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Old March 25th, 2010, 05:12 AM   #16
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First of all thank you all so much for your contributions and efforts in helping me find a solution.

Steve:
1 - Forgive my ignorance, but do the hdd's need to be the same brand/model/capacity/cashe/rpm? Because I'm thinking of "buy as you go" by the time I need extra HDD's what if the HDD's I've already used in the system are discontinued and I can't get the exact same HDD's?

2 - So the cost isn't a big lump sum, would we be able to start the NAS with 2 HDDs and add more to the RAID10 when needed? Is it a simple or tricky procedure?

3 - I did not find any good HDD comparison sites so please which sites do you use...

4 - From what I found the Hitachi HDD's look promising but don't have good reviews or benchmarks compared to other 2TB HDD's (Charts, benchmarks 2009 3.5? Desktop Hard Drive Charts, h2benchw 3.12: Avg Read Throughput).
On the other hand. Also I have noticed people tend to stay away from "green" HDD's as it uses a different spindle technology and and reduces performance.
What would you recommend to be the cheapest 2TB that is still safe and fast enough for the system? (Please try to specify model numbers)

5 - Unfortunately Newegg does not ship outside the U.S and I'm in the land of OZ... Amazon seems to have very competetive prices but judging by the reviews I'm not going to risk getting ripped off and cheated... Any good price websites you recommend apart from bhphotovideo?

6 - I found the N7700 at Thecus N7700 7 Bay NAS Storage for about $900 which is a significant difference from the T8.
I'm confused about N7700, N7700PRO, N8800 and N8800PRO! You can run a comparison on all thecus products at Thecus NAS Comparison can you please clarify the main differences there that won't be good enough for my needs apart from the amount of HDD bays? (I'm thinking of buying 2TB HDD's to make up the difference in capacity to save the money.)

I need to know if the performance advantages of each system is worth the price difference (performance to price ratio).
So in short, Which is the best value for money NAS that would give me great benefits over the other?


Jarred:
Thank you for pointing out the Jumbo Frames, I'll be looking into that. According to (Network Connectivity — Which adapters support Jumbo Frames?) looks like the NIC's Steve recommended do support Jumbo Frames so that's a bonus!

OS is a major player, currently all our workstations are on XP. Would changing to windows 7 offer any advantage over XP with my intended setup (NAS)?


Tim:
Thank you for your input! For yrs and yrs we have been working with external HDD's for each working machine, our goal is not mainly for redundancy, but for the convenience of each editor being able to access any wedding from any machine, or 2 or more editors working on the same project simultaneously... It's inconvenient if you want to encode or capture a certain wedding on a certain HDD but not being able to do so because that HDD is being used by the editor for a different wedding and having to wait for them to finish work for us to get what we need...

In terms of troubleshooting, we hope there won't be much of that and I'm fortunate enough to have best friend that lives close by who is I.T savvy and is an actual I.T engineer for a company, so fingers crossed, this will be a good trial for us in the direction of server/nas.

However you have raised a couple of valuable points I never thought of before.

1 - Thanks to Harm's article: BUY A UPS! Thankfully they're not too pricey...

In your point of views: Let's say the NAS gives up one day while still under warranty, would the company provide us with a courtesy NAS to work on while our one is getting repaired? If not, what would you recommend to have when the S**t hits the fan one day and the NAS eventually dies?

Once again thank you all so much (Especially Steve for seeing this through all the way), and I'm sorry if I'm pushing my luck and being too greedy for info. I'm sure you know how frustrating all this can be.

Last edited by Rani Korkise; March 25th, 2010 at 10:05 AM.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 01:49 PM   #17
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1) Yes, the drives should all be identical. You can find new drives for 2-3 years after first being released. Major OEMs (Dell, HP..) stock large amounts of drives for this reason.

Another option is to take those 'old' drives and use them as backup drives when you decide to upgrade/expand. By that time, 2TB drives will be cheap and 3TB and 4TB drives will be available.

2) Raid 10 requires a minimum of 4 drives - did you mean Raid 1 for the 2 drives? To your question, yes, you can add drives later to expand from Raid 1 to Raid 10 or from a 4 drive Raid 10 to a 6 or 8 drive Raid 10.

3) I use tomshardware.com. Here are links for 2 reviews of several drives.
Benchmark Results: Power Consumption : High-Capacity Business Hard Drives: Biggest Of The Bunch
Power Consumption And Efficiency : Three New Desktop Hard Drives For 2010

4) The Hitachi 2TB drives sacrifice some performance in order to remain inexpensive by using existing drive tech rather than using something brand new, which would drive the cost up. However, the network connection will be the limiting factor. A 4 drive Raid 10 with these Hitachi's will completely saturate 2 bonded gigabit NICs.

5) Other sites: zipzoomfly.com (don't know about AU), mwave.com.au, I have had good experiences with Dell - contact their business sales and they discount prices. The Dell rep I use in the US discounts prices without me even asking plus they might have good financing deals.

6) The N7700 is the best price to performance. The 'Pro' versions have the ability to add a 10Gbe card and have 'Dual DOM' - maybe your IT pal can explain the benefits of Dual DOM.

To your question about warranty and what happens when something breaks: you have 2 options for maximum uptime: 1) purchase a 2nd unit and use it for something like backups. If the main unit dies, you can move the drives to the 2nd unit. Option 2 is building a server with off-the-shelf parts that can be easily replaced. However, this is more complicated and can cost nearly what 2 N7700 units cost.
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Old September 20th, 2010, 03:05 AM   #18
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Hey Steve!

Thanks for your reply and I'm sorry for my delay, the last few months have been very hectic for me. Finally have the time now to put the concentration back on a NAS.

Reviewing the prices of the HDD's we spoke about, the Hitachi Ultrastar HUA722020ALA330 has not changed much in price at all. It is still around the $300AU... http://www.hitachigst.com/tech/techlib.nsf/techdocs/5EDA5472B7792D9D8625760A0003E88B/$file/UltraStarA7K2000_datasheet.pdf

However, The WD Caviar Black WD2001FASS is around $200AU... Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB (WD2001FASS) : 500GB Per Platter: Three Next-Gen 7,200 RPM Hard Drives

Since they both come with 5 Yr warranty and both are one of the top generation in their manufacturers... I think they should both be close in performance/life?
The price is what's very different though and since I'm buying around 8 HDD's I think that's a significant difference...

Or even http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822145298 which is only $150AU...

I could really use your experienced input as I'm running in circles here. Even if you know of a good alternative please suggest it.

Thank you very much!
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Old September 20th, 2010, 05:52 PM   #19
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The Hitachi 'Deskstar' 2TB is perfectly fine. However, stay away from any WD Caviar Black (and Caviar Blue) because they have an inherent design flaw and don't work well in Raid.
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Old September 21st, 2010, 10:15 AM   #20
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You're a Champion Steve!

You just halved my originally considered cost ($300ea)! Thank you very much!
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Old September 21st, 2010, 12:07 PM   #21
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just to quickly add i have a hardware Caldigit raid which i spent big bucks on - -BUT recently on the advice of storage forum moderator i built a windows software RAID with 5 drives, in RAID0 (back up is on a another drive plus master copies and transcoded copies on another two drives, all on a removable esata i/o docking bay)

my scratch disk is SSD.

Its fast enough for three streams of uncompressed HD and i couldn't be happier.
Best thing is i have another machine as a back up - if this machine goes belly up i can pop in my software raid drives with out a hitch. Something I can't do that easily on my Caldigit machine...which i found out the hard way!

And coping back ups is faster than RAID5 rebuilding itself.

And it was helluva lot cheaper than my caldigit! A LOT CHEAPER!

PS even two drives worked with one stream of HD
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Old September 21st, 2010, 10:25 PM   #22
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Have you decided on which NAS unit you will get?

To answer a prior question, Windows 7 makes a huge difference in network transfer speed compared to XP.
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Old September 24th, 2010, 11:46 AM   #23
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Hey Steve,

I wanted to reach a final decision about the smart switch/managed switch.
You have so far pasted two links of what you like:
Newegg.com - NETGEAR GS108T-100NAS 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Smart Switch 8 x RJ45 8,000 media access control (MAC) addresses per system MAC Address Table 128 KB embedded memory per unit Buffer Memory
Newegg.com - D-Link DGS-2208 10/100/1000Mbps 8-Port Desktop Green Ethernet Switch 8 x RJ45 8K MAC Address Table 144KB per Device Packet Buffer Memory Buffer Memory
The NETGEAR GS108T is a little cheaper.
Our situation at the moment is 2 editors using macbook pro's that are within a yr old. Their NIC's are OEM. I'm also in the process of purchasing a Mac Pro to do all the processing/capturing etc for the other two machines. So which one should I decide on? Or is there something you recommend even more now days?

Unfortunately the friend that was supposed to help me with all this has gone overseas for the next few months and I wonder how I'd be able to set the connections/config of the switch myself. Too many things like snmp, link aggregation, vlans, stp, port mirroring, port auth, jumbo frames. It's already lost me! Is there any easy way of doing any of this?

Thank you!
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Old September 24th, 2010, 12:07 PM   #24
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Well, this is all very good timing because I have been looking into a SAN and NAS so I have learned a few things, including a misconception on my part.

I was wrong about link aggregation/bonding - it does not increase total speed for a SINGLE connection. So, you cannot take 4 1Gb ports and get more than 120MB/s to any single computer. However, for multiple computers accessing the server at the same time, bonding does help.

Are you all Apple? If so, there is some good news: Apple's 'AFP' apparently works great as a NAS protocol and requires little setup on your part.

Ooops, I just read your earlier posts and you are both PC & Mac so AFP won't work.

Yes, there is an easy way of doing it: pay someone $20,000 for a turnkey solution :p

Get the Netgear - I have this switch now.

I can promise that some will say this: 1) get Smalltree NICs for Mac Pro's 2) pay $20k for a turnkey solution.

Something else I just remembered from my recent research: if using iSCSI, you must see if the server uses 'Volume Level' or 'File Level' sharing. With Volume level, each computer has its own volume on the server and no 2 computers can access the same volume. File level is having a single volume for all computers to share. Many inexpensive server solutions use volume level to prevent corrupted files but some do use File level. Many $20k solutions use File level and implement a Metadata tracking system that lets 2 people open the same Premiere (or FCP) project, edit at the same time and save both editor's projects as one without overwriting any project data.

Last edited by Steve Kalle; September 24th, 2010 at 12:44 PM.
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Old September 24th, 2010, 01:27 PM   #25
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FYI, Enhance Tech sells their base product through other companies including Proavio and Thecus.

Because you have both PC & Mac, your only options are iSCSI or SneakerNet - this means downloading data to each computer and/or moving drives around and attaching to each computer.

Over at the Cow, someone has been able to get either the 8 or 16bay Enhance to work.
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Old September 26th, 2010, 04:25 AM   #26
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Damn it! This changes everything!
Thanks for pointing these things out! Now how can we know if the N7700 HAS "File Level" capabilities

The damn Small tree NIC looks real good but I don't think there's anyway to fit it on the laptops :)

By the way, the 2 editors ATM are both on macbooks so I guess we can use Apple's 'AFP' ATM and if anything changes in the future we can change protocol's then right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kalle View Post
Many $20k solutions use File level and implement a Metadata tracking system that lets 2 people open the same Premiere (or FCP) project, edit at the same time and save both editor's projects as one without overwriting any project data.
That would be perfect! Some projects (like same day highlights) among many other things would be a piece of cake we could get two or more editors working on it at the same time. Can I implement something like this kind of metadata tracking system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kalle View Post
Because you have both PC & Mac, your only options are iSCSI or SneakerNet - this means downloading data to each computer and/or moving drives around and attaching to each computer.

Over at the Cow, someone has been able to get either the 8 or 16bay Enhance to work.
Could you elaborate on that please? Are you saying that I would still have to copy the files onto each machine THEN can I work on files? This way there is absolutely no use for me in doing any of this! lol
This goes against any advantages/solutions a NAS solution offers...

P.S Thanks for your prompt reply! :)
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Old October 6th, 2010, 10:27 PM   #27
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Sorry for the long time to reply.

"By the way, the 2 editors ATM are both on macbooks so I guess we can use Apple's 'AFP' ATM and if anything changes in the future we can change protocol's then right?"

-Yes, just make sure that your NAS device supports AFP and iSCSI.

"Can I implement something like this kind of metadata tracking system?"

-Only the $10,000+ systems include any sort of metadata tracking.

"Could you elaborate on that please? Are you saying that I would still have to copy the files onto each machine THEN can I work on files? This way there is absolutely no use for me in doing any of this! "

-I was referring to 'SneakerNet', which is the cheap way of 'sharing' files by moving external drives around.
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