THE BLOG

What’s the Best SAN File System for Sharing Media?

Spoiled for Choice:

Since it is an essential requirement for every computer, the file system has been taken for granted for a long time. There are more than 85 different choices for local file systems (at least that was the case last time I counted), including HFS(P), APFS, FAT32, NTFS, EXT4, XFS, and Btrfs to name just a few, all covering various kinds of hardware and providing a variety of features. You can find many informative articles explaining the differences in performance and limitations of local file systems, so I want to focus here on shared file systems — a whole different beast. Let’s start with a short trip into the past, to help us figure out why there are so many file systems to choose from in the first place.

Know the Past to Understand the Present – and to Be Prepared for the Future

Not that long ago, really, we were grateful for the ability to share data amongst computers at all, utilizing protocols such as Network File System ( NFS ) for the *nix world, the Common Internet File System ( CIFS , aka Server Message Block or SMB) for Windows machines, followed by the Apple Filing Protocol ( AFP , aka AppleShare) for Apple computers. Network speeds were an earth-shattering 10 Mbit then, and with a lot of money, or a little luck, you might even have had an Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) based network, providing a mind-blowing speed of 155 Mbit.

Performance has multiplied dramatically since then, with 40 Gbit basically being the standard today, and 100 Gbit right on the horizon — and that’s just for the Ethernet protocol. The development was similar with Fibre Channel (FC). A then-phenomenal throughput of 1 Gbit in 1997 has jumped to 128 Gbit some 20 years later, at least with adequate switches available today from vendors such as Brocade. In addition to these, the two most popular topologies for shared file systems, there are of course InfiniBand (IB) and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), more commonly used for server-to-server or RAID-system-to-JBOD expansion, etc.

The Big Shift

Demands on network performance and speed skyrocketed when the movie industry started the digital revolution and created more and more computer-generated (CG) imagery. From 3D CG to VFX to color correction, every step in the production and post-production process of moving pictures was suddenly generating numerous digital media files. Instead of countless video tapes piling up in the archives of post-production facilities, unstructured (or “unfiled”) media files flooded the IT servers, creating data chaos and leaving IT personnel to invest a lot of manual effort in detangling the mess.

Read full article at studiodaily.com →

configure XSAN 4 – Yosemite – El Capitan

Situation

You want to connect an OSX 10.10 (Yosemite) or OSX 10.11 (El Capitan) client to your existing StorNext SAN or XSAN. Both OSX versions are XSAN 4 based.

Yosemite’s embedded XSAN version is compatible with SNFS 4.3 & 4.7.
The XSAN version within El-Capitan apparently is only compatible with StorNext 5.x but not with StorNext 4.7 as officially listed in the matrix.

I don’t claim to know it better as the officials from Quantum or Apple but if you look under the hood, the cvversion command returns a 4.3 build. Based on that and the knowledge that many other users have connected their XSAN 4 clients to a SNFS 4.7 based MDC’s without any issues of connectivity or data integrity (would be the worst case ever), it’s up to you to go that path and connect to an existing 4.7 based StorNext MDC and step outside the supported matrix.

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Renaming a stornext file system

Topic

As it’s quite easy on a generic local file system to change the label/name with data in place , it’s the opposite in a SAN environment.  In some (or even most) cases you have to offload the data, rename the file system and initialize it again. It’s also possible under StorNext , even if not well documented.

No can do? Yes can do!

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StorNext labels gone? DON’T panic!

Topic

In SAN environments labels are often used to address a specific LUN, rather than using the device identifiers or numbers, to simplify the addressing of devices. Plus, a device does not have to be tied to a unique device number/id.

Losing a label due to a crash, or a defective hardware part or simply because a client overwrote the label, leaves the administrator in a quite scary und definitely uncomfortable situation. Data can’t be accessed or could even be lost.

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StorNext performance: Allocation fill or round robin?

Topic

There are many ways to configure and optimize your file system under StorNext, and one option that makes (or can make) a difference is the allocation strategy. Which setting to use depends on your storage and the type of content you create. For the media and entertainment world we talk about unstructured data.

For the sake of this example, I create an imaginary setup with a StorNext based MDC and one 24bay RAID (dual controller) with 2 x 24bay expansion chassis. Continue reading