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Raid Recommendations?

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Greg Jones
Raid Recommendations?
on Feb 27, 2008 at 5:02:26 pm

Does anyone have a recommendation for a safe raid, somewhere between 5TB and 10TB? I'm doing mostly DVCPROHD, but also do Uncompressed 8bit HD once and a while. I'm tired of my little cheap drives failing and am making the leap to something a little higher end. Any recommendations would be helpful.

Greg Jones
D7,Inc.
Orlando,FL.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Raid Recommendations?
on Feb 28, 2008 at 12:19:55 am

yes Greg -
I will call you tomorrow about this.

Bob Zelin




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Jon Weigand
Re: Raid Recommendations?
on Feb 28, 2008 at 6:33:28 pm

My company has two Huge MediaVaults based on fiber channel. One has worked flawlessly, the other has had some problems. I need some downtime to RMA the unit back to Ciprico, but we've been too busy in the last few months to take a week off. That said, Ciprico's customer support has been absolutely fantastic, talking me through firmware upgrades, drive RMAs, and response within a few hours, no longer than half a day.

I've heard a lot of good things about CalDigit - I think I would try them out next if we were to purchase a new RAID. This looks like a good start. Shane Ross, who posts elsewhere in Creative Cow reps them and would have more info.

my $.02

JonW




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Bob Zelin
Re: Raid Recommendations?
on Feb 28, 2008 at 7:02:30 pm

Greg Jones is up with his new RAID 5 array. If it sucks, I am sure that you will hear about it.

Bob Zelin




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Lance Bachelder
Re: Raid Recommendations?
on Mar 1, 2008 at 6:33:41 pm

We just installed an Aberdeen 16 drive SAS RAID 5 with ATTO SAS controller on an Intel Mac - gets 550MB reads and 350MB sec. writes sustained!
(even faster in RAID 0 config)

We put it on our MetaSAN and it works fantastic with FCP - much faster than fiber and a lot less $$$.

Lance Bachelder
Southern California



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Bob Zelin
Re: Raid Recommendations?
on Mar 1, 2008 at 9:55:44 pm

Lance -
you just caught my attention !
you are running a MetaSAN shared area network with an ATTO R380 and a SATA Raid array ??? What is your interconnect ?
It can't be fibre because you reported the read and write speeds. How can it be ethernet, Gig E can't do these speeds - so HOW are you able to get MetaSAN to work across this network, with everyone feeding from a single SATA array (your Aberdeen 16 drive chassis) ?

I anxiously await your reply .

BobZelin




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Lance Bachelder
Re: Raid Recommendations?
on Mar 1, 2008 at 10:33:21 pm

Sorry for the confusion Bob - the speed (550 MB sec.) is for the RAID 5 at the server - not the speed to the network. I just mentioned it because most of the fiber raids we looked at could only sustain around 350 MB sec in RAID 5 config.

We are currently using MetaLAN (the ethernet version of MetaSAN) via gig-e to all Mac workstations and getting close to 80MB sec. per seat (7 seats). This is plenty fast for our Pro RES HD workflow. We are using a Small Tree 4-port gig-e card in the Intel MacPro metadata server trunked off our Asante switch for a 4 gig (theoretical) pipe - minimal bottleneck is the key..

The cool thing about MetaSAN is that you can pick and choose who needs speed and configure each seat accordingly (we set everyone at 50 MB sec. max). If someone needs faster access just upgrade that seat to fiber and pay the difference between MetaLAN and MetaSAN - around $700. Of course you'll need a fiber switch but those are coming down in price these days.

The benefit of the SAS raid vs. fiber, for us, is much simpler/faster pipe between the server and raid.

The Aberdeen raid can be ordered with 100% 15,000 rpm SAS drives (vs. SATA) and dual ATTO controllers for something crazy like 1,700 MB sec. in RAID 0. A fiber MetaSAN set-up with this raid could easily support uncompressed HD to 2 or 3 workstations.

Lance Bachelder
Southern California



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Bob Zelin
Re: Raid Recommendations?
on Mar 1, 2008 at 11:34:09 pm

Lance -
please clarify -
you are using Tiger Technology MetaLAN.

You state -
We are currently using MetaLAN (the ethernet version of MetaSAN) via gig-e to all Mac workstations and getting close to 80MB sec. per seat (7 seats). This is plenty fast for our Pro RES HD workflow. We are using a Small Tree 4-port gig-e card in the Intel MacPro metadata server trunked off our Asante switch for a 4 gig (theoretical) pipe - minimal bottleneck is the key..

REPLY - so you have a 4 port Gig E card in your Intel MAC Pro server (this is what your 16 drive array is hooked up to), and you have all 4 ports going to an Asante Gig E switch, and all the other MAC workstations are simply using their normal Gig Ethernet port, also going to this same Asante switch, and you can read ProRes422HD from multiple MAC workstations, from this one Intel MACPro, just using MetaLAN ?????? Is this what you are saying (because if it works, I am going to kiss you). If I am not correct, please correct me.

Please reply.

bob Zelin




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Lance Bachelder
Re: Raid Recommendations?
on Mar 2, 2008 at 3:14:09 am

The Mac Pro metadata server is attached to the raid via ATTO SAS card (which is free with the Aberdeen raid!).

In another slot is a Small Tree 4-port ethernet card (could be a 6 port card for even more bandwidwith!) with all ports trunked into one 4 gig pipe (poorman's 4GB fiber!).

This minimizes the bottleneck between the server and the switch. All Macs (and a couple of PC's) are attached via a single Cat 6 ethernet cable.


Another tip:

All newer G5's and MacPro's have 2 ethernet ports which could also be trunked for a 2 gig pipe to the switch! We are not doing this because we are using the other port to see the studio's Isilon system where we pull all files for editing etc. (we are doing a CG series) So you can get pretty fast access to data using ethernet wisely with MetaLAN at $299 seat.

I looked at and/or tested just about every SAN out there and this made the most sense to me based on our budget. If money was no object I'd probably upgrade everyone to fiber but we are having no problems cutting Pro RES with this configuration.

Another option would be to put 2 port Small Tree cards in Macs that need more bandwidth - dedicated cards are supposed to outperform built-in ports but I haven't tested that yet.

Lance Bachelder
Southern California



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Lance Bachelder
Bob - One more thing
on Mar 2, 2008 at 3:24:54 am

One more thing -

The reason we like MetaLAN so much is that it is really simple to set up and use. The cool thing is every workstation, Mac or PC, sees the raid as a local drive instantly - no volume locking/unlocking! True file based file sharing. And no MacDrive software required on the Windows machines like other SAN's! Reverse is true - you can set-up a WinXP Pro server with NTFS RAID and Macs can read/write to it no problems or add'l software. And MetaLAN uses standard OS - no server version required for metadata server!

Another cool thing is I can go in tomorrow and atach a firewire 800 drive and everyone would instantly see that as a local drive. Any drive/type - even internal raid on Mac Pro can be seen by everyone as if it was directly attached. You can also choose who can see which drive if you like.

I have a 3TB RAID 0 inside the server using the 3 add'l bays on the new Mac Pro's which can only be seen on the server and I use Retrospect to back up the SAS RAID to this internal raid for emrgency use only.

Hope that helps!

Lance Bachelder
Southern California



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Bob Zelin
Re: Bob - One more thing
on Mar 2, 2008 at 3:57:24 pm

thanks Lance -
I spent time looking at MetaSAN last year, with the "cheap" QLogic 1400 switch, and all the other stuff, but the bottom line was that it was STILL to expensive for most of my clients. This however, seems incredible (and simple, and cheap), and I actually still "don't belive it until I see it for myself", so this has moved up to the top of the list for me at NAB 08.

Thanks again for the details.

Bob Zelin




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Lance Bachelder
Re: Bob - One more thing
on Mar 2, 2008 at 7:28:59 pm

Another very cool system we looked at that's even faster is the iStor. It uses iSCSI protocol with no per seat charge and you can direct connect 8 users with no switch! The only extra cost is the iSCSI initiator software for OSX and a good Alacritech iSCSI card (you can use built-in ethernet ports).

I really wanted to install this system and test it out and iStor was willing to give us a test system but it was vetoed by our producer for debatable reasons.

If it was my studio I would have given it a good shakedown.

http://www.istor.com/

Lance Bachelder
Southern California



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Bob Zelin
Re: Bob - One more thing
on Mar 2, 2008 at 8:00:43 pm

If you are able to do DVCProHD and ProRes422 on your system with MetaLAN, using only a conventional SATA array (and the R380 card) and a MAC Pro as the server, why arent' you happy? According to the MetaLAN info, if you did want more speed or performance, you could add a second server, or hookup dual ethernet ports per MAC to the GigE switch, to get more bandwidth - isnt' this all you need for "compressed HD".

Bob Zelin




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Bob Zelin
Re: Bob - One (private please)
on Mar 2, 2008 at 8:01:56 pm

Hi Lance -
could you email me your phone # at
maxavid@cfl.rr.com

this is the AJA forum, and I don't want to discuss this topic on their time.

Thanks -
Bob Zelin




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Lance Bachelder
Re: Bob - One more thing
on Mar 3, 2008 at 4:04:58 am

I'm real happy with MetaLan - we looked at iStor before we ordered our current raid - I was really impressed by the iStor system though we never got to put it through it's paces in a production environment. I really think iSCSI is a cool way to set up a SAN that's all.

Lance Bachelder
Southern California



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Peter Brauner
Re: Raid Recommendations?
on Mar 4, 2008 at 8:50:50 am

[Lance Bachelder] "Another option would be to put 2 port Small Tree cards in Macs that need more bandwidth - dedicated cards are supposed to outperform built-in ports but I haven't tested that yet."

Another tip on that solution:

As of Mac OS X 10.4 server you can trunk the dual ethernetports that is built in to the Mac Pros and I think some of the later G5. I know the feature is available in 10.5 client aswell but i´m not really sure if it is server exlusive on 10.4. MetaLAN is not yet ready for Leopard but they state that they are working on it and will have an update in the next few weeks.
Very easy to set up and is compliant with 802.3ad. I guess this solution woun´t bring you all the way up to a dualport Small Tree adapter but pretty close.

Google on the subject if you want to check it out.

Peter Brauner
VFX Artist
Effektfabriken
http://www.effektfabriken.se


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