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  • How old of a computer is to old? for Build your own affordable SAN — that works!

  • Paul Watton

    February 14, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Hey everyone. I am looking to try building this “Build your own affordable SAN — that works!”

    We only have 2 workstations at the moment, editing with Premiere Pro CC and mostly DSLR footage. Sometimes 3 if we connect a laptop. I was going to try playing around and building this DIY SAN to learn more about this whole networking shared storage thing. But I was wondering how important CPU power and Ram is for this type of build? I have an old computer with an AMD Athlon64 X2 5000+ CPU and 2gb of ram with XP. Would this be enough power to run as a SAN if I put in the 4 or 6 port GB Card and switcher?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Bob Zelin

    February 15, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    the article you are asking about was written in 2008. All the information is completely outdated. All the systems I have built since then (including that system) are using Apple Macintosh, not PC servers. The expense you will face building a shared storage system for video is the cost of the drives. You need eight drives, a drive chassis, and a RAID host controller card to run these drives. This expense is greater than the cost (or no cost) of your server, Ethernet equipment, and switch. Getting the right drive array is the secret to making all of this work. Using an existing 4 bay G-Tech eS will never work for a shared storage environment.

    Bob Zelin

    Bob Zelin
    Rescue 1, Inc.
    [email protected]

  • Paul Watton

    February 15, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Thanks Bob. I understand about the drives and was planning on using a raid card in raid 5. We have 8 2tb drives we can potentially use but was going to start with 4 of them in raid 5 so they fit in the computer case.

    I was just wondering how critical processing power and ram is to transfer speeds when it comes to the 4 port gb nic setup as opposed to a freenas software set up which seems to need lots of ram.

    I am pretty knowledgeable when it comes to building my own editing workstations, been doing it for years but when it comes to server storage stuff it’s a whole new ball game.

    Currently a pre-built system is not in the budget but I want to tinker and begin to familiarize myself with this stuff in the meantime. As you know the configurations and tinkering seems to be endless, but for me if I don’t have a physical machine to play with I just can’t wrap my brain around all the technical info. Building computers is a fun hobby. There are plenty of cheap parts out there I can begin to build a budget system and learn with it. If it doesn’t work then such is life, at least I learned stuff along the way but haven’t broke the bank doing it. When the time comes that we can invest in a pre-built pre-configured system for our studio, where we need that support and stability I will gladly be going that route and I will be more prepared and better equipped to know what exactly I need and what I am talking about when I chat with the guys who build them.

    I have already done the rounds by inquiring with most of the company’s you had listed in previous forum topics and the biggest thing I learned was that I had very little idea what everyone was talking about. Largely because I know nothing about the server/shared storage world. In fact when I first started exploring the possibilities I didn’t even know how to google it. I didn’t know they were called shared storage solutions. Lol

  • Bob Zelin

    February 16, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Hi Paul –
    several things –

    1) If you are going to use a PC, then get Windows Server 2008 (or 2012), so you can setup a file sharing server. If you are using PC clients, then the regular .smb network protocol is already built in.
    If you have OS X clients, then you will suffer thru the interface

    2) exactly what do you mean that you want to fit 4 drives inside the case. You are going to have more and more and more storage – four 2TB drives will give you 8 TB – after a RAID 5 group, this will be 6 TB. In todays market, 6 TB is nothing. You should be using an external drive enclosure, with a RAID host adaptor in one of your PCIe slots in your win server to control the RAID.

    3) a conventional 1GbE single port on your motherboard is not going to be fast enough to run this video network.

    4) this is NOT a hobby, and this is not fun. You will face a lot of aggravation doing this. I recently bought a guitar. I try to figure out songs from the Who, etc. on the guitar. That is fun. Configuring a shared storage system, and actually having it work is not fun. It is frustrating and hard work – no different than learning Adobe After Effects or Cinema 4D. I am not saying that you can’t do it – you can if you stick with it – but never consider this a “hobby”. It’s not like playing golf.

    For PC’s – I have used HP Z400 and HP Z420 computers with 8 Gig of RAM to get simple 2 user stations to work (with dual port 10gig cards). I cannot tell you what the minimum requirement are, for a Win PC that you pickup at the local flea market.

    Bob Zelin

    Bob Zelin
    Rescue 1, Inc.
    [email protected]

  • Mark Raudonis

    February 17, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    [Bob Zelin] “I try to figure out songs from the Who, etc. on the guitar.”

    Mr. Zelin,

    May I suggest this:

    and of course a doobie!

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