Having worked with a number of local media clients recently, it’s apparent that cloud storage for local video production isn't the way to go. For a while now we had been thinking about a reliable, comparatively inexpensive storage platform that can hold hundreds of terabytes.
Chassis, Motherboard, CPU and RAM
First up we needed a chassis that can hold lots of 3.5” hard drives. One of the best is from 45 Drives (www.45drives.com) These chassis can be loaded with the dual power supplies and fitted out with a motherboard from Supermicro, a great base to start from. Add a CPU and as much RAM as you can fit.
Next up we need some reliable SATA/SAS host Bus Adaptors. We prefer products by LSI. We went ahead and ordered 3 X SAS 9201-16i and by using SAS to Sata break out cables, we directly connected to the 45 sata drives fitted in the chassis. So the important thing about these cards, is that they are not Raid cards, they just pass each drive through to the operating system.
Now comes the software. Either FreeNAS or Windows Server 2012 are great options. From experience here's where we differ; it’s better to configure the drives as mirrors not raid 5. So this means quite a few mirrors within Windows Server 2012 or FreeNAS. You can have much higher capacities if you use RAID 5 over a mirror, but the rebuild times and data access times are much slower.
For reliability we prefer the WD Red Series, however the Hitachi drives are also great value. We went ahead and ordered 50 x 4TB. (This gives us one hot spare, and 5 drives spare in the cupboard) Now 22 arrays are a lot to manage, so I striped these with a raid 0, providing one large 88TB drive.
Add a pair of 10G Ethernet interface cards to take full advantage of the system; the speeds are just blazingly fast!
We now have a super-fast, very large storage space, with totally redundant systems; redundant power supply, redundant drive array, and if cabled correctly redundant host bus adapters. Given the cost saving of this system over say an IBM or HP array, I think using mirrored drives makes sense with the speed, rebuild times and management simplicity.
A system like this costs well under AUD$50,000 and is excellent value given the cost and speed of cloud storage. It makes great sense for security conscious law or accountancy firms and is a must for anyone producing the latest HD or UHD video and multimedia content.
Call Ian on 1300 019 624 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about a high speed, highly reliable storage system for your business.