lights Out Management, which lets you restart the Xserve remotely after a power failure. Neither of these are available on the Mac Pro. The Xserve also comes with Mac OS X Server software, which has to be purchased separately. On the down side, the Xserve is very noisy, require a rack for installation. Also, AppleCare for the Xserve is four times the cost of AppleCare for the Mac Pro, though it does provide for advance replacement of failed components if the issue is being handled by a certified tech.
Lots of trade-offs, and the best answer depends on what is important to you. If you don't have experience with Mac OS X Server you might want to contact a member of the Apple Consultants Network in your area. [ http://consultants.apple.com/ ] It's always good to have a knowledgable and trusted resource on your side.
You should also look at a shared storage solution rather than a server. If you're just looking for shared storage for video editing (as opposed to also wanting to share contacts and calendars, manage email, get remote VPN access, set up project wikis, etc.), you might as well put the $4K-$5K it will cost to install an Xserve towards shared storage and a backup solution.
Billy, the companies who advertise here, Small Tree, Maxx Digital, etc., are a good place to start. You'll probably be looking at a storage array connected to a Mac Pro that uses a Small Tree multi-port Ethernet adapter to share files over the network. Good proven technology.
A good supplier will take the time to learn about your workflow and what you want to accomplish and then recommend a system that will meet your needs now and give you room to expand. A consultant with experience in video production workflow may be able to help with the transition to shared storage. Where are you located?
I grew up in Stamford, CT and know Westchester County well. Pretty country...I'd enjoy chatting about your production company. Feel free to send me your contact info at douglas [at] macguynetworks [dot] com if you'd like.