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Old April 25th, 2008, 01:03 PM   #1
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Videoguys NAB2008 Report: G-Tech

Videoguys NAB2008 Report: G-Tech

If youíve been a follower of our website then you know that I have loved G-Tech G-Raids since their inception. These drives deliver outstanding performance and reliability because they have built in cooling. At NAB G-tech was showing off three new G-Raid drives that I think are very exciting.

G-RAID3
The G-RAID3 family of drives will not replace the G-RAID2, but they will be available as a step up model. What do you get with a G-RAID3 that makes it worth the extra bucks? First you get a Quad interface. That means theyíve added eSata along with FireWire 400/800 and USB2. Iím a really big fan of eSata. On the PC side youíll find many motherboards now shipping with external eSata connections. Our DIY6 machine has two. eSata is far more reliable and faster than either FireWire or USB. GRAID3 also includes a quieter and smarter fan. It will adjust itís speed based on the cooling needed, giving you a much quieter solution. Also thereís now a new ďsoftĒ power switch for better reliability.

G-RAID Pro
No, this is not deja vu all over again! While G-Tech has resurrected the G-Raid Pro name, this is not the same product at all. Based on the G-SPEED eS chassis, itís a 4 drive external solution that can be configured as either a RAID0 or RAID5 using the integrated RAID controller. Iím becoming a really big fan of RAID5. You get redundancy and failsafe operation. If one of the drives fails, you donít lose any data and you can even keep editing. The G-Raid Pro is a triple interface (FireWire 400 / 800 / USB2). At the show I asked if it was possible that G-Raid Pro could have eSata as well. I didnít get a hard ďNoĒ, which tells me itís still not set in stone. I hope they add eSata. This would make the G-RAID Pro the least expensive eSata RAID5 solution on the market. While the internal RAID controller would limit your ability to expand and stripe across multiple units, the price / performance value of the G-RAID Pro would make it my top recommendation for HD editors on a budget.

G-Raid mini 2
Just like the G-RAID3, the G-Raid mini2 gets a quad support, although itís just a triple interface Ė FW800/eSATA/usb2 Ė FW400 is through an 800 to 400adapter cable. Even more important you now get the option of configuring it as a RAID0 or RAID1. Whatís so cool about that? I see it as a fantastic option for in the field. By capturing to a RAID1 mirror, you donít have to worry about disaster striking. You get two copies at the same time. For anyone using Adobe On Location I see this as a must have storage solution for it. Also, the G-RAID mini can be bus-powered via FireWire while connected eSATA Ė thatís cool!

Gary
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Old April 25th, 2008, 07:55 PM   #2
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Gary,

The G-raid 3 is perfect for me. I have a MAC with FW 800 and PC with eSATA,

Do you know approximately when they might ship?

Thanks.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 12:28 AM   #3
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Hopefully not to sound too stupid, can it be explained what the largest advantages of these boxes are?
They seem to be a housing for multiple drives that are internally RAID'ed then attached to the PC via multiple connector options. Wouldn't this single connection limit this box's speed to the MB (how fast can 4 drives in RAID work through a firewire 400 or USB2 connection)? Is the point just extra storage or is it a high speed RAID device for high bandwidth (uncompressed HD) applications?
Thanx
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Old April 28th, 2008, 08:34 AM   #4
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It's actually all of the above. While you can always do internal storage, external storage has advantages.

1 - By placing the RAID outside of the box, there is much less heat in the box
2 - G-Raids have their own fan and cooling. Many external raids do not. Heat is the enemy of storage
3 - The multiple connections are for flexibility. Obviously you want to use the fastest connection you have. That is eSata. Many new workstation PC motherboards now have external eSata ports. FireWire800 is faster then FireWire 400. Depending on your machien you may find USB2 better then FW400, or the opposite. Flexibility also allows you to move the G-Raid between multiple machines.
4 - G-Raids give you superior performance and throughput vs JBOD. Just a Bunch of drives. The stripe splits the data across the drives, giving you higher sustained throughtput for close tot the entire capacity. Individual drives get

Hope that helps,

Gary
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Old April 28th, 2008, 12:00 PM   #5
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Gary,

What I do not get is why somebody doesn't make a 100% extrenal hardware raid with 4 or 5 drives like the G-raid but with a single ESATA port.

There are 4 drive systems with firewire 800 which almost seems like a waste since the FW800 is the bottleneck.

There are 2 drive system with ESATA which do not really see that much of a boost compared to FW800 since 2 drives can only go so fast.

There are 4 or 5 drive units with ESATA but it is port multiplied.

Since ESATA is capable of such fast speeds why can't there be a simple 4 drive unit that uses a single normal everyday esata port? What the world needs is a cheap simple G-raid box to handle at least 8 bit uncompressed HD.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 12:09 PM   #6
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Thomas - BINGO! That is why I was begging G-Tech to add eSata to the new Graid Pro line-up. I wasn't the only one. Hopefully they will be able to add it before product ships in June.

Gary
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Old May 1st, 2008, 12:03 AM   #7
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So it is an external box with RAID'ed drives but it connects to the MB with just one connector which esata being the fastest option. Does this really pan out speed wise vs. an internal RAID where every drive has its own sata connection?
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Old May 1st, 2008, 02:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Smet View Post
Gary,

What I do not get is why somebody doesn't make a 100% extrenal hardware raid with 4 or 5 drives like the G-raid but with a single ESATA port.

There are 4 drive systems with firewire 800 which almost seems like a waste since the FW800 is the bottleneck.

There are 2 drive system with ESATA which do not really see that much of a boost compared to FW800 since 2 drives can only go so fast.

There are 4 or 5 drive units with ESATA but it is port multiplied.

Since ESATA is capable of such fast speeds why can't there be a simple 4 drive unit that uses a single normal everyday esata port? What the world needs is a cheap simple G-raid box to handle at least 8 bit uncompressed HD.

Thomas - check out this
http://www.addonics.com/products/raid_system/mst4.asp
the unit with the inifiniband connector. This not a port multiplier.

You can only run a maximum of two drives off a single eSata port without using a port multiplier. That is the nature of the beast. Having said that if 1 port supports 3Gb/s then a port multiplier should not impact performance drastically. The trick is having the hardware on the other side to raid it.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 10:49 AM   #9
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I'm not talking about running multiple drives off a single esata cable but raiding the drives together first and pumping that data out a single esata port. The esata port would just think it was pumping out a single stream. Sort of like how with these units and firewire the drives are raided together first and that single stream of data is pumped out the firewire port. The firewire port doesn't care how many drives are behind it it just sees a single blob of data that it needs to pump through. I see no reason why esata cannot work the same way. Just use esata as a pipe to pump the data through.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 10:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Thomas Smet View Post
I'm not talking about running multiple drives off a single esata cable but raiding the drives together first and pumping that data out a single esata port. The esata port would just think it was pumping out a single stream. Sort of like how with these units and firewire the drives are raided together first and that single stream of data is pumped out the firewire port. The firewire port doesn't care how many drives are behind it it just sees a single blob of data that it needs to pump through. I see no reason why esata cannot work the same way. Just use esata as a pipe to pump the data through.
Understand, but I think the eSata spec says you can address a maximum of two drives on any one port (unless you use a port multiplier). Firewire and SCSI on the other hand can address multiple units natively. Still I see no reason why a hardware port multiplier (as opposed to a port multiplier) will not do what you want (well up to 5 drives anyway). It is compatible with RAID.

That is another solution that Addonics offers:
http://www.addonics.com/products/hos...ad5sahpm-e.asp
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Old May 1st, 2008, 11:43 PM   #11
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I have never heard of this restriction before. It has always been my understanding (although it could be wrong of course) that multilane and port multipliers are needed becaus the raid is taking place on the adpater card and not in the external box itself. All the drives have to be sent to the host system or the sata raid card so they can be raided together.

Perhaps it cannot be done but it sure would be nice.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 12:18 AM   #12
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From the Wiki: it appears I was wrong - it is only one device per port only...

********************************************************
Topology

SATA topology: host Ė expansor - deviceSATA is a point to point architecture. The connection between the controller and the storage device is direct.

In a modern PC system, the SATA controller is usually found on the motherboard, or installed in a PCI slot. Some SATA controllers have multiple SATA ports and can be connected to multiple storage devices. There are also port expanders which allow multiple storage devices to be connected to a single SATA controller port.
********************************************************

You can however use an SAS controller for multiple in line connections using SATA drives (but not the reverse). Which would kind of defeat the purpose. I just don't understand what the problem is with a port multiplier. Doesn't that still provide you with a single cable going back to your host controller and take up just one port?

A raid box with an inbuilt controller would have to have it's own processor etc on board (like a NAS) - because of cost these can often prove to be more of a bottleneck than anything else in the system (usually processor speed and memory are kept to a minimum unless it is enterprise class type storage)
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