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Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve

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Jon Krainak
Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 1, 2013 at 7:43:55 pm

Hi everyone - I've been trolling for a while, reading what people have to say about all the various options (NAS, SAN, etc.) I'm wondering if these would apply to the world of print (Photoshop, InDesign, etc).

My friend's company is looking to replace:

Xserve
Apple Raid
LTO Library

The Xserve is having issues, so we are looking for a more modern solution, I suppose. Right now he has about 8 designers connecting the xserve/raid over 1gig. They have been very pleased with performance (but this has been their only experience for several years). They recently purchased a DROBO for a particular project - it served its purpose, but they were unimpressed as to its performance (e.g editing photoshop files).

Anyway, I guess I'm wondering if:

A) Would the same setups in the video editing world apply be suitable?
B) If not, any suggestions?

I would like to give him a good, better, best scenario - budget would be between 5k-20k. My main concern is not taking a step backwards.

Thanks - great reading here


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Eric Hansen
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 1, 2013 at 8:37:05 pm

If they liked the performance of the Xserve but thought the Drobo was too slow, then yes, they're right in the video editing NAS sweet-spot.

Are they looking to keep LTO going? if so, is it Fibre Channel, SCSI or SAS? If not, what are they replacing it with? Do they use any features of Mac OS X Server?

If no more LTO, then a Mac Mini with Thunderbolt storage and Thunderbolt to PCIe Multi-port Ethernet card could work. It definitely wouldn't be able to handle 8 video editors. But 8 designers is probably doable. You could also look at self-contained units from Small Tree like the Titanium 5 and Titanium 8.

If they want to keep LTO, then a Mac Pro with SAS storage would probably be your best bet because it can handle more PCIe cards without needing Thunderbolt adapters.

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Jon Krainak
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 1, 2013 at 8:44:07 pm

Thanks for your message - I just did a sort of simple test by copying a 1000mb file to and from the server from a workstation. Both read/write were about 70MB/s.

The xserve is only used to share files - not using any other services (DHCP, Apache, DNS, etc)

The tape library (Magnum 1x7) is connected to Xserve via scsi - using an old copy of Retrospect to backup. They swap a new set of tapes every week for 1 week of data offsite. I think they would be happy with just being able to copy everything to a big ole usb drive rather than mess with tapes.

The only reason I mentioned the DROBO is because when I mentioned to them that maybe they need a super duper NAS, they wen ewwww. I said I thought the solutions found around here must be pretty good to handle vid


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Eric Hansen
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 1, 2013 at 9:22:21 pm

Does the Xserve connect to the office switch with just a single ethernet connection? or does it have a multi-port Ethernet card?

if it's only a single connection, then a Drobo 5D should have plenty of performance for what they're doing.

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Jon Krainak
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 1, 2013 at 9:25:15 pm

Just the onboard NIC.


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 1, 2013 at 9:43:10 pm

[Jon Krainak] "I would like to give him a good, better, best scenario - budget would be between 5k-20k. My main concern is not taking a step backwards."

Given no hard video requirements (such as, "sustain 300MB/s for five clients"), I'd look at two options, in addition to what Eric said:

1. A NAS appliance from Synology or QNAP - some can handle aggregated bandwidth of over 1GB/s with dual 10GbE ports. These aren't expandable or upgradeable beyond manufacturer specs.

2. A multi-purpose NAS/SAN box such as Enhance Tech UltraShare NS. Those are highly expandable and customizable, can wear multiple hats (DAS, SAN, NAS), and are still significantly less costly than a dedicated purpose-built video NAS.

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Engineer
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Jon Krainak
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 1, 2013 at 11:45:54 pm

The Enhance products look similar to many of the offerings from others, e.g. SNS Evo, Small Tree, QNAP, Synology, etc. I'm wondering if any of them are easier to manage? They do not have an IT person on staff.


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 2, 2013 at 12:08:26 am

[Jon Krainak] "The Enhance products look similar to many of the offerings from others, e.g. SNS Evo, Small Tree, QNAP, Synology, etc. I'm wondering if any of them are easier to manage? They do not have an IT person on staff."

They're easy enough to manage but don't come with the level of support of SmallTree and SNS. The Enhance product is fairly easy to configure and manage, but it's more for IT people already familiar with Linux and network storage. Synology and QNAP products are appliances: I wouldn't expect much support from them for hard-to-troubleshoot scenarios. Replacing a drive or a component - easy. Figure out why the bandwidth drops to 20MB/s in certain scenarios - you'd need good support for that and in that case, I'd go with SNS and SmallTree.

Did I make it easier or harder to make a decision? :) I hope easier.

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Engineer
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Eric Hansen
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 2, 2013 at 1:07:19 am

If you purchase from Small Tree, you will get installation phone support as part of the package. I believe SNS provides this too.

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Jon Krainak
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 2, 2013 at 1:55:49 am

Thanks Alex - I appreciate the help. I'm shying away from QNAP, Synology for the exact reasons you mention. I would like them to purchase great hardware, but also great support. The problem that I'm having is really just never seeing any of these devices in action, having a change to play with the OS, etc.

I did speak with Small Tree today after reading about them for the first time here. To be honest, our non video needs seemed to catch the salesman a bit off guard and he had a hard time coming up with a solution. We were kind of doing that thing where we are both asking what I need.

Do you guys think it's ok to assume that if ppl are doing video with these systems, then opening/editing PS files, etc. over ethernet should be just fine?


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Eric Hansen
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 2, 2013 at 3:03:27 am

with video, the priority is low latency and the ability to serve multiple streams of video to different clients without dropping frames. this makes them over-built for your needs. which means they will work exceptionally well.

Where are you based Jon? Maybe someone would be able to give you a demo in-person.

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Matt Stone
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 2, 2013 at 5:38:00 am

Hi Jon,

There are a few companies on here that offer shared storage solutions, ours is called Final Share. We use a Mac Pro as a server computer, which makes it very easy to manage adding or deleting users, changing permissions, and so on... No learning curve trying to figure out a new OS. Inside the Mac Pro is a 10Gig Ethernet NIC that hooks up to our switch, and on the front of the switch you can connect up to 24 users via GbE.

We offer phone support, remote support, and have some of the best customer support in the business.

As Eric said most of these systems were created to share video, so these should be more than enough for your needs.

Give us a call for more details, and pricing on a Final Share System.

Matt Stone
Maxx Entertainment Digital
3189 Redhill Ave. Unit B
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Telephone:(714) 374-4944
mattstone@maxxdigital.com


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Jon Krainak
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 2, 2013 at 1:43:37 pm

Thanks for the info, Maxx/Final Share is on my list. I'm located in Omaha, NE.


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Jon Krainak
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 2, 2013 at 2:09:53 pm

Poking around a bit about Final Share led me to:







wherein Bob mentions this setup not being a "rendering system". I know nothing about video, but I'm wondering if this limitation would somehow also affect editing in Photoshop? e.g Editing a large PSD and applying effects or tweaking colors, etc. I'm guessing this is not the same thing?

Final Share seems to be a newer/faster way of doing what we do now - which might be a good thing given it just uses afp and normal mac sharing.


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Eric Hansen
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 2, 2013 at 2:23:58 pm

[Jon Krainak] "Final Share seems to be a newer/faster way of doing what we do now - which might be a good thing given it just uses afp and normal mac sharing."

Yes. It's the same setup you're using now, but with updated computer, storage and networking.

I emailed Bob with your question about rendering, so hopefully he'll chime in soon.

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Bob Zelin
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 2, 2013 at 7:37:38 pm

I have hesitated to respond to this post because this person is looking for a simple solution for a non video application. While Final Share will work with you, so will everything else that you have been told in this thread. I bet even your Drobo would work in this application if it was configured properly.

Do you know what you need, no matter what you buy - you need SUPPORT from the company. Maxx Digital, Small Tree, ProMax, Studio Network Solutions, QNAP, Synology, and even Drobo will ALL work for you - but not without the help of someone like Alex from DV411 or myself (or support from one of these manufacturers).

You have a very easy application - you are not doing HD video editing. Everything mentioned here will work.

Bob Zelin



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Jon Krainak
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 3, 2013 at 2:51:23 am

Thanks for your response, Bob. I had a good conversation with Matt from Maxx today. I very much agree that what i would like to purchase is great hardware but also a partner to help us figure this stuff out. Our tech needs are indeed simple, but of huge value.


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Steve Modica
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 7, 2013 at 7:19:31 pm

Hi John

You should take a look at Small Tree TitaniumZ-8. You can start off with a relatively small amount of ZFS storage and we can grow that on the fly if you need to without rebuilding the array. We're kernel guys so when it comes to figuring out how an app works, we're good at it. TitaniumZ-8 is running FreeBSD (which is like OS X's big brother) so we can use a lot of the same tools and performance enhancements to get things working very smoothly.

Steve Modica

Steve Modica
CTO, Small Tree Communications


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Steve Modica
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 15, 2013 at 3:23:13 pm

Hi John
For print, usually the tuning requirement is just to go as fast as possible. The apps behave differently, but there's usually no realtime component (IE you won't drop frames. You just want your file copies to be fast).

The Small Tree team was doing this back with SGI in the late 90s and early 00s before becoming Small Tree, so we have a lot of experience in print. We also are using ZFS now so we have huge expansion potential without doing raid rebuilds. Check out the TitaniumZ line. We showed it off at NAB. We have the portable Z5 all the way up to the Z16.

Steve

Steve Modica
CTO, Small Tree Communications


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Adam Hatch
Re: Shared Storage for Print Design - Replacing Xserve
on May 14, 2013 at 10:44:02 pm

Hi John

If you have a moment I would check out the ProMAX Platform and Platform Studio in your research. You will find great solutions and I am sure there is one that will spark your interest. Platform allows clients to start with networked storage and expand as they need. For example, if you need transcoding, rendering, archiving, etc in the future, this all lives on the Platform.

Good luck with your search!

Adam Hatch
Sr. Workflow Specialist
ProMAX Systems
Direct- 949-861-2716

Adam Hatch
ProMAX Systems
Direct- (949) 861-2716
Professional Video Editing Systems
"Your Cure For Complexity"


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