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RAID solution for documentary editing

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Alexandre Brandt
RAID solution for documentary editing
on Sep 29, 2016 at 9:55:41 am

Hello fellows,

Thinking about storage solutions for large documentary project, I need some advice.
I will be editing a feature documentary where the footage is in different formats located in over 9 different hard drives for a total amount of data of maybe 8,9 or 10TB.

The footage format is mainly HD 1920 x 1080 25p, either ProRes 422HQ or MPEG4 (MXF files) or older HDV and some Animation codec.

I'm working with the Adobe CC suite, editing on Premier Pro CC. My computer is MacBook Pro 2.8 Ghz intel Cor i7, Memory of 16 GB 1600 Mhz DDR3. The media I've been mainly working with HD 1920 x 1080 25p MPEG4 files, mainly MXF C300 files, Apple Pro Res 422HQ and animation codecs.

I've been editing off Lacie d2 Thunderbolt drives or Western Digital with USB3 or Firewire 800. So far, my workflows have been smooth, reading & playback a has been with only occasional issues, but nothing major that could not be fixed. I'm pretty satisfied with the performances and reduced number of technical issues I've been having in my setups/workflows.

I need to find a 8 or 10 TB storage solution, to copy the data/footage from the 9 different hard drives it is currently in and work / edit from that storage. Because the footage is HD in the compressed codecs I cited above, I will not do a offline / Online workflow, but directly go for a online workflow in Premier Pro which can handle timelines with different codecs.

The master output of the film will only be in HD 1920x1080p25 , Probably ProRes 422HQ or 4444.

Because I've had great experiences working with Lacie products, I've directly been thinking of a Lacie 2big Thunderbolt 16TB configured in RAID 1 or a Lacie 5Big Thunderbolt 2 configured in RAID 5.

Would there be other solutions / brands that could be interesting to look at ?
What would be the advantage of a RAID 5 over a RAID 1 for my project ?
What total amount of storage space would I need to have if I configured my RAID in RAID 5 and wanted 8TB of usable space ?

Thank you very much for any help :-)
Alexandre

--
Producer | Filmmaker
Geneva - Switzerland
https://vimeo.com/channels/800406


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Chris Sebes
Re: RAID solution for documentary editing
on Oct 14, 2016 at 4:18:02 pm

At our studio, I'm currently using a Drobo D5, which is populated with five 4TB drives along with a 256GB solid state drive that is used for file swapping commonly used files (taken care of by the Drobo.) In it's current configuration, I have about 14TB of storage. The unaccounted-for storage is being used as redundancy in case one of the drives fails. I don't do a whole lot of 4K editing, but when I do, it seems to handle it with no problem connected via Thunderbolt to my Mac Pro spittoon. Good luck!

Chris Sebes
Senior Video Editor
http://www.MediaMixStudios.com


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Alexandre Brandt
Re: RAID solution for documentary editing
on Oct 21, 2016 at 1:56:30 pm

Hello Chris,

Thank you for this information. I did hear about the Drobo brand. What is the RAID configuration you are using ? RAID 5 RAID 6 ?

What type of 4TB drives you have in there ? Regarding the 256 GB SSD, I didn't understand why you specifically use that for file swapping ? Is the read/write thus the transfer speed faster ?

Best,
Alexandre

--
Producer | Filmmaker
Geneva - Switzerland
https://vimeo.com/channels/800406


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Kevin Carlson
Re: RAID solution for documentary editing
on Dec 20, 2016 at 7:53:30 pm

Drobo calls it "beyond raid". They would say it's neither. A quick view of their front page video would be worth the look.
The 256 mSATA card acts basically as a cache and can improve read speeds up to 3x's (they claim).

I've used them for years, and the beauty of it is it maintains itself, you can throw any drive in there (any make, model, size, or speed) and the update the firmware as drives get bigger. You also don't have to completely fill up all the bays so it's very expandable. And it let's you know when a drive is going out or has failed and has built in protection. Hence the name drobo, it's supposed to be a data robot and do all the work for you.

They aren't necessarily fast enough, if you got the 5Dt w/Thunderbolt 2 it would probably be fine. I'm using the old Drobo S via USB 3.0 and cutting 4k stuff, and it's actually not been bad. No mSATA on my chassis.
They do have problems mounting sometimes, which is why I was looking on here. Occasionally lots of rebooting is necessary, but it has always shown up eventually.

So I'm a fan for the price-point and expandability!


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Alexandre Brandt
Re: RAID solution for documentary editing
on Jan 6, 2017 at 1:44:51 pm

Hello Kevin,

Thanks for this info !
Good to understand better the capabilities of Drobo RAIDs.

Best,
Alexandre

--
Producer | Filmmaker
Geneva - Switzerland
https://vimeo.com/channels/800406


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Kannan Raghavan
Re: RAID solution for documentary editing
on Jan 6, 2017 at 2:50:27 am

Hey Alex,
Go with RAID 5. You lose the capacity of one drive. But you still get good speed and redundancy. That is, even if you lose one drive, you don't lose any data. It is automatically rebuilt.
I've been using Promise Pegasus R4 a 4 bay RAID 5 array for years now. Good performer. I also use GRAID 2 bay RAID 0 for my portable system. RAID 1 halves the speed. Don't bother with RAID 1 for editing. None of the guys I know here in Singapore use Lacie. So, can't comment on that.
I personally won't store more than 60-70% of the RAID's capacity. 30-40% is usually free.
For 8 TB of usable space, go with a 12TB or even 16TB RAID 5. With all the versioning, exports, GFX imports, 8 TB soon becomes 10-11 TB.

Kannan Raghavan
The Big Toad Films Pte. Ltd.


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Alexandre Brandt
Re: RAID solution for documentary editing
on Jan 6, 2017 at 1:47:52 pm

Hello Kannan,

Interesting, I did not know about Promise Pegasus. Another option.

Thanks for suggestions about RAID 5 and about storage sizes.
I haven't gone and bought any RAID yet so this info will definitely help !

Thanks,
Alexandre

--
Producer | Filmmaker
Geneva - Switzerland
https://vimeo.com/channels/800406


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Mike janowski
Re: RAID solution for documentary editing
on Jan 7, 2017 at 11:55:32 pm

I use the Oyen Digital Mobius 5-bay cage with 5 2TB drives, giving around 8TB of usable storage in RAID5 mode. It's been a flawless performer so far, and in fact I have two of the boxes, one for client work, and another for my large personal collection.

A couple of things: RAID is great for editing, but should NEVER be construed to be a backup or archival volume. Sure, RAID5 can handle 1 drive failure and still maintain data integrity, but as the size of your HDs increases the spectre of a URE (Unrecoverable Read Error) during re-build becomes a greater possibility, and if you run into one of those most rebuilds will just shut down and you. will. be. screwed. So copying all this stuff into one fast, central and somewhat secure location is a great idea for editing, but make sure you have at least one backup of everything you copy over to the RAID.

Second, I have a friend who's used the Drobo 4-bay enclosure for a year now, and loves it for the reasons mentioned above.


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