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Using File Sharing Mac feature between three Mac Pros?

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Austin McCarthy
Using File Sharing Mac feature between three Mac Pros?
on Jul 19, 2012 at 2:37:59 pm

So we currently have two Mac Pros, that both have multiple RAID 5 attached storages via FW800s, but we want to consolidate all our files/storage to a central location to pull the footage/project files from, which will be 4 x LaCie 12TB RAIDs in RAID 5.

We are planning on purchasing another Mac Pro to use as a "server/intern computer" and a few eSATA PCIe cards to connect the external RAIDs. Then we want to run ethernet cables to a switch and connect all the Mac Pros together through OSX File Sharing feature. We tested this with a Macbook and one of the Mac Pros and worked on projects using the same footage/graphics from one RAID and it didn't seem to cause any issues - awesome! See image below for a visual representation.

I was just wondering if anyone else has attempted this and had any luck? Obviously a NAS or a Fiber Channel setup would be a better solution, but we aren't a large company and will only have 2 editors (and an occasional intern) working on this configuration at a time and we will rarely be pulling the exact same footage all the time.

Anyone have any thoughts/experience with this sort of setup?



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Matt Geier
Re: Using File Sharing Mac feature between three Mac Pros?
on Jul 19, 2012 at 4:20:44 pm

Hey Austin,

Thanks for asking this question.
This is interesting the way you've done this.

Here's my comments / thoughts;

Network:
Based on the fact you're networking 4 Mac's together, you don't technically need a switch. However, there may be a reason or information you have that I don't that says you have to have it.
If you do need / want to use the switch, you'll want it to be a managed switch. - NO EXCEPTIONS - DO NOT save the money for an un-managed switch, or "web" switch.

If you do not need the switch in the network, remove it. You'll benefit from it too. The switch is not a necessity for you to have how you describe what you want to accomplish. Go get yourself a Multi Port 1GbE network adapter to put into the Mac Pro that you're going to hang your storage from
- This will allow you to direct connect the other Mac's directly.
(Small Tree offers a 4 Port or a 6 Port adapter for such an occasion.) - You achieve the same outcome. No switch required.

Shared Storage:
The storage environment needs to be adequate to do the right kind of work expected. Be it under a shared load, or a single attached user load. Depending on your specific requirements, this will determine the outcome of your long term usability of the chosen storage in a certain way. Your usage will fluctuate I'm sure, and that means your storage performance and/or network performance will fluctuate as well.

Depending how the RAIDS, Controllers, and each network connection and system is setup depends on what you'll experience under a real world use situation.

Other Advice / Resources;
Certainly here on the forums you can find people to participate in the conversation with. Opinions and reactions can vary. Good discussion is the outcome.

Don't take anything you hear negatively too personally. Instead, take the info and consider it very seriously. There are plenty of experts and veterans out here that have been where you are right now. It's best for you to error on the side of caution before you jump into anything.

Here are a few places that offer some storage and network testing tools that you may find useful in the future;

- Small Tree, Helios, AJA are three that come to mind. They have tools available to download from their websites. Usually under their Downloads or Support sections. These are designed to run on your current environment, and offer some kind of conclusion based on the configuration setup you run it under.

I'm sure someone else (Like Bob...) can share their insight as well. I wouldn't expect not to hear from others on this post.

Matt Geier
(Video Networking Solutions Expert)
(Creative Design Workflow Consultant)
(Social Media Networks Consultant)
(Technical Video Industry Sales Consultant)


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Austin McCarthy
Re: Using File Sharing Mac feature between three Mac Pros?
on Jul 19, 2012 at 5:10:35 pm

Hey Matt,

I appreciate the feedback! I'm going to pass on this information to our IT deparemt and go from there. The reason I thought we needed a switch was because we only have two Ethernet ports on each Mac Pro and one is used for connecting to the companies network/Internet/etc. but we need this to be outside the company wide network to protect the files. I'm by no means technical about networking, so I truly appreciate the feedback.

Question about that software, does that allow you to view the transfer speeds of each port to see if where we are experiencing possible information bottlenecking? This is my biggest fear, as Ethernet is only capable of 1GB transfer speeds (I believe).

Excuse the caveman typos, I'm replying on my iPhone and it's hard to proof...

Cheers!


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Matt Geier
Re: Using File Sharing Mac feature between three Mac Pros?
on Jul 19, 2012 at 8:29:30 pm

Austin,

Dual, Quad, Six, Twelve, Ethernet Ports...;
Each Ethernet port on the Mac Pro can connect and operate independently.

You keep the one you have in place now for the current network.
You take the second port and put it on a new network.

Ethernet is very smart considering the complexity behind networking. It can figure out the fastest way to get from point A to point B over the available network connections it has.
--- For example an iMac or MacBook Pro can use Wireless for one connection (internet, email, dns), and the second connection with the hardwire for another active network (video editing, file upload download to storage, etc...)

Software Downloads / Testing Tools;
You'll find that there will be a mix of tools to show you different results...some for data transfer speeds, some for video streams performance, etc... Each one will have options to get results back and talk about what they are showing you.

Ethernet Speeds;
Ethernet is quite more then capable of just 1Gb speeds.
It can also support 10Gb speeds. Of which many references can be found through these forums.
Looking into the future, you can look at places like IEEE and see further development around the standards for support of 40Gb and even 100Gb speeds over Ethernet.

So do not worry. Ethernet certainly isn't going away.

What are you intending to do on your network?
What kind of speeds do you want to see / think you should have?

Matt Geier
(Video Networking Solutions Expert)
(Creative Design Workflow Consultant)
(Social Media Networks Consultant)
(Technical Video Industry Sales Consultant)


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Bob Zelin
Re: Using File Sharing Mac feature between three Mac Pros?
on Jul 19, 2012 at 11:59:58 pm

Hi Austin -
ready for your rude response ?

1) Matt is right. Buy a Small Tree PEG4 card. Your IT department will never figure out how to set it up correctly, so HIRE SMALL TREE to do the configuration for you.

2) you own crappy Lacie drive arrays. Instead of my usual rant, on buying professional drive arrays - you like Lacie - you should have bought this -
http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?id=10536

to which you or someone in your company will say "but it costs so much money" - to which I respond "whaa whaaa whaaa". Every company makes good stuff, and crap. You own crap drives. Like I said - you like Lacie - Lacie makes good stuff too, and you dont own it. You will probably have drop frame errors when you get your system setup for shared storage.

3) since you are going to buy the Small Tree card, did I mention to consider hiring Small Tree to help you with the setup instead of the brain surgeons in your IT department ?

Bob Zelin



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Austin McCarthy
Re: Using File Sharing Mac feature between three Mac Pros?
on Jul 20, 2012 at 12:48:59 pm

Hey Bob,

To be honest, I have never had any issues with the LaCie RAIDs. They are fast, quiet and reliable. I'm guessing they aren't the best and I would never try to defend their purchase over a better/more expensive product, but I just work here.

As for hiring Small Tree, my company would never agree to that. I appreciate your feedback/input, even if you delivered it like a douche.



Thanks,

Austin


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Bob Zelin
Re: Using File Sharing Mac feature between three Mac Pros?
on Jul 20, 2012 at 10:45:48 pm

As for hiring Small Tree, my company would never agree to that. I appreciate your feedback/input, even if you delivered it like a douche.

REPLY -
I know, I could tell by the tone of your post that your company would never use any professional company to get your shared storage system working. They employ an IT staff, and by golly, they will get it working, or it will just sit there and collect dust. This is why, when you see my responses on Creative Cow, I have some nice professional responses, and others, like I responded to you. I am sure that you are a very nice guy, but your company is run by morons, just like many companies, that would rather waste money, than hire the right people to do the job, and get their purchase working properly. It's a shame, but I see this all the time. As so - I write these rediculous responses.

Small Tree makes great stuff. Your company should do the right thing.

Bob Zelin



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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Using File Sharing Mac feature between three Mac Pros?
on Jul 20, 2012 at 10:51:17 pm

[Bob Zelin] " I am sure that you are a very nice guy, but your company is run by morons, just like many companies, that would rather waste money, than hire the right people to do the job, and get their purchase working properly."

Bob, something in your coffee today?

The above sounds rather uncalled for given how little we know of that gentleman's company.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Using File Sharing Mac feature between three Mac Pros?
on Jul 21, 2012 at 2:07:22 pm

Alex -
you see this all the time too. You are a smart guy. People call your company, get information from you, go to "joes discount house" to buy the same equipment, nothing works, and then call you to say "can you tell us why this isn't working". It becomes very frustrating when this happens, and I have no issue publically letting out my frustrations. This gentlemen wants to have a simple shared storage system. The solution he describes from Small Tree will do exactly what he wants, but he needs someone to configure it for him. And his company will demand that their IT deparment do the implementation - and they will probably fail.

If Austin's company would authorize some money, a company like Small Tree could assist Austin directly - NOT USING THE IT DEPARTMENT, and Austin would get everything working all by himself, and have a full understanding of how to do this in the future. But of course, then Austin would be the hero, and the management might say "wait - Austin figured this out by himself, with a little extra money for support from an outside company - then WHY THE HELL are we employing the IT department". And the IT department knows this very well - and so the IT guys refuse to allow for an outside company to assist with anything IT related. And if it fails, they will say "see - this will never work". And of course, they are wrong.

If Austin would hire DV411 (you), or Small Tree, or so many others that you see here on Creative Cow, everything would work, Austin would learn, and everyone would be happy - except the IT guys at his company.

Bob Zelin



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Morten Ranmar
Re: Using File Sharing Mac feature between three Mac Pros?
on Jul 22, 2012 at 2:23:31 pm

Actuallly Bob is right. We setup a MacPro server with shared storage (x-raid) and a 6 port Small Tree card, AND listened to his advice. We hired someone in our country who had done this before, and would never had figured it out by ourselves.

- No Parking Production -

2 x Finalcut Studio3, 2 x Prod. bundle CS5.5, 2 x MacPro, 2 x ioHD, Ethernet File Server w. X-Raid.... and FCPX on trial


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Bob Zelin
Re: Using File Sharing Mac feature between three Mac Pros?
on Jul 22, 2012 at 6:22:07 pm

I am dragging this thread on, because I feel strongly about this subject. Austin can learn by observing a professional how to do this. This will expand his knowlege, and allow him to do this in the future. I am sure that Austin is interested in this subject, as it seems that he has put effort out into researching how to do this. What I also observe (based on similar things I see in companies with IT departments) is that THE IT DEPARTMENT has NOT done this research - it was Austin that did the research, and Austin is the one that did the posting. And it will be Austin to give whatever he learn to the MORON IT people, that probably have no idea or interst in any of this. They probably feel "why do you need a Mac anyway, we can give you plenty of bandwidth with our Windows 2008 Server network installation". These people typically REFUSE to learn about OS-X, have no interest in specialty installations, and will become frustrated when they receive the PEG card from Small Tree, and will GIVE UP - only to ultimately frustrate Austin, who will - with the permission of his company - be able to hire a pro, get this installed properly, learn what to do, and NEVER need the assistance of his IT department - who will ultimatly grumble and say "what is all this useless Mac crap".

I would not be dragging this on, if I did not see this stupid behavior all the time, from "professional IT people", who just don't give a damn.

Bob Zelin



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Rhys Ladhani
Re: Using File Sharing Mac feature between three Mac Pros?
on Jul 23, 2012 at 7:51:02 am

The switch seems unnecessary unless the server computer is located in another room and needs to be wired out. Otherwise, a really long ethernet cable would be just fine. I wouldn't mix an intern machine and a server. Let the server be just a server, you'll have less problems. I do think having a dedicated network for the server and 2 editor computers would help with keeping it simple. Then if another editor needs to pull footage to say, a macbook pro, they could do that without needing to plug into the server or one of the editor setups. Looks like a good idea. Might switch up my home setup after seeing this.

Find me here: http://www.behance.net/RhysLadhani


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