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Old October 21st, 2009, 01:18 AM   #1
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DroboPro with AJAIOHD on MBPro

Hey guys,

I am wondering if you think the configuration listed in the title of this thread is workable if I am editing AVC-Intra and Sony EX-1 footage. I have read that the iSCSI on the Drobo will do 80MB/s max, which would be enough for AVC-Intra and EX-1, I believe. However, would a fully loaded 15" or 17" MBPro be able to drive both the Drobo and the AJA (or Mojo for the Avid)?

Thanks,

Peter
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Old October 21st, 2009, 06:15 AM   #2
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Hi Peter

I've not heard of any conflicts/issues with running the AJA IOHD and DroboPro simultaneously ... iSCSI is a good solution for a laptop setup where storage connectivity is an issue. That said, if you are running on a 17" MBP (or older 15" MBP) then you will have an ExpressCard/34 slot which you can use for connecting eSATA based storage. Very fast, very reliable ... tried and tested.

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Old October 21st, 2009, 12:12 PM   #3
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The problem with the Drobo is that it's not designed to be used in a video editing environment where large file access is required on a constant basis. Drobo is marketed as and specifically designed for storage, not high-volume file access such as a traditional RAID enclosure.

If you're on a 17" inch MBP the best thing to do is get the Sonnet "Pro" ExpressCard adapter and connect it to any 2-6 bay eSATA enclosure and either do a RAID-0 or RAID-5 for speed and/or redundancy. Sonnet makes turnkey solutions for MBP editors but you can use their Pro EC34 card with any eSATA device.

Also, it would be a good idea - if not required for best performance - to have the AJA Io-HD physically separate from your HDD access, so NOT using the FW bus for both jobs would be recommended.
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Old October 21st, 2009, 03:34 PM   #4
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Thanks Robert and Andy. I am currently running a 15" MBPro with the AJA on my primary FW bus and 5 CalDigit drives connected through a FW800 card on the ExpressCard. This solution has been good for me, but I liked the idea of how easy it is to grow with the Drobo, instead of just adding another drive to the daisy-chain (or a bigger drive to the RAID).

Prior to this setup I was working with a CalDigit HDPro 8TB setup, which was awesome, but overkill for the editing I am doing.

So Robert, for cutting AVC-Intra and EX material, the DroboPro would not be fast enough? I read somewhere that iSCSI was supposed to be faster than FW800.

Thanks,

Peter
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Old October 21st, 2009, 03:50 PM   #5
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This is the review that made me think the Pro might be suitable for editing EX-1 and AVC-Intra material:

Review: Data Robotics DroboPro
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Old October 21st, 2009, 06:15 PM   #6
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All I can tell you is that if iSCSI were such a hot thing then more enclosures - and companies - would be adopting the infrastructure to support it. The read/write speeds quoted in that article are relative: The BM disk tester has notoriously been overly optimistic in it's speed evaluations; the only tester that accurates simulates the overhead and load of real-world video editing (on a Mac I must clarify) is the AJA System Test. Even high-end Fiber enclosures running on ATTO cards barely pushed 300MB/s with 8 drives, so there's no way the Drobo would come close to those speeds. That's partly why I always cringe when I see these ultra-high quoted numbers, it's never "real world" numbers when the system is working.

My original suggestion stays put however, if the Drobo is more cost effective than the suggested path then use it. It's not like it "won't" do the job, it just won't give you as much overhead room as a true external RAID-0/5 eSATA array will.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 04:40 AM   #7
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Robert makes a very valid point, but iSCSI is by no means new technology. All our edit suites here are connected via iSCSI to our massive K2 storage ... it works and its fast. I know of a number of production houses that have recently adopted other gigabit ethernet based SAN solutions too, they becoming increasingly popular for their cost / speed / reliability ratio. Even the crusty old video production stalwarts like Bob Zelin seem to be coming round ... a quick Google (wouldn't be good form to post direct links here) will turn up some good info.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 12:40 PM   #8
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Thanks Andy and Robert. I agree Robert that it's better to have a solution that gives you more overhead. I'm just trying to weigh this concern against the benefits Andy mentions. Andy, what formats are you guys cutting with your iSCSI setup? And have you found performance/lack of overhead to be an issue?

Thanks,

Peter
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 01:33 PM   #9
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Peter,

Let me be clear: It's the Drobo's backplane/controller that lacks the overhead when compared to a full-on RAID setup. iSCSI has been implemented in certain situations with hardware specifically setup for that type of usage; the Drobo is simply offering up that connectivity as an option, just as with FW or USB. The Drobo itself is going to be the limiting factor, not the connectivity type.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 01:45 PM   #10
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Thanks Robert -- very helpful.
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