Sharing a RAID array with a few imacs for video editing
I am a small video production company. By small I mean my budget for my new storage system including drives themselves is under $5K
I've got about 8TB now in single external HDDs that I desperately need to transfer to a RAID array with backup. From what I've read, RAID 10 seems like the best option (I'm open to hearing other suggestions) and I'd like to expand a bit so I'm thinking 6 4TB drives should do the trick giving me 12TB of usable space with RAID 10 backup. This seems like the solution for me:
BUT, I've got two editing imacs which I would ideally like to be able to access this storage array. I've read that connecting two imacs to the same array with the 2 thunderbolt ports A, doesn't work, and B would be very expensive if I wanted those computers to be on the other sides of the room (loong thunderbolt cables), and C would max out at 2 computers.
So, now I'm curious about NAS or SAS, and looking into editing workflows through these network arrays seems to lead me into many directions including:
Pro - It's within my price range
Con - While the QNAP says its for video production I haven't read anywhere that people are using them for actual video editing, rendering, etc.
Pro - it claims its designed for online realtime editing
Cons - it seems like the lowest model is $10K (over my price range)
PROMAX PORTABLE http://promax.com/products/platform-portable/
Pro - its clearly designed for video production and seems it adapts to and maintains the advantages of whatever DAS I buy
CON - at $6K I would be paying nearly $10K once I include the additional DAS and drives
Is there any solution for small time production companies that want a centralized RAID storage solution that multiple computers can access? My ignorance leads me to believe there should be some solution involving a DAS connected to one computer, and that computer connected via ethernet to the other computer or a fast router.
We specialize in helping small production studios like yourself. Would love to get on a call with you so you can explain in more detail exactly what you're looking for, and what you want to use it for. There are several solutions you could use, as you probably know. But with that budget, im sure we could find something for you. Hope to talk soon.
I understand you want to do business, but instead of giving advice, you always want to sell your expertise. This is a free forum, not a cost-free dealing place,
Mac pro 8core
several raid systems
you need a Raid system with either FC or thunderbolt, then a FC/thunderbolt switch together with a server and a SAN system to link up multiple computers at the same time accessing one shared storage raid.
It is not that easy than you think.
Mac pro 8core
several raid systems
Sadly this is not an easy question. Do your research and then check in for a free quote with a local video integrator because you need to calculate some stuff and there are some gotchas that will make your purchase a boat anchor.
Here's my main advice:
- DAS direct attach RAIDs for each station. Thunderbolt is fast and good but expensive see below you might get away with FW 800 depending on bandwidth needs. I like OWC for cheap but good as a supplier. I'd go RAID 5 personally for mix of speed and backups. SSD drives too expensive for your budget, 1TB drives are cheap and plentiful. Look at the size of your average project and pick something that works for each station that truly needs the speed and security. Example your main edit bay has a RAID 5 on thunderbolt. Your producer maybe doesn't need anything but 1GB ethernet sharing to the RAID 5 knowing they will pull down dailies or reviews locally (don't play off the editor's RAID over the network).
- Get a fairly cheap NAS, network attach storage that ONLY holds assets you pull into the direct attach or other stations locally. So just to be clear you aren't editing off this sucker, or even viewing assets, you are only putting assets there that you need to use for lots o' projects. This is also the place you put assets you want to archive so it clears up space off your DAS. The NAS could be RAID 1 for full redundancy it's hella safe on there but slow as a turtle so you aren't working there you're just storing there.
- Get an LTO backup system. Part of the reason you are eating up space is you have no secure backup. Get those old projects outta your way. Man what I wouldn't give to have something better than LTO to recommend but that's the cheapest, most secure, most universal backup right now. You can always slap a *copy* on a cheap ole external HDD for fast access but that LTO is great for long term storage.
Ok so let's say you're like "I want a second opinion, I'm going to talk to a systems integrator." For sure go for it! I recommend it. Make sure they are considering this stuff and you know the answers. If they don't ask these questions find a new systems integrator!
-- What OS are you on across the board? Do you mix any PCs or Linux or are you all Mac?
-- What connections do you have in-house? Thunderbolt probably if new iMacs. 10 gig E will only do so much. Fiber is the bees knees but it's way too expensive for your budget unless it's already in your space.
-- What CODEC, FPS, do you work with, do you mix em' up in one project? Use a bandwidth calculator to see how much throughput you're using. Do it for the max. Don't forget "streams" which equals layers in your video project. For example if you have a layer of Animation CODEC at 1080p plus ProResLT 3 layers of video plus some audio up in that jam you need to add all that together to come up with bandwidth for one project. If you exceed your bandwidth you'll hit dropped frames and render errors. Big ole gotcha for performance.
-- How many folks will be editing simultaneously? Multiple above by number of simultaneous users.
-- Do folks want to share a project (work on it at the same time, share assets)?
The cheapest thing for you is DAS or direct attached storage.
Upside, less IT expertise needed. You can RAID that sucker to meet the demands of that workstation. You can have high speed connection with no worries about sharing. Less of an issue of bandwidth max and easy to remedy because you have 1 user and 1 project. Believe in the power of proxy workflow if you hit a bandwidth issue (example ProResLT in your project fps and frame size as an excellent proxy format).
The next step up is a NAS, storage area network.
Upside hey now we can share. We can also be far away from each other over a network. Save space only having assets in one place.
The downside oh crud now we have to share, you gotta deal with permissions issues and if you have a mixed OS environment how those different platforms deal with permission is a bear. NAS relies on network cables so your bandwidth is limited. It's also straight up not setup to be a traffic cop and deal with multiple users possibly over writing each others files. You'll need a central server and some software to deal with the bandwidth allocation and permissions issues. Oh snap now you need a server and probably an IT admin.
Final frontier is a straight up SAN that's for real what studios use for a reason.
Upside now we have a traffic copy, we have a permissions control center, we have ways to isolate and share openly without fear of overwriting work.
Downside. We have serious complexity at this point and you're going to want someone with some knowledge and skills to admin it for you. That's why small shops don't go this route unless you're willing to learn networking ins and outs and devote serious time on a regular basis to keeping it humming along.
There you go crash course in video storage.