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Wireless Networks Thread, Advice on our new network in Technical; Hi Guys We are currently in the process of completely re-designing our school networks, we are looking at replacing all ...
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    mattstevenson2005's Avatar
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    Advice on our new network

    Hi Guys

    We are currently in the process of completely re-designing our school networks, we are looking at replacing all our current servers with a number of servers and a replicated SAN setup we are also installed a Mac network with at least 30 iMacs running final cut studio and my question is we are going to be separating the windows/Mac network storage areas by using a separate XRAID for the Mac network with SATA drives, do you think these drives will be fast enough to cope with 30+ student copying large final cut files over the network or do we really need SAS drives? the XSERVE will not be doing any of the final cut rendering we are going to be using the local machines to do all the hard work then at the end of the lesson students copy their final cut folder back up to the XRAID, then if they do any word/office stuff this will be stored on the replicated windows SAN.


    If anyone else uses final cut studio (the full version not express) how to you have this setup? Do you have a central SAN like we are looking at or do you use local storage and not store it any ware on the network? Any help or advice would be really useful.

    Forgot to mention the apples and window clients will be on the same active directory so they the student can access both the apple and windows SANs from any workstation be it either windows or Mac around the school.

    Cheers

    Matt

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    markcuk's Avatar
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    hi matt

    the imacs will be wrecked in 1 week $5 bet
    seriously though I hope you are getting a specialist teacher and not you know who!!! other wise what a waste of money

    sounds fun will come in for look when its done

    mark

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    mattstevenson2005's Avatar
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    hey mark

    i raise that bet by $10 lol, when do you come back? just bought the sophos ws1000 at last! its RMA teaching with KSY they have macbook pros now ive got one too AED replaced his old one and got me one as well a nice 17" one lol there a bit big though! we are having a new building built specially for the mac room so should be good, also getting a new office built at last! lol, you will have to come and see it when its finished. Anyway enjoy your last few weeks c u soon

    matt

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    markcuk's Avatar
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    will do got about 5 weeks left

    mark

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattstevenson2005 View Post
    we are going to be separating the windows/Mac network storage areas by using a separate XRAID for the Mac network with SATA drives, do you think these drives will be fast enough to cope with 30+ student copying large final cut files over the network or do we really need SAS drives?
    I have no concrete figures, but I'm guessing no, SATA won't be fast anough, you'll be needing SAS. If budget is a problem then maybe the half-way option of SATA VelociRaptor drives, but remember they're a non-standard 3.5" form factor and won't fit in standard hot-swap disk trays (although someone must make some for them by now, surely?). Actually, 30+ students all writing large amounts of data to disk at the same time is going to hammer whatever system you have. You could also make sure you increase the amount of RAM available to your RAID controller (i.e. buy more RAM for the RAID card, or put more RAM in the server if it does Linux-style software RAID) and increase the network bandwidth available to the server (like, multiplex four network ports together to give you 4GB/s).

    My plan was to have a system capable of the above sorted by this week, but I've had a dead server to rebuild and have been busy, I'll see how far I get by the end of the week.

    --
    David Hicks

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattstevenson2005 View Post
    Hi Guys

    We are currently in the process of completely re-designing our school networks, we are looking at replacing all our current servers with a number of servers and a replicated SAN setup we are also installed a Mac network with at least 30 iMacs running final cut studio and my question is we are going to be separating the windows/Mac network storage areas by using a separate XRAID for the Mac network with SATA drives, do you think these drives will be fast enough to cope with 30+ student copying large final cut files over the network or do we really need SAS drives? the XSERVE will not be doing any of the final cut rendering we are going to be using the local machines to do all the hard work then at the end of the lesson students copy their final cut folder back up to the XRAID, then if they do any word/office stuff this will be stored on the replicated windows SAN.


    If anyone else uses final cut studio (the full version not express) how to you have this setup? Do you have a central SAN like we are looking at or do you use local storage and not store it any ware on the network? Any help or advice would be really useful.

    Forgot to mention the apples and window clients will be on the same active directory so they the student can access both the apple and windows SANs from any workstation be it either windows or Mac around the school.

    Cheers

    Matt
    some things to consider matt, what is the performance drop off going to be with 30 machines simultaneously copying large, multigigabit files over afp to the xserve. Disk could well be the bottleneck you encounter. The xraid is long in the tooth, it uses an unusual split controller design. Meaning you have to implement software RAID to create a single volume utilising all 14 disk, 7 disks on either side managed by either controller. a pure hardware raid solution would be much better.

    put the 30 clients on a dedicated gigabit switch or vlan. Team the ethernet adapters in the xserve [10gbps would be better, but i'm guessing you don't have the budget], and make sure you use a raid setup with good write performance. i think you should be fine with SATA disks, but obviously the faster the disks the better but it's whether you can budget for space AND performance. More important i think it would be more effective have more spindles in the raid, even if you end up using half the available disk space with a performance raid level like 1+0. you might also want to tweak the network setting on the clients and server [i.e jumbo frames] and research into the implications of any tweaks.

    but in principle 30-odd machines copying large files over the network shouldn't be a major issue if designed and planned properly - it might just be that you need to stagger the copy process, or you might find that you can live with storing data to usb or firewire drives on each imac and not copying everything over to the network [perhaps put coursework on centralised storage only]. editing SD video directly over the network would be possible for a small number of machines running FCP/FCE if you were to use gigabit ethernet and fast storage, beyond that and i don't think the users could tolerate the problems that they would experience. i.e dropped frames.

    can i ask why you are running so many machines with fcp rather than say fce or imovie ?

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by torledo View Post
    it might just be that you need to stagger the copy process
    Is that really going to work in a school? The lesson would have to be well-organised to get 30 children all saving one-after-the-other.

    or you might find that you can live with storing data to usb or firewire drives on each imac
    Can those Macs take eSATA disks?

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    mattstevenson2005's Avatar
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    no the macs cant take esata disks

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Is that really going to work in a school? The lesson would have to be well-organised to get 30 children all saving one-after-the-other.
    Hmm. Thought about this a bit more. If the children were all editing the same piece of video, stored on a network drive, then the first child to load the video would place that data into the server's disk cache, so the second child to load the data would load it from RAM (this assumes the server has enough RAM or dedicated disk RAM to load a whole movie file at once). All that would be written back to the disk when a child saved their work would be the movie-editing file, basically a small index file.

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    David Hicks

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattstevenson2005 View Post
    no the macs cant take esata disks
    I seem to remeber finding instructions on how to open your Mac, drill a hole in the case and connect up a SATA-to-eSATA cable, which might be worth a try.

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I seem to remeber finding instructions on how to open your Mac, drill a hole in the case and connect up a SATA-to-eSATA cable, which might be worth a try.

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    David Hicks

    I'll slap you if you do. Use a USB2 hdd... it'll be fast enough. Failing that Firewire.

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Hmm. Thought about this a bit more. If the children were all editing the same piece of video, stored on a network drive, then the first child to load the video would place that data into the server's disk cache, so the second child to load the data would load it from RAM (this assumes the server has enough RAM or dedicated disk RAM to load a whole movie file at once). All that would be written back to the disk when a child saved their work would be the movie-editing file, basically a small index file.

    --
    David Hicks
    surely you'd need a shared filesystem for them to edit the same video project. somethig like xsan [which only works over fc anyway]

    tbh, i suspect editing seperate fcp projects over gigabit ethernet is out of the question for more than a handful of clients. if he wants or needs to do that for 30 clients then i suggest he needs to look at a more specialist system from a company like apace systems.

    http://www.apacesystems.com/

    i've never used their products so this is not an endorsement, they are one of the examples i could find that appear to deal with this aspect of editing DV over an ethernet network.

    I think the OP could have more joy with something like imovie 06 using the existing kit he has. But a group of upwards of 30 clients is still a lot, and as a result he could have more teething problems than he'd like to deal with. if choosing that route he might also be better off with a more high performance array, and 10gb fibre ethernet.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by torledo View Post
    surely you'd need a shared filesystem for them to edit the same video project.
    No, they'd all be editing their own project file (which would be a few kilobytes of indexing data), it's just that all the project files would contain the same video footage and could, therefore, be dished out by the one server from a read-only file area.

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    mattstevenson2005's Avatar
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    Hi Guys

    Thanks for getting back to me about this; I have a bit more information now about this. The way that we are looking to do it is each student will record their own video, and then download it to the Macs (local hard drive) then they can work on their project. Then at the end of the lesson they simply copy their final cut project folder (including the recording) up to the XRAID then at their next lesson they copy the project back to the local Mac hard drive and carry on working. The main Mac room is going to be on a gigabit switch (HP 2848) and the XSERVE/XRAID is going to be connected to our secondary core switch (HP 2924 which will be in the second server room in the same cab as the 2848) with 2 gigabit load balanced links between the two switches.

    Then if a student wants to access there Mac files from another PC/MAC somewhere else in school then the information from the XSERVE/XRAID will come over our 10Gb fibre link from the secondary core switch to our primary core switch (HP 5406zl located in the primary server room) and then over the gigabit fibre connected edge switches to the requesting client.

    Can anybody see any foreseeable problems e.g. with the suggested SATA hard drives in the XRAID or with network bandwidth, as Iím not 100% convinced that the SATA hard drives would be quick enough to cope with the amount of data we are asking it to deal with. Also I have to bear in mind that our school is looking to get six form status in the next 1-2 years so that will properly add allot more Macs in to the equation as we are already have art college status and the media side Iím sure will progress in to the six form.

    Thanks for everybodyís comments itís been a real help!

    Cheers

    Matthew

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattstevenson2005 View Post
    each student will record their own video, and then download it to the Macs (local hard drive) then they can work on their project. Then at the end of the lesson they simply copy their final cut project folder (including the recording) up to the XRAID then at their next lesson they copy the project back to the local Mac hard drive and carry on working.
    How much video footage - how long is each video project going to be? I think that 30 pupils all writing mutiple gigabytes of data simultaniously to a disk array is going to be slow. However, I also think there's ways to get around the problem. Adobe CS3 comes with VersionCue, a versioning system for other Adobe products - a bit like source code control (CVS, etc) but for large binary files like video. There's bound to be something similar specificly available for Final Cut or as a stand-alone product, probably for free. Some kind of repository system like that should cut right down on the amount of data that needs to be moved around, it'll just synch the bits that have changed to/from the server each time. You'll still have a slow bit where all the pupils upload their new footage to the server, of course.

    --
    David Hicks

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