Help setting up a network for video editing using OSX Server

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by theglobalfund, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. theglobalfund macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2012
    Hello MacRumors,

    I've been a reader for many years, but I now have a situation with which I could use some expertise!

    I'm a part of the communications team in The Global Fund, a humanitarian organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. I mainly work as a video editor and graphic designer, using Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator pretty much every day.

    We've recently come into some roadblocks with our IT department, who would rather keep our Macs separate from their windows servers. As well as this, my team are looking to expand on editing suites, so we would need to create a simple small server for ourselves. This is where I need advice. We have a plan but I would really appreciate - not knowing anything about servers and data transfer - if it's the 'right' plan!

    Essentially we would have a Mac Mini running OSX Server which is connected to some thunderbolt RAIDs (Thunderbolt so that we can daisy chain them easily) which would contain all of our media. I'm talking a dozen TBs of video and photo material which we will be accessing everyday for edits. This Mac Mini would be connected to a Switch which would connect to our local server (so that we can still run outlook etc) and then all of the workstations and iMacs that we have would connect to that switch as well to access the data on the RAID drives. As far as I'm aware, the switch we'll be using is a pretty badass sturdy one, so it shouldn't get clogged or over run by the quantities of data we're pulling through it.

    Here's a diagram if it helps visualise the prospective setup:


    So essentially my questions are the following:

    Knowing that several computers will be drawing data from the RAID systems that are connected to the Mac Mini, do you think that the Mac Mini will be able to support this in the long term? Typically I'd say 1 computer will use around 20GB of files for one video project. Would it be a better idea to get a Mac Pro tower and run server OSX on this? Will it make a difference?

    Does this setup make sense at all? I know very little about setting up servers so I may be missing the mark completely and over complicating things considering our needs. If so can anyone recommend a simple easy and elegant solution to allow several Mac workstations to access common media from some RAIDs?

    I apologize if this is really vague or simply a stupid question. I could really use the advice of people who know about these things. Apple have been less than supportive of helping us with this.

  2. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030


    Dec 7, 2002
    Florida, USA
    Your biggest bottleneck will be the network itself. If you're already using this sort of setup with the Windows servers, the Mac mini will have no problem keeping up.

    Looks like a pretty well thought-out plan.
  3. sfxguy macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Yeah your network throughput will be the biggest issue.

    Dual link aggregate the mini server with a thunderbolt to Ethernet adaptor on the back of the last Pegasus and the built in Ethernet on the mini.

    You will basically get double gigE speeds that way for the storage so multiple people accessing large files at the same time the bottleneck will be minimal.

    That's how I am setting up for Visual Effects work but using Drobo 5d's instead of Pegasus.
  4. theglobalfund thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2012
    Thanks for the replies, it's definitely encouraging that the first comments weren't "get a life n00b" like I've seen on other forums!

    Thanks for the reply, though I've not sure I understand what you mean, as I'll be linking the Mac Mini to the Switch using the ethernet port, so there'll be no more other available ports to go to the second pegasus. Or is there a way to split the connection like a bus?

    If this is how you're operating and it's working nicely, I'd love to hear more about it so that I can consider implementing the same plan in my office.

    Thanks again,

  5. sfxguy macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Apple sells a thunderbolt to ethernet adaptor $30:
    Use this on the back of your last Pegasus in the chain, and use a switch that handles Dual Link Aggregation like this one $199:

    Pretty cheap and will increase your throughput with multiple people hitting the server.
  6. motorboating macrumors newbie


    Nov 28, 2012
    Remember, gigabit ethernet can push at most 110MB/s without any other traffic. Per port. So if you've got five machines all accessing one Mac mini, your throughput is down to <22MB/s. Excluding email and file transfers flying around from other parts of the network.

    22MB/s. Can you edit your video reliably over a slow USB2 connection? Probably not. I've certainly not worked on anything that could survive that.

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