By bblfish on Jul 19, 2006
My brother Nick recently went to Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan, the area that has seen the most heavy atomic bombing on earth ever. Stalin needed the bomb. So he tried it out on his own comrades. (See article in The Telegraph)
What was my brother doing there? Making a quick film on the subject for his small video outfit StoryProductions. A Sony Z1 in one hand and a good Geiger counter in the other was all the equipment he needed for his story. Back home of course Nick is completely decked out with Apple gear. A dual PowerPC tower, all the software he could buy, and RAID storage. It does not come cheap. But it is a lot cheaper than it used to be. And it certainly sounds like a lot of fun if hard work, with random possibilities of mutation.
Working with HD video uses up a lot of space. An hour of DV-50 is approximately 22 GB. So Sun's recently released Thumper, the new data server shipping with from 12 to 24 Terra Bytes of storage, sounded like it may be very useful for an outfit such as his. Clearly this is serious machinery, and at the price one had better not be letting it grow old unused. But given its I/O capacity of over 1 GigaByte per second, and given that the fastest ethernet on most machines is GigaBit ethernet (8 times slower) one of these should be enough for eight people working together simultaneously. It looks like this could be the right machine for video editing shops.
So I did a quick price comparison with Apple's XServ Raid storage. The Thumper comes with 2 powerful (2.6GHz) Dual Core 64bit Opteron CPUs and lots of RAM for caching in addition to the storage. We therefore need to compare Thumper to an XServ RAID + Xserve G5 with 16GB of RAM. The 7TB XServ Raid + XServ G5 with 16BG of RAM + Fibre PCI-X card + OSX + Apple Care Part + Apple Care comes to $31,746 according to Apple Store, or just $1200 short of the low end Thumper which comes with an additional 5TB of storage all packaged in a very solid looking box. That's an extra 227 hours of HD video storage, that can also be used to help backup the data if needed over the powerful ZFS file system.
Now I do not myself have the luxury to play with such big machines. But
I would love to hear from anyone who may like to share experiences of
using the x4500 for video production, so that I can advise my brothers.
Both are thinking of growing this into an online TV video company. Web
2.0 or what?
What would you suggest? Does this type of machine make some things possible that would otherwise be a lot more difficult for the scenario I am considering? I imagine that coming from Sun the Networking layer and the OS must be rock solid, since we are in the area of heavy metal (literally: Thumper weighs 77kg max), which Sun excells at.