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Time to upgrade our SAN

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James Vorley
Time to upgrade our SAN
on Nov 5, 2016 at 10:03:32 pm

Hi

Long time lurker/first time poster here…

It’s time to upgrade our ageing SAN and looking for some suggestions.

We currently have a Nexsan SATABoy 4GbFC SAN shared via Tiger Store (recently upgraded from metaSAN).

The SAN is configured as follows:

- 3 chassis each RAID 5 + hot spare. 500 GB disks.

- 2 x volumes per chassis.

- Dedicated controller per volume.

- 4 x 6 TB volumes and 2 x 5 TB volumes useable (34 TB total).

We have 2 online/offline Premiere Pro/Resolve Mac suites and a third station for ingest, media management, archiving, backup etc. A Windows 7 PC acts a dedicated metadata controller. Archiving is handled by a recently upgraded TOLIS Bru PE LTO-6 system. The seats all have 8 GbFC but I think either our switch, or cards in the storage (or both) are 4 GbFC. The SAN is also backed up to a Synology NAS box using Chronosync. I manually sync whenever media is ingested and once files are deleted they stay on the NAS for 7 days before being deleted.

Using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test from two edit suite simultaneously with each edit suite writing to a separate volume I get about 400 MB/s read/write combined.

Testing just one suite I get about 300 MB/s read/write.

The most demanding media we work with is probably 25 fps 3840 x 2160 ProRes 422 (HQ) (~90 MB/s). We may be asked if we can do Sony RAW 4K at some point too which I gather is 125 MB/s. I’ve seen RED 8:1 5K as well, 6K is a possibility in future. It’s conceivable that at any one time we could have two suites both working with 3840 x 2160 ProRes 422 (HQ) and the third seat reading/writing 160 MB/s to/from LTO.

The storage still works well but as it’s out of warranty and you can’t get replacement 500 GB disks we’re looking at upgrading to a single chassis. Do we buy some kind of SATAboy replacement and keep everything else the same? Or buy an integrated solution aka ProMax, SNS TigerBox etc? How can we guarantee we’re not losing performance by going to a single volume?

We mainly do fast turnaround commercials. 35 TB is probably excessive for our needs and if I had the option of less capacity with more speed I think I would pick speed. Using the LTO we can get data on and off at 160 MB/s so having smaller online storage isn’t a problem. I would have thought somewhere between 15 - 20 TB would be adequate for our needs.

I'd be interested to hear opinions on different options, from purely replacing the storage and keeping the infrastructure the same through to replacing everything. Would also be interested in some kind of media/project management layer and integrating the NAS backup.

I'm keen to not loose the dedicated bandwidth to each suite we currently get with the multiple chassis/volume/controller set up we have. Is SSD FC RAID an option?

We’re based in Glasgow, Scotland.

Cheers

James Vorley
Post Production Operator
Scottish Television Ltd.


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Nathaniel Cooper
Re: Time to upgrade our SAN
on Nov 6, 2016 at 3:15:33 pm

Hi James,

Thanks for posting. From what I can tell your biggest concern is performance. From what you mentioned above maintaining that level of performance will be no problem, you can easily swap our your SATAboy with pretty much any new Fibre Channel RAID and you'll be there. If you want to increase performance on your existing set up (per user) you would need to upgrade all components to 8Gb or 16Gb FC.

As far as upgrading existing vs going a new route. Ultimately, I'd recommend digging into the details of each of the solutions you mentioned to see what they would offer your workflow vs what you have now.

Both the SNS and Tigerbox will offer great performance and add a management layer to your system, which as I'm sure you know, is huge.

The ProMAX side will do that, but it will also integrate the LTO into your workflow fully, so when you search for media it doesn't matter if it's online, on backup storage or on LTO archive; you can search and find your media from a single interface. Essentially replacing both the shared storage and Bru, and combining them into one piece of software. It also adds some additional features like AE rendering and transcoding.

As stated, any of these options should be 100% fine for your performance requirements. Upgrading just the storage is your easiest short term option and requires virtually no change, which is nice. Moving to an all new solution will give you a ton of new functions, but will probably take more adjustments to the exact way you're working right now.

If you have any questions specific on the ProMAX or want to dig into a demo let me know.

Best Regards,

Nathaniel Cooper
ProMAX Systems
nathaniel@promax.com


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Bob Zelin
Re: Time to upgrade our SAN
on Nov 6, 2016 at 6:47:51 pm

Tiger Technology - great company
SNS - great company
ProMax - great company
Tolis - great company
Nexsan - really ?

you said you already own a Synology -
so I guess you know the interface, and you know it's reliable -

look at this -
http://www.span.com/product/Synology-12-Bay-RackStation-NAS-RS18016xs+-SAS-...

this will BLOW the doors off your Nexsan (if you get a 10G switch and 10G option card for the Synology). And it will save your company a fortune of money.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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