Anyone with SAN experience

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by surfmadison, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. surfmadison macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2008
    After beating up the whole LaCie RAID hard drive debacle, I am ready to consider a new storage option. I really would like to be able to buy my own hard drives in the future, and not get stuck buying over priced drives from the manufacturer. I currently edit on a MBP, but will buy a MP when they finally come out with a new model.

    I have been really thinking about doing a SAN or storage attached to a network. This seems like it would give me great options. Such as not having to have the drives attached by a short cable. This means I could have storage elsewhere in my house and just attach via the network.

    Currently we use two GL2's and use at most two SD streams with a max of four audio channels. Right now I have close to 5 TB of video that I am using on a daily basis. Two TB on a pair of WD external FW drives, and 4 TB on a LaCie RAID (I have to swap out the drives on these). Since I am working on multi projects at one time I am always connecting or swapping drives to get to what I need.

    Whether I go SAN or eSata RAID, I really need something large as in 6 or 8 TB just to get by with what I have. I really don't want to buy again, as the I have barely warmed the LaCie up, and just get something that will work in the long run.

    So, anyone have any storage area network experience?
  2. DPA macrumors 65816


    Are you looking at Final Cut Server with an Xserve(s) or just a SAN. I would suggest a SAN because it would be easier to share with different editors or use on different computers. I have heard very good things about Final Cut Server and just don't have a need for it at the moment. If it is just you and your MBP then you might be better off with the eSATA RAID solution. I assume you are looking at RAID-0 (striped). The only thing with the eSATA is that you will have to buy an eSATA ExpressCard unless the next Mac Pros come with it which I don't see happening. Even if the Mac Pros came with an eSATA port, you would still have to have an ExpressCardfor your MBP. If you are looking to edit with your MBP and Mac Pro (when the time comes) I think you would be better off with the SAN solution. If you are just using one computer, then consider both.
  3. surfmadison thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2008
    Just one computer

    I already have an eSata express card for my two drive RAID. The problem is that the eSata cable is very short, which means the RAID has to be on the same table as my MBP. Even with a new MP, the cable would also be short. I was thinking that I could get a Gig network card and hub and connect both the computer and SAN to it. That way I can store the RAID basically anywhere I want in my house and not have to worry about it.

    Just not sure what to get. Do I connect a RAID to another computer that is attached to the netowork or can I do a NAS RAID enclosure?
  4. DPA macrumors 65816


    I think you may not understand completely what a NAS RAID is. I think connecting a RAID system to a computer would be silly and unnecessary unless you wanted to have a RAID just for that computer and not on the rest of the network. I believe that you can get a longer eSATA cable (up to 6'?), so I don't know why you are acting like that is a huge, insolvable problem.;) If any of this information is incorrect, please correct me.
  5. Jiff Lemon macrumors member

    Apr 8, 2008
    Good luck in SAN enviroment then! Most vendors will insist on you buying drives from them.

    However, from reading your post, I've a couple of questions.With your current solution, whats the limiting factor? Is it the access times or just the shear volume of Data that your working with. The reason I ask is that it sounds more like Volume of data, in which case a NAS may be better suited to you.
  6. jzuena macrumors 6502a


    Feb 21, 2007
    Lexington, MA, USA
    What you are describing is Network Attached Storage (NAS) not SAN. SAN requires either its own FibreChannel network between storage arrays and FibreChannel initiators on the hosts (which don't exist for the MBP) or at the minimum iSCSI initiators on the storage arrays and hosts, usually with its own VLAN keeping the traffic separate from regular user traffic. The hosts connected to the SAN can then be NAS servers (think Apple Xserve or Windows Server) to the rest of the user machines on the network or they can be high-end end user machines that need access to their own LUNs directly on the storage array. I have SAN experience, and the cheapest one I've seen installed cost around $50K USD for only a few TB of storage. This was a Dell rebadging of a small EMC CLARiiON box allowing for a few LUNs used by VMware ESX servers along with two Brocade FibreChannel switches. The storage array and the VMware servers were in the same room, or else more FC switches would have been needed as well.

    There are high end NAS solutions that scale to the sizes you are looking at. The EMC Celerra is one that goes up to 32 TB, even in the smallest model (although EMC will definitely expect you to use their drives). There may even be consumer options available that could cover up to the 8 GB you need and allow you to choose your own eSATA drives to use. Ideas in the consumer space are probably available in the forums of one of the home theater web sites (something like

    The words "SAN" and "in my house" don't usually end up in the same sentence.
  7. surfmadison thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2008
    Network Attached Storage Device

    The six foot long eSata cable still won't cut it. I work from home and don't have a ton of room. I would like to move my storage elsewhere in the house, away from where I work. My current issue, is that I have two external hard drives, and an external RAID. With my RAID, I have to unscrew the hard drives and screw them back in to switch them out when I need data on the other pair.

    Due to the large projects I am working on, I need to access the different video files, and it is kind of a pain to keep switching between all the storage. Yeah, I should have thought about this ahead of time, but I didn't really realize what I was getting myself into when I started.

    I currently have a small external NAS device attached to my Windows network. I would love to be able to attach a "RAID" or network attached RAID to a small network. Obviously I need the speed to be able to make FCP work. Would a regular network work, or would I need a gig network setup? I assume instead of eSata connections, there must be a network connection that I can get for a DIY RAID box?
  8. DPA macrumors 65816


    WINDOWS!:eek: Well, If you have the money to invest in a NAS, then go with that. I love being able to take my laptop around my house but hate when I can't take my video files with without carrying 2 external drives.:mad:

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