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Forums Square Box CatDV Pros and cons server OS options

  • Pros and cons server OS options

     Joe Valenti updated 7 years ago 5 Members · 11 Posts
  • John Heagy

    January 3, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    We are a Mac based facility. Given that, are there any disadvantages of running server under Window or Linux compared to OS X?

  • John Heagy

    January 3, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    I should add that the database will be MS SQL and Worker is running on a Mac with Xsan storage, though we are investigating NAS (NFS) alternatives.


  • Robb Harriss

    January 3, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    I had my server on my MacPro for a long time. Then I kept running into issues where I’d have to reboot it and that would take the system offline. I didn’t have another Mac that I could leave online and that would run the software. So I used one of my older XP machines that was sitting around hardly used. It’s been running the server for most of the year without any issues. All the client machines are Macs. Actually, it’s the only use I could make of the machine and it seems to be a good one. I’d still prefer to get it back on a Mac simply because I’ve gotten out of practice with Windows having spent the last 6 years almost exclusively on Macs.

    Non-linear: all the time and nothing but.

  • bryson jones

    January 4, 2014 at 2:57 am

    Server is pretty wide open.

    We use MySQL on OS X a lot because we have shell scripts to manage backups and some GUI tools to perform maintenance tasks. Since it’s a unix variant it’s pretty easy to translate.

    If you have a linux sysadmin, or the skills, you can put it on a pretty solid server box but remember you lose that nice CatDV Control Panel.

    Windows has been fine but our clients don’t usually have the admin chops to manage a Windows MySQL instance and we prefer unix variants so we do’t use it much. There’s no reason not to if you are solid on the Win side.

    Hardware has a big part in it as well. A Mac Mini vs a serious server machine is obviously not a fair fight. 😉 And a lot of people have strong Windows hardware already. But that said, a mini with an SSD raid is pretty hard to beat for under a grand.

    Another pitch for OS X is if you run your Worker Node on the same box. In a Mac editing environment it’s way easier to script with a Mac Worker. (Less path conversions etc.)

    One note, NSA is working with Squarebox support on an alternative db to MySQL to get the speed up without a big license fee. We have a client with 3.2 million assets in their db who’s feeling the need to bump to something more robust under the hood, but MSSQL and Oracle get expensive fast. We’re testing and hope to roll out a beta site within the month with a strong test completed by NAB.

    In the end, it’s really up to your skills and if you need others to support the system. Since so many of our guys come from the Unix side and Squarebox has such good OS X support, we go that way.


    bryson “at”

  • John Heagy

    January 5, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experiences Bryson!

    We will definitely connect to a separate MS SQL machine running on a Cisco UCS. No matter which way we go CatDV server will not be running on the same machine as the database. The same goes for Worker which is on an Xsan attached machine. If we go Mac for CatDV server, it would run on an all solid state Mini server, if Windows or Linux it will run on a separate VM on the same UCS. Given the Mac mini is just running CatDV server I assume it will be more than fine, unless Java on Windows or Linux is that much better.

    This will be a fresh install no, db migration needed. We will begin development of a Front Porch/CatDV archive interface. Front Porch is a Windows based system. The plan right now is to not use Worker at all for this and do it solely via db queries of both the CatDV db and the Front Porch db.


  • Dougal Matthews

    January 7, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    hi John

    As Bryson suggests catdv server on a mac mini will give you the best experience in terms of ease of use etc

    make sure the sql server machine is running as fast as possible i cant overstate the benefits of putting the DB on and SSD rather than traditional spinning disks

    good luck with your build I hope the development of oyu archiving module goes smoothly

    thanks dougal

    Improvise Adapt and Overcome

  • bryson jones

    January 7, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    I’d discuss that interaction (searching the db) with Squarebox. They are just rolling out the server API and traditionally the only supported way to “search the db” was through the Worker CLI.

    There are ways around that (accessing the MYSQL directly) but that’s not supported by SB and might be more trouble than it’s worth.

    Glad you got your archive sorted! Keep us posted here as to the progress as Dougal mentioned.


    bryson “at”

  • Joe Valenti

    January 19, 2015 at 3:18 am

    Hello all,

    We would like to purchase a Mac Mini this week to run server and worker. A fair amount of our source footage is 4K Redcode 8;1 Compression. Is the version below a good option?

    3.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz)
    16GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM
    1TB PCIe-based Flash Storage (Or will the 2TB Fusion be sufficient?)

    Any other pointers for us?

    Joe Valenti

  • bryson jones

    January 19, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Joe, good to hear from you.

    I have some updates on this thread, so thanks for revising it.

    A mini still makes a great option for a small server, but know that if you grown to upwards of a million assets, you will want to scale a bit.

    You mention the proxy format, I’m assuming that means that you will be sharing proxy files from the same server. That’s fine for a small rig, again, you can always scale up and that’s an easy way to get running quickly without too many hassles.

    The biggest thing is to make sure your MySQL db (or whatever db you are using) is on the fastest drive you can get. Also, it’s probably best to not put proxy on that drive.

    To start a shop that’s not Enterprise level, we tend to recommend internal fast drive for boot and then an external Thunderbolt drive or small raid for proxy. Also, we add a USB3 drive of the same size as a backup for the proxy and perhaps a boot backup as well.

    As you scale, you will want to start to get a bit more fancy where you separate the db from the boot drive, look at SSD raid for your db, etc. It gets pretty deep, of course and this is just a quick rundown, not a detailed system design.

    But to start, get a fast boot drive and put your proxy on another drive.

    Last question, are you saying that you will be running an 8:1 Redcode file as your proxy? That seems like a strange choice. (If that’s what you are saying.) Generally you want a proxy that can be played by any machine, mac/linux/pc/iOS/Android without extra software (like the RED codecs.) But of course I may be mistaken here. Let me know more, if you can

    Here’s an article from our k-base, where we tend to start people who are working out their proxy format.


    bryson “at”

  • Robb Harriss

    January 19, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I use two external drives attached to my server, for two different levels of “proxies.” One contains the low rez MXF files I’ll use in Media Composer. The other has even smaller .MP4 copies that everyone else will look at. There’s no reason for them to get next the MXF files. Plus I can hand them a handful of MP4s that they can carry around on a portable drive or on their laptop, just to entertain themselves.

    Non-linear: all the time and nothing but.

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