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Affordable NSA or Server for small business

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#1 edrhine

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 02:54 AM

I am an owner/artist at a small motion shop in Denver. Business has thankfully been going amazingly and we are expanding to a new office space. With this comes some of the necessary upgrades in hardware to speed up and simplify our workflow. We are currently running a Buffalo Technology NAS box on a gigabit router and switch. This works alright for most of what we do, but slows down when working with larger files (or tiff sequence C4D renders for example), when we have multiple freelancers in working, or sometimes whenever it seems to feel like it. It also has problems rendering to the NAS from C4D and AE, creating glitches in the files/renders.

What we are looking at now is either a LaCie system or Drobo, which I will post links for below. I would think that a full on SAN solution is way beyond our means, but would love to hear thoughts on these or any other solutions that you may have come across while working. Thanks for your time.

Drobo:
http://www.droboworks.com/Drobo-FS.asp

Lacie:
http://www.lacie.com...ct.htm?id=10509
http://www.lacie.com...ct.htm?id=10485
http://www.lacie.com...ct.htm?id=10508

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#2 a2visual

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 03:36 AM

We dealt with a lot of the same problems and eventually bit the bullet on an ethernet SAN setup from Maxx Digital. It wasn't cheap, but it's 10GigE so we have some expandability for the future. Compared to other SANS though it wasn't too bad (around $20k for 32 TB with each client getting 90MB/s and one computer with direct connect getting 300-400MB/s).

Prior to that we used a LaCie enclosure, another third party enclosure, then some external drives here and there from G Raid. I would suggest hooking it up to a computer dedicated as a server, that helped a lot for us to have a dedicated computer for file sharing. I would look at options from G-Raid, CalDigit, and Maxx Digital. I've heard bad things about Drobo and they way it handles files and not really as fast as others. I've had good luck with LaCie personally, but the ones you linked to are pretty slow.

It's all about bandwidth and storage speed. If you run out of either you're going to get problems.

#3 edrhine

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 05:39 AM

I have an old PC that we use for Syntheyes and C4D rendering that we could hook it up to. Do you have any suggestions as to how to actually hook it up to use for the server? The better LaCie drives actually have a single or dual processor and ram set aside for file serving. Dont know if this is something that would help or not but ideally would. Thanks for your suggestions!!

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#4 edrhine

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 06:09 AM

Looked at the companies you mentioned and it seems that those solutions are all something other than an Ethernet connection.. might be missing something on this but would that still supply our needs if it is linked by Esata?

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#5 a2visual

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 06:34 AM

In those cases you would hook the drives up to a server computer via eSata or SAS, network that to the Gigabit switch, then everyone would plug into the Gigabit switch and share the files that way. I did notice that about the LaCie's with the integrated chipset and what not. Might be worth a shot.

I don't know about PC networking, only Mac. Our setup is a Mac Pro as our file server, it has an Atto SAS PCI card in it that connects to the RAID. It has a second PCI card that connects to the switch via 10GigE, then everybody plugs into the switch and connects via AFP file sharing. Prior to that it was the same setup except we plugged in our switch via Gigabit ethernet instead of the 10GigE PCI card. I guess the LaCie boxes take the place of the server, but I've never used one of those.

#6 edrhine

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 05:10 PM

thanks

"It ain't about the dollar or trying to go fast. Unless you take pride in what you're doing, it won't last. Craftsmanship is a quality that some lack. You got to give people a reason for them to come back." ---- Buck 65


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#7 jsolterbeck

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 07:12 PM

I'm probably a little smaller shop than you and the other posters, but I've got 3 Drobos here (DroboPros) and they have served the purpose for us. They are definitely slow(er), you wouldn't want to work with a lot of heavy footage, but our workflow is to cut with AIC footage, and we either finish AIC or conform back to whatever at the end. So that runs around 100 mbits/s, and I can have up to say 3 guys pounding on the same Drobo without noticeable trouble. They are all connected direct via iSCSI, so everyone just fileshares across a gigabit hub. You have to be careful of people restarting their machine with others connected. It's definitely not a high end setup but like I said it's served the purpose for us and has kept us in the $4k range for 35TB of backed up storage that several people can access at once. Plus I dig the Drobo setup, it's easy and you can fly drives in and out at will without stopping anyone from working.
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#8 Srek

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 10:56 AM

We use a number of QNAP NAS systems. If you get the ones with the better CPUs the transfer rates are very good and reliability is top. Using switched Gigabit Ethernet we have transferrates in the 60-80 MByte/s range

#9 Aaron Scott

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 04:44 PM

You specifically said you're not looking at SANs, but I'm still going to rant about them for a second -- we use a bunch of QNAPs here, too, and they're definitely the biggest bang for the buck. We actually splurged and bought a SAN that costs 10x more, and then switched back to QNAPs again because we liked them more. If you're willing to spend a little more up front, you'll get something that should last you a long, long time:

http://www.qnap.com/...re.asp?p_id=204

Comes with dual 1gb ethernet with support for dual 10gb if bandwidth ever becomes an issue. Lots of extra features, like a built-in FTP server, backup server -- you can even make it available as a Time Machine server with a single click. You can get it with 36tb of storage for around $9k -- 3x more than the 15tb Drobo for double the space and infinitely more bandwidth. It's just way more of a permanent solution. It seems silly to spend 1/3 the price for something that you'd end up replacing with something like this down the road, but I guess if the money (or need) isn't there it isn't there.




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