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beppo

Configure EVO to our workflow

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So we bought the SNS EVO and now we need some tips and tricks.

We use Pro Tools 9 HD on Mac Pros with OSX 10.6.4, and have 3 studios.

We are currently 6 users, and we think that every user should have their own volume with 50gb storage as their "work space". And a big production volume where we store finished sessions as an archive. Is this a smart system? How have you guys done your workflows?

Since we re-use a lot of our old productions we want to have instant access to our archive. Should this "archive" volume be a SAN or NAS volume? Pros/Cons?

For the technical bit, what stripe/block size should we use for our pro tools users?

I did a quick search in the forum, and Figured that a "workflow-guide-post"/"Pro Tools 9 setup-post" would be really handy!

/Beppo

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We use Pro Tools 9 HD on Mac Pros with OSX 10.6.4, and have 3 studios.

We are currently 6 users, and we think that every user should have their own volume with 50gb storage as their "work space". And a big production volume where we store finished sessions as an archive. Is this a smart system? How have you guys done your workflows?

Since we re-use a lot of our old productions we want to have instant access to our archive. Should this "archive" volume be a SAN or NAS volume? Pros/Cons?

For the technical bit, what stripe/block size should we use for our pro tools users?

Hello Beppo, thank you for posting on our forums. Can you provide some more information about your environment, such as how many tracks of record and how many tracks of playback your studios require at any given time?

According to our notes, you have an EVO configured with two EVO Performance Pools, each with 1 Quad (4 drives). Each Pool has two 1TB RAID 5 Volumes configured for Audio. In this basic setup you can expect 1 user to get full track count of 192 tracks of 24/48 playback to either volume on Pool A for example. Two users on Pool A could expect to see something in the range of 64 tracks each at the same time.

A common workflow approach is to create smaller workspaces for each user, particularly in environments where there are more users than workstations, and where users are not always using the same suite. In this case you may want to balance the user volumes across multiple performance pools to better distribute their load on the storage. Your pending answer to my question earlier about your studio's performance requirements will help gauge this.

Your point about an "archive" of productions, is a really nice idea. We do have other customers using a similar method, though I would like to clear up some terminology that even trips me up at times. I find it helpful to refer to an archive as storing the production's content on multiple sets of optical media, digital tape and/or disk (including off-site copies), these are considered a Write Once Read Many type of archive media. Another approach is a spinning archive or near-line archive utilizing a physically separate storage array. All of this archival is usually maintained with some type of archive management software, which will build searchable catalogs of the archived media. Keeping duplicate files on the same storage array as your on-line production media, is not an archive, as everything is physically in the same place.

"Backup" can be a helpful term to use in reference to duplicating files in active production at different intervals (sometimes daily incremental and full weekly for example), often on dedicated backup disks (sometimes in the same array, or other slower arrays, and sometimes on portable desktop drives, which get put on a shelf or re-used depending on the interval schedule). A good backup solution keeps copies on-hand and readily available for quick access, where an archive might take more time to spool from tape or copied from optical media to writeable storage, or be brought in from off-site and so on. The reason I bring this up is, I want to point out the importance of having a backup and an archive plan in place, with redundancy beyond duplicate files on the same physical drives.

That said, having a volume or workspace setup for storing older productions which might get re-used, a Production Library if you will, is a nice addition to the workflow. If the production library is configured as a larger SAN volume, then the sessions will be able to be opened in Read Only mode and previewed live in Pro Tools from pretty much any system (depending on performance loads, and storage configuration, etc.), though the volume size would need to be 2TB or less. This is a good approach when the management of that SAN volume would be pretty much handled by one user at a time. If you want multiple users to be able to send/add copies of finished productions to the Library all at the same time, and/or you want a larger library volume, and you're not as concerned with a live preview in Pro Tools without having to copy the session to a SAN volume first, then using a NAS might be a better approach. Storing the productions on a NAS share would also enable you to setup a backup/archive client in place without requiring an additional SAN license.

One of the more redundant approaches to doing this all in one box would be to have a performance pool or two setup for Pro Tools workspaces (depending on your performance needs), and having a separate dedicated pool for the Production Library.

Regarding the EVO RAID Volumes, just stick with the default stripe/block sizes and you will be fine. Just be sure to set the "Audio" option for the I/O Profile setting. Another technical bit to keep in mind, is that, the EVO "RAID" Volumes, are presented to the operating system as Logical Disks. These logical disks are raw storage which is then formatted by Disk Utility. So, if you wanted, you could unconvert the SANmp volumes using SANmp Admin on one of your Macs, and re-partition the volumes in Disk Utility, then convert them back to SANmp volumes, without having to rebuild the EVO RAID Volumes as well. I believe there should also be some free space on your EVO to create additional EVO RAID Volumes with. Just be sure to leave a couple of GB of unused space per pool when creating the EVO RAID Volumes.

Best Regards,

-Caspian

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Hello Beppo, thank you for posting on our forums. Can you provide some more information about your environment, such as how many tracks of record and how many tracks of playback your studios require at any given time?

According to our notes, you have an EVO configured with two EVO Performance Pools, each with 1 Quad (4 drives). Each Pool has two 1TB RAID 5 Volumes configured for Audio. In this basic setup you can expect 1 user to get full track count of 192 tracks of 24/48 playback to either volume on Pool A for example. Two users on Pool A could expect to see something in the range of 64 tracks each at the same time.

A common workflow approach is to create smaller workspaces for each user, particularly in environments where there are more users than workstations, and where users are not always using the same suite. In this case you may want to balance the user volumes across multiple performance pools to better distribute their load on the storage. Your pending answer to my question earlier about your studio's performance requirements will help gauge this.

We have three studios whom should be able to playback 40 track each, and record 10 at any given time. And then we shall use the 4th license for quick edits on laptops. This should be distributed on 8 "workspaces".

Your point about an "archive" of productions, is a really nice idea. We do have other customers using a similar method, though I would like to clear up some terminology that even trips me up at times. I find it helpful to refer to an archive as storing the production's content on multiple sets of optical media, digital tape and/or disk (including off-site copies), these are considered a Write Once Read Many type of archive media. Another approach is a spinning archive or near-line archive utilizing a physically separate storage array. All of this archival is usually maintained with some type of archive management software, which will build searchable catalogs of the archived media. Keeping duplicate files on the same storage array as your on-line production media, is not an archive, as everything is physically in the same place.

"Backup" can be a helpful term to use in reference to duplicating files in active production at different intervals (sometimes daily incremental and full weekly for example), often on dedicated backup disks (sometimes in the same array, or other slower arrays, and sometimes on portable desktop drives, which get put on a shelf or re-used depending on the interval schedule). A good backup solution keeps copies on-hand and readily available for quick access, where an archive might take more time to spool from tape or copied from optical media to writeable storage, or be brought in from off-site and so on. The reason I bring this up is, I want to point out the importance of having a backup and an archive plan in place, with redundancy beyond duplicate files on the same physical drives.

That's a smart way of putting it!

That said, having a volume or workspace setup for storing older productions which might get re-used, a Production Library if you will, is a nice addition to the workflow. If the production library is configured as a larger SAN volume, then the sessions will be able to be opened in Read Only mode and previewed live in Pro Tools from pretty much any system (depending on performance loads, and storage configuration, etc.), though the volume size would need to be 2TB or less. This is a good approach when the management of that SAN volume would be pretty much handled by one user at a time. If you want multiple users to be able to send/add copies of finished productions to the Library all at the same time, and/or you want a larger library volume, and you're not as concerned with a live preview in Pro Tools without having to copy the session to a SAN volume first, then using a NAS might be a better approach. Storing the productions on a NAS share would also enable you to setup a backup/archive client in place without requiring an additional SAN license.

One of the more redundant approaches to doing this all in one box would be to have a performance pool or two setup for Pro Tools workspaces (depending on your performance needs), and having a separate dedicated pool for the Production Library.

The thing is that we actually need both, we need to have multiple users writing to the "library" at the same time, and live playback in pro tools using read only.

The senario is that we are doing a radio show, and have multiple journalists that needs to send their interviews and whatnot to the engineer who's mixing the show. And then we have the producer who wants to go in and listen, make a note or remove something as well.

What about doing them as a combo volumes?

also, 2tb is the larges volume pro tools can handle? if so, maybe if you chose SAN as the library for the "active" productions. you could have a larger NAS volume where finished productions.

Its hard to wrap your head around this, the possibilities seems endless ;)

Regarding the EVO RAID Volumes, just stick with the default stripe/block sizes and you will be fine. Just be sure to set the "Audio" option for the I/O Profile setting. Another technical bit to keep in mind, is that, the EVO "RAID" Volumes, are presented to the operating system as Logical Disks. These logical disks are raw storage which is then formatted by Disk Utility. So, if you wanted, you could unconvert the SANmp volumes using SANmp Admin on one of your Macs, and re-partition the volumes in Disk Utility, then convert them back to SANmp volumes, without having to rebuild the EVO RAID Volumes as well. I believe there should also be some free space on your EVO to create additional EVO RAID Volumes with. Just be sure to leave a couple of GB of unused space per pool when creating the EVO RAID Volumes.

Best Regards,

-Caspian

ah, that tip would have been handy before we made completely new pools in the admin interface.

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