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New Mac Pro + Storage Solutions?

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Ryan Moat
New Mac Pro + Storage Solutions?
on Feb 3, 2015 at 11:48:37 pm

For the past several years we've been using the older Mac Pro Tower (2010) for video production here at our company.
A couple years ago we moved to a storage solution which used fiber and fiber pci express expansion cards.

The machines are becoming outdated, but our fiber SAN for the video storage has also been discontinued.

I just want to know what some viable options are. The new Mac Pro is not expandable on the inside, but I know you can add a lot of different options via the thunderbolt ports.

There are thunderbolt to fiber. But also I see that new storage solutions are coming in with thunderbolt connections.

It's just that running thunderbolt cables from the workstation to the server room is not that easy, and it's expensive to buy a 100 foot cable ($600+).

We've thought about a storage array via CAT5e/6, but of course that is slower than fiber and thunderbolt.

What are your recommendations, or what do some of you do? We need the storage solution to be shared by everyone on the storage team, so it can't be connected to only just one computer, unless we can share it via server.


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Edgar Chang
Re: New Mac Pro + Storage Solutions?
on Feb 4, 2015 at 6:45:28 am

Hi, Ryan

As I know, you can have several choices.

As you know, there are some manufacturers provides fibre to Thunderbolt converters. You may use them to connect your new Mac Pro to access fiber storage on SAN.

You may also use iSCSI storage to build an IP SAN.

Or, you may have a look at Accusys ExaSAN storage and switch. It adopts PCIe interface, and provides Thunderbolt to PCIe converters to make you connect your new Mac Pro to PCIe switch and get on SAN. ExaSAN solution performs quite well with SAN software like Tiger Technology, StorNext and Xsan. It provides you a transfer rate about 1,300MB/s and cost lower than Fibre. You can visit this webpage for more information: http://www.h3platform.com/thunderbolt.html

Hope this may help you.


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Ryan Moat
Re: New Mac Pro + Storage Solutions?
on Feb 4, 2015 at 4:06:34 pm

Edgar,

Thank you! This actually helps a lot. In combination with your post and Bob's it definitely sets me in the right direction.

I will research all of these, thank you very much!


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Bob Zelin
Re: New Mac Pro + Storage Solutions?
on Feb 4, 2015 at 2:00:51 pm

Hi Ryan -
first off, there are lots of companies, like Sonnet and Magma that make PCIe expansion chassis for any new Mac Pro that has Thunderbolt only, so you can stick all your cards into one of these chassis, and keep going. And of course, there are lots of companies that make Thunderbolt to Fibre adaptors (Promise SanLink) so you can continue to use what you are doing now.

There are lots of companies that make large Thunderbolt drive arrays (G-Tech, Promise, Maxx Digital,Netstor etc.) that can be used for shared storage.

When you say buying a Corning optical cable for $600 is expensive - that is the least of your expenses if you are considering buying a new large thunderbolt drive array, or new shared storage system, which will cost you a LOT of money.

You can absolutely have a shared storage system that uses Cat6 cable that will be FASTER than 4 or 8 Gig Fibre. There are lots of companies, like Facilis, Maxx Digital, Studio Network Solutions, Small Tree, ProMax, etc. that will be more than happy to sell you a wonderful very fast shared storage system that will connect via Cat6 cable and 10Gig Ethernet. These systems are readily available, and work wonderfully, and are much faster than anything you have previously owned.

The system described by Edgar is the Accusys Exasan system, which now offers Thunderbolt to QSFP adaptors, that can attach to new Mac Pro or iMac computers with thunderbolt, and attach to an Exasan switch via optical cable. The shared drive arrays which can be 8, 12 or 16 bay, also attach to the switch, and you can have up to 4 drive arrays with their system. Edgars solution works with Apple XSAN, but Accusys also works wonderfully with Tiger Technology Tiger Share, using the Tiger Serve 1, which will allow you to use easier to use client and admin software, without having to setup an XSAN system.

Let me be clear about one thing. The only things that WILL NOT WORK is by purchasing a new Mac Pro, and running Thunderbolt cables from the client computers to the new Mac Pro, and trying to do shared storage that way. This is the only combination that will not work. Thunderbolt networking DOES NOT WORK for your application.


If you find all of this confusing, all of the companies I mentioned in this post can help you. And so can I. Just reach out.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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Ryan Moat
Re: New Mac Pro + Storage Solutions?
on Feb 4, 2015 at 4:11:05 pm

Bob,

Thank you so much for your post! This, along with Edgar's, helps immensely. Thank you for giving me vendors of shared ethernet/thunderbolt storage solutions as well.
The first one I looked at was the Studio Network Solutions, and thought the Evo series was great. It provides unlimited licenses, and it's own software.

We are currently using a CalDigit solution with Tiger Technologies. But their metaSAN software works as a client on Yosemite, but I have been told the server will not work on Yosemite, and it's possible Mavericks is the last that will be support on the server side.

You have both pointed me in the direction I need to go.

And from what I understand you can not use a thunderbolt only storage devices as shared storage like we currently do with the CalDigit/metaSAN?


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Bob Zelin
Re: New Mac Pro + Storage Solutions?
on Feb 4, 2015 at 9:06:41 pm

Ryan -
I see that you are a new member of Creative Cow. If you have looked at posts on Creative Cow in the past, you will see that I am often quite rude to many people. I will now unfortunately be rude to you. I don't know you, and I don't know your background, but it is clear to me from your reply that you are unfamiliar with much of the equipment that you have, and you need PROFESSIONAL help.

The system that you own is the Cal Digit Super Share. Cal Digit never made this system - it is the Accusys Exasan which is exactly the system that Edgar was talking about. Exasan is a SAN system that requires software like Apple XSAN or Tiger MetaSAN to work. If you contact Bernard and Tiger Technology, you will quickly see that MetaSAN has evolved into a new product called Tiger Share. It's the 2015 version of what you own. MetaSAN did not go away - it evolved, just like all products in our industry evolve, and after a period of time, things become outdated. I assure you that Tiger Share works with Apple Yosemite.
But perhaps some of your hardware does not. Accusys Exasan evolves also, and you may own older hardware.
Accusys makes a Thunderbolt to QSFP adaptor, that works with the Exasan system.

I don't know how to contact you, so I can't give you more aggressive assistance with this.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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Ryan Moat
Re: New Mac Pro + Storage Solutions?
on Feb 4, 2015 at 9:15:38 pm

Thanks, Bob! And no, I do not feel you are being rude. I have e-mailed you directly.


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