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Trouble in Paradise

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Don Smith
Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 8, 2014 at 2:47:52 pm

Got a new 2013 Mac Pro. Maxed out! (12 cores, 64GB RAM, D700 cards, 1TB Flash boot drive). I coupled it with a new Thunderbolt 2 Promise R6 RAID. I did NOT use Migration Assistant to bring everything over from my old Mac Pro in fear of installing junk built up over the years. I took DAYS to manually build up the new Mac Pro with Final Cut and Motion and Compressor and Adobe Creative Cloud apps.

But, on its maiden shake-out edit, a big paid edit with a short deadline, Final Cut Pro X is performing no better than what I get at work on a 2008 Mac Pro!

it drops frames on a single, un-rendered effect. Some responses are slow. Final Cut will crash (just blink out) from time to time. A rendered full-size movie opened in QuickTime Player doesn't play smoothly.

Now, let me be clear that I'm not blaming the design. I've seen too many videos before taking delivery on the new Mac Pro that clearly shows the system taking on multiple un-rendered effects and playing without dropping frames. Something is clearly not right.

There's trouble in paradise.

GeekBench shows the CPU's performing just like they should. I ran the BlackMagic disk speed test but it was taking so long that I had to quit it because of the pressure of getting the edit done.

The edit will be put to bed by tomorrow (Wednesday, April 8, 2014). I'm posting here just on the chance anyone else with a new Mac Pro is experiencing something similar and maybe we can share some ideas.


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Bret Williams
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 8, 2014 at 3:18:11 pm

So it's a problem with the raid then? You said BMD speed test was taking forever. It should take a matter of seconds or minutes depending on the test size.

Is the raid done setting up? My r4 8TB took a day I think.


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Don Smith
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 8, 2014 at 3:24:13 pm

Yes, the R6 'cooked' for hours setting itself up and was left on and alone for days before I received my Mac Pro.

This morning I saw an amber light on one of the drives. That went away shortly thereafter. While editing I saw that the top two drives in the RAID had two blue lights while the remaining four drives had one blue light, the bottom one in every case. I don't know enough about RAIDs to know what this means.

NewsVideo.com


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Nick Toth
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 8, 2014 at 3:35:50 pm

contact Promise. you should have two blue lights on every drive.

anickt


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Don Smith
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 8, 2014 at 3:42:05 pm

Just looked up what the blue lights on the front of the drives mean. The top light on each drive is the power and the bottom light is activity. What I read seemed to say that when the RAID is being accessed, ALL the activity lights will light up. All the power lights will be on for each drive at all times. Is that correct? This morning, two of the drives had two blue lights while the other four had one blue light on. I said before that I thought it was the bottom blue light but now I'm not sure. I'll have to wait until I get home to see for sure.

In any case, seeing one amber light this morning concerns me although it went off right after I started editing.

NewsVideo.com


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Nick Toth
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 8, 2014 at 5:07:14 pm

On my system (an R4 with Thunderbolt 1) all lights are always on and blue. The bottom lights flicker when the drive is accessed. I have never seen any other color and BM Speed Test typically shows 400+ MB/sec RW without any lag or other issues. Promise is pretty good at troubleshooting over the phone.

anickt


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Don Smith
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 8, 2014 at 6:59:31 pm

Thank you for the information Nick.

I just had a quick trip home. Both lights blue on the top two drives, only the power light is on and blue for the bottom four drives.

Then I played a quicktime movie and saw that all drives were being accessed.

As soon as I get out from under the pressure of the edit I'm finishing up I'll really look into this.

Some peripheral information; I went into Terminal so the array wouldn't be running 24 hours. Then, when I need the array to continue so it can render I put in an app called Caffeine. There's a coffee cup in the menu. When empty the drives will sleep when the computer sleeps. Click the cup to put coffee in it and the drives will not go to sleep.

I'm wondering if something I've done is interfering with the RAID's normal operation.

What I want is for the RAID to power down overnight when the computer goes to sleep.

NewsVideo.com


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Bret Williams
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 8, 2014 at 10:24:43 pm

Mine are both blue on my R4 like Nick says.

Why don't you open the Promise utility and see what it says? It'll tell you if the drives are having or have recently had a problem.

Disable the caffeine thing and see if that helps of course.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 8, 2014 at 10:56:08 pm

Any special third-party effects? All ProRes media? I've been told there are some driver issues with these machines (different from iMacs or MBPs) that may be fixed by 10.9.3.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Craig Alan
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 9, 2014 at 3:36:14 am

Open the promise utility and check out the different tabs. You will learn if the raid is experiencing any problems. I would also try deleting FCP X preferences. But if things stay bad try calling promise and ask for Kristopher Bose. He's patient and will talk you through any problems.

According to the user manual this behavior happens automatically so no need for Caffeine.

http://www.promise.com/media_bank/Download%20Bank/Manual/Pegasus2_Product%2...

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Don Smith
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 9, 2014 at 10:43:26 am

Good information Craig. I launched the Promise utility and it prompted me to update to a newer version which I did. Then the newer version then prompted me to update the firmware which I did.

All lights are blue now (two were red this morning before I began this process) but when I scrub the Final Cut timeline only the data activity lights of the top two drives blink.

Looking at the online manual you linked to it says that I go to the Dashboard of the Promise utility, click on the controller link and click settings to managed the power (sleep) of the drive. I do that and it takes me to a Component Page but all I get for the controller section is a box with three tabs of information. Nothing on the page with a Settings button except for the Buzzer settings and the Fan.

When I first used the RAID it was CONSTANTLY spinning down! I mean, after only a couple of minutes!

And the Promise website is just awful. When I went to register the Pegasus 2 it wanted the 'TLA' but didn't explain what that was. I figured it out by trying any number I could find on the unit and the box it came in. Now, they've replied to my help request and asked for a service report from the Promise utility and I can get that, but to upload it I have to go to my case on their website. Fine. Except no amount of clicking on the link will do anything. The email asking for the service report is a dead drop and I can't reply to it. I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to send them the service report or at least let them know I can't send it. Arghh!

Blackmagic Disc Utility can now check the drive. I get 970MB/s write and 880MB/s read. That's very good but I don't know if its the same as a known properly operating RAID.

NewsVideo.com


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Don Smith
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 9, 2014 at 10:46:33 am

Ah. Remember the part about the Promise website being awful? The Blackmagic Utility is unintuitive as well. I said that the link to the Controller to manage power and spin-down only had a box with the three tabs of information with no hint of how to find the power settings. I close that box of three tabs which revealed two buttons; 'view' and 'settings'. I clicked on settings and NOW I get the options to manage the power.

NewsVideo.com


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Don Smith
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 9, 2014 at 2:20:08 pm

The problem I was having with the Promise website turned out to be a short between the headphones. Partly field by Safari not letting me know it was blocking a popup. Should have thought of that possibility.

Any, got the file uploaded.

As I left this morning my drive was showing normal lights on the two top drives but only the upper lights on the bottom four drives. When scrubbing the timeline of Final Cut only the top two drives showed blinking data lights.

Now to wait to hear back from Promise.

NewsVideo.com


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Joe Marler
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 9, 2014 at 2:47:34 pm

[Don Smith] "And the Promise website is just awful....asked for a service report from the Promise utility and I can get that, but to upload it I have to go to my case on their website. Fine. Except no amount of clicking on the link will do anything."

The Promise website is poor. It uses a pop-up which Safari blocks by default - without any message or advisory. The behavior is you click on your case number and nothing happens.

To prevent this go to Safari preferences->Security, and clear the box "Block pop-up windows". Once open, the Promise support case allows you to attach files and system reports.

Re blue vs amber lights, on my R4 each drive has two lights. The top light is status and the bottom activity. I have never seen anything besides two blue lights per drive when it was functioning OK. If a drive fails, the top light turns red. When the failed drive is replaced, I think the top light turns orange/amber while the rebuild is in progress.

Your Black Magic performance results seem pretty good, but you should not have any amber or orange lights on any drive. The performance should generally be consistent. On my R4 I ran a burn-in test for several days using DiskTester, a professional test utility: http://diglloydtools.com/disktester.html

This following is unlikely related to your situation, but performance can be affected by RAID 5 stripe size. For test results of various stripe sizes vs RAID initialization time and performance tests, see this data: http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=18576138&postcount=1

I'm not suggesting re-striping your disk array to improve performance, this is just FYI. However if in the process of debugging the situation you need to re-initialize the array, you might then consider optimal stripe size.


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Dave Jenkins
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 9, 2014 at 6:51:22 pm

I have an R6 attached to the new MP 2013. All lower blue lights blink when playing back in FCP X. BM speed test says 800 write & 665 read and my 12TB drive is about half full.
HTH for a gauge of what you should be seeing.
Promise told me that you have to use terminal to make changes to manage power and spin-down. The R6 comes preconfigured to spin down. I used terminal to have it NOT spin down because I wasn't getting great results with FCP X. Still not seeing great playback in FCP X.

Dajen Productions, Santa Barbara, CA
Mac Pro 3.5MHz 6-Core Late 2013
FCP X


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Don Smith
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 9, 2014 at 7:26:26 pm

Dave.. the part where you say that FCPX playback from our Promise RAID is not great is the part that concerns me the most. Yes, my P2 R6 needs attention but from what you say it appears that even if I get the RAID running correctly that I'll still have troubled playback. I hope that's not the case. Mine is populated with 3TB drives so the box cost right at three grand. I did it so it wouldn't hobble my new Mac Pro. Even with good readings indicated by Blackmagic Speed Test my playback isn't nearly what I expected.

NewsVideo.com


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Dave Jenkins
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 9, 2014 at 8:57:24 pm

I don't know where the problem lies. Personally I don't think FCP X is tuned for these new computers. I can't say it's the hard drives. I'm just disappointed with the performance I'm getting with this new Macs, superfast hard drives and supposedly tuned software.

Dajen Productions, Santa Barbara, CA
Mac Pro 3.5MHz 6-Core Late 2013
FCP X


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Dave Jenkins
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 9, 2014 at 8:59:49 pm

However I graded 70 minute film in Da Vinci Resolve and it rendered out in 11 minutes so I can see some software is blazing fast. So that leads me to believe it's not the Pegasus hard drives.

Dajen Productions, Santa Barbara, CA
Mac Pro 3.5MHz 6-Core Late 2013
FCP X


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Don Smith
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 9, 2014 at 9:45:41 pm

I would tend to agree with you Dave, but what about all the videos we've seen before getting our own new Mac Pro's where new Mac Pros are playing smoothly through a load of unrendered effects? Where is that coming from?

NewsVideo.com


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Bret Williams
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 10, 2014 at 1:17:54 am

If all the drives aren't blinking at once, there is something awry with your Pegasus. It's a raid 5. It's writing to all drives at once, all the time. Could be some LEDs are burnt out or defective. But there's something not right about it.

Put some media on the internal storage and see how that fares.


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Craig Alan
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 10, 2014 at 4:16:28 am

Yeah their stuff is not exactly turn key but once its good it's really good. Call Kristopher Bose. If you can't find the support number let me know and I'll dig it up.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Don Smith
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 10, 2014 at 9:30:30 am

Thanks Dave. Yes, pass along the number. I've been going back and forth through the web with a guy that's apparently in India. The answers come overnight. The answer I got this morning was from me attaching the subsystem report two days ago and the guy tells me the subsystem report was not attached. Arghhh! I didn't know I could call someone.

This morning the bottom four drives have no lower light at all. All other lights are blue.

The Controller section shows a green checkmark however, and the Dashboard is all green checkmarks.

*sigh*

NewsVideo.com


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Don Smith
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 10, 2014 at 9:40:14 am

Thanks Dave. I've been going back and forth through the web with a guy that's apparently in India. The answers come overnight. The answer I got this morning was from me attaching the subsystem report two days ago and the guy tells me the subsystem report was not attached. Arghhh! I didn't know I could call someone.

But your message spurred me to look further and I found a tech support number ending in 1400. It's open until 7pm PT tonight which is 9pm Texas time so I'll be calling it tonight.

This morning the bottom four drives have no lower light at all. All other lights are blue.

The Controller section shows a green checkmark however, and the Dashboard is all green checkmarks and says everything is OK.

*sigh*

NewsVideo.com


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Don Smith
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 11, 2014 at 10:29:23 am

Didn't get the time last night to call tech support. This morning I got the reply from the web tech support (because I suspect they are in India and work opposite my clock) and they told me I've got problems with my brand new Promise Pegasus2 R6:

"Found that PD4, PD5 has developed command times out errors and Also I could see PD1 has detected 2,065,921 NonRWRequest in drive. I suspect that PD1 is causing the problem also other drives detected error. So please back up the data immediately to avoid data loss. Once you backup the data. Please remove the PD1 from the unit and check whether it works. If still the same please attach the latest subsystem report. Regards Hariprasad Promise Technical Support."

This is crazy. The RAID was bought on Dec. 12th. Promise should ship me a new one, let me save my data and ship back the defective unit. I don't have 8TBs laying around to which I can copy the 8TB of media on the broken RAID. Rats.

Since I bought it from the Apple Store (online) I wonder if I can just return it? Hhhmmm.... Still, I would have the problem of saving all that data.

NewsVideo.com


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Joe Marler
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 11, 2014 at 4:07:24 pm

[Don Smith] Promise: "I suspect that PD1 is causing the problem also other drives detected error. So please back up the data immediately to avoid data loss."

This is crazy. The RAID was bought on Dec. 12th. Promise should ship me a new one, let me save my data and ship back the defective unit. I don't have 8TBs laying around to which I can copy the 8TB of media on the broken RAID. Rats.

Since I bought it from the Apple Store (online) I wonder if I can just return it? Hhhmmm.... Still, I would have the problem of saving all that data."


The good news is this may explain your observed symptoms. The bad news is further isolation and replacement is required.

Promise sent me a complete replacement R4 but I had to twist their arm a bit. I originally ordered it from B&H. I was under the impression that items ordered from Apple are covered under their (usually more robust) support policies.

Whether now or the future, you pretty much need something to back up the R6 to. Just because it's RAID 5 doesn't mean it can't fail -- as you are now seeing. Also software problems, device driver bugs, etc. can damage data, and RAID 5 is vulnerable to those.

In my case I have an 8TB Thunderbolt G-RAID (RAID 0) which backs up my R4. Besides that I have separate Time Machine backups on a 6TB Thunderbolt WD MyBook Duo.

That said, even if you had another 8TB, it would possibly result in a double copy: From failing R6 to your backup, then transfer that to the replacement R6. If there's any way you could talk them into shipping you a fully-equipped R6, you could do it in one step.

Sorry about your problems. The R4/R6 are great storage systems and after my initial problems I am very happy with mine.


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Don Smith
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 11, 2014 at 5:36:16 pm

I realized I had a 4TB USB3 drive laying around that I had put media on that I no longer needed. Reformatting that drive allowed me to copy off my last project which was the only thing new on the R6. The rest of the media on the R6 is still around on their original drives and is safe. I'll be calling Promise when I get home this evening to see if they could hold a credit card and send me a replacement with the guarantee that mine will be shipped back or offer to take mine and fix it or something. I don't want to be their tech on a brand new unit.

NewsVideo.com


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Craig Alan
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 12, 2014 at 3:13:03 pm

try this: Kristopher.Bose@Promise.com

I could not understand the rep from India. Kristopher is helpful with both tech issues and return issues.

That said: here's my experience. I'm at a school and we ordered 18 or the 8TB R4s. They were in storage for almost 2 years due to the lab taking forever to be finished. So although in storage too long, they were brand new a few months ago when I began to use them. Two of them out of the box had serious enough issues to warrant an exchange. They sent me refurbished enclosures which really annoys me. If I had tested them when they were newer, I would really insist I get brand new enclosures. So I'm a little annoyed with myself as well. Still enclosures still in their sealed boxes don't really go bad. Drives might, but they were not the issues. Promise deliberately left off certain features from the utility program because they were afraid that end users would loose data if they tried certain steps in an incorrect way or order.

My latest issue was a drive was seen as dead by promise utility and by a red top light on drive three. Kris talked me through using the terminal to remount the third drive and all was well. He said that this feature is not done through the utility because in a raid 5 config it could amount to total data loss if not done correctly. They will offer tech support for issues like this even out of warranty.

I had chosen raid 0 for these media drives but am second guessing this decision. My logic was these drives have no wear on them and are unlikely to fail for a couple of years. I would back up important projects. But all that happened here was a drive got unmounted (most likely a student popped one out) and then the entire raid was unseen by the mac. Raid 5 would have prevented any problem but at the expense of 2 TB per drive and slightly slower speeds. Thunderbolt raid to thunderbolt raid back-ups work pretty fast. So my plan now is to swap out the raid 0s for one config. as raid 5.

I really like the drives turning on and off with the computers. Cool feature when you need to turn off multiple editing stations.

Tapeless work flows have a many advantages over tape, but ease of archiving original media is not one of them. One of these days storing media will be fast, cheap, and good. Not just faster, cheaper, and better; but virtually effortless.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Don Smith
Re: Trouble in Paradise
on Apr 12, 2014 at 6:36:59 pm

I got wise and found the call number instead of waiting a day for a reply only to be told that my subsystem report wasn't attached after all then waiting a day to hear that one drive is failing but dropping it that with no suggestion of how to proceed to get it replaced. The guy who answered my help call (quickly, I might add) was great. He had me upload a current subsystem report and saw that drive 5 was failing. Next thin you know I'm authorizing a RMA shipment and now I'm just waiting for my replacement drive to appear.

NewsVideo.com


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