Scaling up indiestor to a big boys server

With indiestor thoroughly tested it was time to talk my local indie production company into buying a damn big video server and try this thing out on an industrial scale.

This proved to be fairly easy. With 3 big broadcast productions on the horizon which could gainfully employ up to 6 or 7 editors the economic argument made a lot of sense. We got a green light to take this project to the next stage.

With help from Alex at indiestor we settled on a 2U, 12 bay server populated with 6 x 3Tb drives plus a hot spare and a spanking new Adaptec RAID card. All this in a neat little box with flashing blue lights from xCase

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Here it is: http://www.xcase.co.uk/hot-swap-2u-rack-mount-s/297.htm

It’s never quite that simple – then came the extras: a 1Gb ethernet switcher, a patch bay, an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) a bunch of cables and a rack mount server case to squeeze it all in to. Oh and of course CAT6 Ethernet cables throughout the entire building to spread the goodness to all corners of our little empire.

It is essential to get decent cabling put in for the installation otherwise all the speed gained in arrays and fast controllers will be lost down the pipes. A good friend of mine did us a good deal on this and his friendly chaps came and drilled holes everywhere, made a big mess, cleared it all up and left us with lots of neat trunking and shiny new sockets just waiting to be plugged in to.

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We managed to do the whole installation plus the server for around £5000 inc VAT. Split roughly 50/50 between the server box itself and the outboard bits and cabling. Not bad for full installation of an 18Tb video server!

With everything else ready to go we just waited for the server to arrive. After a small hiccup whilst

a cable arrived on the slowboat from China the postman finally knocked on the door with a big brown box. Time to break out the screwdriver.

Bolted in, plugged in, switched on. We decided to install Ubuntu Desktop rather than the server edition since we are not quite geeky enough to do without the GUI. Alex reckoned that the overheads of running the Desktop version weren’t really going to impact the performance.

Time to build the array. This is not a quick thing! Two days later we had drunk a lot of coffee, eaten a lot of biscuits and gone grey. The Adaptec RAID controller and the Seagate drives weren’t playing nicely together despite being eminently qulified. After lots of emails between me, Alex, xCase, Adaptec and Seagate and the perseverance of John, our IT manager, we settled on updating the Firmware in the Adaptec controller. This seemed to solve all our problems a

nd we wiped our brows and gave a deep sigh of relief. This is one of the perils of a DIY build – you have to build it yourself and sort out the problems!

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As a complete novice and self confessed idiot to boot this part of the process has been a steep learning curve and – since money and reputations are now involved – very stressful.

I am about to head for the office to see whether the RAID6 has built and verified properly overnight so fingers crossed.

More to come…

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