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Advice needed on 10gb Ethernet (or Thunderbolt?) for 4K in a small multi system enviroment

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Manny Kivowitz
Advice needed on 10gb Ethernet (or Thunderbolt?) for 4K in a small multi system enviroment
on Apr 14, 2016 at 7:40:46 pm

Hey all,

Looking for some experienced users to weigh in on reasonably cost effective solutions to speed up data xfer rates in our mac based 4 system environment as we're doing more and more 4k projects and would like to keep storage centralized if possible.

To date, we keep heavier 4k data segregated on seperate RAIDs for each system and then bring it all together for archive at the projects end.

General info: Our main system (Edit / DaVinci / AE depedning on the day) is built on an 8 core 2013 MacPro with 64gb memory & 1 TB SSD and its main external storage is a 40tb Rackmount DIY RAID with dual 6gb eSata Controllers connecting it the MacPro via 6gb PCie card in a 3 slot thunderbolt 2 chasis. Our other systems are late model top of the line iMac's. Currently the systems are connected via cat 6 ethernet cable and 1gb switches.

Ideally, what we'd like to achieve is to have the ability to have the MacPro and 2 iMacs be able to edit 4k material housed on the 40tb RAID (discreet clips per station of course, never hitting the same material at the same time). The 4th station would be doing after effects work.

It seems 10gb ethernet is the way to go but it seems that it might be possible to do with Thunderbolt as well as the main limitation would be the 6gb eSata connection to the RAID? Would it work?

And either way, will the data requests bring my MacPro (edit 1 connected to RAID) to a grinding halt? Will I need to add a server in between to manage the data requests or can I get away without one?

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated. Even if its a NfYC consultant who you can recommend!

Thanks!

Manny Kivowitz
KSK:STUDIOS


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Bob Zelin
Re: Advice needed on 10gb Ethernet (or Thunderbolt?) for 4K in a small multi system enviroment
on Apr 14, 2016 at 9:13:06 pm

Yes, you need a dedicated server. Or a dedicated shared storage product, like one of the countless ones you see advertised right here on Creative Cow.
Thunderbolt networking does not work. You should get a nice simple 10G system, and you will be fine.
There is one for every budget, including REALLY inexpensive ones. Getting 40 TB today is easy with 6TB and 8TB drives. 8 x 8TB = 64 TB, and 8 x 6TB = 48 TB, so you will have no issue doing exactly what you want.

Let me assure you that if you try to use your main Mac Pro as an editing or AE station AND as the server, nothing will work.

Let me know if you need more info.

Bob Zelin

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


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Manny Kivowitz
Re: Advice needed on 10gb Ethernet (or Thunderbolt?) for 4K in a small multi system enviroment
on Apr 15, 2016 at 3:45:10 pm

Thanks Bob, and many thanks for the personal follow up call! I'm spec'ing out a system right now based on our conversation and looking into various options. Once I make my decision and implement it, I'll add a follow up here as to how we made out!

Cheers and enjoy NAB. Jealous!!

Manny Kivowitz
KSK:STUDIOS


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Manny Kivowitz
Re: Advice needed on 10gb Ethernet (or Thunderbolt?) for 4K in a small multi system enviroment
on May 24, 2016 at 6:01:11 pm

We've successfully upgraded to a 10gbe largely home baked 4k capable intranet with many thanks to Bob Zelin for his advice and some on site support from our dear friend and ex KSK'er Tommy Gonzalez!

Here's where we netted out:

1) We wired all of the computers that are connected to our post workflow with Cat6a cabling, terminating near our main macpro trashcan edit station & our newly dedicated macpro tower server (a bit of a waste of 12 core horsepower but we plan to leverage its processing power for rendering going forward).

2) We installed an 8 port Netgear 10gbe switch (online reviews seemed to say it was noisy, its not or at least ours isn't)

3) We added 10gbe connectivity to our mac edit & design stations either with Atto 10gbe ethernet cards where applicable or Sonnet Twin 10g Thunderbolt to ethernet adapters

4) We added Apple osX server to our newly dedicated server which is directly attached to our storage (see 6 below)

5) For reasons we couldn't work out, we ended up needing to use an old airport extreme to serve as our Domain Name Server for this new intranet network (we thought osX server would have done it but it kept failing.)

6) For storage, we kept our existing 40tb (32tb usable), in house built RAID 5 storage system that features two 6gbs eSata port multipliers in the chasis and a Highpoint RocketRaid 644L (4 port 6gbs raid controller card)

7) We also assigned fixed IP's to each system's 10gbe ethernet connection using the DNS server

The day after it was setup, we had 3 editors and 1 motion graphics designer/animator, plus one support station working on a 29 video series 4k project. The only hiccup we've had during the 2 weeks its been up and running is that our brand new (and beefiest) iMac seems to choke a bit once in awhile and we haven't had time to fully vet the problem. More on that later once we figure it out!

We tested each system with a LAN speed Test and we're averaging read/write speeds of 1950 mbps/360 mbps respectively across the network on a 20mb packet test.

Total expense for new equipment and cabling (with installation): <$6k

I hope this helps anyone who's thinking of tackling a similar upgrade.

Manny Kivowitz
KSK:STUDIOS


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