Advice on RAID

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by radebe, May 23, 2008.

  1. radebe macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Location:
    Norwich, UK
    #1
    Hi guys,

    I've been tasked with pricing up a couple of options for a video editing machine for my church (check us out, we're pretty cool.) We're looking at a few options, although it looks pretty certain we're going for Macs, so one option is a mac pro. We need a lot of storage, particularly as we're starting to work with HD, so I'm looking into whether we should use RAID. Our current machine (which the new one will be used alongside) runs Vista, and has 4x500GB drives that use RAID 5 (which gives us about 1.3TB of space). However, it uses software RAID, which went wrong, and we lost a whole lot of stuff, which really sucked. Apparently it was something to do with the Vista drivers, which are supposedly fixed now, and it's been OK, but I've been warned that "software RAID is like playing with fire." Still don't trust it. If we get a Mac Pro, is it worth getting the hardware RAID card? Obviously it's a lot of money. Is RAID really worth it? And if we go for an iMac instead, what solution would you suggest for storage?

    Just another quick question - does anyone know if Apple do discount for charities? We're in the UK, if that makes a difference.
    Thanks!

    Lucas
     
  2. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816

    digitalnicotine

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    Congrats on the pending new system, hope it's a Mac Pro! I'm sorry you lost a lot of your data.

    The RAID card for the MP is a nice (expensive) option, that will allow various RAID configurations to suit your needs. Keep in mind that the required SAS drives are also more expensive. But for HD video editing, it's justified if you can afford it. You certainly won't have to worry about a Vista driver causing data loss. ;)

    Another option to consider is the [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]G-Tech G-Speed eS[/FONT]. If you go with the iMac, check out the G-Tech G-Raid 2. Good luck to you. :)
     
  3. radebe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Location:
    Norwich, UK
    #3
    Thanks digitalnicotine. I'll certainly look into those options. I've been doing a bit of research and I've found this HighPoint RocketRAID 2224, which looks pretty good. I like the fact that we can do things internally to start with, then expand it with external storage when it's needed, plus it's so much cheaper than Apple's RAID card. Can someone give me some advice on this and similar cards? Are they any good? Also, does anyone know if the external storage would be a separate RAID or not. What happens if someone accidentally pulls out one of the cables to an external box?
    Thanks!
     
  4. Momdoc macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    #4
    Consider a DROBO

    I'm not tech savvy and I'm certainly not affiliated with the firm, but you might want to look into getting a DROBO (www.drobo.com) which is an incredibly simple yet as I understand it powerful back-up tool. I was easily able to set mine up on my own; after that, it does all the work.
     
  5. ButtUglyJeff macrumors 6502a

    ButtUglyJeff

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    Location:
    New York. The state, not the toilet.
    #5
    I have a Drobo+Droboshare, and it runs flawless. You won't need like hard drives, and if one dies, just replace it with whatever you have. The only flaw I see is speed. It uses either USB2.0 or ethernet for transfer, and doesn't even use it fully. Some of the pros here will squawk at a Drobo, but its really great for people whop don't want to manage any RAID setup.

    Its also fully Time Machine compatable.
     
  6. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816

    digitalnicotine

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    Here are some reviews on the HighPoint RocketRAID:

    barefeats

    On newegg.com, someone wrote: "Though on the HighPoint mac site it states it will work with a mac pro, it doesn't really ship with the right cable to make that happen. The Mac Pro has docking bays, you can't just take the supplied cable and shove it into the back side. These mods will most likely VOID YOUR WARRANTY. For this to be a TRUE internal raid solution you need to do the following: Remove just about every component to get to the internal ipass/mini-sas on the mac pro (underneath drive bay 1/front fan assembly) and switch the backplane connections 1 and 2 so the order is 2,1,3,4 - that will give you barely enough slack for the cable to reach the RAID card. You'll have to remove any tape/heat shielding/etc on the cable. Now, you'll also need an extra SATA cable to route up to the CD rom area to boot in a bootable drive + a 3.25/5.25" drive adapter. There are two extra SATA ports underneath the fan assembly. There may be an adapter cable out there, but I couldn't find one to extend mini-SAS by 6-12"."

    You may want to check out the digital video thread for more advice on alternatives.
     
  7. Goldenbear macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #7
    The G-Tech G-Speed ES looks OK, but the G-Raid 2 is RAID-0 only! Avoid at all costs, unless data integrity is not important!

    To OP:
    Not sure what type of budget you're looking at, but external RAID-5 systems are very nice options to consider, since they work with any computer. You could even plug them into a wireless router and have the data accessible to everyone over the network.

    I like the specs on this one. It's got all the interfaces covered (FW400 will need a 9-pin to 6-pin FW cable), and it has 5 drive bays (one more than most). It also gives you the option of RAID-6, if you want additional data protection.

    Edit:
    Btw, you may want to consider going with an iMac instead, and use the money you save to get an external RAID box. I really don't see a "need" to go with a Mac Pro for what you're doing.
     
  8. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816

    digitalnicotine

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #8
    Actually, doing HD video editing does justify a Mac Pro, if you can afford it. As for a RAID 0 external, while they may not be optimal for backups, they are great for scratch disks, which is also necessary when editing large files.

    Apparently, the OP prefers an internal RAID solution for a MP (besides the BTO option).
     
  9. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #9
    You actually don't have to use SAS drives with the Mac Pro RAID card. You can use SATA drives also. SAS-compliant ports are backward-compatible with SATA. You do however, need that card (or a similar compatible 3rd-party card) to use SAS drives.

    I could be wrong, but I wasn't aware that software RAID-5 even existed. If it does, I could only imagine the bottlenecking that would be caused by the main CPU having to take care of the parity processing.


    But anyway, most video editors will tell you that it's best to use modular external storage, even though it's tempting that the Mac Pro supports 4 internal hard disks right out of the box. A handful of companies (G-Tech, CalDigit, etc.) make reliable external enclosures with hardware RAID chipsets.

    I use RAID-0 for scratch disks because data integrity isn't extremely important there. Hardware RAID-1 for project files and renders. I haven't lost data yet going that route.
     

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