LIBRARY: Tutorials Reviews Interviews Editorials Features Business Authors RSS Feed

G-Tech G-RACK 12: Fast, Easy, Expandable, A Winner

COW Library : Storage : Bob Zelin : G-Tech G-RACK 12: Fast, Easy, Expandable, A Winner
CreativeCOW presents G-Tech G-RACK 12: Fast, Easy, Expandable, A Winner -- Storage Review


Orlando Florida USA
CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


At NAB 2016, G-Tech released their first shared storage product, the G-RACK 12.

In the past, G-Tech has made large drive arrays that used ATTO or Highpoint RAID controllers, but over the years, seemed to have phased these out, concentrating on smaller drive arrays, that were more affordable. This changed in 2015, when G-Tech released the G-Tech Studio XL, which was a full 8 bay RAID array for Thunderbolt 2 systems, that could support up to 8 TB SATA hard drives, for up to 64 TB of RAID protected storage. This product became wildly successful for them.

The G-Tech Studio XL was (and still is) great, an excellent choice not only for standalone large RAID arrays, but also for the type of shared storage system that I have been building for years.

G-Tech has gained a reputation over the years of making very reliable products. They have relative recently been acquired by giant drive manufacturer HGST, which in turn has been purchased by the largest drive company in the planet -- Western Digital (who just purchased SanDisk for 16 billion dollars), so when they announced that they were making a shared storage product, I knew that this was going to be a serious product.

Unlike the new craze of ZFS based shared storage systems from Small Tree, LumaForge and Other World Computing, G-Tech has decided to use Btrfs. Pronounce it any way you want. Butter FS, Better FS, or just spell it out. This is a Linux-based system that's designed for maximum speed, reliability, and flexibility, including things like reconfiguring workspace allocations on the fly. Don't worry about not knowing Linux, though. You can find everything you need in a very easy to use web browser interface. (More details about that below.)


The actual chassis only takes up 2 rack units, and as you can guess from the name, the GS 12 holds 12 drives. Because G-Tech is owned by HGST, they are fortunate to be the first company to get access to the new 10 Terabyte HGST Enterprise series SATA drives. This means that you can have up to 120 TB (100 TB after RAID 6 configuration) in only 2 rack units.





And because this product supports SAS expansion, you can add an additional three chassis, which means that you can have 480 TB of total storage. Even if you are working in 4K or 6K, that is a LOT of storage capacity.

The expanders attach with a simple miniSAS 12G cable, so for those technically challenged, it's an easy process -- one single cable.

As for how much room does this take up? Almost nothing -- 4 chassis will take up 8 rack units, which is just 11" tall, for 480 TB of storage.

And no, it does NOT require a server computer. The server is built into the main unit itself, so you are not stuck with a large Mac or PC sitting there, acting as the server.


G-RACK CONNECTIVITY
The G-Tech G-RACK 12 has four 10 Gig Ethernet ports that come standard with the system. Two are on the motherboard of the server computer, and two are on a dual port 10G PCIe card.

This card can be 10Gbase-T or SFP+ 10G. The standard card is 10Gbase-T, so you can use cheap Cat 6 cabling for up to 55 meters, and Cat 6A cabling for up to 100 meters. The G-RACK computer comes standard with 128 Gig of RAM. I usually use 16 gig of RAM, so WOW, that's a lot of RAM for a server!!!

When I build this type of system, I always go into a Netgear XS712T 12 port 10Gbase-T switch. It's cheap, and allows me to connect up to 11 client computers. If I need a bigger switch, I can always spend more money, and get the larger 24 port Netgear XS728T. This way, I can connect one (or two if I want to link aggregate the ports) from the G-Tech G-RACK12 to the switch, and simply plug in the client computers to the Netgear switch.

I always leave the first Ethernet port on the G-RACK configured to DHCP, so I can plug it into the facility's house internet network.



Ports on the back of the G-RACK 12


Why connect your shared storage to the internet? The G-RACK reports drive failure (and other system failures like a dead power supply) to your email, so if you are home on a Sunday, and a drive fails, you will know it instantly. This is why it's a good idea to leave the G-RACK plugged into the internet. This ain't Windows, and no one is looking at porn on your Linux based G-RACK, so there is no worry that you will pick up a virus.

The Netgear supports both 10G and 1G clients (like the native built in port of an iMac), so if I don't want to spend the money on a Thunderbolt to 10G adaptor, I can still simply plug in the iMac to the Netgear switch, and have enough bandwidth to do full HD-SDI 1080i editing, without spending another penny.

If I do want to have the extra bandwidth, I can add Thunderbolt to 10G adaptors on the client computers from Sonnet, Promise, ATTO, Akitio, or anyone else that is making a 10G card that I can stick into a Thunderbolt expansion chassis. Any of these will plug into the Netgear switch, and give me incredible bandwidth for not only HD editing, but 4K and 6K.

(I have not tried 8k yet, nor do I have the specs for this yet.)

With shared storage, once the shared storage system stops, no one is working at your facility. The G-Tech G-RACK 12 comes with dual power supplies (two power cords), in case one fails. If you are using shared storage, and one of the power supplies fail, you can continue to work.





G-RACK 12 CONFIGURATION
To access the G-RACK, be it for setting it up for the first time, or day to day operations, you do not need a keyboard, mouse and monitor attached to it. You can simply enter its IP address from any web browser like Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, and it will instantly appear on your local computer.



Web-based set-up and management software is designed for video editors, rather than sysadmins


And the setup process is easy. No need for multiple networks, metadata managers, special software installation, etc. This product is designed to plug in and work.

The second 10G port on the motherboard (they call it en1) is already preset to an IP address at the factory, which you can change. Because I am lazy, I left this alone for my demo (the IP is 172.16.12.12). If this was a real facility, I would have probably used the additional two 10G ports on the PCIe card, and set the IP addresses of those to match the facility I was working at, and left the G-Tech defaults alone, in case of disaster where I needed to call them.

The entire process of setting this up is pretty easy. Once you set an IP address for the 10G port that you want to use for all the editors, you add users, create a workspace (which in Apple land is called a share point), assign the users to that workspace and you are done.

So let's get into specifics here, as many people say "Easy? How easy?"

To create a new user, you click on Access Control, click the + icon to add in the new user, enter the name and password you want to use and click SAVE. That's it.

To create a new workspace (or share point) that you want to share on the RAID array (this can simply be the entire 100 TB of space) -- you click on Workspace, click on the + icon, give it a name, select the Device (the G-RACK if you only have the one RAID chassis), and click SAVE. That's it.

To assign your users to this shared workspace, you click on Workspace, click on the "Crown" Icon (they could have just put a word there called permissions) - and you see all the user names that you entered. You simply slide the "switch" icon for each user -- whether you want Read/Write Accesss, Read Only Access or No Access.

Come on -- this is easy. In a third of a page of text, you are trained and ready to go.


G-RACK 12 PROTOCOLS
The G-RACK12 supports Apple's legacy AFP network protocol, the new SMB network protocol (which is what all Windows computers use, and what Apple is now making their default network connection protocol), and the "dreaded" NFS.

NFS, an antique Unix/Linux network protocol is what is required to get FCP-X to work.

NFS is typically slow on Mac systems, but G-Tech has SMART guys working for them, and wrote a custom Nfs.conf tuning file (free) that when you load into your Mac computer (in the /etc folder), gives you the SAME network speed with NFS that you get with SMB or AFP.

G-Tech also supports and includes iSCSI, and the G-RACK12 has an iSCSI Target, but you need to purchase additional iSCSI initiators to get this to work.


G-Tech G-RACK 12

G-Tech G-RACK 12 expansion chassis

G-RACK 12 SPEED
With a 1G connection, you get over 100 MB/sec, and with a 10G connection, you get over 700 MB/sec -- both read and write.

Remember, RED Epic Dragon 6K at 5:1 compression requires 143 MB/sec, so working at any of these network protocols with a 10G connection - even with NFS -- will give you multiple times the bandwidth you need to edit in 6K!!!!!



G-Tech supplied this graphic to illustrate the number of streams for 3 Mac Pro systems running Apple Final Cut Pro X


G-RACK 12 IN CONCLUSION
So does this product work? YUP -- it sure does!

It's a server chassis, so the fans are loud - you don't want this under your desk -- but it's small, and it gives you an incredible amount of storage space.

And it's super-fast -- fast enough for anything that we need to edit with today. And it's pretty darn easy to setup. And it's expandable if you need more clients, or more storage space.

And to answer the usual question "Well, what if they go out of business?" -- it's my opinion that G-Tech will go out of business around the same time that Apple and Microsoft go out of business, so I really would not worry about that.

It's always amazing for me to see where we came from in the earliest days of insanely expensive, small, and slow shared storage products. Today, you get super-fast performance, at a fraction of the cost, with tons more storage space.

Not to ruin the party, but no Avid bin locking, so solutions from Avid, Facilis, EditShare, and others will be better solutions for Avid Media Composer.

For people using Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, Apple Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Pro X, Autodesk products, Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve and others -- G-Tech has a winner product here with the G-RACK 12.







Comments

Re: G-Tech G-RACK 12: Fast, Easy, Expandable, A Winner
by Felix Martens
Thanks for your reply! I'm very thankful to receive some advice from someone of your experience! Yes, I'm based in Hamburg and my company is a full service production company focused mainly on TV commercials and corporate videos. I'm not acquainted with die Filmographen though, I'm sorry!
Our current infrastructure consists of a custom built server with a 24 drive raid controller (16 internal and 8 to an additional external case) running on Windows7 home edition, which is directly connected via a dual port10GbE card to two MacPro 5,1 Workstations with a single port 10GbE card each. The main storage is a raid6 with 16x3Gb Sata Drives and we used the remaining 8 ports for a jbod of 4tb drives serving as a mirror for the main storage for an extra level of security.

We edit with Premiere, color grade with Resolve and finish with After Effects (occasionally nuke) in HD and occasionally 4k (in Prores, Red and Blackmagic raw) and the original plan was to work directly of the shared storage, but unfortunately it never worked out because the connection to the server (via smb, fixed ip address) is just not stable enough. Whenever we open a folder in the finder it takes a couple of seconds until the contents are listed. In Resolve or Premiere, when you hit play it also takes a couple of seconds until it starts which is of course not an option in client attended work...

Hence, I'm looking for a more hassle-free solution for the future and was hoping that I could find something in the higher-end NAS-market that delivers the performance and stability we need. I didn't look into the TVS-871T, because I'm not too interested in the thunderbolt DAS-capabilities, because we don't have a workstation that has tb. The TVS-1271U-RP starts at a similar price and gives me 4 drive slots more as well as rack-mounting which is convenient for me. Do you see any disadvantages against the 871? And what's your advice on which cpu and ram setup I should choose? Will we gain performance (for up to 4 clients on GbE for the future) with a core i7 and 32gb RAM setup? Also, what's you opinion on their competitor from synology? They claim much higher IOPS and throughput in their specs and also they offer snapshot backups which sounds very attractive...

I was also considering a sonnet mac mini server with thunderbolt-DAS and 10gbE card on the other thunderbolt port, but while this sounds very attractive in terms of maintenance (I'm a mac user after all...) I'd be afraid it wouldn't hold up in performance and certainly not in expandability... Or am I wrong with this perception?

Thank you again for your time! I'm very excited to hear your opinion! Feel free to mail me at "felix at impossiblefilms dot de" (sorry, I've had bad experience with spam) if you prefer to continue this discussion on pm.
Re: G-Tech G-RACK 12: Fast, Easy, Expandable, A Winner
by Bob Zelin
The QNAP systems are wonderful. For a small facility, the TVS-871T may be all that you need. It's a different "animal" than the GRACK12. I would be more than happy to discuss this with you in detail.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com
Re: G-Tech G-RACK 12: Fast, Easy, Expandable, A Winner
by Felix Martens
Hi Bob!

Great Review! Can you elaborate on how this would compare to a QNAP TVS-1271U-RP or a Synology RS3617xs+ ?
I'm currently looking at these systems for a small 2 suites facility that already has a 10 GbE infrastructure and while the G-Tech Solution seams like a perfect turnkey-system, it's also quite a bit more expensive as the 2 other systems, if you equip them with say WD Red Pro drives. I would love to hear your opinion on this!

Felix
@Felix Marten
by Bob Zelin
Hi Felix -
are you in Hamburg ? Do you know Die Filmographen ?

Bob

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com
Re: G-Tech G-RACK 12: Fast, Easy, Expandable, A Winner
by Bob Zelin
It is NOT suitable as an AVID Media Composer storage system.
It work with EVERYTHING ELSE (Resolve, Autodesk, all Adobe CC software, FCP7, FCP-X, etc.) but no AVID.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com
@Bob Zelin
by Kendall Kaiser
Thanks Bob! That's what I was afraid of...
@Bob Zelin
by alex gardiner
You can add AVID style collaborative support using a couple of products.

MIMIQ or something like SANfusion would work perfectly with the G-Rack.

Storage Engineer
alex@indiestor.com
+1
Re: G-Tech G-RACK 12: Fast, Easy, Expandable, A Winner
by Kendall Kaiser
Just curious - does this system replicate an Avid storage environment, where Avid Mediafiles are indexed by the client based on the folder name in Avid Mediafiles/MXF/?
Re: G-Tech G-RACK 12: Fast, Easy, Expandable, A Winner
by Marc Wielage
Ah, thanks much for the price information. I wish the original article could be updated to include that information. I did a Google search and couldn't find it, not even on G-Tech's own website, nor have they answered email in 24 hours.
+1
Re: G-Tech G-RACK 12: Fast, Easy, Expandable, A Winner
by Bob Zelin
PRICING -
the prices for the G-Tech GRACK12 are not a secret. They are printed on the spec sheet that G-Tech hands out -
It is only available in a 12 bay, and you can get 12 bay expanders

48 TB - $16995
72TB - $22999
96TB - $27999
120TB - $32999

expanders -
48TB - 11999
72TB - 12999
96TB - 14999
120TB - $16999

all models include the four built in 10G ports. You can get SFP+ 10G cards as well.
This price does not include installation (by me) - and all prices are the retail list prices. Every dealer will discount from the retail list prices. At this moment, the normal super discount dealers (B&H Photo, Videoguys, etc) cannot sell this product. It must go through a VAR (value added reseller), because you can't buy this product, say "I can't figure out how to make this work" and then call G-Tech for free support on getting it working. A VAR for G-Tech must assist you with this. And no - you cannot purchase the unit without drives, and add your own drives. All of these systems come complete with top of the line HGST Enterprise series SATA drives, with 5 year warrantees. So if you are thinking - "I can get the empty GRACK12, load it up with cheap Toshiba SATA drives, and call G-Tech for free to help get everything setup, and I will save a ton of money" - this is not going to happen.
And this does not happen with Editshare, Facilis, Apace, GB Labs, Small Tree, AVID, Quantum, Studio Network Solutions, ProMax, Maxx Digital, etc. These are all hi end professional solutions that come complete, and require professional support. The GRACK12 is an excellent product, and an excellent value.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com
+1
Re: G-Tech G-RACK 12: Fast, Easy, Expandable, A Winner
by Russ D'Arensbourg
Lots of other review sites list prices. At least the MSRP of the unit in question.
EG http://www.anandtech.com/tag/nas
But to be fair most such gear reviewed here by folks like Bob are going to come your way by a VAR or system integrator. So the price of the unit is just one line item, and can go up or down...depending on stuff like SFPs, wire looms, hourly rate of install techs etc.
Re: Article: G-Tech G-RACK 12: Fast, Easy, Expandable, A Winner
by Marc Wielage
Every detail but price!
Re: Article: G-Tech G-RACK 12: Fast, Easy, Expandable, A Winner
by Tim Wilson
We specifically ask reviewers NOT to include prices. Prices change, making the review look out of date when it isn't.

Your favorite dealer can also often get quite creative with pricing as part of your regular business with them, which is why we STRONGLY support local dealers, and suggest that people contact dealers for current pricing.

That said, Bob answers that question here in the comments. :-)

Regards,

Tim Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW
Re: G-Tech G-RACK 12: Fast, Easy, Expandable, A Winner
by Russ D'Arensbourg
"I always leave the first Ethernet port on the G-RACK configured to DHCP, so I can plug it into the facility's house internet network."
I think this is not a good idea unless you have a rule created in the firewall blocking all but SMTP traffic to and from the device.
This is harder to do when it is set to DHCP, you'd have to be able to make rules for MAC addresses, which not all firewalls make easy for you. So I'd suggest that you set it for a reserved address in your DHCP pool. Most firewalls, especially the ones in cheaper devices, want to see an IP address.
Linux is robust and certainly more secure than an OS like Windows. But unless it is set up with SELinux I'd be hesitant to plug a web-interfaced Linux box to the public internet.

That all said this looks like a great product from a great company.
WD, HGST and G Tech have always done right by me.
I'd be curious to know if it can integrate with Open Directory or Active Directory. Administering users on the storage can be tedious.

PS. nothing new about SMB. That is an ooooold protocol.


Related Articles / Tutorials:
Storage
Thunderbolt 2 Arrays From Nestor: The Biggest Game in Town

Thunderbolt 2 Arrays From Nestor: The Biggest Game in Town

If you've needed a Thunderbolt 2 RAID bigger than 8 bays, you've been out of luck -- until now. Bob Zelin has taken the new Nestor NA333TB 16-bay Thunderbolt 2 RAID for a spin, and likes what he sees.

Review, Feature
Bob Zelin
Recent Articles / Tutorials:
Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects Glitter Text - No Plug-ins Required!

Adobe After Effects Glitter Text - No Plug-ins Required!

Learn how to create a GLITTER TEXT EFFECT in Adobe After Effects without ANY plugins! VFX guru and filmmaker, Surfaced Studio's Tobias G, introduces you to CC Particle World, a powerful particle generator included in After Effects! You can use it to create all sorts of cool particle effects including explosions, smoke, fairy glitter, stars and much more. Along the way, Tobias brings the remarkable breadth of in-depth tips and tricks that will help you raise the level of your own AE expertise for every kind of creative task.


Tobias G
Business & Career Building
Go Creative Show: Build Your Filmmaking Career With YouTube

Go Creative Show: Build Your Filmmaking Career With YouTube

Discover how to advance your filmmaking and photography career on YouTube and Instagram in our interview with YouTuber and podcaster Tyler Stalman. Tyler and Go Creative Show host, Ben Consoli, discuss what it takes to stand out on YouTube, Tyler’s experience going from a stock photographer to freelance cinematographer, why it’s helpful to have a wide skillset of services, and much more!


Ben Consoli
Blackmagic Design Fusion
Building A Simple, Powerful Keyer in Blackmagic Design Fusion

Building A Simple, Powerful Keyer in Blackmagic Design Fusion

Discover the basics of creating a powerful Color Difference Keyer in Blackmagic Design Fusion using some very simple tools. Longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell shows how, once you understand the basic principles, there are countless ways to apply them to a wide variety of shots you’re working on. It’s also just plain interesting to understand what’s going on when you key.


Simon Ubsdell
Adobe After Effects
After Effects Advanced Content-Aware Fill With Photoshop

After Effects Advanced Content-Aware Fill With Photoshop

In part three of his series on Adobe After Effects Content Aware Fill, filmmaker and After Effects artist Cody Pyper takes his deepest dive yet! Following requests from viewers in the series so far, Cody takes a closer look at how Adobe Photoshop can help you remove unwanted objects from your video footage in After Effects.


Cody Pyper
Blackmagic Design Fusion
Blackmagic Design Fusion: World Coordinates for 3D Compositing

Blackmagic Design Fusion: World Coordinates for 3D Compositing

Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for a look at the useful things you can do in Blackmagic Design Fusion with world coordinates data using the Volume Mask tool. It offers very handy way of applying 2D processing to 3D scenes generated either within Fusion or rendered from your favourite 3D application.


Simon Ubsdell
DaVinci Resolve
DaVinci Resolve Optical Flow

DaVinci Resolve Optical Flow

Join filmmaker and After Effects artist Cody Pyper for a closer look at DaVinci Resolve's Optical Flow to create exceptionally smooth slow motion, even on footage shot at normal frame rates. Cody covers the basics of how to use the effect, and shows some practical applications of Optical Flow for a variety of editorial troubleshooting.


Cody Pyper
Adobe After Effects
Best Results with After Effects Content-Aware Fill: Reference Frames

Best Results with After Effects Content-Aware Fill: Reference Frames

Join filmmaker and After Effects artist Cody Pyper for a deep dive into how to get the absolute best results using the Content-Aware Fill tool in After Effects. Locked-down shots with simple backgrounds are one thing, but Cody shows the details of how to get fantastic results with complicated backgrounds and a moving camera using reference frames.


Cody Pyper
Apple Motion
Apple Motion 5: Stylized Liquid Title Tutorial

Apple Motion 5: Stylized Liquid Title Tutorial

Tapping into one of the year's hottest design trends, as well as Apple Motion 5's most sophisticated creative tools, longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell has done it again: putting together a tutorial that's fast, fun, eye-opening, and immediately practical. Taking advantage of Motion's Clouds generators to create both foreground elements and masks, and the quick combination of three filters from the Stylize category, you're going to be amazed by speed and elegance of this effect when applied to a title graphic: fresh, clean, and ready for easy customizing.


Simon Ubsdell
Apple Final Cut Pro X
Apple Motion 5: Awesome Glass Title Effect for FCPX

Apple Motion 5: Awesome Glass Title Effect for FCPX

"Create this frosted glass title effect for use in FCP X and amaze your friends," says longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell. "Nothing hugely fancy but a set of standard tricks you should find useful." Along the way, you'll work with clones, grouping, blurs, masking, levels, rigs, the Cellular generator, Glass Distortion, and the Extrude filter, along the typical plethora of Apple Motion workflow tweaks to provide maximum finesse with minimal effort. From there, you'll see how to add the title effect to FCPX, where you can customize and reuse to your heart's content.


Simon Ubsdell
MORE
© 2020 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]