RAID 3 for video editing

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RAID
RAID 3
Storage products and equipment
A SearchStorage.com reader recently asked: Hi, I am a budding filmmaker looking for an inexpensive way to setup an at home post production facility (video editing, sound,etc.) Most of the raid cards that I have seen are very expensive. Can you recommend a raid 3 card that's reasonably priced and what other levels of raid are good for video editing? Thanks, Rupert
ASKED: July 25, 2005  3:01 PM
UPDATED: August 28, 2008  3:30 PM

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What it boils down to is, why do you think you need RAID 3? If you never plan to do backups (naughty, naughty), then perhaps this is the solution for you; I don’t know of any RAID cards off the top of my head that will do RAID 3, but perhaps a software solution is possible? Never used it.

However, if you pllan on saving your work back to DV tape or to DVD (R or RW), then you – and your wallet – would benefit greatly from RAID 0, which would give you the speed you’re looking for but without the overhead of redundancy.

Cheers

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  • Poppaman2
    To be honest, there are few controllers which support RAID 3, most of them (as you have discovered) a bit expensive. What is your reason for going RAID 3? If you require sequetial read/write speed, RAID 0 is your best bet (but lacks data protection). RAID 0+1 (or 1+0) offers the speed of RAID 0 along with fault tolerance of a full duplicate RAID set (RAID 1). Disadvantage of course is loss of disk capacity (50% lost capacity due to the disk mirroring of RAID 1). Use of SATA drives and a controller such as the Adaptec 2810SA (8 drives capacity for about $600.00) or 2410SA (4 drive capacity for about $400.00) are good cards, but there are many others out there...
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  • Noneckjoe
    If you're buying new computers (workstation or gamer/enthusiast class) then you're probably going to have either SCSI or SATA with RAID capabilities. You can either use Windows to stripe the SCSI disks (RAID 0) or use the hardware raid with SATA to create a pretty fast array. Either solution is dependent on how much you want to spend and how fast your apps require throughput. Then you'll want to have some kind of backup solution in place of course - disk or tape. If you had all the money in the world get a RAID enclosure full of SATA or SCSI or FC drives, and still have tape/disk back-up.
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  • Poppaman2
    To add a bit to my previous post, note that many video editing shops will use RAID 1 (Disk Mirroring) for their system/software volume (2 identical drives required) and RAID 3, 4 or 5 (data striping with parity) for their data drives (min. 3 identical drives required). Note that the term "identical partition" can be used instead of "identical drive". The key here is, of course, the term you use: "inexpensive"... What is your budget? Are you doing this for profit (ie: can the cost of equipment be covered/depreciated for tax purposes)? Utilizing SATA or SATA II drives (relatively fast, relatively inexpensive, somewhat less reliable than their SCSI cousins) may save you 30% of the cost of the array. Give some serious thought to an external SCSI enclosure populated with 36 or 72GB drives: more spindles usually equates to higher speeds (ie: a larger qty of smaller drives is usually faster than a smaller number of larger drives). What platform are you running? There are specialized and/or proprietary storage solutions available for most platforms, with several good ones available for the Macintosh (just make sure they are OS X compatible...).
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