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  • Build a Shared Storage from current Hardware

  • Alex Give

    January 11, 2022 at 1:02 pm

    I like to ask for some help and tipps regarding a shared storage.

    First, I do have mentioned due to the current circumstances there is no money for NEW hardware.

    Editing wise we use mainly Final Cut Pro X, Premiere but also DaVinci Resolve is part of our workflow.

    Our goal it to have two editors work of a shared storage but also give shared access over the network to data to other users if they require anything. Like saving or grabbing a files or grant access to the deliver files.

    Hardware wise we have a Areca ARC-8667 that is connected over Fiber to a Mac mini in a xMac mini Server. Two Mac Pros (Late 2013) as edit stations.
    The Mac Pros also have a Solo 10GB Thunderbolt Adapters. We also have access to ATTO Xtend license if this can help?

    What would be best option to achieve our goal, XSAN over iSCSI?

    I do have some experience with Xsan from my previous employee, but this was setup back in 2015 using all required hardware from Apple over Fibre. Which today is not a option.

     

    Thank you

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    January 13, 2022 at 4:47 am

    It is possible to use the Mac mini as a ‘server’ sharing storage with the two Mac Pros, but one needs to know if you have a storage box of some kind already, and the kind of a network you have, in place.

    It’s not clear exactly what storage you have. I tried looking up the Areca-8667 and it appears to be a 4port FC 8GB card. Is it attached to some storage box of some kind? Is the Mac mini a 2018 model with 4x Thunderbolt ports? Is the Mac mini attached to some kind of external storage?

    Since you have the Mac Pros attached to Solo 10GigE adapters, is there a 10GigE switch that those go out to?

    Does the Mac mini have an internal 10GigE thunderbolt port? or is it a 1GigE port.

    Are the Mac mini, and two Mac Pros close to each other, like within 1 metre (3 feet) or kept in different rooms?

  • Alex Give

    January 13, 2022 at 8:57 am

    Hi Neil!

    Thank you for your quick reply.
    Yes as mentioned the Raid is already connected to the Mac mini over fibre and is being used at this moment as standard drive that is being shared over SMB. The Mac mini itself is a Mac mini 2018 mounted in a xMac Server with the DuoMode Echo III Module from Sonnet. From my knowledge the Mac mini does have 10GB ethernet card.

    Regarding to a 10GB switch, we (the editors) have access to ether a UniFi Switch XG 6 PoE or the UniFi Switch XG 16. Most likely the XG 6 PoE Switch (10Gb Ethernet).

    The Mac mini is the Server Room, the edit stations are approx 19 and 50 feet apart from the Server Room. All rooms are networked with a Category 7 ethernet.

    Thank you

  • Alex Give

    January 18, 2022 at 10:16 am

    I would appreciate any Info or Tips.

    Thank you

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    January 19, 2022 at 4:40 am

    OK so your storage and network seem to be working fine. The UniFi Switch XG 6 is a 10GigE switch and both the MacPros have 10GigE adapters. Even your Mac mini has a 10GigE adapter so ideally you should be able to read and write upwards of 300 MB/sec to and from the shared storage.

    What you should do is connect both Mac Pros and Mac mini to the switch. then give all three fixed IPs is a series like even 192.168.0.1, 192.168.0.2, 192.168.0.3 with subnet 255.255.0.0. Then, you can simply mount the storage attached to the Mac mini, on either Mac Pro by going to network in Finder, or by Go > Connect to network, and typing 192.168.0.1 as the address (assuming the Mac mini is 192.168.0.1).

    You can then mount the drive on both Mac Pros and work like it was a local drive. You Mac mini is now acting as a ‘server’.

    This method of ‘reshare’ has worked fine with as many as 8 Mac systems sharing a SAS RAID attached to one ‘server’ Mac.

    Neil

  • Alex Give

    January 19, 2022 at 5:12 am

    Neil again thank you for your reply!

    But my concern is how would something like this be setup? My understating to create attached storage (Mac Pro to Mac mini) is to implement a SAN, correct?

    So would this mean: I create SAN using the Mac mini and the Fibre attached RAID. All LUNS would set on this one RAID. Then using ATTO Xtend to connect the Mac Pro to the Mac mini over iSCSI.

    Doesn’t XSAN still require two Macs to be setup?

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    January 20, 2022 at 7:52 am

    This is not a SAN. A SAN would require the Mac mini to be a ‘metadata server’, run special software, which would implement the rest of the infra needed.

    What I’ve proposed is simple ‘SMB reshare’, using sharing tools built into MacOS.

    There was a time when this kind of sharing would need to be administered by a different OS. It used to be called MacOS Server. Apple discontinued that, and made Server into a separate app. We used to use that for sharing drives between systems. Then even that was deprecated, and now the MacOS contains all the ‘parts’ of software needed for simple file sharing and resharing.

    That’s what you will be using. So its not SAN, its not NAS. Its just sharing drives. And it works just fine for small networks.

    One day when you add more machines and have more than 8-10 machines, then this arrangement won’t be efficient. That’s when you’ll need a ‘real’ NAS or SAN.

    Till then, this will work fine. Try it.

  • Alex Give

    January 21, 2022 at 10:39 am

    Ah okay, this is what we have now and it seems this setup doesn’t work very well.

    Reason why we like to setup a SAN so the drive is connected directly to Workstations.

    We can use the Mac mini which the RAID is connected as the “Metadata Server” or is it still required to have two devices (master and redundant)?

    Thanks

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    January 27, 2022 at 2:59 am

    The system I described, is working at a small cable TV channel post facility. They have 5 systems – cylinder Mac Pro and iMac connected to a 10GigE switch which also connects to a Mac mini via a Solo Thunderbolt 3-10GigE adapter. The Mac mini has 5 Drobos connected to it and these 5 edit systems connect to any of the Drobos as needed.

    They don’t have great performance because, Drobo. But they’re managing.

    Previously they used to connect one Drobo to each system and use small drives to share data between systems. Or physically move the Drobos as needed.

    Their media is 1080p ProRes. LT for editing, and HQ for finishing. They were using FCP 7 but have transitioned to Premiere Pro.

    Anyway, you have to have a SAN, then XSAN is built into MacOS and Apple has a guide on how its setup and administered.

    https://developer.apple.com/support/downloads/Xsan-Management-Guide.pdf

    Neil

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