Thanks, Harm. Those look like good possible solutions but I didn't see any prices and I'd like to purchase in the US.
I have some other questions:
1. What kind of performance will I get if I use two of these enclosures that don't require a controller and just attach via eSata like this one?
2. What do you think about using only this one that requires a pci card and uses 2 e-Sata ports to control 8 drives?
3. I noticed on the Tom's Hardware charts that the Samsung 5400rpm F4EG 2TB has a better average read throughput than the Hitachi 7200rpm Deskstar 2TB. a) Is there a problem using these 5400rpm drives in a RAID if they have fast read times? b) Will the "EG--EcoGreen" rating make it unsuitable for video?
You want to edit 4K material, so the storage needs to be really fast. You need about 8 TB net space, so you need a parity raid. Striping is too risky and mirroring is too expensive. I see no solution without a good raid controller and with the number of disks in the external housing you need either multi-lane SAS connections or FC. The higher the backbone speed, the better. eSATA is just too slow for such amounts of storage, so the Newegg solution does not look attractive.
Another way to look at it, is to start with net storage space required: 8 TB. Assuming no more than 80% fill rate is acceptable, that means 10 TB net space. With 2 TB capacity per disk, that means 5 plus the parity, so at least 6 drive raid3/5 or 7 drive raid6. You would want to have swappable drives, so you can continue working if one or two drives fail. The alternative is a minimum 12 disk raid30/50 of 1 TB each, which will be faster and possibly less expensive than 2 TB disks.
Keep in mind that disk manufacturers mention 1 TB as 1,000,000,000 bytes unformatted, so once formatted the effective capacity is only 931 GB. So a 12 disk raid30/50 consisting of 1 TB disks will only give you 9.09 TB net space.
My preference would be two 8Gbit FC connections and that was the reason I pointed you to the 516F. With 16 swappable bays you could configure it with 16 1 TB disks, 14 in raid30 plus 2 hot-spares, giving you the 11.1 TB net space, the security you need, the speed and the assurance that if a couple of disks fail, you can continue working without delays. You can mount it in a 19" rack, that is easily transportable with wheels under the rack.
The only drawback is that it is not a cheap solution. I would call AC&NC. They have an 800 number on the page: http://www.acnc.com/02_01_jetstor_sas_516f.html
Here are other alternatives: http://www.iqss.com/iq_a316f_d4862.html and http://www.aberdeeninc.com/abcatg/xdas-fibre-8g-3u-inf.htm
If you Google for "FC Raid" you will find many more.
His #1 from Newegg seems like a viable option to me. The transfer speeds are rated above 600 Mb/s (one user was getting about 750), which seems plenty fast enough even for RED's 4K media. And with 8 bays, using 2TB drives he can get the required 12GB of storage.
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Option number 2 is a SAS connection and not E-sata. SAS is what you want for dealing with that material. E-Sata will definitely not be fast enough unless you get one of the better Multiplexing cards and even then it would be limited on layers with R3D. BTW the E-Sata multi-bay units require E-Sata controllers with Multiplexing support which most onboard E-Sata controllers don't support. You would likely have to have a card anyway. The cheaper cards only give you a transfer rate of about 110MB/s which is really not what you want for this. The SAS option is definitely the way to go. The controller will decide the final performance of the array.
Thanks so much, guys. I'm starting to have a better understanding.
I'm afraid Harm's solutions are out of my budget range, but I am interested in an SAS RAID 5 enclosure.
Can you please look at the 8-bay enclosures below?
I'd like to go with the SAS enclosure (Option 2 below) that comes bundled with a cheap controller card that would give me SAS ports on my desktop, but none of the SAS enclosures I've seen can also accept eSATA/USB for on-set data transfer. I don't think our laptop will have SAS ports (is that even possible??). The non-SAS enclosure (Option 1 below) has eSATA for on-set transfer but is much slower... but maybe it's fast enough for my needs?
Option 1. $329 and description mentions speeds of over 250MB/s with eSATA (will I really get 250MB/s and is that enough??)
Option 2. $659 and description mentions speeds over 650MB/s with SAS
I have these related questions:
a) what speed I'm currently getting from a single 7200rpm disk?
b) what speeds I'd realistically get from these cheap solutions (sometimes manufacturers post inflated numbers)?
c) what speed I actually need for the useage detailed in the original post?
d) do I need special hard drives to work with SAS?
e) are SATA 6.0 Gb/s necessary over SATA 3.0 Gb/s with either SAS or just eSATA?
No you will only get the 230MB/s if you get one of the higher end E-Sata cards which are normally $250 to $350 dollars depending on the manufacturer. BTW that still won't work with your laptop. You would have to get an express card E-Sata controller with Multiplexing support to use that E-sata bay with it anyway likely. Like I said most onboard E-sata ports don't support Multiplexing which is required to connect a multi-bay unit like that via 1 E-sata port.
I have not seen an express card option for a SAS controller before so I would say no to your laptop SAS question.
A: Most 7200 HDD's right now are averaging 105 to 114 MB/s
B: Like I said 110MB/s unless you buy the expensive E-Sata controller. Then you might get 230MB/s
C: This totally depends on your editing style and your editing workflow in AE. 1 to 3 layers will be fine with a 2 drive raid 0 if that was all you were going to do. The AE work changes that and how much is dependant on the editor. BTW that means the E-Sata option with the cheaper controller will not be enough. The higher end E-Sata controller will handle it ok until the volume gets over 65% capacity. If you want smooth playback then go the SAS route. The other options will barely get it done in many situations where as the SAS will handle most if not all with that material.
D: No, any sata drive will work. The 10K drives just read and write faster.
F: 6GB/s rarely makes a difference on mechanical drives right now. However it offers greater throughput on the controllers because of the PCI-E Gen2 that those controllers support and the greater channel throughput. So yes it matters on the controller but not the drives. SSD drives change that dependant on whether the drive controller is optimized for 6Gbs or not. Currently 6Gbs is SAS or SATA only. I don't believe it's an E-Sata specification yet.
Well It's free so you might as well try it. I would not expect much based on the specs of the card that I can pull up. It does not even support raid 6 which is unusual anymore accept for really cheap cards. That also likely means the raid config utility is not the best but it never hurts to try and see if you want that unit. You can always get another raid card later if you don't like the management or performance. Keep in mind though the raid controller decides how good the parity is and how reliable the verification is. Make sure you keep a backup of the raws if loss of data would cost any significant financial loss.
Another alternative: http://www.thecus.com/product.php?PROD_ID=32
That will allow 7 x 2 TB storage and can be connected to your NIC on the laptop, can be connected with dual NIC's to your desktop and managed over iSCSI. It is not as fast as SAN or DAS, it is only a NAS, but may meet your needs. I use it myself.
Thanks for your detailed answer, Eric.
I now understand SAS is the best bang-for-my-buck for my desktop editing. Hopefully I can afford to have two different solutions for non-SAS on-set and SAS in-suite, but...
Let me throw one more option into the mix before I abandon hope of an affordable all-in-one solution:
I could buy 2 of these 4-bay USB 3.0/eSATA bays to get the needed RAID 5 storage. On-set I could use USB to transfer files from the CF cards. Then I could use two USB 3.0 ports on my desktop's mobo to hook up both enclosures and edit.
a) Is this USB 3.0 solution any better than eSATA?
b) What kind of speeds would I get? (one reviewer "Papercut" said he got 200MB/s max using one but I couldn't tell if he had a special USB controller)
c) Would there be any problem with using two at the same time?
d) Does USB 3.0 have the same problem as eSATA once the capacity surpasses 65%?
That's interesting, Harm. It's more expensive than my desktop-only SAS option or the on-set-only option, but when you combine those two prices it gets similar in price. I have no experience with iSCSI. What kind of speeds would you expect with this enclosure using dual NIC's with my desktop?
Around 250 MB/s sustained transfer rate would be my guess. Not spectacular, but it works with both your laptop and your desktop and is a lot more affordable than a SAN/DAS solution.
iSCSI is a SAN Protocol with less layers than the standard TCP.The protocol is faster than the standard file sharing which is what Harm is mentioning. That unit however will not exceed 110MB/s 120MB/s likely even with the Dual Nic and load balancing.
I have not tested any such USB3 units yet though I know one of our partners has a 5 bay one coming soon. If you have your USB firmware/driver updated on your board then then performance should be close to what the poster states. However that is not something I confirmed. Now the onboard USB3 on the laptop would probably be to slow. I would likely get a USB3 express card for the laptop if you were going to go that route. It would atleast give you far better bandwidth than the onboard USB3.
However I would not recommend using those for editing. They would likely be great for the laptop solution since that workflow is mainly to move data off camera media and to transport. They may likely be good enough to preview a couple of layers. However editing is an entire different scenario with that material. If you go with the SAS solution for the workstation and use the USB3 for the laptop for both preview and transport then you can move the files to the SAS when back at the studio for editing. The USB3 unit then becomes you backup of the raws incase the SAS volume fails. If you don't have a backup of the raws then you are setting your self up for disaster especially with a timeline for editing in months.
Thanks everyone! It's not what I wanted to hear, but at least I can make decisions based on having lots of good info.