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Ethernet SAN - Taking the Next Step Forward

COW Blogs : walter biscardi's Blog : Ethernet SAN - Taking the Next Step Forward
This week we’re finally going to be upgrading our ethernet based SAN, which as most of you know is a Maxx Digital Final Share system. And of course most of you also know is that Small Tree Communications came up with “secret sauce” to make editing HD video via Ethernet a stable reality. So Final Share SAN was really a hybrid between Small Tree technology and Maxx Digital RAIDs.

Unfortunately since we moved into our new building the system has been under-performing. Many tweaks and changes have been made along the way, but nothing seemed to solve the problem of dropped frames across all systems since we got into the new building. The system is over two years old and definitely showing its age.

During the original development of the product, Steve Modica from Small Tree Communications would spend hours connected to our system tweaking, modifying and changing many things about how the system worked. Turned out we were pushing the ethernet SAN pretty much to the breaking point because of the long form work we were playing off (300 hours of material in a documentary) in addition to the multiple weekly series. Through many hours of tweaking and massaging, Steve was able to get more speed out of the system and made it incredibly stable.

So now that the time has come for us to step up to another system as we grow our facility from four workstations in the old space to 7 workstations plus 8 iMacs in the new space, I just feel more confident going back to the guy who started it all. And I’ll be honest, it doesn’t hurt that I’ve already been exposed to the “next thing” coming down the road.

So this weekend Steve and Chris Duffy from are coming down from Minnesota to install a new Small Tree GraniteStore ST RAID II 16 drive, 48TB system which is a 6Gig system paired with a new 10Gig Small Tree Ethernet switch.

“But wait Walt, other folks are releasing 10gig systems already, why go with a slower system?”

As I’ve learned over the past few months, it’s not just about having a very fast pipe, it’s knowing how to intelligently direct data through the pipe. So if your data is flowing efficiently to all the workstations, you can get the same performance from a “slower” pipe. Again, these are the guys who basically created the technology and they have many many tricks up their sleeve.

Including that “next thing” I mentioned. Can’t say anything about it right now, but I can say that as soon as it’s ready for real world testing, we will have it in our shop and we will tell you about it. The growth of this technology is just so exciting. What began as a cheaper alternative to Fibre Channel with some major tradeoffs in speed is maturing into much more.

In the mean time, I’ll have lots of photos and maybe even some video from Steve to explain the system as we install it this weekend.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Jun 2, 2011 at 5:14:00 pm Final Cut Pro, Avid

Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.



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