Using Xserve with AFP as a Final Cut Scratch disk?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Mr-Stabby, May 13, 2009.

  1. Mr-Stabby macrumors 6502

    Sep 1, 2004
    Many thanks in advance for any advice anyone can give me.

    I run a 100 client network at a media college where i work, and all of our students login to clients with Open Directory and their User Shared folder is shared via AFP.

    Our students currently each have a portable firewire hard drive to store 'Final Cut Express' projects on. Long story short, they have to go, and we need a networked solution, effectively setting the Final Cut scratch disk settings to an AFP sharepoint.

    Now on paper this SHOULD be possible. In Final Cut Express they only work with DV-PAL, which is around 30-35mbit/sec, we have a 1gbit/sec CAT6 network, and only a maximum of 12 students will be working on video at any one time. Our main storage XServe Intel server (2008 model) has 2 link aggregated 1gbit/sec ports effectively giving us 2gbit/sec. Our switches are not cheap unmanaged switches but proper rack mounted managed switches costing £4000/$6000 each.

    Now as i said on paper this should be possible, but would it work in practice? I've tried a few tests with some test setups, and everything seems nice and fast so far, but of course reality is very different.

    A lot of people will say that we need fibre networking and massive RAID arrays, but we simply cannot afford it. We're stuck with what we've got.

    The best we could probably afford is an 'Xserve RAID Card' and then setup RAID 0 across our 3 SATA Apple Drive modules in our XServe, would that improve performance that much for FCE compared to the software RAID we currently have setup?

    Is the whole idea ridiculous?

    Thanks again for any help you can give me.
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Nope, not a ridiculous idea. There is a good tutorial at the CreativeCOW talking about building an ethernet based SAN. I'd read that and compare to what you've already got setup.

    You could also just do a stress test w/all 12 machines running a loop of edited footage on the timeline and see if you get any playback errors/warnings.

  3. Mr-Stabby thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 1, 2004
    Brilliant stuff. Thanks very much.

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