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Update old CPUs before buying server? And Storinator from 45Drives

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Geoff Birmingham
Update old CPUs before buying server? And Storinator from 45Drives
on Feb 28, 2018 at 5:13:22 pm

First, I don't see that anyone has mentioned the Storinator from 45 Drives as an option for a storage server. http://www.45drives.com. Just curious to know if anyone has used one of their products.

I had no intention of buying a server - my co-editor and I have worked reasonably well just with our local RAID drives - but a sales rep from 45 Drives called me out of the blue and my curiosity was piqued.

Here's my most important question: I am wondering how much risk there is to buy a server and THEN, down the road, upgrade work stations. Is that putting the cart before the horse? Should I really upgrade my two edit computers first and THEN do the server?

I mention this because my work station is ... an early 2008 PowerMac!! (with Yosemite). My co-editor is on an early 2014 PowerMac (pre-thunderbolt). We're still in the HD world, of course. No 4K yet.

Sales rep readily acknowledged that, because of the age of our network interface cards, we won't get maximum speed. His main arguments are:

1) if we connect to the server with CAT6 ethernet, we'll work at the same speed as we do now with our local SATA raids;

2) the two of us will be able to share storage; and

3) after we've updated our workstations, we'll be in a position to jump into 4K smoothly.

Recognizing that we're still in HD and don't have huge storage needs, the he suggested we start with their 15-slot chassis (the Storinator AV15) with RAID 5 storage. Start with 5 drives, 4TB each. Cost for chassis, 5 drives (20TB total) and 5 hours of support, $4950.

In addition to my main, cart-before-the-horse question, also curious if:

1. Anyone ever used a product from 45 Drives?

2. Does this price seem reasonable? (I've got no clue at all).

Thanks for any input on this. -Geoff


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Bob Zelin
Re: Update old CPUs before buying server? And Storinator from 45Drives
on Feb 28, 2018 at 8:20:01 pm

I find it interesting that with all the different brands out there, and this being your first post, you are asking about
45Drives, instead of other brands that you see advertised here on Creative Cow, or brands that have dedicated forums on Creative Cow.

I see that Chad Lancaster on the RED User forum aggressively promotes 45Drives whenever anyone asks about them.
I have commented that I am disappointed that 45Drives has (for some reason) no interest in appearing at video trade shows like NAB, or SMPTE, nor do they advertise on any video forums like Creative Cow, FCP X, Red User, ProVideo Coalition, etc. They show little detailed information about the use of their system, but their name keeps popping up, just like your post today.

I will try to answer your questions below -
you write -
Here's my most important question: I am wondering how much risk there is to buy a server and THEN, down the road, upgrade work stations. Is that putting the cart before the horse? Should I really upgrade my two edit computers first and THEN do the server?

REPLY - you can buy shared storage (a server) whenever you want. It's just storage, that you will use for your Mac and PC edit systems. You will connect to any server system via ethernet with a dedicated network port from your edit computers.


I mention this because my work station is ... an early 2008 PowerMac!! (with Yosemite). My co-editor is on an early 2014 PowerMac (pre-thunderbolt). We're still in the HD world, of course. No 4K yet.

REPLY - Your 2008 Mac Pro with 10.10 has two 1G Ethernet ports. One port is for your internet and one port is for your shared storage system. With a 1G connect to a shared storage system you will get about 100 MB/sec, which is plenty for HD video. You can always add a 10G card from ATTO or Sonnet into your 3,1 2008 Mac Pro running 10.10
and do 10G ethernet connection for 4K video.



Sales rep readily acknowledged that, because of the age of our network interface cards, we won't get maximum speed. His main arguments are:

1) if we connect to the server with CAT6 ethernet, we'll work at the same speed as we do now with our local SATA raids;

REPLY - these two computers will work perfectly fine for doing 720p and 1080i HD video. Typical ProRes is 20 MB/sec and ProRes422HQ is 30 MB/sec. You will get 100 MB/sec with a 1G connection. Your "network interface cards" are not cards. These are the network ports built into your Mac's. If you want 10G speeds, you add a PCIe card from Sonnet or ATTO.



2) the two of us will be able to share storage; and

REPLY - that's the point of shared storage - to have multiple people using the same shared storage array.

3) after we've updated our workstations, we'll be in a position to jump into 4K smoothly.

REPLY - you can do this now. Add a 10G card. Or work with a 4K compression ratio that is under 100 MB/sec.
Go to AJA System Test or http://www.red.com/tools/recordingtime to see the bandwidth for 4K. Different cameras and different codecs have different bandwidth requirements.



Recognizing that we're still in HD and don't have huge storage needs, the he suggested we start with their 15-slot chassis (the Storinator AV15) with RAID 5 storage. Start with 5 drives, 4TB each. Cost for chassis, 5 drives (20TB total) and 5 hours of support, $4950.


REPLY - you can buy a QNAP without a 10G card for as cheap as $1500 (the TS-873e). For $2800, you can get the QNAP TS-1685, which has dual 10G ports built in, 12 SATA drive slots, and 4 SSD slots. Just add drives. You can use any 7200 RPM SATA drives from 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 TB. These are the same drives that you would put in a Storinator, or an AVID, or anything else. They are made by HGST, Western Digital, Seagate or Toshiba. 45Drives does not make drives.



In addition to my main, cart-before-the-horse question, also curious if:

1. Anyone ever used a product from 45 Drives?

REPLY - NO. If they would show up to a trade show, or advertise on a video website, I would talk with them. But they do not.


2. Does this price seem reasonable? (I've got no clue at all).
REPLY - I replied above. You can easily do a system for $1500 - $2800 today.

Bob Zelin

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


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Bob Zelin
Re: Update old CPUs before buying server? And Storinator from 45Drives
on Mar 1, 2018 at 12:04:59 am

couple of more comments on 45Drives -

1) you will be running FreeNAS software to get this to run. Are you familiar with FreeNAS software, and it's installation.
http://www.freenas.org/
here is the manual - you can glance thru this at your leasure -
https://doc.freenas.org/11/freenas.html


2) the 45Drive box used the Highpoint RocketRaid 750 card -
see here -
http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA_new/series_R750-Overview.htm


Bob Zelin

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


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Geoff Birmingham
Re: Update old CPUs before buying server? And Storinator from 45Drives
on Mar 1, 2018 at 1:07:17 am

Hah! I love your spirit, Bob. And the thoroughness of your responses. Just a quick couple things in my "defense."

1. This actually isn't my first post. Over the years I've posted a handful of times, but it's been awhile since the last time and I couldn't remember my darn log-in. So I started all over.

2. I only asked about 45 Drives because the dude reached out to me. Never really thought about shared storage to this point.

3. Interesting that you're frustrated with their lack of advertising or participation in trade shows. People have told me - you should advertise to get more business. Or, you should go to trade shows. Advertising, exhibiting...expensive! And cold calling still works 😉

Before I posted, I did, actually, do a little sleuthing on CC. And I had noticed you (or perhaps someone else) had mentioned QNAP, and it seems that, based on what you're saying, the QNAP TS-1685 would be comparable to the Storinator AV15 but cost me about $1500, even after I buy my 20TB of storage.

Anyway, this is a very long-winded way of saying: thanks a lot for the wisdom. Very good to know that we can work with a shared server (whatever it might be) and not have to upgrade work stations right away.


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greg janza
Re: Update old CPUs before buying server? And Storinator from 45Drives
on Mar 5, 2018 at 7:01:55 pm

In the spirit of continuing the incredible sharing of info on this forum I highly suggest that if you in fact go with a QNAP instead of 45drives then you should send Bob a bottle of whatever he prefers. The info he laid out in this thread is priceless.

I Hate Television. I Hate It As Much As Peanuts. But I Can’t Stop Eating Peanuts.
- Orson Welles


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Geoff Birmingham
Re: Update old CPUs before buying server? And Storinator from 45Drives
on Mar 5, 2018 at 8:59:07 pm

I could do that, or just hire him to help me with installation ;)


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Doug Weiner
Re: Update old CPUs before buying server? And Storinator from 45Drives
on Apr 27, 2018 at 1:44:44 pm

I have 2 Storinators 30 sitting right next to me in my office. They work great but they are also not exactly plug and play. I picked the 30 Drive units as they were quiet.

PROS
1) Quiet. 60 drives on right now and by far quietest set up possible. Not silent, but very reasonable.
2) Most affordable 30 slot server out there.
3) Affordably Expandable. I added an additional two port external LSI mini sas card in the server and another Storinator 30 with an Intel Expander card and got another 30 drive unit. I also have another 4 drive slots off the other external mini-sas port.
4) The Storinators 30's are a small footprint.
5) Customizable (this is a Pro and Con.) If you are DIY or hacker type, its great.
6) You can pick and choose with 10gig card you want in the server.
7) Has been very reliable.
8) RaidZ2 with 10 drives over direct attach 10 Gig gets me ~500 MBs
9) I have done some crazy custom Zpool stuff with this set-up and NAS4Free. (I have Zpool shuttles. Meaning I have one small server at one office location recording to a Raid-Z1 (4 drives - 6TB avail) and when it fills up in about 3 weeks, I pull the bare drives, transport them to another office and then pop them into the main NAS4free setup and copy the files to the 60 drive set-up.) (If you are doing the math, yes, it fills up, so then I archive all the 4K material to LTO every month and leave the HD material behind. But I digress.)

CONS
1) You got to do it yourself. Have to know FreeNAS or NAS4free.
2) Trouble shooting drives is a completely manual process. On the Storinator 30's, there are no indicator lights for drives. You got to make ZFS pools, record serial numbers and and kind of know what slots are where.
3) Rocket 750 cards require a specialize firmware from Storinator. People say it works but it scares me, so I opted for two LSI 9201 cards instead.
4) No real tech support or even a forum to help. I had a great FreeNAS guy help trouble shoot and help set me up.
5) Direct cabling in the machines are excellent for speed but a weak spot for repairability. I personally built my first unit and now one mini-sas port on one fan out cable (there are 6 in there?) is not working. (I am sure I didn't install the cables so sweetly way back.) However, now I have to disassemble most of the server to repair.

UNKNOWN by me
1) I have not really set this up with multiple editing clients over a network, so I have direct data how that is handled. However, my guru friends has run FreeNAS in an editing environment, so I know it has been done. However maybe there are tweaks I don't know.


OTHER THOUGHTS
1) 3 years ago, a 60 slot server with 10 gig and without drives was at least $20,000. I put mine together for about.... $4000. And its relatively very quiet. However, prices have come down a lot so I would compare more closely now.

2) I ghettoed the network. The server is a Supermicro and has built in two 1g Intel ports and I added a 2 port 10 Gig SFP+ (Myricom bought off eBay). I direct connected two SFP+ cables to two client computers and a third was connected via 1g although I have a little router on the 1g connection.) I never really hit the server hard with simultaneous connections, however it did seem to work the few times I did. I mostly now use the 1g connection for editing and only use the 10 Gig connection for LTO or other copying.

3) I have digressed a lot to my network in this post, and I am not sure its entirely relevant in comparing Storinator to Qnap and the like. But it is relevant in real world use so I have added it here.

4) When things go a little sideways with a drive, I really do miss the indicator lights on the front of the machine because trying to identify a failing drive without that on a NAS4Free/FreeNAS system is tricky and time consuming. You have to run iops terminal commands and watch for the drive to pop off line to find which one is slowing down. Then you have to trace which slot that is which is not a trivial matter. I have had only 1 or two drives go down in 4 years, so its not a common occurrence. Now that the Rocket 750 cards have proven themselves, I would go with them and the indicator lights they provide.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Update old CPUs before buying server? And Storinator from 45Drives
on Apr 27, 2018 at 6:38:02 pm

this is the best (and one of the only) reviews of Storinator I have ever seen, with any sort of "real world" detail.

Thank you Doug !

Bob Zelin

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


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Geoff Birmingham
Re: Update old CPUs before buying server? And Storinator from 45Drives
on Apr 27, 2018 at 6:53:17 pm

Yes. Agreed. Very thorough and helpful, so thanks for taking the time to write this up, Doug. And it kind of confirms what you told me before, Bob, that Storinator software isn't intuitive. For folks like me who are decent with technology but not pros (and who want to spend their time doing other things rather than troubleshooting), sounds like QNAP is probably the better choice.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Update old CPUs before buying server? And Storinator from 45Drives
on Apr 28, 2018 at 3:02:03 pm

45 Drives called me and said that they would train me this week. Let's see what happens.

Bob Zelin

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


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Geoff Birmingham
Re: Update old CPUs before buying server? And Storinator from 45Drives
on Apr 28, 2018 at 3:11:45 pm

Cool. Will be interested to hear your thoughts.


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