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Does eSata render my Xserve RAID sellable?

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Tom Strodel
Does eSata render my Xserve RAID sellable?
on Jan 22, 2009 at 4:57:28 am

About three years ago, we purchased an Apple 5.2 TB XSERVE RAID ($12,000!!!) for use on a travel series we shot on HDCAM. At the time, we would use the XSERVE, with a Kona 2, for the conform step of the workflow (which required the ability to injest, conform and output 10 bit uncompressed 1920 X 1080 material). The process served us very well.

Fast-forward three years later, we're editing a multicamera series for PBS, also shot on HDCAM. But this time, we've injested all 130 tapes onto an eSata RAID array hooked-up to our Mac Pro Quad (2 moths old), using the Kona LHe, and Apple Pro res HQ.

Here's my question. Given that I do not intend to edit the higher bandwidth required HDCAM SR format, will an eSata-based RAID system (with a fast eSata card) allow me to edit in good-old 10 bit uncompressed HDCAM? I want to sell my XSERVE.

Thanks for any responses...

Tom

24fps Productions
New York City


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does eSata render my Xserve RAID sellable?
on Jan 22, 2009 at 3:00:28 pm

How fast is your SATA raid running? If it's over 200MB/sec, yes.

Jeremy


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Tom Strodel
Re: Does eSata render my Xserve RAID sellable?
on Jan 22, 2009 at 3:51:22 pm

The card my editor is currently using is the
Highpoint external Mini-SAS PCIe SATA II RAID Controller:

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Highpoint%20Technologies/RR2322/

I looked it up, and I do not see a speed rating anywhere. Am I missing something?

Tom

24fps Productions
New York City


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does eSata render my Xserve RAID sellable?
on Jan 22, 2009 at 4:06:33 pm

Use the free AJA system test that installs with Kona drives in the AJA Utilities folder. Set the drive to your SATA raid and set the resolution in 10bit uncompressed 10 bit 1080i. Set the file size for 4 GBs and run the test.

What do the numbers say when it's complete?


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Tom Strodel
Re: Does eSata render my Xserve RAID sellable?
on Jan 22, 2009 at 5:23:19 pm

I did a wack test...


Write: 134.9 MB/s
Read: 1436.9 MB/s

Hmmm - doesn't look good, huh (unless there is a faster esata card to be had).

Tom

24fps Productions
New York City


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does eSata render my Xserve RAID sellable?
on Jan 22, 2009 at 5:34:00 pm

Is read really 1436.9 ???


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Tom Strodel
Re: Does eSata render my Xserve RAID sellable?
on Jan 22, 2009 at 5:35:56 pm

My bad:

Read is: 136.9 MB/s

24fps Productions
New York City


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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Does eSata render my Xserve RAID sellable?
on Jan 22, 2009 at 7:30:52 pm

[Tom Strodel] "Hmmm - doesn't look good, huh (unless there is a faster esata card to be had)."

You don't have an eSATA card, you have a SAS card. And yes, there are faster ones to be had. The Atto R380 and Areca ARC-16xx series cards. You may need new cables, but you can use the same external enclosure with either of these cards.

It's my experience that High Point makes garbage.

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Bob Zelin
Re: Does eSata render my Xserve RAID sellable?
on Jan 24, 2009 at 1:19:43 am

Tom -
just stop it, stop it right now. Arnie is correct. You own a piece of crap. The Highpoint is a piece of crap. You spent $12,000 in the past, and now for $4000, you can get what you need, but NOOOOOOOOOO - you got the cheapie discount that is doing 138Mb/sec. You could put 2 eSATA drives inside your MAC Pro and stripe them together RAID 0 and get 128Mb/sec, and you would have not spent any money.

You got bad advice. Now, I have good news for you. You DO NOT HAVE TO EDIT IN UNCOMPRESSED HD. Who is telling you that you must edit in uncompressed HD. PBS - BULLS#$% - they will take ProRes422HQ with no problems, and you can do this with the drives that you currently own.

There are countless excellent modern disk drives on the market that outperform the expensive (and obsolete) XServe RAID - where do you find them - RIGHT HERE ON CREATIVE COW - just look to your left and to your right. Products from Sonnet, Dulce Systems, Cal Digit, Maxx Digital, G-Tech and others. ALL cheaper than the XServe RAID by at least half, and all will do uncompressed HD.

BUT YOU DO NOT NEED UNCOMPRESSED HD. Let me tell you why. Most TV networks accepts and use AVID systems all day long. These systems DO NOT DO UNCOMPRESSED HD. They do DNxHD - either DNxHD145 or DNxHD220. This is the same thing (same compression ratio) as Apple ProRes422 and ProRes422HQ (220). If you use this compression ratio, you can use the drives that you currently own now.

STOP TAKING BAD ADVICE FROM LOSERS that recommeded your current eSATA disk drive array. You paid too much before with the Apple, but you are a professional, and have profesional jobs, so you paid for it. Now you are a bigger professional. BUY PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT - not toys.

Bob Zelin




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Tom Strodel
Re: Does eSata render my Xserve RAID sellable?
on Jan 24, 2009 at 2:07:52 am

Bob,

Okay Bob – take a deep breath – hold it – okay, let it out… Feels better, right?

Firstly, I don’t own the highpoint. My editor does. The card he buys is his decision not mine (he works for me on his own system in a freelance capacity). So he never gave me any advice on the matter - period. I was only asking advice here, hence my original post.

Secondly, I understand I do not HAVE to edit in uncompressed HD. As I clearly said in my original post, we’re currently editing in Apple Pro Rez (HQ). What I also said was that I want to BE ABLE TO STILL EDIT IN UNCOMPRESSED 10 BIT (again, this was the reason for my post in the first place). Why? Because believe it or not, there are still some situations which I will need/want an uncompressed 10 bit capacity (like material for Discovery HD, HGTV-HD, material we shoot on the F23 and F35, etc.). If an eSata solution does not afford me this capability, then I’ll just keep using my Xserve (with it’s limited capacity).

However, based on what Arnie mentioned, it seems like I can still do UNCOMPRESSED 10 bit should I purchase a higher-speed eSata card. This is great news, to me, as it means I could conceivably get rid of my xServe.

My question for the group, is anyone doing 10 Bit uncompressed HD with eSata, or is this just theoretical?

Tom


24fps Productions
New York City


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does eSata render my Xserve RAID sellable?
on Jan 24, 2009 at 8:45:16 pm

[Tom Strodel] "My question for the group, is anyone doing 10 Bit uncompressed HD with eSata, or is this just theoretical? "

No, it's very real. You'd need 6 or more drives to do it reliably I imagine and you'd probably need more like 8. What you should do is get yourself (or your editor) a real raid with real support from companies like Sonnet. I have a D800RAID and it has been a great system. It runs near 400MB/sec in Raid4 when it starts to get full. WHen empty it's up towards 500/MBsec. Plenty for Uncompressed 10bit 1080i and then some. Highpoint would not be a recmmendation from me.

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/garchow_jeremy/d800.php


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Bob Zelin
Re: Does eSata render my Xserve RAID sellable?
on Jan 26, 2009 at 12:09:53 am

Tom -
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/574891-REG/CalDigit_756601_1TB_HDElem...

you see this Tom. $1419, and it does 350Mb/sec - faster than your $12,000 Apple XServe RAID. Yes, it costs more money for a larger drive arary. The HD Element, Maxx EVO2 4 bay, and other 4 bay MODERN ESATA products can do uncompressed HD all day long.

Are you happy now. No deep breath for me. We are drowning in new technology, and dying from spending all that money on old technology that is now useless. Do you feel desperate, and out of breath - well, you should - because if you don't SWIM, you will drown. This is 2009. You can use your XServe RAID as a boat anchor.

Bob Zelin




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Michael Alberts
Re: Does eSata render my Xserve RAID sellable?
on Jan 31, 2009 at 8:39:31 pm

[Bob Zelin] "You can use your XServe RAID as a boat anchor. "

I've just got to step in here. I can't stand by and see the lowly Xserve RAID box bashed within an inch of it's life and not give it some support. Yes, by todays standards the Xserve RAID is old school technology, and Apple did nothing to improve or update the design of the box over it's entire lifetime. It still uses IDE drives! That said, our Xserve RAID works admirable in our Fibre connected workflow. We've got a central machine room that houses all our equipment. From there the Xserve is connected to the various rooms, some of which are 20, 40 and 60 feet away.
Let's also put the Xserve RAID into historical context. When it came out it was the one of the "best bang for your Gigbye buck" out there. It was Fibre. Supported Xsan and other variants of shared storage. Cheap eSata was still a ways off. How were you going to share two FCP stations 30' apart from one another on a cheap eSata box?
Now that were in 2009, the Xserve RAID has been discarded by Apple, but is still a workhorse for many, many adopters. You can upgrade your internal drives to 750GB and possibly 1TB drives (not too sure about that). Our box will easily pull 200MB/sec sustained. This allows many users to work at ProRes HQ, multi-stream quickly and efficiently. It may be obsolete, but by no means a boat anchor!

We recently purchased a new building for our company. We get to build the infrastructure from the ground up. We've purchased more modern boxes for our drive systems, but continue to use our trusty Xserve RAID as well. I plan on squeezing every value added dollar out of that $12,000 purchase!

Hey Bob, how often do you come to LA? We'd love to hire your services for the rebuild. Or do you have anyone you trust in the LA area with your same skill-set?



Michael Alberts
Ambidextrous Productions, Inc.
http://www.ambidextrous.net


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Doug Beal
Re: Does eSata render my Xserve RAID sellable?
on Jan 25, 2009 at 3:21:45 pm

We use a Sonnet Fusion D800 that comes with an Atto R-380 card. this is an SAS system using 8 drives striped raid5. if 1 drive fails you can keep working if 2 drives fail you're out of luck. We can easily cut 10 bit uncompressed HDCam in 1080i or Psf. I have not had a problem even when running with less than 500 gig available out of 4TB.

Doug Beal
Editor / Engineer
Rock Creative Images
Nashville TN


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