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Shared storage for 4K - why is this so difficult? Also QNAP TVS-882T - Reviews?

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Tyler Brain
Shared storage for 4K - why is this so difficult? Also QNAP TVS-882T - Reviews?
on Jul 23, 2016 at 4:00:20 pm

From reading here, I know I'm not the only person to stare at the backside of a Mac Pro and wonder why the hell there isn't a plug n' play shared storage solution that utilizes any/all those Thunderbolt ports, so that multiple people can edit the same 4k media simultaneously. Am I right? Can I get an amen?

After you've resigned yourself to that fact, a couple hours Googling on all this will lead you toward one of two solutions (laymen's terms here, since that's what I am):

1: First is one people seem to have been using for several years now: use a Mac Mini as a kind of server, a 10g switch (a Netgear one...), and a RAID array with at least 8 disks (like the Pegusus R8), then use a Thunderbolt2 to 10gbe adaptor (there's a Sonnet one that looks reliable) to tie your computers to the switch. (I had to look up 10ge switch to even know what they looked like - it's basically a thin piece of hardware with a bunch of Ethernet ports). Sure, you gotta assign some static IP's to get it set up.

As far as I can tell, you're looking at $5k - $8k, depending on what drives you use in the array. Does this sound right to you guys that know all this? Seems like the reports are that this is a reliable solution for hooking 2 - 5 people up to the same good fast storage. Let me know if I've got it all backwards? I think I can handle ordering those parts and connecting those cords, if it's the best solution. I bet a lot of other people could to.

2. But maybe it's not because look at this thing:

Scroll down a bit, and you'll find this:

Now, I understand this is only two computers (not 5) BUT - it is technically a shared storage solution using Thunderbolt 2, is it not? I mean, is that false advertising, or why haven't more people talked about this? Is anyone using this, with real world feedback? Looks like this has 10ge connectivity too, so, no loss in networking in additional seats, if you need to expand... right?

Also: hello Bob. Believe me, I'm looking forward to spending REAL MONEY, on this.

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Bob Zelin
Re: Shared storage for 4K - why is this so difficult? Also QNAP TVS-882T - Reviews?
on Jul 25, 2016 at 2:42:40 pm

Hi Tyler -
since you invoked my name, I will spew out my rage towards your post. There are lots of ways to do shared storage today. Perhaps you already own all the components to make this happen. What you don't have (which is why you say in your subject line "why is this so difficult") is the knowledge of how to accomplish this.

So while editing, and graphics, and audio mixing, and 3D modeling is "easy" for you, it's not easy for your clients. And this is why they PAY YOU MONEY. With that said, shared storage is not difficult for me, and others like me, and that is why someone like you must PAY ME MONEY (or pay some other schmo who knows how to do this). I fully understand your question. "Why can't I just plug in a bunch of Mac's with thunderbolt ports to a Mac Pro Cylinder with 6 thunderbolt ports, and have instant shared storage". Because Thunderbolt networking does not work. Apple has no idea of how to do this - Intel does (the team in Tel Aviv), and it is not a priority for them. So even Thunderbolt networking, in it's present form, still requires knowledge of networking, and setting up static IP addresses, to get it to work. But of course, you want it to be "plug and play" - just like plugging in a Thunderbolt drive, and without doing anything, BAM - it mounts on the desktop and you go to work. Well, networking is not like that. It's easier than ever, but it's not like that.

There are certainly companies that have a working Thunderbolt Solution (Accusys), where you can plug up to 3 computers directly into their box - but you still need to run Tiger Share or Apple XSAN, and both of these require knowledge, in addition to the $6000 starting price, plus the price of the SATA drives that go into the Accusys. So, too expensive for you, right ?

And yes, there is the incredibly wonderful QNAP. It's dirt cheap (you do not need the model that you listed, there are cheaper ones that work wonderfully), and works perfectly. Models like the 871T even have six Ethernet ports on the back - four 1G and two 10G - so if you don't want to spend the money on a Netgear switch, you can avoid this too.
But the one thing you need to setup the QNAP, or a Mac Server, or an AVID ISIS or Nexis, or Terrablock, or EditShare, or DDP, or GB Labs or Apace, or Synology - is the KNOWLEGE of how to do this.

How did I learn how to do this ? The same way you learned FCP, or Adobe Premiere, or Adobe After Effects, or Cinema 4D or the wonderful and free Davinci Resolve 12.5 with FREE editing software. I sat there and SUFFERED THRU IT, and figured it out (it's not that hard). That's how I learn all these things, and that is probably how YOU learn all these things.
But I assume that you are busy shooting, editing, doing graphics, soliciting new clients, billing your clients, trying to collect your money, etc. to have the TIME to figure this stuff out. So, in the same way that you hire a plumber to fix your running toilet, or you hire a mechanic to repair your auto transmission, you hire someone like ME to set this up for you. And in the process, you LEARN how to do it, so you can then later say "boy, that was not hard at all, I can't believe I had to pay that idiot one penny for this - I could have spend a few days at this (knowing what you have learned) and figured this stuff out myself" !!!!!

The Mac Mini makes for a very poor server for 4K applications, but it does work well for 3 - 4 clients. Using a full Mac Pro
with the 8 bay RAID array, and switch, and drives, and 10G adaptors is a much more robust solution. And of course, most of the systems I have done use antique Mac Pro "cheese graters" which also work wonderfully.

But you mentioned the QNAP. The TVS-871T is a wonderful product, and you get amazing fast performance for an incredibly low price. Even with no switch, you still must purchase EIGHT SATA drives, and when you multiply the price of a drive x 8 (plus a spare drive), you have just spend a few thousand dollars, even when dealing with discount companies like Newegg or OWC. And to get 10G speeds, you still need to purchase thunderbolt to Ethernet adaptors from companies like Sonnet or Promise, or ATTO. And so your little price tally sheet keeps going up.

With that said, building a shared storage system today is cheaper than EVER before. And if you would take a crowbar to your wallet, and PAY somone to help you, you will see how cheap and easy it is to do all of this, and then you too will be an expert, and will ultimately say "boy, this was not so difficult at all".

Perhaps when Thunderbolt 3 comes out with the Mac's, Tbolt networking will work. At this moment, for video editing, Tbolt networking is completely unsatisfactory for our application.

You know what you need to do next.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.

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