Creative Communities of the World Forums

The peer to peer support community for media production professionals.

Forums Storage & Archiving Anyone Use FreeNAS?

  • Anyone Use FreeNAS?

  • Sean ONeil

    December 8, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Just curious if anyone here uses it. I use it as an AFP share for our sound library. I tried editing ProRes SD off it a while back but the performance was bad. Thinking of trying it again with the latest version.

  • Bob Zelin

    December 8, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    you don’t need it. AFP will do exactly what you want. Just get a hi speed switch and a multi port etherent card, setup link aggregation, and you can use AFP for exactly what you want to do , with nothing other than Apple file Sharing. And it will do ProRes SD all day long. If you don’t set up link aggregation, you will get nothing.

    If you want the painful details of this, contact me at
    [email protected]. Or I can post more info here.

    Bob Zelin

  • Bob Zelin

    December 8, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Sean –
    I want to be a little more clear in my answer. There is no miracle SAN software that will make ethernet run faster by itself. Same applies to 10Gb ethernet. Same applies to Fibre channel (2 Gig, 4 Gig 8 Gig). If you get poor results, it’s because the data pipe (of ethernet in this case) is just too slow. If you set up link aggregation on your server, this will increase the data pipe, and you can use AFP to do ProRes422 (SD and HD !). Come on Sean – you can do it !

    Bob Zelin

  • Sean ONeil

    December 9, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Bob,

    I wish it were that simple, but the problem with FreeNAS (which provides actual AFP service, google “Netatalk”) is in the software. Just the way the TCP is configured. No amount of link aggregation or jumbo frames will help (in fact it only makes it worse). I’ve actually been using LACP for 3 years now with our iSCSI server (which I had to retire when MetaSAN and ATTO XtendSAN refused to work with Leopard unless I bought an upgrade). The thing is, TCP/IP is a very complicated animal. Doesn’t matter if it’s AFP, SMB, or FTP. There are a bajillion ways to tune it. I don’t pretend to fully understand it myself, but essentially there’s a reason why Small Tree provides special drivers for their NICs.

    Obviously I could use an actual Mac w/ Small Tree cards as an AFP server and have good performance as you’re suggesting. But there are reasons why I find that unappealing. A Mac desktop can only hold a handful of disks internally. It’s big, noisy, sucks up a lot of juice in addition to whatever external drive enclosure I’d have to tether it to. And I’m honestly not about to fork over money on another expensive Mac RAID card. FreeNAS 7 provide ZFS with software RAID-Z, which I’ll take over hardware RAID any day of the week. Snow Leopard Server is going to support ZFS, but that will only run on an Intel Mac. I wouldn’t even consider doing this unless the server was one of my old G5s.

    The thing is, I have a massive graveyard of old SATA cards, Fibre cards, multi-port Intel NIC cards, and hard drives (much came from my old iSCSI box). All of this hardware works in Unix and Linux systems. And it’s all PCI-X, which has been totally replaced by PCIe so I can’t use them in new edit stations. I just want to take advantage and make use of this old stuff, not purchase more stuff.

    Sean

  • Tony Mueller

    December 9, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    I know you don’t want to spend more money, but I’d bet that if you contributed a little coffee money to the developers, they might be more interested in moving some of their development time to the TCP configuration to make LACP and jumbo frames work better… rather than trying to come up with new features.

    You may want to set up yet another box for beta testing their upgrades, unless they’ve improved the upgrade process. I put together a system a while back just for fun and copied one of my hard drives to it, but didn’t rely on the system as an actual backup… and good thing I didn’t. When an update came out I upgraded and it reformatted the hard drive I had inside. They warned that you should back up the data before upgrading, but I wasn’t worried because it was a test system only. That was over a year ago, so they’ve probably fixed that problem (I hope), but it is something to think about.

    Tony Mueller
    Senior Editor
    STL TV

  • Bob Zelin

    December 9, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Hi Sean – replies below (and you will hate me when you read this) –

    You write –
    Obviously I could use an actual Mac w/ Small Tree cards as an AFP server and have good performance as you’re suggesting. But there are reasons why I find that unappealing. A Mac desktop can only hold a handful of disks internally.

    REPLY – don’t use internal disks ! Do what everyone else on these forums do – buy a large external drive array (Cal Digit, Dulce, Sonnet, G-Tech, Maxx Digital, etc.). I have one client (Valencia Community College) that is using 3 1TB internal disks, but they only share DV25 media for a school – not professional application.

    YOU WRITE –
    It’s big, noisy, sucks up a lot of juice in addition to whatever external drive enclosure I’d have to tether it to.

    REPLY – A Mac Pro is not noisy. None of the drive arrays I mentioned above are noisy, nor do they draw a lot of power. The Cal Digit, Sonnet, Maxx Digital, and Dulce are virtually silent when they are on. So is a MAC Pro.

    You write –
    And I’m honestly not about to fork over money on another expensive Mac RAID card.

    REPLY – you want to build a hi speed SAN, and you won’t buy a $3000 MAC Pro, a modern drive array box, and $2000 in Small Tree Hardware ? I don’t get it – dont you have MULTIPLE ROOMS running FCP that are all making money ? Isn’t this a SMALL AMOUNT to build a working SAN ? You must really think Apple and AVID are out of their minds for the prices that they charge for their products (XSan and Unity)!

    You write –
    I wouldn’t even consider doing this unless the server was one of my old G5s.

    REPLY – most of my clients own LOTS of old equipment. Old 3/4″ VTR’s, old Beta VTR’s, old D2 machines, old 1″ VTR’s. These cost a FORTUNE of money. You know what – ITS ALL GARBAGE. It’s the nature of the business. I understand that you are sick and tired of “throwing money out the window” every 2 years for new gear. But that is the nature of our industry. Just look at all the new cameras coming out now ! It’s insane. Everyone’s drives from 2 years ago are obsolete. It’s not just to you – its to EVERYONE.
    If you need a new working SAN, that you know how to configure, and you have MULTIPLE ROOMS making money for you, why would you not consider buying a $3000 MAC to run a SAN ?

    You write –
    The thing is, I have a massive graveyard of old SATA cards, Fibre cards, multi-port Intel NIC cards, and hard drives (much came from my old iSCSI box). All of this hardware works in Unix and Linux systems. And it’s all PCI-X, which has been totally replaced by PCIe so I can’t use them in new edit stations. I just want to take advantage and make use of this old stuff, not purchase more stuff.

    REPLY – so does everyone else. Everyone owns graveyards of old equipment. Almost 100% of my clients own old AVID’s that sit in the corner, that they spent $60,000 – $80,000 a piece on. Plenty with “old” MAC G5’s and “old” Apple XServe RAIDS with 2 Gig fibre interfaces. This stuff was ALL EXPENSIVE. You think I don’t know this ? It’s part of being in business. How do you get a $100,000 AVID Meridian Symphony to do HD editing – YOU DONT.

    And you know what – even if you said “ok, I am just going to do it” – well, 10Gb ethernet is getting cheaper, and in 2 1/2 years, OS-X 10.6 Snow Leopard will be obsolete, and so will the current Intel MAC’s and SOMETHING ELSE will come out. And if you want to stay in business, you will have to buy it.

    This ain’t a Moviola that you keep for your entire career. Nothing has been more volatile than computers and drives – you know this as well as I do. Part of staying in business is ditching the old gear and buying the new gear. HD has accelerated this process. It kills me (and everyone else) that all this stuff becomes obsolete quickly, but thats just the way it is.

    Please let me know what you decide to do.

    Bob Zelin

  • Sean ONeil

    December 9, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Bob,

    Believe me I’m aware of all the storage options. I already have plenty of non-SAN external storage units. The thing is, having a SAN isn’t crucial to my business. It’s just a convenience for the 3 editors that works here. We’re a creative shop and the editors (who are on salary) work independently, so we don’t have clients coming in being billed by the half-hour.

    Hence, my desire to make something with what I have rather than buy something I don’t need. I’m the first to get rid of old equipment. I ditched our 3/4″ years ago. But these SATA cards and server equipment I have are still potentially very useful and can be very powerful with the right software.

    You should try FreeNAS yourself just to see what it’s all about. It supports AFP, iSCSI target, Link Aggregation and Jumbo Frames. I think you’d be impressed with it.

    Sean

    Sean

  • Sean ONeil

    December 9, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Good to know, thanks.

    Sean

Viewing 1 - 8 of 8 posts

Log in to reply.

We use anonymous cookies to give you the best experience we can.
Our Privacy policy | GDPR Policy