I'm not editing video, I'm...

aaron's picture

It is clear that Xsan's most common use is for editing video with Final Cut Pro. Our readers are certainly using Xsan for other applications, too.

What's on your Xsan?

aaron's picture

To brazenly respond to my own question...

[url=http://www.tekserve.com]Tekserve/url is a large Apple reseller and service shop in New York City. How large? We [i]repair/i more than 200 Macs daily.

Our 24TB Xsan is reshared by three Xserves to a private (no Internet!), 260-node gigabit network. A fourth Xserve is a dedicated MDC. Nearly every Mac that comes in for service is NetBooted to this network, and many are backed up to the Xsan. (NetBoot lets us isolate software from hardware problems.) Disk Utility is our favorite utility for doing these backups.

Also on the SAN are copies of every installer that ever shipped with modern Macs. We use these to restore Macs to known-good configurations.

Aaron Freimark
CTO, Tekserve

JonThompson's picture

My SAN is my data workhorse for the organization. Re-shares, Network Home Directories, Web, Final Cut Server (for photos), Software Update Server. Basically everything _but_ Final Cut video editing, although we have years of video archive on the SAN.

The SAN gives me the ability to reallocate space between servers and services on the fly. It also abstracts out space and processor cycles so that I am not wasting money on space or cycles I don't need.

ACSA's picture

Multiple SAN's under management:
1: Office SAN: reshare data to both Windows as Mac clients., storage for the Exchange DD, storage for the Oracle DB (back-office application). Roaming profiles are being served via the XServe. Dedicated Mac Pro as MDC.
(several of those... :D )

2: Video SAN. Higher education. 15 clients and "only" 6.5 TB large......

jbachman's picture

At Safe Sound Archive in Philadelphia, PA we do audio archive and digitization for cultural heritage institutions. We have a 17TB SAN online for storage of the audio files during projects. Our workflow incorporates a few different people, audio capture engineer, burning/finishing engineer and quality control, so a SAN is perfect for us.

Pablitus's picture

Well...we have an 40TB XSAN with 4 Volumes....each one has an specific function.

Vol1 (4TB) is for Media Encoding "drop box"....engines used: Episode, FlipFactory and Carbon.

Vol2 (12TB) is a big File Share....with the 95% of capacity used :)

Vol3 (12TB) is a Scratch Disk for FCP

Vol4 (9TB) is a Volume for FCS

matx's picture

Xsan is great for VFX and render farms. Shake, Maya, Nuke, Lightwave, etc.

abstractrude's picture

the primary Xsan I admin does everything for the department except the primary AFP share which is done with DAS. I have had weird experiences with AFP and xsan, especially in the 1.4 days. That being said xsan2 did a lot to make things go smoother. The xsan provides data storage for everything done in the post production environment. About 100TB.

-Trevor Carlson

BenT's picture

    • Humor below**

I saw this on an advertisement for XSAN:

“Use optimized workflow configuration settings for higher efficiency and maximum performance, and ensure that your 42’yacht stays moored in even the roughest of hurricanes. Let our clustered storage weighing over 1.8 Tonnes give you peace of mind that your vessel will never disappear"

morphenine's picture

Well, I work for the library services (or "The Vault" if you will) for a major motion picture company...
We have several Xsan setups here in our division...
A couple that come in just under 100TB (I don't deal with those ones). Our main one that totals about 160TB, I co-admin this one since it was here before me. Its all older hardware running under Tiger, G5 Xserves, Xsan 1.4
Then theres my baby. Its a 34TB XSan with 6 XServes dedicated to it... 2 MDCs, 1 fileserver, 1 tape backup controller, 2 OD servers (master/replica). Its fully integrated into the Open Directory setup on our private production network. The latter 2 SANs are primarily used for temporary storage and reorganizing of ProTools files before we send them off to be archived. Of course we have a couple of Final Cuts and get the occasional DPX or Quicktime moving through.

pixel's picture

matx wrote:
Xsan is great for VFX and render farms. Shake, Maya, Nuke, Lightwave, etc./quote

I concur!

rstasel's picture

We've got a 10TB Xsan that we primarily use for AFP Network homes, and AFP shares. We're starting to use it for FCS, and webserver storage.

soward's picture

We do resharing...AFP and SMB, mostly SMB to about 1000 odd XP and Vista machines, ususally see > 500 SMB's at one time throughout the day.

We also host web pages/sites/applications.

Started with Xsan 1.0, G5s and Xserve RAIDs. Still have some 1.4 in use, but mostly moved to intel, Xsan2, and Promise.

All backed by AD.

soward's picture

I forgot the mention the sizes: old 1.4 system is about 7T, new intel/promise setup is about ~75T. And that we also use it as a repository to do 'disk2disk' backups of a few other systems.

Jerome's picture

We work in the music industry (film + popular music)... we use Xsan to share our Logic sequences, audio files and video files. It allows us to work on the same volume without ever noticing that we're not actually on an internal drive. We love it :)

Our system:
- 6TB xServe RAID
- 2x xServe G5 (server + mdc)
- 2 Mac Pro 3 Ghz (workstations)

Very simple yet very efficient :)


sgsmith's picture

We're using our 24Tb XSAN to host our asset servers for pdf's and images. Slowly moving general file servers over to it, as we try to consolidate all the DAS to one central location. About to have to expand though as we've already filled the initially available 16Tb after configuration down to under 5Tb of free space. With probably another 10Tb slated to be moved, looks like I'll be adding more promise raids :)

scarbs's picture

I have setup a Xsan based Podcast Producer system in Durban and it rocks. We even survived multiple power outages. Highly recommendable!

markkenny's picture

We run three XSAN volume, 12TB edit, 24TB master videos, and my render farm.

Started with XSAN1 and now my XRAID with 400GB IDEs is a little old. I don't want to use this for working, so it's the FCP cache volume and shared storage for Compressor Cluster and Cinema4D network rendering.

Also using it to test FreeBSD on a fibre network, then I can strap a simple eSATA JBOB to the FreeBSD box, ZFS and have another backup!

ndepirro's picture

My XSAN is a stack of vintage Xserve RAIDs providing a massive and cheap backup volume for a CrashPlan Pro backup service I provide for my clients.

robert07's picture

Thanks for share your topics.

arls1481's picture

Mine have quite a bit of stuff going on, none of it video or FCP.
Most of it is data warehousing:
-DeployStudio/DeployStudioPC Images and NetBootSets
-Network file server (user home folders, personal directories, shared directories and libraries)
-Active case files (pending cases, currently in analysis)
-File Archive of old case files
-Oracle-based software db

2 early 2008 xserve OS X 10.6.8s for MDCs
1 early 2008 xserve OS X 10.6.8 for network & directory services
64TB raw -- 8 TB legacy volume (archives) and the balance of 32(ish)TB is for filestore

Sam Edwards's picture

I use Xsan for a 24TB shared array between an Autodesk Flame and 2 flares running red hat.

Operate a small xSan in a road case.

JSamuel's picture

Um, a range of deployments but mostly for creative media purposes... I guess the strangest deployment was probably one a few weeks ago for ourselves:

A client gave us their old 5600s (fully activated, pair inc stacking); 2x old-old-old FBNX chassis (upgraded firmware, now it's 32 3TB drives) and 8x Quad-Port FC cards, had no where else to put it so took it to my datacentre space in London, and one of the engineers from my ISP company decided to recycle it with some MacMini's in a Sonnet 1U chassis and now it's running a local private mirror of pretty much current and legacy version of CPAN; FreeBSD; CentOS; Debian; Fedora; Gentoo; Ubuntu plus loads of other stuff that's not helpful to have but we have because we can.

If we were worried about power/efficiency and so on, I'd of never let it happen, but it beats them sitting in the corner of the suite doing nothing I guess... :shock:

Joel Samuel.
/thirtytwo - Apple Consultancy & Direction
Proud sponsor of Xsanity.com

All contributions are my own personal opinions - not those of any entity I represent.