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Thread: SCSI vs SATA

  1. #1
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    SCSI vs SATA

    I've been thinking. NewTek recommends that you use a striped array of SCSI drives, since they delivery the best read/write performance... but the price is insane... and the capacity miniscule.

    I stumbled upon this article
    http://www.barefeats.com/hard35.html

    According to this SATA drives aren't that much slower than SCSI.....but the price is MUCH less. I'm going to need around 2 terabytes of storage.... and with SCSI thats going to cost $10,000.

    Does anyone use SATA drives instead of SCSI? Hows the performance?

  2. #2
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    Did some more research.... maybe Im confusing video hard drives and storage hard drives. Archived video files don't need to be stored on a SCSI drive. They can be pulled from a regular SATA for normal playback on their air, right?

    Someone please shed some light on this for me.

  3. #3
    Plum Moving Media
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    Re: archival video. Yeah, it doesn't matter what format you put your old video on as long as the medium doesn't fail. If you need immediate playback, then you need to think about a SATA or SCSI array.

    We've been using two 800GB ATA arrays (8x200GB Maxtor drives = ~1.6TB) with the Escalade Raid controller and typically pull 125MB/s or so with Newtek's disktest.exe. We built this system about a year and a half ago, when SATA arrays were just getting going. So, this is certainly dated technology when compared with the newer SATA drives.

    Our IDE arrays, definitely aren't as fast as U-160 SCSI, much less U-320 SCSI. SATA gets much closer but still suffers, a little, in random seek and sustained transfer, comparatively speaking.

    However, the cost savings are enormous, as you said. There is a performance compromise. # of RT streams will be less. And, I wouldn't playback much video when recording live with a SATA array, unless you are playing on one array while recording on another.

    To summarize, we've been doing what you are asking with two IDE arrays, it would seem logical that the SATA arrays could only be better in terms of fullfilling your large storage needs while still maintaining reasonable performance.

    Hope this helps,
    Kevin Petajan
    Last edited by Kevin_P; 12-23-2005 at 04:18 PM.
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    Milwaukee, WI

  4. #4
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    Hmmm I didn't mention IDE arrays anywhere in my post.

    I just wanted to clear things up, and figure out what the video striped HDs would be used for? I plan to do live switching from the work station, almost no editing will be done on it. I do need a massive amount of storage to store the content that can be played. Do I need a SCSI array for this or will a SATA one do just fine?

    How about networked storage? Can I just pull the media from another machine over an ethernet network, or will performance suffer?

    And now the most obvious question... can SCSI be totally replaced with a SATA array?

  5. #5
    NewTek System Integrator PIZAZZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yegorpb
    Hmmm I didn't mention IDE arrays anywhere in my post.

    I just wanted to clear things up, and figure out what the video striped HDs would be used for? I plan to do live switching from the work station, almost no editing will be done on it. I do need a massive amount of storage to store the content that can be played. Do I need a SCSI array for this or will a SATA one do just fine?
    Depends on the content mostly. For absolute reliability then go SCSI. If you want to take a chance of your array stuttering once you fill it up to the magic line... If you want to get questions from your audience, why, why, why, why, does the video stu stu stu stutter??? If you want to NEVER be able to take a day off away from the system because you are the only one who fully understands why you saved $500 on a $12000 system. Go SATA.


    Quote Originally Posted by yegorpb
    How about networked storage? Can I just pull the media from another machine over an ethernet network, or will performance suffer?
    It can work with the right networked storage. VT has been tested with fiber channel and Rorke Data arrays. Look into the cost of that and SCSI will seem like floppy drive cost.


    Quote Originally Posted by yegorpb
    And now the most obvious question... can SCSI be totally replaced with a SATA array?
    NO. Not yet. Not in the situation you have described you are in.

    SATA arrays lose performance as they fill up.
    SCSI does not lose performance as it fills up.

    SATA can NOT read and write simultaneously.
    SCSI can read and write simultaneously. This means you can playback off the array and record to the array perfectly with SCSI. To do that with SATA you will need 2 arrays on separate busses on the motherboard.
    Jef Kethley
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  6. #6
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    Well, that was much more through than I could have hoped for. Thanks PIZAZZ.
    Im just curious how you other "VT4ers" are dealing with this? Do you have SCSI and SATA drives on the same machine and you simply copy what you wanna use to the SCSI array before the show starts? My woes with SCSI is that the storage space is tiny, and Im going to have A LOT of files (mostly music videos) that I need to play at a click of the button, which won't allow any time to copy it tot he SCSI array. Will playing the file off a SATA2 drive really affect the performance that much that it won't play back at normal speed? Somehow Im very doubtful (unless Im dealing with uncompressed HD footage, which isn't the case) that Im going to have any problems.... since a 5 year old PC and a 10 year old HD can do this without any problems.

  7. #7
    Avid Killer Dan Hong's Avatar
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    We've been using both IDE and SATA (and now SATA II) drives for a long time. No issues here, with a lot of machines in service with a lot of miles on them. We do lots of live shows and use our drives for both playback and recording. The new SATA II's are very fast, 4 X 400 gig at 235 mb/second.
    Dan Hong
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  8. #8
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    Thanks Dan. Exactly what I wanted to hear - practical application. Theoretically SCSI is better..... but in the real world.... the difference might not make any difference.

  9. #9
    NewTek System Integrator PIZAZZ's Avatar
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    In the real world it all depends on what you are actually doing with the array.

    SCSI read and write to the array all day. Playback 2 or 3 DDRs simultaneously and record the output back to the array.

    SATA playback 2 files but don't think about recording your stream also.

    As long as you know your limitations with SATA it will work. But as I mentioned before... what happens when someone that does not know the limitations sits down and things go weird. They will blame it on the VT software. This is why Newtek is reluctant to endorse SATA solutions. Too much of a chance performance will be effected.
    Jef Kethley
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  10. #10
    NewTek System Integrator PIZAZZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yegorpb
    Im going to have A LOT of files (mostly music videos)
    I forgot that you mentioned playing music videos. I actually know quite a bit about this. We have been working with Newtek for a couple years on a music video playback version of the VT. We call it VJLive. www.vjlive.com for more info and screenshots.

    We have quite a few VJLive systems in venues all over the world actually. I would be glad to help you accomplish what your are trying to do. Please expand more about your goals and objectives.

    I have worked with about every codec available to maximize the performance and space required for storage regarding music videos. For some reason most clubs don't want to give up 1 gig per minute to run uncompressed video. We have successfully been using a codec called VP6 or now VP7. It can be keyframed and compressed very well with minimal quality loss.

    We have had success with a few other codecs too like Xvid, 3vix, and even Mpeg2 with the right codecs. I look forward to hearing more about your project. Give me a shout privately if you don't want to talk about it publicly here.
    Jef Kethley
    PIZAZZ
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    Using:
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    Panasonic UB300 4k cams
    Tactical Fiber/converters, SDI2NDI converters, NDI-Viewfinder, and NDI2HDMI

  11. #11
    I make things Eric Pratt's Avatar
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    I thought I might put in a note about the BlueRAID here. I've sold a couple to VT users and use one myself in a RAID 5 config on a case where I can't fit 8 sata drives in the case. It gets outstanding performance and uses a clever custom cable to connect the Sata hard drives in the case to the controller in the computer through a single cable and plug: http://www.blueraid.com/
    Eric Pratt
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