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Activity Forums Storage & Archiving SAN for FCP?

  • SAN for FCP?

    Posted by David Jahns on May 21, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    Hi all.

    I’m at a shop that has grown from 4 Avids (all using Unity SAN), and we’ve added 6 FCP rooms.

    The FCP’s are not on a SAN yet. We love the Unity, but hate the Avids – so we’d love to ditch the Avids once and for all, if we had a decent SAN solution for FCP. We understand that it will be expensive (so was the Avid Unity.)

    So far, my impression of XSAN is that it’s horribly complicated and fragile – we do not have a dedicated IT person, but I think we would need one if we got an XSAN.

    Avid’s Unity ver 5 claims it will work with FCP, but we’ve had a demo version for a week, and it hasn’t worked yet – no one at Avid is any help. (surprise!)

    We’ve also tried a demo of EditShare – which seemed decent, but some editors at our shop are hesitant to go with the GigE solution over Fibre, and it’s also a little confusing with sharing/refreshing – protected folders, etc…

    FibreJet or Terrablock? We want a file level SAN, not a volume level.

    Anyone using ImageSAN?

    I just started reading about MetaSAN – seems to have good word of mouth.

    Anyone have any other solutions out there? Or do we have to bite the IT guy bullet and go with XSAN?

    Thanks for any help…

    Bernard Lamborelle replied 16 years, 10 months ago 11 Members · 23 Replies
  • 23 Replies
  • Szumlins

    May 22, 2007 at 1:45 am

    [David Jahns] “FibreJet or Terrablock? We want a file level SAN, not a volume level.”

    I’d have to say the Terrablock is a rock solid machine. Is there a particular reason you’ve decided that file level is that way you want to go? Especially with FCP I see file locking somewhat of a null issue. All of the NLE’s in use are non destructive anyway, media can be on any volume.

    The real power of the Terrablock comes from the fact that it isn’t tied to OS or any sort of software abstraction layer. If your app can work with a local hard drive, it can work with a Terrablock. In addition to this, upgrades like Panther or whatever big cat comes next aren’t going to require a full metadata controller overhaul. The client OS doesn’t now the hard drive isn’t local and requires no special software to mount a volume.

    Couple that with the unmatched stream count coming out of the Terrablock and it is win-win.


  • Lance Bachelder

    May 22, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    I looked at everything for our studio ( 4 PC/Mac bays) using FCP and Vegas. I chose MetaLan because it is file based and totally upgradable – Lan version for ethernet, fiber where you need the speed. Biggest issue is your storage – pick a very fast enterprise class fiber array. I went with Sonnett eSATA and it sucks. Hoping to move to 4GB fiber soon.

    MetaLan/San is very easy to set up and they have great support. PC’s and Mac’s simply see the raid as a local drive. You can also run your Avid’s and Pro Tool rigs off MetaSan for add’l storage.

    Lance Bachelder
    Southern California

  • Szumlins

    May 22, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    [Lance Bachelder] “You can also run your Avid’s and Pro Tool rigs off MetaSan for add’l storage.”

    Last I had checked, MetaSan no longer supported ProTools. Even though ProTools saw the volume and was capable of accessing it, the latency involved in every read/write going back through the MDC was causing unreliable and unusable results. This is one of the big reasons why file locking SANs traditionally do not work in ProTools environments.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong here about MetaSAN/PT support.


  • Bernard Lamborelle

    May 22, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    Mike makes some good points. However, volume-level management also implies that one must create and manage multiple volumes (as each volume appears as Read Only to all, but one client). When a volume is full, you can’t easily expand it; you need to create additional volumes and juggle your project across them. You need to carefully budget disk space allocation ahead of time. Also, because you cannot write back to the volume you

  • Bernard Lamborelle

    May 22, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    You’re correct Mike. MetaSAN doesn’t support ProTools. Volume-level SAN solutions can better support ProTools because they do not redirect calls, something ProTools is very sensitive to…


  • Lance Bachelder

    May 24, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    Sorry – didn’t know they stopped supporting Pro Tools – we moved to Nuendo a while back and haven’t used PT on the network.

    Lance Bachelder
    Southern California

  • David Jahns

    May 24, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    thanks for your feedback Mike.

    I could see where volume level SAN could work for some setups – like longer form projects.

    Our work is primarliy TV spots and corporate vids – usually in and out within a few weeks – and with 9 editors, that’s a lot of projects per year. We’ve found the UNITY and file level SAN is great. We create one workspace with all of the media for a particular project, then wipe the workspace clean when it’s over.

    A volume level SAN would require either a significant increase in the number of workspaces by having 3 or 4 per project (for each editor/assistant/GRFX, etc.), or just dedicate one workspace per editor & assistant and live with the idea that media would be spread out all over the facility (metaphorically) – which would make archiving and clearing space much more challenging.

  • Cee Dee

    May 24, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    correct me if im wrong but metasan works like this.

    Metasan installed on the host computer.

    metalan installed on the client computers.

    aprox prices
    $1k for metasan
    $300 per client


  • Boyce Johnson

    May 24, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    It can work like that. If you want full-on fibre channel connectivity on a workstation it needs to have MetaSan installed. I don’t use MetaLan, but my understanding is that it allows you to attach a workstation to the SAN via ethernet with higher speeds and greater ease of use than a standard network connection.

  • Cee Dee

    May 24, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    ok so whats a setup with fibre, iscsi or infiniband. i find the website to be pretty ambiguous in telling us what is really needed for a metasan setup. I like to know about some different configurations with host/client specs.

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