Studio network fibre channel news at last!!
MCal27
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#1
12th February 2003
Old 12th February 2003
  #1
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Studio network fibre channel news at last!!

Hi Folks,
Just been told by the powers that be, that we will be getting in a supply of the 73 Gig Studio Network Fibre Channel drives and cards v.soon!! can't wait to hook it up to our Demo HD rig.

Some of my colleagues have confirmed that it'll handle the full 24 tracks of 192k audio that the HD rig is capable of.....

I'll keep you updated....

Al.
#2
12th February 2003
Old 12th February 2003
  #2
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Renie's Avatar
 

Wow. What kind of price(s) Al?
#3
18th February 2003
Old 18th February 2003
  #3
Gear Head
 

Don't sold your house!!!rollz

...just your car

#4
18th February 2003
Old 18th February 2003
  #4
Neato, when I heard that you needed 4 drives to get the max 192 track count on HD I was depressed!

Good news!

Let us know how it works out!

#5
19th February 2003
Old 19th February 2003
  #5
Gear addict
 

the new apple Xserve raid is wayyyy more cost competitive then the AV San pro stuff. Compare the 4 drive and up sizes and it is so cool. No question of Apple compatibility or upgrade status either. Ready for two rooms right out of the box - add more drives yourself - etc etc etc



http://www.apple.com/xserve/raid/
#6
19th February 2003
Old 19th February 2003
  #6
I found this,

http://www.digitalprosound.com/cgi-b...nlay_avsan.htm

I havee been using storage space cost as an excuse NOT to go 96k, with the overwelming 'it's better' reports of PT HD... I am starting to ache to to hop over from Mix +.

But a future expansion, adding another room to my facility prevents reckless spending at the moment..

grudge
#7
19th February 2003
Old 19th February 2003
  #7
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It's only an outside toilet Jules, I don't know what you're worried about.
#8
25th February 2003
Old 25th February 2003
  #8
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faeflora's Avatar
 

I used to do data storage engineering consulting for unix and windows.


fibre channel is not neccesarily faster than scsi.

the primary advantage the ability to store your disks remotely without having to use scsi repeaters.

A drive is limited by the bandwith of the protocol as well as it's internal data transfer capabilities.

If you attach a 10K drive to an internal SCSI ultra2 connection it'll perform as well as a 10K drive in an external enclosure attached with fibre channel..

For a small 4 disk array attached only to one computer, fibre channel will perform identically to a SCSI- ultra3/160.

It's kind of like the hype about firewire drives. People think they're faster because the disk connects using the firewire transport.

Don't confuse SAN or storage area networking with fibre channel either. The two aren't dependant on each other.

If any of you gearslutz have any questions about data storage send me a pm or ask in this thread. I might be able to save you some cash.
#9
25th February 2003
Old 25th February 2003
  #9
Gear addict
 

Quote:
fibre channel is not neccesarily faster than scsi.

the primary advantage the ability to store your disks remotely without having to use scsi repeaters.

A drive is limited by the bandwith of the protocol as well as it's internal data transfer capabilities.

If you attach a 10K drive to an internal SCSI ultra2 connection it'll perform as well as a 10K drive in an external enclosure attached with fibre channel..
Yeah - but wouldn't a fibre channel based RAID array with four to seven (or 14) drives be better than several non-RAID superfast SCSI drives. Simply using RAID 0 or better yet RAID 5 or even RAID 0+1 (if you had even more drives) - would boost performance.

I'm not just looking into fastER times. I'm looking for cheaper amounts of Mass storage that is at least as fast but also has the ability to work with multiple networked systems and the possibility of data redundancy.

...and I'm still looking into using an apple Xserve RAID for audio. How does the new Apple system look to you faeflora?
#10
25th February 2003
Old 25th February 2003
  #10
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faeflora's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Turpin
Yeah - but wouldn't a fibre channel based RAID array with four to seven (or 14) drives be better than several non-RAID superfast SCSI drives. Simply using RAID 0 or better yet RAID 5 or even RAID 0+1 (if you had even more drives) - would boost performance.
Yes, a RAID with 4-7 drives, of any RAID type, on fibre channel would out perform a non RAID set of SCSI drives.

But, a fibre channel RAID is not neccesarily faster than a SCSI RAID.


Fibre Channel, like SCSI, is just a way to communicate data between two places. You can actually use Fibre Channel protocol on ethernet cable, or communicate SCSI over a Fibre Channel optical transport.

The bandwith for modern fibre channel is 200MB/s. For Ultra320 SCSI it's 320MB/s. If you need bandwith above 200MB/s total then it's likely that you need a rather expensive storage solution involving an array with multiple HBAs (multiple outputs) and a switch to direct traffic on the storage network. If you want to have your storage centralized.


Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Turpin

I'm not just looking into fastER times. I'm looking for cheaper amounts of Mass storage that is at least as fast but also has the ability to work with multiple networked systems and the possibility of data redundancy.
So you want data recorded at one workstation to be accessible at another workstation? How many workstations do you want to share data between? You really need data redundancy since you're a commercial studio. If I were you, I'd only consider a RAID 10(0+1) or 5.

If you can give up the hope of fast networked data storage, then you can do things very cheaply by using internal or external directly connected SCSI drives.

Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Turpin
...and I'm still looking into using an apple Xserve RAID for audio. How does the new Apple system look to you faeflora?
The Xserve looks OK. But it will have more downtime than an enterprise class array. It doesn't have total dual pathing throughout, and it also uses IDE drives. IDE drives aren't tested for reliability nearly as much as SCSI drives are. The use of IDE drives drops the cost lots, but it also reduces possible performance greatly, and as mentioned before, you'll have to replace drives more often.

Would I use it for audio? Well having storage engineer knowledge I'd probably build my own enclosure, use scsi drives, with fibre channel over optical cabling for about half the cost. If that wasn't an option, I might buy the Xserve. It does cost a premium of about $2000-$2500 over comparable devices, but what do you expect? It's Apple.

Hey, what do you use for backup right now?
#11
25th February 2003
Old 25th February 2003
  #11
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
It does cost a premium of about $2000-$2500 over comparable devices, but what do you expect? It's Apple.
Can you point us to that comparable device please ?
#12
25th February 2003
Old 25th February 2003
  #12
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faeflora's Avatar
 

Here's a direct connect system using SCSI disks and connections:


Adaptec Array
It's about $8000.


Here's another system more directly comparable to the Apple RAID box
UltraTrak

It uses ATA drives and communicates with SCSI.

Here's one more that uses ATA drives with fibre optic cabling fibre channel protocol.
Fotra Array

These probably don't have mac configuration software. If you have a pc on the IP network anywhere you'd probably be able to configure it.

The second two arrays are much cheaper, probably about half the price of the first.
#13
25th February 2003
Old 25th February 2003
  #13
Gear maniac
 

Thanks for the info!
#14
25th February 2003
Old 25th February 2003
  #14
Gear addict
 

Quote:
So you want data recorded at one workstation to be accessible at another workstation? How many workstations do you want to share data between?
Yes - and - only 2

Dedicating a third workstation for backup would be nice - but would probably require going to a switched fabric setup - and thus, I'd need to buy a switch.


Quote:
If you can give up the hope of fast networked data storage, then you can do things very cheaply by using internal or external directly connected SCSI drives.
Well this is what I'm doing now.

Quote:
Hey, what do you use for backup right now?
AIT over SCSI
I'm probably about to buy a Firewire AIT though.

I'm still leaning towards the Apple for several reasons.

1. I'm not a storage network tech
2. My system will be all Apples and all on OS X - using the Xserve will be the least hassle by far - plus the support will be easier since its all from one manufacturer.
3. It still seems cheaper to me than the SANpro stuff - and should work as well.
#15
26th February 2003
Old 26th February 2003
  #15
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Hi Paul. How much data do you have at each workstation? Used and max capacity? How much do data you think you'll end up with in 3 years?
#16
26th February 2003
Old 26th February 2003
  #16
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faeflora wrote:
Quote:
Hi Paul. How much data do you have at each workstation? Used and max capacity? How much do data you think you'll end up with in 3 years?
Right now - about 160 Gb each. But these get full sometimes. And this is generally at 24bit/48kHz. I've done some 96k sessions - but my clientele isn't really asking for it yet. I'd like to double it soon and perhaps plan to at least double that later. I have a hard time imagining needing more than a terabyte per room - unless we get into hardcore video - but I'd like to avoid that.
#17
26th February 2003
Old 26th February 2003
  #17
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally posted by faeflora
...The Xserve looks OK. But it will have more downtime than an enterprise class array. It doesn't have total dual pathing throughout, and it also uses IDE drives. ..

Sweet moly! When I looked at the link, I never bothered to look at the Apple specs. My assumption was that Apple uses SCSI drives....

...on a side note, I'm sure they are using old (outdated) or over inflated pricing for the cometing products that they list. A similiarly configured DELL unit (with 146GB SCSI drives) is just shy of $15,500, not the $30 Large they indicate....

...on the upside, the Apple box price of $11 large is with most of the bells and whilstles.
#18
1st March 2003
Old 1st March 2003
  #18
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally posted by faeflora
I used to do data storage engineering consulting for unix and windows.


fibre channel is not neccesarily faster than scsi.

the primary advantage the ability to store your disks remotely without having to use scsi repeaters.

A drive is limited by the bandwith of the protocol as well as it's internal data transfer capabilities.

If you attach a 10K drive to an internal SCSI ultra2 connection it'll perform as well as a 10K drive in an external enclosure attached with fibre channel..

For a small 4 disk array attached only to one computer, fibre channel will perform identically to a SCSI- ultra3/160.

It's kind of like the hype about firewire drives. People think they're faster because the disk connects using the firewire transport.

Don't confuse SAN or storage area networking with fibre channel either. The two aren't dependant on each other.

If any of you gearslutz have any questions about data storage send me a pm or ask in this thread. I might be able to save you some cash.
indeed. as a former san and nas guy, this is right on. until the drive interconnects themselves are glass, and controller to drives is glass, going fcal doesn't do you much good. unless you have a large cntralized storage setup, away from your machines (I've been in this situation several times), you're better off with a good local 160/320 array.

toddler
unix sysadmin guy
newb musician
#19
1st March 2003
Old 1st March 2003
  #19
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faeflora's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Turpin
faeflora wrote:

Right now - about 160 Gb each. But these get full sometimes. And this is generally at 24bit/48kHz. I've done some 96k sessions - but my clientele isn't really asking for it yet. I'd like to double it soon and perhaps plan to at least double that later. I have a hard time imagining needing more than a terabyte per room - unless we get into hardcore video - but I'd like to avoid that.

Paul, if I were you, I would keep everything local. I assume you have a machine room or isolation boxes so noise isn't an issue, so there'd be no harm in adding more disks to your array.

I think that the Xserve or any centralized storage would be overkill at this time because you only have two workstations.

I would invest that extra money in new SCSI drives, and perhaps even a small roboticized tape librarian for backup on each system. If you aren't doing local RAID, then invest your money in good hardware RAID controllers with RAID 5 built in. RAID 0+1 would be overkill, expecially if you're backing up to tape already.

If all your drives are internal, I can give you a link or two to places that build mac disk arrays for decent prices, or to the hardware to do it yourself. (It's really easy to DIY)
MCal27
Thread Starter
#20
14th March 2003
Old 14th March 2003
  #20
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Thread Starter
Folks,
While I'm sure your correct about your theory behind large SAN networks. The Studio network Fibredrive I'm using is coming at this from a different angle.

It not about the maximum 'power' for the whole studio complex. Its about a single workstation being able to handle ProTools maximum abilities in a single desktop (in the case of the drive I have) rather than a large 3U chassis holding 4 caddied scsi drives. Without all the technical nightmare's that can come with large (or even small) SCSI systems.

As I've said before... about 40 percent of my tech calls are from clients having SCSI issues.... so please dont try to tell me its not the case. I'm in no way a SCSI fan, and cant wait to see it superseded by better, or more robust alternatives.

BTW: The Fibredrive has been flawless in use on my Mix rig. And was also 100 percent on the HD rig @ work. I just NEED osx drivers from SNS now!!! lol

Al.
#21
14th March 2003
Old 14th March 2003
  #21
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I do, and always have, treated HDs just like 2" tape. I've never used tape backup for a HD in my life, thank God. IMO, what a waste of potentially productive time.

When I'm producing, I buy IDE drives in triplicate, at the beginning of a project and there is always 1 Master, 1 on site backup and 1 off site backup.

For 4 years now I've recorded and mixed 100% internally on Paris on a PC without loss of any client audio using this method. And changing projects, no matter how current or old, is about 90 seconds. I cannot imagine waiting for a tape backup to load. Uhhhg. I know Macs and PCs handle onboard IDE a bit differently, with the Mac being slightly less efficient there, but using Firewire as the I/O resolves that issue.

My track counts often climb into the 80+ range, and IDE drives in removeable Firewire cages handle that fine on my system. The way I see it, any potentially catastrophic damage due to HD failure is limited to a single project, and very unlikely to cause serious trouble, given the above backup scenario. Having all of my eggs in one server/Fibre channel basket would make me fairly nervous.

There is now a Western Digital 10K RPM Parallel ATA ( a new 150MB/sec protocol) about to ship. Performance exceeds current 10K SCSI drives in most regards and even the 15K SCSI in some regards. It will have a 5 year, enterprise level warranty and server level MTBF. Cost should be well below comparable SCSI drives per MB.

IMO, local, modular and hot swappable storage in duplicate or triplicate makes a lot of sense. I believe creative types are rightfully a little paranoid about there being broad access to their recordings in vitro via a network. I would be. The new Western Digital Raptor series really should provide serious speed rather inexpensively on a local level. From tests I've seen, it should outperform a Cheetah for audio by a decent margin.


Regards,
Brian T
MCal27
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#22
14th March 2003
Old 14th March 2003
  #22
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Thread Starter
Brian,
I agree that the new ATA formats look very interesting. And I'm sure they'll be the major format of the future... but it is the future. I deal almost 100 percent with Macs (apart from Giga units) and who knows how long it will be before Apple put the new formats on the motherboard? I dont fancy putting a serial or parrallel ata PCI card into an already busy mac, and believing everything will be cool.... especially if there's ProTools Mix cards in there too. Could be wrong, but I wouldn't want to test it infront of a client!! lol

The fibredrive is here..now. And it works. Hey its even wintel too I believe And I dont understand why backing up is anymore of a problem with the Fibredrive than with any other? I drag and dropped my Fibredrive sessions onto a removeable 120 gig Firewire setup I have here in my little programming room.

Brian.. can you let us know when you get a chance to use the new ata stuff? Guess it'll be when you swap mobo's will it?

Al.
#23
14th March 2003
Old 14th March 2003
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by MCal
Brian,
I agree that the new ATA formats look very interesting. And I'm sure they'll be the major format of the future... but it is the future. I deal almost 100 percent with Macs (apart from Giga units) and who knows how long it will be before Apple put the new formats on the motherboard? I dont fancy putting a serial or parrallel ata PCI card into an already busy mac, and believing everything will be cool.... especially if there's ProTools Mix cards in there too. Could be wrong, but I wouldn't want to test it infront of a client!! lol

The fibredrive is here..now. And it works. Hey its even wintel too I believe And I dont understand why backing up is anymore of a problem with the Fibredrive than with any other? I drag and dropped my Fibredrive sessions onto a removeable 120 gig Firewire setup I have here in my little programming room.

Brian.. can you let us know when you get a chance to use the new ata stuff? Guess it'll be when you swap mobo's will it?

Al.

Sure, I'll keep you posted when I check a Raptor HD out. The reviews and tests I've read look extremely impressive, putting "disposable" hard disk space with very high performance into reality. Between 6 PCI slots on the motherboard and 13 in the Magma, I have plenty of room to add cards for vartious protocols.

What's wild (at least IMO) is that I'm currently running a total of 1 AGP and 13 PCI cards on my system, including a Firewire PCI card, 8 Paris EDS 1000 cards and 2 UAD-1 , with no issues. This on a PC, which has traditionally had more problems with the PCI bus and add on cards than the Mac.

I would think a Mac would handle the PCI load even more gracefully, especially under OSX with protected memory and dynamic allocation.

I know, I know. All techy and geeky. We PC guys have to be, having opted into a fiddlier system. It is fast, though. I'm a speed freak.


Regards,
Brian T
MCal27
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#24
14th March 2003
Old 14th March 2003
  #24
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Thread Starter
Oh.. now now brian.. don't get me started on platform wars.. or else I'll have to moderate myself!!!
We all choose our own path in life fuuck


Al.
#25
14th March 2003
Old 14th March 2003
  #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by MCal
Oh.. now now brian.. don't get me started on platform wars.. or else I'll have to moderate myself!!!
We all choose our own path in life fuuck


Al.

Hey, I thought I was pretty darn even handed there.


Regards,
Brian T
#26
14th March 2003
Old 14th March 2003
  #26
Lives for gear
 

For the record, 24 tracks at 192K is the equivalent of 96 tracks at 48K. Not too laborious at about 14MB/sec total throughput for the HDs.

In fact, I would predict 24 tracks at 192K would be a bit easier, since there are less files to address in fetching the same amount of data.


Regards,
Brian T
#27
14th March 2003
Old 14th March 2003
  #27
Gear addict
 

Quote:
I would think a Mac would handle the PCI load even more gracefully, especially under OSX with protected memory and dynamic allocation.
Well - my problem isn't the Mac - its ProTools. If I run kick ass SCSI - proTools playback stops. Not because of SCSI bottleneck - we got right past those "DAE" errors and straight into "PCI bus too busy" errors. That's why I've gone firewire for now. The motherboard handles the disk access while the PCI bus handles the processing. That's also why Firewire 800 with Firewire RAID is the answer - perhaps.
#28
1st April 2003
Old 1st April 2003
  #28
Gear Head
 

despite the advice of others here, i am still curious to explore shared-storage option. we spend so much time figuring out who is doing what on which project and which machine its on and what kind of drive... that i would love to have it all centralized. ultimate speed is not a huge issue -- i don't forsee us going beyond 24/48k anytime soon. on occassion i use 96 or 128 voices in PT, though, so it has to be a respectable setup. in that vein:

is anyone in fact running a DAW off of an xserve or xraid right now?

if i set up an xserve or xraid , i basically get two users that connect directly to it, right? so my two main rigs could share the storage. then what if we add more users? do they just address the xraid as server and pull stuff local to work, or can i add clients to directly address the xraid?

thanks.

-a-
#29
25th June 2003
Old 25th June 2003
  #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Turpin
Well - my problem isn't the Mac - its ProTools. If I run kick ass SCSI - proTools playback stops. Not because of SCSI bottleneck - we got right past those "DAE" errors and straight into "PCI bus too busy" errors.
Have you tried throttling down the bandwidth allocation for your SCSI HBA? Digi reccomends this for this problem and it will work. If you don't, each time you hit the initial read spike or have any large bursts of data through the SCSI channel, you'll asphyxiate your pro tools cards.

Two RAID 0 15K RPM disks at max sustained read/write won't take up all your PCI bandwidth. You really don't need more disk speed than that anyways.

The ATTO UL3D will eat up to 320 MB/s of bandwidth if you let it. I forget what the PCI bus can handle but that much with pro tools processing will definetly kill your audio.

#30
25th June 2003
Old 25th June 2003
  #30
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Has anyone seen SATA in external firewire?

I'd give up my SCSI if I could run a 2-5 disk SATA RAID off the G5 firewire 800 port. I'd save big bucks! The reason I'd do this besides the microbuckage is because of the respectable manufacturer QA process for SATA.
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