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Is it time for a RAID?

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Cody Walters
Is it time for a RAID?
on Sep 24, 2010 at 1:34:40 pm

A week ago I know nothing about RAID systems. After burying myself in these forms, and a lot of googling, I'm wondering if it's my time to purchase of an 8 bay RAID from CalDigit. Specifically the HD Element 8 TB

I'm currently experiencing the limitations of my internal storage. I've filled up bay 2,3 and 4. Bay 2,3 and 4 and not set up RAID 0, and trying to view a multiclip made of three clips in DVCPROHD is very difficult.

Also, I need some type of backup protection for my footage. I have about 4.5 TB of footage, graphics and animation combined. I accumulated all of that over my first year. So, is an 8 TB RAID configured as a RAID 5 a smart choice given the above information?

Thanks for your help and insight.

Cody Walters

Mac Pro 2.26GHz 8 Core Xeon
16 GB 1066 MHz DDR3
Final Cut Studio 3
Panasonic HVX-200


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Is it time for a RAID?
on Sep 24, 2010 at 3:04:23 pm

Hell yeah!!! You should have had one a long time ago. You'll sleep better at night and have a better editing experience during the day.


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Keith Pratt
Re: Is it time for a RAID?
on Sep 24, 2010 at 3:30:36 pm

I wouldn't think of RAID as "backup protection" — more like downtime protection. Whether you work from a RAID or not, you're playing with fire if you don't have backups kept at a another location.

With regards to how big a RAID you need, a big question is whether you're efficient and organised with projects once you've finished them.


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Cody Walters
Re: Is it time for a RAID?
on Sep 24, 2010 at 4:16:16 pm

I love the reply David, thanks.

Maybe rather than transferring my existing files on bay 2 and 3 to a RAID, I purchase an external hard drive to back up those files? Then for my future projects I use a RAID 5 set-up? You don't see using a RAID 5 set-up as a back-up solution? I thought doing a RAID 5 would be best than having an additional external hard drive to back up what is on the RAID. Since every drive WILL fail, doesn't it make sense to store everything in a RAID system and replace the drives that fail in that over time?

Tell me if I am efficient or not here on my work flow. I shoot on P2, create a copy of those cards in my archive folder. I then ingest the footage in log and transfer. Edit the project. When it is finished I delete the footage I ingested in L&T used in that project in the captured scratch folder to save space on the drive.

I'm running out of space mainly from all of my archived footage on the drives.

Cody Walters

Mac Pro 2.26GHz 8 Core Xeon
16 GB 1066 MHz DDR3
Final Cut Studio 3
Panasonic HVX-200


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Jared Picune
Re: Is it time for a RAID?
on Sep 24, 2010 at 6:52:39 pm

Cody,

Let me know if you have any questions about the HDElement. Sounds like it will be a good fit for you though.

One of the nice things about he HDElement is you can attach up to 3 HDElements at once, so you can always keep back ups that way too. It's a very flexible solution.

Jared Picune CalDigit. Serious Storage.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Is it time for a RAID?
on Sep 27, 2010 at 2:16:26 am

[Cody Walters] "You don't see using a RAID 5 set-up as a back-up solution?"

Raid-5 and Raid-6 are considered "protected" modes. They both differ from a true backup, however they are both much, much safer than running Raid-0. See the excerpt below from my review of the CalDigit HDPro2, it will explain the differences between the two raid configurations.

UNDERSTANDING RAID PROTECTED MODES

The HDPro2 comes preconfigured from CalDigit in RAID 5 protected mode. RAID 5 offers the most efficient combination of both performance and data protection for most users. In this mode, should any one of the eight internal hard drives fail, the array is not destroyed; it continues operations at a slower speed, but without any loss of data. When a new drive is added in place of the failed drive, the full array rebuilds across all eight drives, restoring full capacity, speed, and security.

The HDPro2 is also easily reconfigured to operate in RAID 6, or "double protected mode," which substantially increases fault tolerance protection, even in cases involving the failure of two hard drives. To achieve this high level of data protection, the CalDigit RAID engine stores so-called parity, or redundant data blocks, on two dedicated drives in the array, separated from the original data. This utilizes significantly more drive capacity than RAID 5 and reduces write speeds marginally. However, RAID 6 is extremely reliable, calculated to lessen the chance of catastrophic failure by approximately 1500 to 2000 times.


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Cody Walters
Re: Is it time for a RAID?
on Sep 27, 2010 at 2:17:10 pm

Thanks for that post David and clarifying the "back-up" and "protected" confusion.

RAID seems to be the right choice here, but I have a speed connection question. Maybe you can help me here Jared? From CalDigit's description on the performance of the HD Element, it has a read speed of 340 mbs and write speed of 290 mbs. This may be a very novice question, but wouldn't firewire 800 give me a faster connection, read and write? What about e-sata at up to 3 gbs? Is a RAID card necessary? Couldn't I purchase a RAID system that hooks up via e-sata or firewire?

I can't wait to hear my doubts put to bed here! It seems most professionals go the RAID route for protection and large capacity storage.

Cody Walters

Mac Pro 2.26GHz 8 Core Xeon
16 GB 1066 MHz DDR3
Final Cut Studio 3
Panasonic HVX-200


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Walter Soyka
Re: Is it time for a RAID?
on Sep 27, 2010 at 2:39:58 pm

[Cody Walters] "From CalDigit's description on the performance of the HD Element, it has a read speed of 340 mbs and write speed of 290 mbs. This may be a very novice question, but wouldn't firewire 800 give me a faster connection, read and write? What about e-sata at up to 3 gbs?"

The HD Element figures you're citing are measured in megabytes per second (MB/s), and they are the measured speeds from the disk through the interface.

Firewire 800 has a nominal speed of 800 megabits per second (Mb/s), and that's the speed of the interface only, not necessarily the speed you can expect from Firewire-attached disks.

Note the capital B versus lowercase b. There are 8 bits in a byte, so the top theoretical speed of Firewire 800 is 100 MB/s. The 3 Gb/s figure for eSATA is also the theoretical limit of the interface, not necessarily any attached disks.

Single disks are slow. I just benchmarked two identical internal SATA drives. One was empty, and it wrote around 105 MB/s and read at 115 MB/s. One was 75% full, and it both wrote and read around 60 MB/s. That's why RAIDs are used for performance; spreading the reads and writes over multiple disks lets you improve performance dramatically.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Cody Walters
Re: Is it time for a RAID?
on Sep 27, 2010 at 8:53:14 pm

Thanks for your reply Walter. It is interesting to here from you that internal SATA is slow. Sounds like if I want high performance and protection, I need to go RAID. AND I should also have a backup drive to back up the RAID. Wow...lots of equipment to keep the boat afloat.

Cody Walters

Mac Pro 2.26GHz 8 Core Xeon
16 GB 1066 MHz DDR3
Final Cut Studio 3
Panasonic HVX-200


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Walter Soyka
Re: Is it time for a RAID?
on Sep 27, 2010 at 9:19:16 pm

[Cody Walters] "It is interesting to here from you that internal SATA is slow."

Well, relatively slow. 60 MB/s is still enough for two streams of 1080i ProRes 422 with plenty of headroom. You could edit HD with ProRes on a laptop hard drive, if you wanted to. It'll get by, but it won't scream.

[Cody Walters] "Sounds like if I want high performance and protection, I need to go RAID."

Yup -- these two reasons are exactly why video pros get RAIDs.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Cody Walters
Re: Is it time for a RAID?
on Oct 2, 2010 at 3:08:33 am

Thanks for the advice Walter. I will be a happy camper when I have my RAID set up.

Cody Walters

Mac Pro 2.26GHz 8 Core Xeon
16 GB 1066 MHz DDR3
Final Cut Studio 3
Panasonic HVX-200


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Walter Soyka
Re: Is it time for a RAID?
on Sep 27, 2010 at 1:46:06 pm

[Cody Walters] "You don't see using a RAID 5 set-up as a back-up solution? I thought doing a RAID 5 would be best than having an additional external hard drive to back up what is on the RAID. Since every drive WILL fail, doesn't it make sense to store everything in a RAID system and replace the drives that fail in that over time?"

RAID is not a backup because it only protects you against the failure of a limited number of drives in the set. It does not protect you from data loss from accidental deletion, RAID controller failure, fire, flood, theft, etc.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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