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Old April 14th, 2009, 07:32 AM   #1
Kino-Eye
 
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Which RAID 1 solution? CalDigit VR or G-Tech G-SAFE?

I've started production on a year-long documentary project and P2 media is starting to flow into the editing room (we will be editing with Final Cut Pro). I need a RAID 1 solution for storing the media. Looks like the choice I need to make is between the CalDigit 2TB (1TB when Raid 1) VR Hard Drive Array ($599.50, pare drive $213.00) and the G-Technology 1TB G-SAFE Hard Drive Array ($579.95, spare drive, $138.95). Some people have also suggested the Drobo. FireWire 800 is the primary interface I need to work with, however, eSATA is a nice bonus.

I'd like to hear from owners or people with real experience with one or all of these units, what are the real trade-offs between these two products? They all fit my budget and project needs (storing P2 media for my documentary project). Caldigit makes a strong case on their web site for the advantages of their product, but my past experience with G-Tech's excellent support and a longer warranty has me leaning in the G-Tech direction, even though the Caldigit offers a nicer portfolio of features and eSATA connectivity. So I'd like to hear some subjective opinions about the pros and cons of each.
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Old April 14th, 2009, 08:33 AM   #2
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This isn't the answer you wanted, but...

I think you should investigate a RAID 5 solution. The advantage of using RAID 5 is that if one of the 5 drives goes bad, it doesn't take out your whole RAID. The RAID automatically switches to RAID 0 while you source a replacement drive. Once you replace the bad drive, the RAID will rebuild itself into a RAID 5 again. As a result you don't have to worry about loosing data with a RAID 5 system. The only negative with RAID-5 is that it's not quite as fast as a RAID-0. But in our case it's more than fast enough for 1080 30p full-raster ProRes HQ, so that's fast enough for us.

At our shop, we combine a Ciprico RAID-5 2TB fiber channel drive with a second 2TB firewire drive used for Time Machine. This gives us a simple, double-backup solution without requiring any work by the operator.

I think you should be able to find a RAID-5 system in your price range. Maybe CalDigit or G-Tech offer it as an option.
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Old April 14th, 2009, 09:14 AM   #3
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David,

Since you're after long-term storage rather than a working array then I'd suggest picking the unit that fits the budget and your preferred workflow/connectivity. Both companies make excellent products with reputable customer service; I think the only thing you'll find different between the units you mentioned is the HDD's they select and the chipset on the backplane for connectivity - and those differences would be splitting hairs and not worthy of fussing over.

The only real advice I can give you is to treat the unit as true archive/storage meaning, only turn the unit on when it's needed for moving data. That will extend the life of the internal HDD's exponentially and also reduce your power usage in the office. It's also a built-in safeguard against something happening to your backup data; it can't get corrupted, erased or anything else - short of physical damage - if it's not powered on.
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Old April 14th, 2009, 01:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitchell Lewis View Post
[...] I think you should investigate a RAID 5 solution. The advantage of using RAID 5 is that if one of the 5 drives goes bad, it doesn't take out your whole RAID. [...]
I agree RAID 5 (or even better, RAID 6) is ideal, in the past I've I worked with a couple of RAID 5 solutions and it was a delight when drives failed: simply replace it, rebuild, and life goes on, however, given the budget of this documentary project, as well as performance requirements (editing DVCPRO HD and thus non-RAID SATA working drives are fine for editing), what I'm looking for is a reliable media archive solution in the event the working drive craps out. Trying to optimize for reliable archive on a tight budget.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 10:25 AM   #5
Kino-Eye
 
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I'm surprised not to hear from more G-Tech and Cal Digit owners, I'm still on the fence between these two RAID-1 systems, but will have to make a decision soon, any other voices out there on this question?
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Old August 9th, 2009, 05:06 PM   #6
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The final decision

I finally decided on the G-Tech G-Safe RAID to store the master media for my current documentary. The three year warranty, cool operation, informative display, fast rebuild times, and G-Tech's reputation lead me to the decision. I've been happy with it, loading media on it since April. If I had a need for flexibility of either RAID-0 or RAID-1 operation, I might had chosen with the Caldigit VR, but the three year warranty was certainly a strong factor, and for master media storage, RAID-1 is the only mode I need.
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Last edited by David Tamés; August 9th, 2009 at 05:07 PM. Reason: Fix date
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