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    To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question

    Harm Millaard Community Member

      People often ask: Should I raid my disks?

       

      The question is simple, unfortunately the answer is not. So here I'm going to give you another guide to help you decide when a raid array is advantageous and how to go about it. Notice that this guide also applies to SSD's, with the expection of the parts about mechanical failure.

       

      What is a RAID?

       

      RAID is the acronym for "Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks". The concept originated at the University of Berkely in 1987 and was intended to create large storage capacity with smaller disks without the need for very expensive and reliable disks, that were very expensive at that time, often a tenfold of smaller disks. Today prices of hard disks have fallen so much that it often is more attractive to buy a single 1 TB disk than two 500 GB disks. That is the reason that today RAID is often described as "Redundant Array of Independent Disks".

       

      The idea behind RAID is to have a number of disks co-operate in such a way that it looks like one big disk. Note that 'Spanning' is not in any way comparable to RAID, it is just a way, like inverse partitioning, to extend the base partition to use multiple disks, without changing the method of reading and writing to that extended partition.

       

      Why use a RAID?

       

      Now with these lower disks prices today, why would a video editor consider a raid array? There are two reasons:

       

       

      1. Redundancy (or security)

       

       

      2. Performance

       

       

      Notice that it can be a combination of both reasons, it is not an 'either/or' reason.

       

       

      Does a video editor need RAID?

       

      No, if the above two reasons, redundancy and performance are not relevant. Yes if either or both reasons are relevant.

       

      Re 1. Redundancy

      Every mechanical disk will eventually fail, sometimes on the first day of use, sometimes only after several years of usage. When that happens, all data on that disk are lost and the only solution is to get a new disk and recreate the data from a backup (if you have one) or through tedious and time-consuming work. If that does not bother you and you can spare the time to recreate the data that were lost, then redundancy is not an issue for you. Keep in mind that disk failures often occur at inconvenient moments, on a weekend when the shops are closed and you can't get a replacement disk, or when you have a tight deadline.

       

       

      Re 2. Performance

      Opponents of RAID will often say that any modern disk is fast enough for video editing and they are right, but only to a certain extent. As fill rates of disks go up, performance goes down, sometimes by 50%. As the number of disk activities on the disk go up , like accessing (reading or writing) pagefile, media cache, previews, media, project file, output file, performance goes down the drain. The more tracks you have in your project, the more strain is put on your disk. 10 tracks require 10 times the bandwidth of a single track. The more applications you have open, the more your pagefile is used. This is especially apparent on systems with limited memory.

       

      The following chart shows how fill rates on a single disk will impact performance:

       

      HD Tach B.jpg

      Remember that I said previously the idea behind RAID is to have a number of disks co-operate in such a way that it looks like one big disk. That means a RAID will not fill up as fast as a single disk and not experience the same performance degradation.

       

       

      RAID basics

       

      Now that we have established the reasons why people may consider RAID, let's have a look at some of the basics.

       

      Single or Multiple?

       

      There are three methods to configure a RAID array: mirroring, striping and parity check. These are called levels and levels are subdivided in single or multiple levels, depending on the method used. A single level RAID0 is striping only and a multiple level RAID15 is a combination of mirroring (1) and parity check (5). Multiple levels are designated by combining two single levels, like a multiple RAID10, which is a combination of single level RAID0 with a single level RAID1.

       

      Hardware or Software?

       

      The difference is quite simple: hardware RAID controllers have their own processor and usually their own cache. Software RAID controllers use the CPU and the RAM on the motherboard. Hardware controllers are faster but also more expensive. For RAID levels without parity check like Raid0, Raid1 and Raid10 software controllers are quite good with a fast PC.

       

      The common Promise and Highpoint cards are all software controllers that (mis)use the CPU and RAM memory. Real hardware RAID controllers all use their own IOP (I/O Processor) and cache (ever wondered why these hardware controllers are expensive?).

       

      There are two kinds of software RAID's. One is controlled by the BIOS/drivers (like Promise/Highpoint) and the other is solely OS dependent. The first kind can be booted from, the second one can only be accessed after the OS has started. In performance terms they do not differ significantly.

       

      For the technically inclined: Cluster size, Block size and Chunk size

       

      In short: Cluster size applies to the partition and Block or Stripe size applies to the array.

       

      With a cluster size of 4 KB, data are distributed across the partition in 4 KB parts. Suppose you have a 10 KB file, three full clusters will be occupied: 4 KB - 4 KB - 2 KB. The remaining 2 KB is called slackspace and can not be used by other files. With a block size (stripe) of 64 KB, data are distributed across the array disks in 64 KB parts. Suppose you have a 200 KB file, the first part of 64 KB is located on disk A, the second 64 KB is located on disk B, the third 64 KB is located on disk C and the remaining 8 KB on disk D. Here there is no slackspace, because the block size is subdivided into clusters. When working with audio/video material a large block size is faster than smaller block size. Working with smaller files a smaller block size is preferred.

       

      Sometimes you have an option to set 'Chunk size', depending on the controller. It is the minimal size of a data request from the controller to a disk in the array and only useful when striping is used. Suppose you have a block size of 16 KB and you want to read a 1 MB file. The controller needs to read 64 times a block of 16 KB. With a chunk size of 32 KB the first two blocks will be read from the first disk, the next two blocks from the next disk, and so on. If the chunk size is 128 KB. the first 8 blocks will be read from the first disk, the next 8 block from the second disk, etcetera. Smaller chunks are advisable with smaller filer, larger chunks are better for larger (audio/video) files.

       

       

      RAID Levels

       

      For a full explanation of various RAID levels, look here: http://www.acnc.com/04_01_00/html

       

      What are the benefits of each RAID level for video editing and what are the risks and benefits of each level to help you achieve better redundancy and/or better performance? I will try to summarize them below.

       

      RAID0

       

      The Band AID of RAID. There is no redundancy! There is a risk of losing all data that is a multiplier of the number of disks in the array. A 2 disk array carries twice the risk over a single disk, a X disk array carries X times the risk of losing it all.

       

      A RAID0 is perfectly OK for data that you will not worry about if you lose them. Like pagefile, media cache, previews or rendered files. It may be a hassle if you have media files on it, because it requires recapturing, but not the end-of-the-world. It will be disastrous for project files.

       

      Performance wise a RAID0 is almost X times as fast as a single disk, X being the number of disks in the array.

       

      RAID1

       

      The RAID level for the paranoid. It gives no performance gain whatsoever. It gives you redundancy, at the cost of a disk. If you are meticulous about backups and make them all the time, RAID1 may be a better solution, because you can never forget to make a backup, you can restore instantly. Remember backups require a disk as well. This RAID1 level can only be advised for the C drive IMO if you do not have any trust in the reliability of modern-day disks. It is of no use for video editing.

       

      RAID3

       

      The RAID level for video editors. There is redundancy! There is only a small performance hit when rebuilding an array after a disk failure due to the dedicated parity disk. There is quite a perfomance gain achieveable, but the drawback is that it requires a hardware controller from Areca. You could do worse, but apart from it being the Rolls-Royce amongst the hardware controllers, it is expensive like the car.

       

      Performance wise it will achieve around 85% (X-1) on reads and 60% (X-1) on writes over a single disk with X being the number of disks in the array. So with a 6 disk array in RAID3, you get around 0.85x (6-1) = 425% the performance of a single disk on reads and 300% on writes.

       

       

      RAID5 & RAID6

       

      The RAID level for non-video applications with distributed parity. This makes for a somewhat severe hit in performance in case of a disk failure. The double parity in RAID6 makes it ideal for NAS applications.

       

      The performance gain is slightly lower than with a RAID3. RAID6 requires a dedicated hardware controller, RAID5 can be run on a software controller but the CPU overhead negates to a large extent the performance gain.

       

       

      RAID10

       

      The RAID level for paranoids in a hurry. It delivers the same redundancy as RAID 1, but since it is a multilevel RAID, combined with a RAID0, delivers twice the performance of a single disk at four times the cost, apart from the controller. The main advantage is that you can have two disk failures at the same time without losing data, but what are the chances of that happening?

       

       

      RAID30, 50 & 60

       

      Just striped arrays of RAID 3, 5 or 6 which doubles the speed while keeping redundancy at the same level.

       

       

      EXTRAS

       

      RAID level 0 is striping, RAID level 1 is mirroring and RAID levels 3, 5 & 6 are parity check methods. For parity check methods, dedicated controllers offer the possibility of defining a hot-spare disk. A hot-spare disk is an extra disk that does not belong to the array, but is instantly available to take over from a failed disk in the array. Suppose you have a 6 disk RAID3 array with a single hot-spare disk and assume one disk fails. What happens? The data on the failed disk can be reconstructed in the background, while you keep working with negligeable impact on performance, to the hot-spare. In mere minutes your system is back at the performance level you were before the disk failure. Sometime later you take out the failed drive, replace it for a new drive and define that as the new hot-spare.

       

      As stated earlier, dedicated hardware controllers use their own IOP and their own cache instead of using the memory on the mobo. The larger the cache on the controller, the better the performance, but the main benefits of cache memory are when handling random R+W activities. For sequential activities, like with video editing it does not pay to use more than 2 GB of cache maximum.

       

       

      REDUNDANCY

      (or security)

       

       

      Not using RAID entails the risk of a drive failing and losing all data. The same applies to using RAID0 (or better said AID0), only multiplied by the number of disks in the array.

       

      RAID1 or 10 overcomes that risk by offering a mirror, an instant backup in case of failure at high cost.

       

      RAID3, 5 or 6 offers protection for disk failure by reconstructing the lost data in the background (1 disk for RAID3 & 5, 2 disks for RAID6) while continuing your work. This is even enhanced by the use of hot-spares (a double assurance).

       

       

      PERFORMANCE

       

      RAID0 offers the best performance increase over a single disk, followed by RAID3, then RAID5 amd finally RAID6. RAID1 does not offer any performance increase.

       

      Hardware RAID controllers offer the best performance and the best options (like adjustable block/stripe size and hot-spares), but they are costly.

       

       

      SUMMARY

       

      If you only have 3 or 4 disks in total, forget about RAID. Set them up as individual disks, or the better alternative, get more disks for better redundancy and better performance. What does it cost today to buy an extra disk when compared to the downtime you have when a single disk fails?

       

      If you have room for at least 4 or more disks, apart from the OS disk, consider a RAID3 if you have an Areca controller, otherwise consider a RAID5.

       

      If you have even more disks, consider a multilevel array by striping a parity check array to form a RAID30, 50 or 60.

       

      If you can afford the investment get an Areca controller with battery backup module (BBM) and 2 GB of cache. Avoid as much as possible the use of software raids, especially under Windows if you can.

       

      RAID, if properly configured will give you added redundancy (or security) to protect you from disk failure while you can continue working and will give you increased performance.

       

      Look carefully at this chart to see what a properly configured RAID can do to performance and compare it to the earlier single disk chart to see the performance difference, while taking into consideration that you can have one disks (in each array) fail at the same time without data loss:

      Areca_HDTach1.jpg

       

      Hope this helps in deciding whether RAID is worthwhile for you.

       

      WARNING: If you have a power outage without a UPS, all bets are off.

       

      A power outage can destroy the contents of all your disks if you don't have a proper UPS. A BBM may not be sufficient to help in that case.

        • 1. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
          J. Simon Community Member

          Another well written article, Harm.

          • 2. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
            klfi Community Member

            Dear Harm

            since month i read all your posts, comments, articles. Congratulations, very well done, very, very interesting for "non professionals" to get useful and helpful information. Thank you for spending your time for the community. I think nowhere users can learn more.

             

            If your time allows, may i hear your oppinion.

            My System:

            Vista ultim.64 bit, ProdPremium 4.1

            I use HDV mpeg2 files captured 1440x1080.

            drive C: 1 TB Samsung 7200 rpm...only used for the programms

            drive D: 1 TB Samsung 7200, Raid0 ... only used for projekt and all projekt files

            drive E: 1 TB Samsung 7200, .. only used for daily savings of drive D

             

            after the Project is finished, i export the projekt, all used and not used files and encoded results to QNAP server, 8 TB Raid5.

            Are i on a secure road or what shall i change. For me Nr 1 intention is to have as much speed as possible.

             

            Having red your posts and watshing the benchmarks listened, i will go on to rebulit "Harms Best" vista 64bit system.

            Maybe you will allow me to ask you one or another questions next time becouse of this issue .

             

            Again best regards from klfi, austria, europe

            • 3. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
              Harm Millaard Community Member

              If I understand you correctly, you have two 1 TB disks and two 500 GB disks, the latter being in a Raid0, correct?

               

              I would change your disk allocation, with the current number of disks, as follows:

               

              C: 500 GB for OS & Programs

              D: 500 GB for pagefile, media cache, previews

              E: 1 TB for project files, indexed and conformed/peak files

              F: 1 TB for media

               

              No raid at the moment, unless you are willing to get more disks.

               

              This setup will better use the space on C, which is currently largely wasted. It also separates project files from media files. You can use the space on the D drive to make backups of the project files from E, until you move everything over to the QNAP.

               

              BTW, which QNAP do you have, the TS809 Pro and is it populated with 1 TB disks?

              • 4. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                Bill Gehrke MVP

                Great article on RAID.  But I have another suggestion for those with very deep pockets.  How about a 1 TB SSD in a 3.5-inch form factor for a mere $3500.  It has read rate of up to 260 MBps, write of up to 260MBps and sustained write of up to 230MBps.

                 

                 

                OCZ colossus.jpg

                • 5. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                  Harm Millaard Community Member

                  Imagine that in a 12 disk RAID30....

                  • 6. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                    J. Simon Community Member

                    C: 500 GB for OS & Programs

                    D: 500 GB for pagefile, media cache, previews

                    E: 1 TB for project files, indexed and conformed/peak files

                    F: 1 TB for media

                     

                    I would change that up slightly myself.

                     

                    C: 500 GB for OS & Programs (leave the page file alone)

                    D: 500 GB for Project and all Scratch files

                    E: 1 TB for Media

                    F: 1 TB for Exports

                    • 7. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                      Harm Millaard Community Member

                      Jim,

                       

                      First, it is better to use a fixed pagefile (min=max) on a separate disk to avoid file fragmentation and improve performance. Second, for exports disk performance is completely irrelevant, you could do that to any USB device without penalty and using 1 TB just for non-time critical writes (CPU is critical) seems like a waste of space and resources. Performance wise you are better off exporting either to the project file or to an external disk.

                      • 8. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                        Bill Gehrke MVP

                        Harm Millaard wrote:

                         

                        Imagine that in a 12 disk RAID30....

                        Areca might have to do some new homework to make it effective.

                         

                        I mentioned to Harm in a PE that I was very impressed with results of the "Poath Junction" PPBM4 AVI encoding score with just two disk drives.  I assumed that they were the newer Seagate 15K.7 drives.  I ordered one and here are the HDtach results:

                         

                        300GB-SAS-15K-7.jpg

                         

                        The PPBM results are very much like the results I get for two Seagate 7200.12 1 TB disks in RAID 0

                        • 9. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                          klfi Community Member

                          Harm,

                          thanks for your comment.

                          Your understanding  was absolutely right.

                          Sorry my mistake its QNAP 639 PRO, populated with 5 1TB, one is empty.

                           

                          So for my understanding, in my configuration you suggest NOT to use RAID-0. Im not willing to have more drives in my workstation becouse if my projekts are finished, i archiv on QNAP or archiv on other external drive.

                          My only intention is to have as much speed and as much performance as possible during developing a projekt 

                          BTW QNAP i also use as media-center in combination with Sony PS3 to run the encoded files.

                           

                          For my final understanding:

                          C:  i understand

                          D: i understand

                          E and F: does it mean, when i create a projekt on E, all my captured and project-used MPEG - files should be situated in F?  Or which media in F you mean?

                           

                          Following your suggestions in want to rebulid Harms-Best Vista64-Benchmark comp to reach maximum speed and performance. Can i use in general the those hardware components (exept so many HD drives and exept Areca raid controller ) in my drive configuration C to F. Or would you suggest some changings in my situation?

                          • 10. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                            Harm Millaard Community Member

                            I suggest NOT to use Raid with the number of disks you have.

                             

                            Yes, with Media on the F drive I mean all your captured material and your projects on E.

                             

                            If you say you want no more internal disks, but also achieve somewhat comparable results to my benchmarks, you are in for a deception. My results are rather exceptional just because I use a 12 disk raid30 on an Areca controller. That is the most important difference between other scores and my score.

                             

                            The results Bill showed above are very impressive, especially for a single disk, Nearly 180 MB/s average read time, but if you compare it to my average read time of 853 MB/s still somewhat off, but that is only because of my massive array. Had I had those disks, I guess I would have had over 1,000 MB/s in a similar array, maybe even more, although the limitations of the PCI-e bus come in the picture as well.

                            • 11. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                              Bill Gehrke MVP

                              With PCIe there has been an improvement with most motherboards that are less than a year old now supporting PCIe version 2.0 that doubled the initial rate with some day we will have PCIe version 3

                              here is some information on transfer speeds:

                               

                              Capacity      Per lane:    

                              * v1.x: 250 MB/s   

                              * v2.0: 500 MB/s   

                              * v3.0: 1 GB/s

                               

                              16 lane slot (x16):    

                              * v1.x: 4 GB/s   

                              * v2.0: 8 GB/s   

                              * v3.0: 16 GB/s

                               

                              The Areca controllers that are out now are only 8 lanes (x8) wide at present so yes the present generation of Areca boards would definitly be bottle-necked at 1 GB/s, but I think also the Intel IOP 341 chip would also be a bottleneck

                              • 12. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                sarmour2

                                Good overview article Harm, thank you.

                                 

                                One absence for me in this whole picture though, was info for redundancy or mirroring for the all important boot drive.

                                 

                                We have had more downtime problems from failing bootdrives (we got caught in the Seagate firmware mess) then any other thing. It is not just a question of hassle, but of recovering quickly from the loss of a critical ws, which always seems to happen with deadlines. Our RAIDs are usually mirrored, but what about the bootdrive? We've tried software mirroring with MirrorFolder, but have had corruption probs.

                                 

                                Even with a less-than-ideal solution like MirrorFolder, we were very quickly back up and running after failures. Twice this has happened, and with multiple workstation's, it's almost a guarantee to happen again. Try recovering quickly without a mirrored bootdrive once and you soon get sensitive in that area!

                                 

                                How do you handle boot drive redundancy? When we go to a FC SAN, it'll maybe be a less critical point, but still will rear it's ugly head.

                                • 13. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                  Harm Millaard Community Member

                                  Stephen,

                                   

                                  Reread the description about RAID1: It can only be advised for the C: drive.

                                   

                                  Also look at my more extensive answer on DVInfo.

                                  • 14. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                    sarmour2 Community Member

                                    Ok Harm, I confess I skipped over your RAID 1 part entirely...my bad. You got it covered for sure.

                                     

                                    I guess after so many probs, I'm one who has lost all confidence in HDD's (even enterprise level), and RAID 1 for boot drives is not an option for us anymore. There is certainly no better solution I can see for boot/program drive protection.

                                     

                                    With the size of program bloatware installations growing all the time, and with the rate program updates are released, it makes no sense whatsoever for us to not plan for mirroring our boot drives.

                                     

                                    I can well understand the space prob though, as that's why I ended up zip-tying a drive into one server case! No time to make more elegant solutions.

                                     

                                    Thanks again for your article, sorry for my skipover.
                                    • 15. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                      klfi Community Member

                                      Dear Harm

                                      dear other authors,

                                       

                                      thanks a lot for your comments

                                      I will follow your suggestions, which means in my system:

                                      C: 500 GB for OS & Programs

                                      D: 500 GB for pagefile, media cache, previews

                                      E: 1 TB for project files, indexed and conformed/peak files

                                      F: 1 TB for media

                                       

                                      For my general understanding:

                                      which dirve in general has to be the fastest to have the best speed and performance during working in a project.

                                      Which one is the importanst for performance and which not. Can you explain me the lines up in some words an why?

                                       

                                      best regards klfi

                                      • 16. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                        sarmour2 Community Member

                                        C: 500 GB for OS & Programs

                                        D: 500 GB for pagefile, media cache, previews

                                        E: 1 TB for project files, indexed and conformed/peak files

                                        F: 1 TB for media

                                         

                                        Harm, where is any redundancy in this setup? Seems to me no more secure from data loss than a single, large drive! For performance, it's good...but for security, it's not much.

                                         

                                        Why not a seemingly more secure and faster solution, like:

                                         

                                        C: small SSD for OS & Programs (with builti n Raid 1)

                                        D: small SSD for pagefile, media cache, previews (RAID0 or no RAID)

                                        E: larger HDD RAID5 for project files, indexed and conformed/peak files and all the media.

                                         

                                        Seems to be only a little more expensive, yet potentially much faster and much more secure.

                                         

                                        Where's the holes in my logic? One HDD less, less power draw and it'd all fit in a 4 bay case.

                                        • 17. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                          klfi Community Member

                                          Thanks sarmour2 ,

                                           

                                          my poriorities in my system are not savings and security, becouse they were done regularely daily on external drives or QNAP during not working times automaticly. 

                                          My priotity  one is only speed and performance during working in a project..as fast as possible.

                                           

                                          Files which i captured and which are not used in a project are parked on an external drive or QNAP. They will be imported when they are used for a projekt. On the external drives or QNAP speed and performance is secudary and not necessary.

                                           

                                          For ist better to wait some minutes for import than have no speed an performance during projectwork. If you follow my thoughts, would you stay on your poinion or would you change something.

                                           

                                          thanks for your thoughts klf  

                                          • 18. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                            Harm Millaard Community Member

                                            Stephen,

                                             

                                            There is one problem with your approach: KLFI has expressly stated he does not want any more internal disks in his system, so he has to do with the four disks he has. I only suggested a different allocation of the disks to the various tasks.

                                             

                                            SSD's are still in their infancy and initial benchmark results do not show significant performance gains from using SSD's. Theoretically you are quite correct that your setup may be faster with the SSD's and a dedicated Raid5 (or Raid3, which may be even better) but that may mean that in addition to a number of SSD's, KLFI would also need to get at least 2 or 3 extra 1 TB disks and possibly a good controller. The sum total of that investment may be prohibitive for his workflow, since he alreay has the QNAP.

                                             

                                            A practical limitation at this moment is that Intel is still working on the required firmware upgrade to fully support the trim function, which is essential to limit the write performance degradation that SSD's were plagued with. It may be 1 or 2 months to be released.

                                            • 19. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                              sarmour2 Community Member

                                              Klfi, I guess for your setup, as Harm observed, what you stated seems right for what you have. Your workflow is very different from ours though.

                                               

                                              Harm, I guess the best thing at the moment is to wait out the bleeding edge and see where the SSDs are in a couple of months. From what I've read, they have already resolved (or are very close to finalizing) those problems. If they remove that barrier, it would seem a very good setup for a new ws and something we may try early next year. One of our quad Intel boards is rolling past the 2 yr mark and needs to be replaced soon.

                                               

                                              Since the controller would only be relevant for the RAID1 boot/mirror and for the RAID3 or 5 setup, which Areca board would be a good tradeoff of cost/benefit/performance? I know you like their equipment.

                                              • 20. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                Bill Gehrke MVP

                                                I personally would not try to pick out an Areca controller now for a future application.  Current boards are relatively old designs and new designs are most likely immanent. They need to upgrade the designs to accommodate PCIe version 2 and SATA 6 Gbits/s to stay up with current technology and the competition.

                                                • 21. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                  baumanico

                                                  It help to make some order in this information sea.

                                                   

                                                  I take the liberty to ask your advice, in a hope you find time to reply. It concerns my design of storage space, as I am about to buy some material.

                                                   

                                                  I film a documentary on Sony EX1-HQ files, using FCP on MacPro, 15'', 500 GB.

                                                  I estimate the total space for the final media (not yet there) at less than 2TB

                                                   

                                                  I have little experience with post production, I thought to design my storage as to the follwoing:

                                                   

                                                  drive C: 500 GB - for the OX and programs, and FCP Folders (cache, autosave)
                                                  drive D: 2 TB - for FCP folders (capture video, audio, render)
                                                  drive E: 2 TB for original media
                                                  drive F:  back up of original media and back up FC project files.

                                                   

                                                  As it seems from the article, it seems I don't need RAID. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

                                                   

                                                  Would highly appreciate any input on my design so I can improve it.

                                                   

                                                  NB - am auto finance the project, so can compromise on speed for the economy (though I know I'm ready to pay several hundreds)

                                                   

                                                  Cheers from France, baumanico

                                                  • 22. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                    Harm Millaard Community Member

                                                    EX1 HQ material is around 16 GB/hour, so 2 TB would last you around 125 hours of source material. I don't envy you with that much material for a single project. Your disk setup is sound. The only suggestion is to use a swappable bay for your F drive, so you can easily make a backup of your media, since you will be needing your SxS or KxS cards for the next shots. If you use a swappable bay you can use multiple backup drives.

                                                    • 24. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                      Powered by Design Community Member

                                                      All this RAID talk reminded me of a video with 24 SSD in raid.

                                                       

                                                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96dWOEa4Djs

                                                       

                                                      Fun to see how fast everything ran.

                                                       

                                                       

                                                      Enjoy:  Glenn

                                                      • 25. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                        baumanico Community Member

                                                        I'm not sure it's the right place but it seems you have this knowledge so I'l try:

                                                         

                                                        I'm considering 3 disks of 2TB from the following:

                                                        Hitachi  Deskstar 7K2000 SATA II - 2.0 TB

                                                        Seagate Barracuda LP SATA II - 2.0 TB

                                                        WD Caviar Green SATA II - 2.0 TB (32MB)

                                                         

                                                        They are all at ascending order of price,

                                                        I wanted to know if there are any recommendations and/or if experience tell some tend to fail.

                                                         

                                                        10x

                                                        • 26. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                          Harm Millaard Community Member

                                                          Green is unsuitable for editing.

                                                           

                                                          Seagate Barracuda is a disaster it you are talking about the 7200.11 series, better is  the 7200.12

                                                           

                                                          Hitachi I don't know.

                                                           

                                                          For single disk use look at WD Caviar Black, for raid useage look at the WD RE4.

                                                          • 27. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                            jesskaat Community Member

                                                            This is so great! Yesterday, I had decided I needed to learn more about RAID and whether or not I was taking full advantage of it..

                                                            ..

                                                            I did a little search and Voilà!

                                                             

                                                            Wonderful article  - right there waiting for me.

                                                             

                                                            Thanks Harm. I really appreciate it.

                                                             

                                                            Jessica Vecchione

                                                            • 28. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                              hbannister

                                                              I have scoured this forum for the past couple of months and want to thank you for providing such an incredible compilation of information.

                                                               

                                                              I have built my first raid system for premiere cs4 which I use for work. It's primary use is for editing AVCHD shot on Canon Vixia's (HF-11 & HF s10). A brief rundown of a few specs so far (you should notice your influence aside from the i7-975 ):

                                                               

                                                              ASUS P6T7 WS SuperComputer

                                                              i7 Core 975 (soon to be OC'd)

                                                              12GB 1600 DDR3 7-7-7-20 (to be OC'd)

                                                              1000 Watt Corsair PSU

                                                              Areca 1280ML w/2gb of ram

                                                              2-WD VelociRaptor 300GB

                                                              8-Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB

                                                               

                                                              I am planning on using 5 of the F3's in Raid 3 for my video/media drive and the remaining 3 in RAID 3 for pagefile/scratch. Is this just a waste of 3 drives for pagefile? Should I just use one and add the remaining 2 to the RAID 3 set-up? I have 3TB's that I will use separately for storage.

                                                               

                                                              I am unclear as to the "best" setup for my O/S & programs drive. I have been planning to use the 2 Velo's in Raid 0 for the O/S and CS4 Master collection. Is there any benefit to this setup & is it best to set them up to boot using the Raid Controller in their own volume, or on the motherboard itself?

                                                               

                                                              Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

                                                              Horatio

                                                              • 29. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                                Harm Millaard Community Member

                                                                Your two Velociraptors are very fast. I would suggest to use them in a Raid1 configuration for security on the mobo, not in a Raid0. Alternatively you can use them as separate disks, one for OS & programs and the other for miscellaneous stuff. Possibly the read speed is enhanced in raid1, because of combined reads if the ICHR10 or Marvell support that. I'm not sure they do however. Do leave ACPI off in the BIOS.

                                                                 

                                                                Your 8 disks I would use in a 7 disk raid3 plus 1 hot-spare for security reasons and put the pagefile on there as well, rather then creating two separate arrays.

                                                                • 30. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                                  hbannister Community Member

                                                                  Sir,

                                                                  To RAID, that is the answer!  I can not thank you enough for your advice. I will implement the set-up with the 2-Velos in RAID 1 and the 7 in RAID 3 with a hot spare. I am also going to install your recommended utilities and system monitoring software.  I will benchmark the machine and post the results and give some feedback as to how this machine handles AVCHD. It is fantastic to have this forum as a resource.

                                                                   

                                                                  Again, thanks for the help!

                                                                   

                                                                  Horatio

                                                                  • 31. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                                    Kens10 Community Member

                                                                    I am new to this and was hoping for some advise on a stable basic setup for CS3, I mostly work with DV footage but wanting to migrate to HD soon.

                                                                     

                                                                     

                                                                    I use an  AMD  quad with 6 gig of ram with the following setup.

                                                                     

                                                                     

                                                                    C. 600gb drive OS/programs

                                                                    E.1.5 TB Project file, Media/Animation, Photoshop files (I use a lot of DJ products)

                                                                    V. 1 TB Media/Video (in a swapable case)

                                                                     

                                                                    I also have couple usb 2.0,  500gb external drives used with my older ATA133 system.

                                                                     

                                                                    External 1. Export, pagefile, scratch disk

                                                                    External 2. Music/Sound

                                                                     

                                                                    I do have room for one more internal drive but my motherbooard only has 4 sata connections that are used for the 3 drives and the DVD unit. The motherboard has 3 usb 2 and 1 firewire headers, could they be utalized?  I could buy a sata controller to add another drive. (any recomendations)

                                                                     

                                                                    Also what is meant by the indexed and conformed/peak.

                                                                     

                                                                    Thanks for your input.  Ken

                                                                    • 32. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                                      Harm Millaard Community Member

                                                                      You are new here, so you haven't seen this range of articles. You specifically want to read the storage one: How to get the best from a PC? Some guides...

                                                                      • 33. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                                        CJGerow

                                                                        Harm,

                                                                        This is a little off subject, but I have read this thread and was facinated - to the point that I got a Solid State Drive and tested it out with HD Tach,  Much to my alazement, I compared this to a .5 TB drive I have in the system and the results don't look anthing like yours. As a matter of fact - they are quite disappoointing.

                                                                         

                                                                        MyHD.jpg

                                                                         

                                                                        How can I improve this

                                                                         

                                                                        Hardware:

                                                                        - Pentuim D processirs

                                                                        - WD Green 7200 drive - 500GB

                                                                        - Kingston 128GB SSD

                                                                        - SATA II 150 PCI board

                                                                         

                                                                        Thanks,

                                                                        Chris

                                                                        • 34. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                                          Harm Millaard Community Member

                                                                          Chris,

                                                                           

                                                                          First run the http://ppbm4.com benchmark and send the results to Bill. Once we can see how your system compares to others, we will likely see the limitations of your CPU and possibly the chipset. I agree that your disk results are disappointing, but often SSD's are not as fabulous as Marketeers want us to believe. Personally I would not currently want SSD's unless they are in a 4 'disk' raid10 for a boot disk and then the price tag is prohibitive.

                                                                          • 35. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                                            Bill Gehrke MVP

                                                                            I am guessing but looking at HDtach results your burst rate from your SSD indicates a real bottleneck, I am guessing that you have it on the SATA II 150 PCI board.  This looks to me like it is a 150 MB/s interface and then it also is on the PCI bus which is another bottleneck.  If you had it on a better interface (my Areca) it might look like this:

                                                                            Win7-SSD.jpg

                                                                            But there is one other problem that I see that is that your SSD is the "V" series which stands for value as opposed to the higher cost high perfomance SSD's.  And even my Patriot device (which I do not recommend buying) did not do much for my performance (look at the results on PPBM4) and therefore my opinon that currently SSD's are not practical because they are not cost effective.

                                                                            • 36. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                                              CJGerow Community Member

                                                                              Harm and Bill,

                                                                              Wow – I got a double whammy from two of the big guys.  Thanks to both of you.  I’m currently running with Premiere Pro 2.0 so I can’t run Bill’s Benchmark.  I have CS4 on the way but it hasn’t arrived yet.  I was thinking about switching the two drives and use the WD on the SATA adapter and the SSD on the motherboard just to see what would happen. 

                                                                               

                                                                              Bill, RE: V drive - that is why the drive was so inexpensive.  Dang – should have paid more attention to the performance data on that drive.  I zeroed into the price and glommed on to it.  Boy do I feel like a dolt.  That HD Tack you displayed is extraordinarily impressive – what is your configuration (arece? and drive)? 

                                                                               

                                                                              I plan to use this drive for Windows 7 – nothing else

                                                                               

                                                                              The options as I see it: 

                                                                              1)      Upgrade my SSD to a faster one – 250MB/second

                                                                              2)      Exchange the SSD for a small drive like a WD (Western Digital RE3 WD2502ABYS-01B7A0 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive). 

                                                                              3)      In either of the two options above - I think I would have to upgrade my SATA adapter also – but I only have a PCI slot available

                                                                              4)      Go with what I have – it works…  

                                                                              5)      Build a new system and do it right.  I’m doing this on my own so this is my last option. 

                                                                               

                                                                              I’m building a video to show high school’rs what engineering is all about. I build trebuchets and participate in the “Punkin Chunkin” event – website – www.supertrebs.com. You may have seen us on TV on the science channel on Thanksgiving….  This is why I’m on a budget. 

                                                                              • 37. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                                                Bill Gehrke MVP

                                                                                I have a high end Patriot Torqx M28 drive BUT do not reccommend buying one as there is no Win 7 TRIM support currently, and no way to reset it to its original condition or to clean it up.  Some SSD's you can use a utility like wiper.exe, but nothing for this model from Patriot.  Since you are on a tight budget you do not want to even consider Areca, I do not think they even have a PCI controller.

                                                                                 

                                                                                While the HDtach looks great I found essentially no improvement over the same amount of money spent on good disks--if you have a decent controller and that is where your PCI bus only is going to limit you.  Your Green drive is also a handicap, you will not have great performance out of anything green.

                                                                                 

                                                                                Does your motherboard have SATA 3Gb/sec (sometimes referred to as 300 MB/s) interfaces available?

                                                                                • 38. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                                                  CJGerow Community Member

                                                                                  Bill,

                                                                                  <<Does your motherboard have SATA 3Gb/sec (sometimes referred to as 300 MB/s) interfaces available?>>

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Yes it does....

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Harm has talked about setting up a Areca raid3 external which sounds interesting - I would have to build a new machine to make this work. But for 3k I can make a barn burner..........I'm starting to come around to this.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Would you ditch the idea of using the SSD for WIN7?

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Thanks,

                                                                                  Chris

                                                                                  • 39. Re: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question
                                                                                    Harm Millaard Community Member

                                                                                    For $ 3K you can get a long way, but be aware that the Areca card is going to cut a sizable part out of your budget. The one I have is around $ 1200.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    I think you better forget about SSD's for the time being and revert to conventional disks. Next year may be quite different, but now, I would forget about SSD's.

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