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Nate Stephens
Mac-Mini>Thunderbolt>Promise Server>FCP Editing
on Feb 10, 2012 at 8:43:41 pm

What are the downsides of using a Mac Mini with Thunderbolt to a Promise Raid with a 8-port gigabit switch and CAT 6 ethernet as a camera P2 archive server for a small three edit station shop.

We picked up a three year gig that will have lots of archive P2 camera footage. We are editing multiple projects out of the footage. Each FCP project file folder has a different capture scratch folder. We are considering keeping the original P2 footage on a central Promise raid (and possibly the capture scratch folders). The render files could be kept at the edit desk. Capture scratch could be kept at the edit desk and archived on the Promise server. Each edit desk has a 4 bay Addonics esata raid that is not raid 5 protected.

We need to slow down our Hard drive sneaker-net.

Our workflow would be to off load P2 cards to the Mac Mini-Promise server. Access camera footage off the Promise server for capture scratch log and transfer to edit desk raid.

We do not have the funds for a big dedicated SAN - Raid.

We can add Promise 12TB raids as we fill them (we have one). The Mac mini is very fast with Solid State Drives and Thunderbolt.

Our entry cost is just the cost of the Mac Mini with server software and the ethernet switch.

Trying to find the gotchas in this design before I get bit.

Thanks for your help.

FCP, Mac Pro, Mac Book Pro, HPX500, HVX200, Betacam, Dvcam
Write for the Edit, Shoot for the Edit, Edit.....KISS Principle

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Jeff Meyer
Re: Mac-Mini>Thunderbolt>Promise Server>FCP Editing
on Feb 11, 2012 at 6:24:13 am

So for clarity's sake the workflow is:
• Shoot to P2
• Archive cards to MacMini w/ Thunderbolt RAID-5 (disk images, folders?)
• Log and Transfer cards from gigabit-connect RAID-5 to scratch on a local RAID-0
• Project, scratch, and render files live on the local RAID-0

This sounds pretty workable, although you may do a test with one of your RAID-0 drives and see if they hold up to two people logging your flavour of DVCPRO. If it's Intra 100 gigabit may not be enough to have two seats running Log and Transfer at once.

The main issue I see is when you have a drive fail on the RAID-5 you'll be screwed if you pull out the wrong drive. You'll also be screwed if the internal RAID controller on the Promise goes bad. RAID-5 is fault tolerant, not fault proof. Invest in some 1-3TB drives to also put your archives on for peace of mind. When they fill up take them to a bank vault. Storage is cheap relative to lost work - and in about 6 months the impacts from the Thailand floods should start easing up making drives much cheaper.

Also, make sure you're backing up projects and graphics somewhere. Having your masters is one thing, having your project so you can continue working is equally important. Perhaps the autosave vaults should be on the RAID-5? This way there's a copy of the project on another computer that automatically stays (relatively) current?

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