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MaxxDigital ThunderShare experiences?

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Mel Matsuoka
MaxxDigital ThunderShare experiences?
on Mar 21, 2016 at 6:20:57 pm
Last Edited By Mel Matsuoka on Mar 21, 2016 at 6:21:14 pm

(Apologies for the cross-post from the LiftGammaGain forum. I'm just looking for feedback from a wide variety of users, so I'm looking forward to your responses...)

Anyone have any experience with the MaxxDigital ThunderShare "shared Thunderbolt" storage over 10g system?

http://www.maxxdigital.com/thundershare

I know Maxx is a well regarded company in our circles (I can't imagine Bob Z would endorse a company that has been known to sell snake-oil, after all), but I'm kind of shocked that after over 2 years on the market, there seems to be almost no information or reviews from people who are actively using it in real world post-production environments.

I work for a very small post house (with 4 Mac workstations: 2 offline editorial/mogfx, 1 editorial assistant and 1 finishing/vfx/color) and we already have 10g Ethernet (optical fiber) wired in our facility. Our current 10g NAS "solution" quite frankly sucks, and after considering more pricey--yet very attractive--options like ProMax Platform & Terrablock, the ThunderShare system started to make more sense for us, since the ability to instantly scale the storage simply by plugging in another Thunderbolt drive is something we often wish we could do with our crappy Netgear ReadyNAS 4200 and GS752TXS switch.

We are primarily a commercial/TVC facility, but we also do non broadcast longform and the occasional feature-length film. Most of the footage we commonly work with are ProRes (HQ and 4444) and RED .r3d, both at 4k and higher resolution. The vast majority of the time, we are working and mastering out of 1080p23.98 sequences, even though we still offline and finish with the native raw media without transcoding (in Premiere Pro and Resolve).

My main concerns are obviously both sustained throughput and latency when 4 people are accessing 4K+ media at the same time, or simultaneously reading and writing to the RAID at the same time. Our current setup just turns to molasses when everyone is working, and only a reboot of the switch and/or NAS will return the network performance to useable speeds, although that is a temporary solution. We've actually resorted to using locally attached RAIDs to copy/sync footage from the NAS so that we are working on the media locally...then sync any newly created local media back to the NAS...like a bunch of goddamned Neanderthals.

Everything about this system makes total sense to me (even though it still seems like a "hack"), but it doesn't instill a lot of confidence in me to find a total lack of user feedback about it--good or bad--when I do extensive Google searches for them.

I guess I'm paranoid about being burned again on a pricey, theoretical NAS "solution" that doesn't hold up to real-world usage. Can anyone prove me wrong on this?


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Bob Zelin
Re: MaxxDigital ThunderShare experiences?
on Mar 21, 2016 at 6:54:45 pm

no one uses Maxx Digital ThunderShare ?
my oh my -
go to my website - http://www.bobzelin.com
and look at the tab on the left that says "Clients Using our SAN".

your Netgear GS752TX is a very nice switch if you only want 10G connection to your server, and 1G connection to your client computers. For 10G performance, from any company, you need 10G on the server, and 10G at the clients - which means 10G PCIe cards or 10G thunderbolt to 10G adaptors on your iMac's, Mac Pro Cylinders, etc. And a 10G switch, like the Negear XS712T.

Your Netgear ReadyNAS 4220 is a 12 bay with 2 10G ports. Why is it crappy ? Exactly who set it up for you ?
You mention other excellent brands, like Terrablock, and ProMax, that will also do the job for you.
So will your ReadyNAS. And so will Maxx Digital ThunderShare -

but what so often happens, is that many companies expect THEIR EMPLOYEES to do this, so they can afford any labor charge from a dealer, or manufacturer. I have seen countless posts on how "Facilis sucks, or "EditShare sucks" - simply because these companies were not willing to pay for their support contracts to keep it working.

Let me assure you, that even when Thunderbolt network possibly works with thunderbolt 3 (2017), or you get the Accusys Exasan box that takes in 3 clients with thunderbolt - YOU sir, are not going to be able to set it up. You need help. Had you received professional help, and professional advice on your CRAPPY Netgear ReadyNAS, it would have been working just fine for you.

The #1 thing about ANY PRODUCT - I don't care if it's a camera, or edit system, or graphics system, etc, etc. is the QUALIFIED LABOR to get this stuff working and keep it running properly.

Feel free to contact any of the people on that list, to see how "crappy" ThunderShare is.

Bob Zelin

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


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Tim Wilson
Re: MaxxDigital ThunderShare experiences?
on Mar 21, 2016 at 7:28:49 pm

[Bob Zelin] "Feel free to contact any of the people on that list, to see how "crappy" ThunderShare is."

I just took a look at that list, and I'm flabbergasted. Here's the direct link in case anyone misses it. Clients Using our SAN

I did find myself thinking, "When Inland Empire Health in Rancho Cucamonga says 'Jump' you better ask 'How high'" LOL but no kidding, over 300 names on that list, from Walter Biscardi and the University of GA in Atlanta, to Disney and EA in Orlando, to India, Uruguay, Thailand, Panama, Google and CBS...very impressive!

You're an even busier beaver than I knew. :-)


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Bob Zelin
Re: MaxxDigital ThunderShare experiences?
on Mar 21, 2016 at 7:39:31 pm

I have just re read the post Mel.

You are using a Netgear GS752TX switch. This distributes to your clients via 1GbE, not 10GbE. There is a 10G uplink port that connects to your Netgear ReadyNAS 4220, but your client connection is 1G.

1G connection in THEORY is 125 MB/sec, but in real life is about 100 MB/sec. You are running at 4K ProRes4444, or 422HQ. You are exceeding the bandwidth of 1G.

simply click on http://www.red.com/tools
click on Recording Time
there you will see a chart, that shows the RED cameras, the resolution (4K, etc) the compression ratio, the frame rate, etc. This will tell you exactly the bandwidth you need.

In addition, there is the very wonderful AJA Data Calc from http://www.aja.com under Products> Software. This will show you that your bandwidth requirements are greater than what a 1G connection can give you.

My guess - you kids need some help over there.

Bob Zelin

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


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Mel Matsuoka
Re: MaxxDigital ThunderShare experiences?
on Mar 21, 2016 at 8:01:31 pm

[Bob Zelin] "
You are using a Netgear GS752TX switch. This distributes to your clients via 1GbE, not 10GbE. There is a 10G uplink port that connects to your Netgear ReadyNAS 4220, but your client connection is 1G. "


Actually, this is incorrect. We have 3 Mac Pro clients (each of them with Small Tree PETG2NDA 10g Ethernet adapters) which are connected to the GS752TX via the SFP+ ports.


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Mel Matsuoka
Re: MaxxDigital ThunderShare experiences?
on Mar 21, 2016 at 7:57:36 pm

[Bob Zelin]
your Netgear GS752TX is a very nice switch if you only want 10G connection to your server, and 1G connection to your client computers. For 10G performance, from any company, you need 10G on the server, and 10G at the clients - which means 10G PCIe cards or 10G thunderbolt to 10G adaptors on your iMac's, Mac Pro Cylinders, etc. And a 10G switch, like the Negear XS712T.

"Your Netgear ReadyNAS 4220 is a 12 bay with 2 10G ports. Why is it crappy ? Exactly who set it up for you ?
You mention other excellent brands, like Terrablock, and ProMax, that will also do the job for you.
So will your ReadyNAS. And so will Maxx Digital ThunderShare -"


Hey Bob,

It's a classic case of "IT" dude who thinks that his expertise (which is not in question) in setting up mission critical, Windows based, corporate IT infrastructures also qualifies him to spec out and deploy an all OS X based, professional video post-production network infrastructure. I warned my upper management about this when the initial rumblings about going this route started happening back in 2011 (in fact, much of my skepticism was based on reading your numerous admonitions about "IT people" over the years).

And now the chickens have finally all come home to roost (although some groups of chickens would come randomly flying through our windows over the past 4 years), and I'm trying very, VERY hard not to be the "I told you so" guy.

Because I'm the only guy in the facility who is technically savvy, I end up being the default network & NAS "troubleshooting guy" whom our other editors would come in and bother whenever they had problems with the network. But even though I'm a nerd who loves working at the command-line, I am completely unqualified when it comes to advanced networking. So I end up Googling crap, and asking questions on forums. I have much better uses for my time (such as making the company money from being booked as a full-time colorist and finishing editor, nearly every day of the week), and it's absolutely exasperating.

All that said, as headache inducing that our current NAS setup has been, it probably paid for itself within two years, so we are not averse to starting from scratch, and using the old gear for things like backups and near-line archives.

It's interesting that you characterized the GS752TX as a "nice" switch, because when I spoke with Small Tree back when we were acquiring the 10g cards to deploy the "IT dude"'s network setup, they specifically advised me that the GS752TX will most likely cause us problems, due to it's low amount of memory, as well as it being a "Store and Forward" Smart switch, vs a Fully Managed, "Cut through" switch. They also expressed concern about the latency and concurrency performance of the ReadyNAS 4200.

It's much too late for me to care about who is right about all this, though. As I warned my management back in 2011, our company doesn't have the time or resources to be beta-testing custom "solutions" that are based on theoretical assumptions that they should work well. We're looking for solutions that are unequivocallyknown-to-work in the real world.

This is a long winded way of saying: PEOPLE WHO DON'T LISTEN TO BOB ZELIN DO SO AT THIER OWN PERIL!


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Bob Zelin
Re: MaxxDigital ThunderShare experiences?
on Mar 21, 2016 at 10:22:42 pm

Hi Mel -
this entire post just makes me angry. Today, Small Tree recommends the GS752TX with their Titanium TZ systems - I just installed one for them at University of Georgia a few weeks ago (all 1G connections to the clients, link agg the 2 port 10G card in the Small Tree server to 2 ports on the switch).

All I can say is -
why didn't you hire Small Tree ?
Why didn't you hire Facilis ?
Why didn't you hire ProMax ?
Why didn't you hire Maxx Digital ?
why didn't you hire a vendor that is in the video business ?

I face this stuff constantly. I face it on bids at least once a week. The company IT manager, who is a Windows Server 2012 expert, says "we don't need any of that crap - we can do it outselves". And of course, Netgear makes a very nice 10G system that CAN work if it is configured properly. And so does Synology, and so does QNAP.

But if you don't spec it out correctly, and don't configure it correctly, it's not going to work correctly. How to get it to work correctly - simple - HIRE A GUY THAT DOES THAT FOR A LIVING, or hire one of the companies we have been mentioning, or that you see advertise here on Creative Cow .

but the Company IT man says "OH NO, I am not going to bring in an outsider - I am going to show this company that I know it all, and that I can do it all by myself". And then he fails. Damn - I ask for help ALL THE TIME - why don't these guys ?????????? What, they passed their MCSR test, and now they know everything ?

I speak to a lot of vendors that you see advertise here. And I hear more and more "we are no longer selling to facility owners, or the editors, we are selling to the IT Manager, that thinks he knows it all".

You have the Small Tree cards. Had you bought a Small Tree system, you would have a working system right now. With the switch that you own (well, not doing 4K with a 1G connection).


Bob Zelin

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


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