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Re: Fibre Channel Setup Debauchery

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Matt Geier
Re: Fibre Channel Setup Debauchery
on Dec 30, 2009 at 11:11:02 pm


I've provided some kind of responses below ---

(you say..)
Preface: there is a small film studio being started up in eastern Europe, and I was invited to make an "inexpensive" (Yes, a very dangerous word to mention) and simple Fibre Channel network to accommodate their video demands. Little did I know there were some inherent flaws in my setup, and I had some incorrect conceptions about the nature of FC and SANs...

(my reply..)
I already see a couple of problems with the statement. Fiber Channel, Inexpensive, and Simple ....well frankly, Fiber channel never has been any of the above.

The last time I talked to a customer who wanted to do a fibre channel san on their 4 Mac clients (last week..). They were getting quotes of 20K just to get it in the door.....

I gave them a 9K quote to use an Ethernet based solution, and they will be lasting a lot longer then that Fibre Channel SAN they looked at!

(you say...)
Running on the G5 are two extra 4-port eSATA cards, that connect to two rack-mounted eSATA RAID arrays.

We can't do local storage on the Mac Pro, so it was decided that the G5 would be the server.

(To elaborate, the Mac Pro is in the studio, and the studio needs to have as minimal noise as possible. Mac Pro's usually don't generate too much noise, and we have it in a sound-dampening box, whereas the G5 and it's loud RAID arrays get to make as big of a racket as they want, since they're located in another room)

(my reply..)
They do know that the G5 is going to offer much less performance then the Mac Pro don't they? -- it's a completely different hardware architecture, not to mention PCI X.....not PCI Express. Even using a Mac Pro Quad Core would be better then using a G5....Perhaps they are okay with the performance of the G5 vs the Mac Pro...

(you say..)
In an ideal world, and what made conceptual sense in my head, was that the G5 would host the SATA drives, the SATA drives would appear on the desktop of the Mac Pro, and that SAN software was not needed, because there was only really one computer accessing the data on the G5. Since the G5 would simply be acting as the server, it seemed like we wouldn't need SAN software...

So continuing on, just a few more questions for you all to ponder and debaucher,

Yes -- you can successfully deploy a Mac Server, and put all your users into it, and use the server for the point of access, taking advantage of the storage....(this is how these Ethernet based configurations work...without SAN software, and over AFP...)

As it is with Fibre Channel, I believe in general (and someone can correct me ...) is that you are required to put a software license on every person's machine accessing the storage...because Fibre Channel is not traditionally deployed behind a "server" as much as it's storage, hanging of switches....

(you say..)
We simply want a setup where we can store a bunch of video files in a location separate from where they would presumably be edited-- hence, the Mac Pro in the studio, storage in a separate room. And it needs to be fast:

As I "understand", something such as 10-bit uncompressed video is too fat to stream over a Gigabit Ethernet. It appears that it might have been possible to stream it over a 10-gig-Ethernet or Bob Zelin's 4-gig-Ethernet solution, but that is unfortunately out of the question at the moment, as we have the Fibre Channel cards, and want to work with what we have.

(my reply..)

Gigabit speeds on a Mac Client out can be achieved at 70-80MB/sec
10Gb Speeds on a Mac Client *10.5.8 can sustain 450-500 at the server with multiple incoming connections out per client (per client will run around 250-300MB/sec...)

(you say..)
The simplest solution seems to be a Fibre Channel RAID storage unit. This seems like the best solution, the correct, way to develop what already exists.

(my reply..)
No...the Simple way, would be doing this with Ethernet, where you don't have all the nasty overhead of san software, read / write permissions, etc....

Matt Geier
Small Tree

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