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Re: AVID, server and Thursby's DAVE

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Chris Devers
Re: AVID, server and Thursby's DAVE
on May 31, 2013 at 5:07:19 pm

I work for EditShare, so I can’t comment on Isilon one way or the other, but I do know a bit about DAVE.

DAVE is an implementation of the SMB/CIFS (“Samba”) standard for Macs. While it’s true that Apple has included their own implementation of Samba in Mac OS X since 10.0, DAVE actually predates this — it goes back to the 1990s, and Thursby claims they helped write the SMB/CIFS standard in conjunction with Microsoft — and Thursby’s implementation continues to be more compliant with the spec than Apple’s. And it tends to be faster, too.

Thus, DAVE functions like a protocol handler, much like a web browser. By default, Macs ship with Safari, which handles all attempts to access http:// or https:// URLs. However, if for whatever reason you don't like Safari, you can install Chrome or Firefox or Opera, and make it the default browser instead. Safari is still installed, and you can launch it manually, but if you just follow a link from Apple Mail or what have you, then the system-wide default browser will be launched. That’s what DAVE does: it doesn't replace Apple’s SMB software (e.g. /sbin/mount_smbfs etc), but rather it installs its own software (e.g. /sbin/mount_cifs etc) and configures the system to launch that when smb:// or cifs:// URLs are being accessed.

On the EditShare side of things, there’s a laundry list of reasons that we’ve generally recommended DAVE, depending on the workflow you’re trying to implement. It improves the performance of both Avid and Final Cut Pro in varying ways, and there are certain video codecs that will not work reliably unless DAVE is installed. While there are exceptions — for example, using uncompressed HD in FCP will only work via AFP — for most workflows, DAVE just seems to work more reliably than Apple’s SMB or AFP options.

That said, Jonathan Abrams is correct that EditShare has been working on improving support for AFP, which historically has always had much better performance than Samba, but has also had some annoying & possibly show-stopping bugs. These can be overcome though, and an AFP workflow can be a compelling alternative in many scenarios.

For the Isilon scenario at this school, again, I cannot comment on what else may be going on there, but it sounds like DAVE is smoothing over some of the same eccentricities we see in EditShare environments. You’re noticing so far that installing DAVE suppresses errors about saving project files, but it may also be that, for example, the workstations with DAVE installed are less prone to see things like stuttering playback when scrubbing in timelines, dropped frames when capturing or playing out footage, etc.

Chris Devers
EditShare Tech Support
support ( at ) editshare • com
Twitter: @EditShare & @ESLightWorks

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