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Forums AJA Video Systems initial results on Kona 2 with cheap SATA drives

  • initial results on Kona 2 with cheap SATA drives

     Joe Murray updated 16 years ago 7 Members · 11 Posts
  • Bob Zelin

    April 3, 2005 at 7:38 pm

    I have been doing extensive testing wtih Hitachi SATA drives, and the
    new Sonnet Tempo X eSATA8 SATA host controller card. I do not wish to
    discuss the manufacturers of the array yet, as I do not have confidence
    in the reliability yet, but I finally got the 8 bay array working, and the
    results are staggering (using the AJA Kona 2 System Test). 400Mb/sec no problems.
    Nothing fails, even at the longest tests. I will post further results and manufacturers
    names once I get this system into a “guinea pig” facility this week, who will do
    real 1080 and 720 HD jobs with uncompressed video. The reality that you can do
    ucompressed HD with 2 Terabytes of storage (and more available) for under $3000
    is inconceivable to me. At this moment too good to be true – if things go well
    with REAL LIFE jobs, that are unsupervised, I will post my results.

    Bob Zelin

  • Ned Soltz

    April 3, 2005 at 9:46 pm

    Thanks, Bob, for the report.

    I’m just a couple of days behind you. Have a 4-drive SATA raid running now from the eSata card and am just building another 4-drive box. Get two more drives on Monday and then will fire everything up.

    I’ll be doing some tests capturing from Z1 component to SDI and then into Kona 2. Will try DVCPRO HD codec and then 8-bit uncompressed.

    Keep me in the loop.


    Ned Soltz

  • Joe Murray

    April 3, 2005 at 10:27 pm

    I guess my main question is how the drives perform as they get full. Do you plan to test this?

    Joe Murray

  • Bob Zelin

    April 4, 2005 at 1:15 am

    This is certainly a big question for me. The REAL answer is that they are being put into a beta site tomorrow, and we will see what happens when they start to get full. It’s one thing to run AJA System Test on an empty drive array, it’s another thing to have hours of 1080i HD uncompressed footage on the array, and see what really happens.

    I will keep you up to date. If it actually works, I will give you all the details. I don’t want to make a complete fool of myself yet (unless I already have !).

    Bob Zelin

  • Ned Soltz

    April 4, 2005 at 3:37 am

    Exactly… Sonnet, for example, sent me benchmarks that they had done based upon Disktester and an empty drive. The Kona test simulates actual frame sizes and rates and the real world test occurs when drives are full, as you point out. My guess is that this homebrew JBOD will not hold up under those conditions. I am prepared to be plesantly surprised, however. Please do keep us posted, Bob and, if you have anything to add and would allow me to do so, I’ll quote you in my article.


  • walter biscardi

    April 4, 2005 at 9:33 am

    Impressive numbers on the speed to be sure, but storage is one place where I don’t trust anything but a “name array.” JBOD’s are nice because they’re cheap, but when they go down, it’s your own problem to fix the issue. I’ve been running Medea arrays for about 8 years now (since my Media 100 days) and in all that time I have never missed a deadline due to a harddrive failure. In fact, twice I’ve had arrays have individual drives go bad, but still be able to finish the project. Any time I’ve ever had an array issue, Medea can either walk me through the problem on the phone or a new array is on it’s way. Also, their Zone Striping technology helps keep the maximum speed almost until the point at which the array is full.

    JBOD’s might make a nice backup unit, but I wouldn’t run them as my primary storage in a deadline oriented environment. That’s one area I won’t skimp to save money. Just my personal preference.

    Walter Biscardi, Jr.
    Creative Genius, Biscardi Creative Media

    Now in Production, “The Rough Cut,”

    “I reject your reality and substitute my own!” – Adam Savage, Mythbusters

  • Francois Stark

    April 4, 2005 at 10:03 am

    Hi Bob

    My only problem with this is that you don’t get raid 5 protection. The clients must be made aware of this: they will be 8 times more likely to get a drive (and thus array) failure – compared to a single drive – using Bob’s 8 drive raid 0 array.

    It really is a huge chunk of storage at the price, but if you have so much space – it’s just so much more data to lose in case of a single drive failure – and we’ve all had one of this before… It will and does happen. Regularly.


  • Tom Bridges

    April 4, 2005 at 12:02 pm

    [Francois Stark] “My only problem with this is that you don’t get raid 5 protection.”

    Absolutely. But at these kind of prices, you could get two of these RAID arrays and run a RAID 10, striped and mirrored.

    Assuming the bandwidth holds over the full disk platter, of course …


    Split Image

  • Ned Soltz

    April 5, 2005 at 4:40 pm

    The BIG CAVEAT that I am noting in my article is the inherent risks in a JBOD such as this. I tell anyone who pays to listen to me that storage is one area in which one should not look for the cheapest solution. Having said that, the speed is impressive and it certainly is a low-end solution that some users might consider. I did add another 4 drives last night by building another BurlyBox and reformatting the raid to include 8 drives. I am getting something like 360 mps read and 250 write using Disktester. Again, this is with an empty disk. It will start filling up this week. But, when you consider 2 tb for around $1800, it is a far better solution than those who will plunk down $2295 for that LaCie 2tb model (firewire, at that). Of course, in the process I broke one drive and broke 2 sata connectors. I am not exactly the world’s most coordinated component assembler. But the raid is terrific and I have high praise for the Sonnet card.

    Ned Soltz

  • Brian Gary

    April 10, 2005 at 3:27 am

    I have a 4 disk (1tb) RAID running internally off the sonnet card. I use SoftRaid ( to drive the disks. What I like about softraid is that it will “tune” the raid for digital video allowing you to partition the disks so you are only using the fastest part of the discs. Currently I have the raid set to 66% capacity of the discs. That seems to be the best stopping point whil still getting decent throughput. I can fill up the RAID and still get 175 mbs transfer (using the BM tester and the Kona SD card). This is RAID 0, so the issues of loss are obviously not addressed, but softraid does actively monitor all discs for errors (not the BS S.M.A.R.T monitoring, but actively checking for I/O errors on every read and write). So if a disc starts throwing errors you know it’s time to replace. Granted not as easy as if were mirrored but far from a disaster.


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