This week I sold my old G5 along with a 23″ Cinema Wide Display, a BlackMagic card, Sonnet Tempo eSata card, and a Sonnet Fusion 500P populated with 5 x 500GB hard drives. It was a complete edit system including lots of fast storage, but as part of my “out with the old – in with the new” theme, it all had to go.
Hindsight certainly is 20/20 and I like to review technology after the fact to reflect on how well it worked. Overall my G5 was a great machine and it was difficult to let it go. But a couple of the components were very hard to let go: the monitor, and the storage…
The original Apple 23″ Cinema Wide Display…
…was an awesome monitor.Â As much as I complain about mac monitors, their high price tag and the singular input, I have to say that Apple makes good monitors.Â They last and they have good color.Â If not for the fact that this monitor was ADC I would have kept it.Â But I couldn’t let myself pay $100 for an adaptor that still only gets me to Apple DVI.Â Maybe if it were a breakout box that got me HDMI and other inputs, I would have considered it.
Almost three years ago I purchased a storage solution which consisted of an eSata card, an eSata mini tower, and 5 x 500 GB hard drives.Â I had originally intended to set it up as a RAID 5, but after I got it found that the solution wouldn’t do Raid 5, so I used it as 5 mounted volumes. The drives were fast and (thank God) I never had any data loss with them.
To prepare for the sale I cleaned up the Fusion 500 P and blew out all the dust. Taking it apart reminded me how well it’s made.Â It is completely modular.Â The fan is easily removed and makes it’s connection to power simply by plugging it in.Â Typicaly for these types of eSata towers, each of the drives is screwed into a tray which also slides into place making it’s connection.Â This make for easy clean up.
The unit holds 5 drives, all which run off a single multiplexed eSata connector.Â The accompanying host adaptor card has 4 eSata connections.Â This means that theoretically you have 4 towers with 5 drives each, or 30 drives.
To get my data backed up, I replaced one of the 500 GB drives with a 1.5 BG Seagate and moved everything over.Â Then swapped a few of the drives out and repeated to a second 1.5 GB drive.Â Each copy of 500 GB took about 3 hours.Â Since these drives are connected eSata, it’s best to shut everything down, then swap out the drive.Â Powering up requires that the drive be turned on first and then the system.
Speed-wise, the drives are quite a bit slower than a direct connected eSata, presumably because of the multiplexed connection. I never noticed it in use. They always seemed fast.Â I never experienced any drop frames in Final Cut. But under benchmark they came in around 40 MB/s for both read and write:
The Fusion 500P was the hardest to give up because the technology isn’t very old.Â The Fusion is still being sold today and after cleaning it up I realized that three years of use hardly shows. And all you have to do is swap out the hard drives for newer, bigger ones and you’re on your way to a 7.5 TB tower.Â Also, in my new Intel Mac Pro, a RAID 5 IS possible – so you could add in some data protection.Â But it’s gone now and I’ll be looking to replace it with something new for storage.Â Keep your browser bookmarked here for what I buy and how it works.
3 thoughts on “Goodbye Old G5 – You Served Me Well”
Heyyyyy have you thought about an internal raid? I have two 320GB 2.5" velociraptor 10k drives for system in the second optical bay (had a custom enclosure designed and built for me by max upgrades), and four internal 1T spinpoints as a raid zero (always backed up via time machine to a 1.5T FW 800 drive) with a rocket-raid hardware controller – this gives me 347.8MB write and 414.7 read 1920×1080/8-bit Aja test. Might be a consideration.
Going forward I'm very paranoid about data loss. In my new mac pro I have two 1TB internals which are mirrored. This protects against a hard drive crash. I still need to protect against data loss from FIRE or WATER damage, and accidental deletion. I'm thinking about doing a Time Machine volume in there as well. For certain irreplaceable files like photos I'm going to do offsite storage.
I still need to figure out some kind of large raid. I have a few ideas. I want to be able to stream HD media to my popcorn hour.
you and me both paranoid. I can't STAND losing data OR time. I think I hate losing time more.
I use Mozy.com for offsite, plus getdropbox.com for current project offsite. Mozy has been love hate – they say unlimited storage – and I've got about 100GB up – but it's surely slow. Still, once it's up there – it's incremental – and you don't notice it backing up in the background at all.
MAIN FILES – Redudant raid – 4T
My main files are all stored on the fantastic Drobo – which has been amazing so far (like an auto managed raid 5 but better). This allows you to lose two drives and the thing keeps running until you put two new ones in – then it auto recovers etc.
TIME MACHINE – 1.5 T FW800 drive
I have time machine always running to back up stuff for fast recovery – but I don't rely on it since when I did crash once – it took a day to get back up and running. I looked for a faster way and that is below:
SYSTEM backup –
My two 320G drives are backups of each other – but not mirrors (since mirrors only mirror your problem) – Instead – Each is formatted into two partitions. The faster partition of drive 1 is for the OS – the faster part of drive 2 is for the user files. The slower partition of drive 1 is back up of the user files on drive 2 (daily using synchronize pro) and the slower partition of drive 2 is weekly back up of OS on drive 1.
Benefit of this is that if the OS goes down – I simply OPT+change my start up drive to the backup partition on drive 2 and bam – back up and running in minutes. (time machine restore takes me about 5 or more hours – no good when on a deadline)
Hope that helps – been working this way for a while and it's great peace of mind knowing that full recovery is a restart and two keys away.
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