XSAN vs 10Gbe
I am a long time XSAN user, and have had great success. I have been trolling this forum for quite a while and have noticed many strong endorsers of 10GB ethernet. I see many benefits to 10GB solutions, mainly in cost in simplicity.
At times, I feel I am living in a cave, especially when I see comments like no one is using XSAN anymore. I was wondering if anyone out there is using a 10Gb solution, specifically with Volumes of 500TB or greater. I can have 5-8 editors working on 4k along with other servers transcoding video. My experience with XSAN has been flawless. No latency issues, no dropped frames and I have never had a complaint from any of the editors regarding speed. Adding lower cost storage has ben very easy. Even doing reshares over AFP or SMB have been very easy.
I have several concerns about 10GBe, particularly scaling with many users pulling many camera feeds. I have tried to get a feel for the bandwidth requirements of the editors but have some problems getting solid answers. Every one is doing something different and it appears to change regularly.
As I said, I am on a bit of an island, so be gentle with the replies... hey you gotta start somewhere ☺
XSAN was Apples answer to AVID Unity at the time. At the time, many companies like Facilis and Studio Network Solutions were all using Fiber Channel. Products like XSAN required a metadata server, and management (just like AVID Unity did). But the world moved on. 10G became a reality, and it was inexpensive, and easy to use (translation - no reason for a support contract, no reason for a full time IT person to administrate the SAN, and easy for users - including new inexperienced users). Certainly XSAN, which is based on Quantum StorNext is still around. And there are other "big boys" with expensive fiber based SAN systems that are still around - like Nexsan.
The original ethernet based shared storage system was EditShare, which worked very well. Other companies started to adapt to this. This included AVID (with the AVID ISIS), Facilis, Studio Network Solutions, Small Tree, Promax, GB Labs, and well - everybody. The solutions that remained difficult (like XSAN, Accusys Exasan, and Symply) were either InfiniBand or Fiber based. They required StorNext licenses, and a complex setup. (Tiger Technologies offers SAN software for Accusys Exasan that is easier to deal with than StorNext or XSAN).
And as always - cheap and easy won out, and now "everyone" is using 10G or 1G connections on their systems. Certainly companies like Facilis and Studio Network Solutions STILL offer Fiber Channel solutions, but most people stick with 10G.
Now if you are an XSAN administrator, and are very knowledgeable about XSAN, you may not like the fact that once one of these modern 10G systems is installed - there is not much reason for your staff position - unless there are lots of other things for you to do in your company. I see that the "hold outs" are guys who are IT directors, and choose XSAN type solutions, because they want to keep their jobs, and if they install an easy to use modern ethernet based solution, they might be unemployed (so they say - "oh that 10G stuff is a bunch of garbage". But the reality is - 10G works great, and it works great from ALL the companies that you see discussed here on Creative Cow. Most people don't want a complex system, that requires a staff person, or expensive support contract to keep it running. As it is, even for the systems that I recommend - like QNAP and LumaForge - it's still to "complicated" for many people. The REAL desire is a plug and play solution (like a thunderbolt based Promise Pegasus RAID or G-Tech Studio XL RAID). Which of course, does not exist for shared storage.. So as I observe this, I realize that almost no one wants a fiber based system. Cheap and easy wins.
500 TB is nothing today, with the advent of 10TB and 12TB SATA drives. 5 - 8 users is nothing for modern 10G systems. All the companies I mentioned all work - they are all good. There is no reason to deploy XSAN or any StorNext environment in 2018 - certainly not for a small post production department.
Rescue 1, Inc.
Great information, you definitely hit on many real world issues. I appreciate the listing of 10GB vendors that have a proven track record. If you don't mind, I may reach out to your company for consultation when I get closer to making the transition.
yes sir -
I am always available.
Rescue 1, Inc.
Just to expand a little on one area of Bob's response, Quantum now offers their Xcellis product line, which is 10Gbe NAS targeted at the video industry. And it's cheaper than their fiber-based solutions (though still not cheap compared to the myriad of NAS solutions on the market).
Sometimes corporate IT departments are just more comfortable going with a known-quantity like Quantum. That's just the reality of corporate politics.
I actually looked at the Xcellis, its a nice solution with quite a few options. There is definitely a level of comfort dealing with a known quantity. Its like that saying about Cisco... no one ever got fired for buying Cisco! Lol!
Thanks for the input!
Th insane sustained speed of flash memory these days completely negates any need for something like XSAN anymore. Just allocate as many SSD and NVMe as the NAS allowed for cache and tiered-0 storage and you're good to go.
Bob: watching this thread with interest; just a quick correction.
SNS still supports all of our installed FibreChannel systems, but note that current EVO's take advantage of 10/25/50/100GbE for the highest performance over Ethernet.