When it comes to video storage, we get asked these three questions all the time from our customers:
- What is a RAID and why do I need it?
- What is the best, most cost effective RAID solution for video editing?
- What brand and model of storage do you recommend and why?
Before I go into the specific answers to first two questions, I want to give you my absolute answer to the third. When it comes to video storage, G-TECH G-RAIDs are the way to go! They combine outstanding performance, great features, sleek styling and most importantly the BEST reliability in the industry. There are several different models/ configurations / flavors of G-RAIDs available, and with each flavor comes several choices in storage capacity. We need to make sure we match up the connectivity with your computers to guarantee you the maximum throughput balanced against the total cost of the drive as well as the cost per GB. The purpose of this article is to guide you towards the best G-RAID to fit your workflow and budget.
Let's get started by circling back to the first two questions. They are very important to understand for videographers. We do not have the same needs as photographers, audiophiles or Digital Audio Workstations. For the best possible workflow video editors need RAID storage.
RAID stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives. By using more than one drive, you can spread the data across them, thereby giving you added performance and if you need it, redundancy. I'm going to give you a brief explanation of the three most used RAID configurations for content creation. RAID 0,1 & 5. Please keep in mind that you can configure internal drives or external drives in a RAID. You do not have to purchase an external solution.
RAID 1 is often called mirroring because both drives have the same exact data on them. This is done for protection. If one drive fails, you still have all your data on the other. This means the total volume of storage in the RAID 1 is only as big as a single drive. (2 x 4TB drives in RAID 1 gives you 4TB of usable storage).
RAID 0 is two or more drives striped together for maximum throughput. The computer sees theses drives as one single, large drive. With RAID 0 you get 2x the drive capacity of the smaller drive. So two 4TB drives give you 8TB of storage
RAID5 is our top recommendation for professional video editing, when you can't afford to trade off performance for redundancy. A RAID 5 set-up allows you to use parity bits that spread the risk of drive failure among the other drives in the RAID. Keeping with my previous illustrations 4 x 4TB gives you 12TB of usable storage with even faster throughput than RAID 0 and data protection.
RAID 1 is for photographers, not video editors
Compared to video files, digital photographs are very small. Even using little or no compression. That said on a 4TB drive you could have thousands of images. So it's important to have backups for them. With RAID 1 you have 2 identical copies of every picture, automatically. Nothing to worry about and no special backup programs to run.
RAID 0 provides the best value and performance for the vast majority of video editors,
You will get drive performance capable of supporting multiple layers of HD footage, at a very reasonable cost per GB.
While you do have the risk of drive failure, please keep in mind that hard drives just don't magically fail. They start to give up the ghost, little hints that let you know something is going wrong. This can be programs or projects taking longer to open or close, lots more whirring sounds during normal operational and the most tell tale sign of all that something is going wrong - clicking. If your drives start displaying any of these behaviors you want to immediately back up all your work and look into purchasing a replacement drive. Being proactive and monitoring the health your storage can and will save you from hours of frustration and heartache.
If you are a professional editor or work with 2K/4K footage you want to step up to RAID 5
The addition of redundancy means that if any single drive in your system should fail, you can keep on editing. Swap out the bad drive for a new one, rebuild the RAID 5, and your back to full performance. You will not lose any data when you rebuild a RAID 5 with the replacement drive. This added cost is not necessary for everyone.
For video files beyond HD, you need 4 or more drives in RAID 5 configuration. RAID 5 using 4 drives provide enough throughput to flood the Thunderbolt 1 interface. This is fast enough for basic 2K workflows.
G-Tech G-RAIDs KICK ASS!
G-Tech G-RAID & G-Speed storage solutions are designed to meet the performance and price video editors need
I've been a huge fan of G-RAIDs since the founding of G-Tech over a decade ago. Over the past ten years we've sold tens of thousands of them. They are extremely reliable and deliver outstanding performance. Today G-RAIDs are built using enterprise class HGST 7200 RPM drives. This is a VERY BIG deal. These enterprise drives are built for the rigors of 24/7 usage. The HGST drives used in G-RAIDS get the tech industries highest reliability ratings and lowest drive failure rates. The drives used by other competitors in their two drive RAID 0 configurations do not come close.
The enemy of all hard drives is heat. G-RAIDs are built to stay cool. Even though they look sleek and sexy, there is plenty of air circulation and the metal body has integrated fins and grooves to create more surface area and even better cooling. This is why G-Tech G-RAIDs come with a 3 year warranty and why you don't ever have to worry about them. They just work, and work and work.
When it comes to performance and throughput G-RAIDs will support multiple layers of native HD footage and two or more layers of ProRes or Avid DNxHD depending on the settings you use.
Let's say you shoot DSLR or GoPro footage. While a single 7200RPM drive will allow you to work with two or maybe three layers of video in realtime, a G-RAID will support 6 or even 10 layers, depending on your connectivity.
If your productions use lots of layers of video, photos, graphics and audio;, run long format (over 30 minutes); or you add in lots of special effects, filter and transitions; then you need a G-RAID for your
workflow. A single 7200 RPM drive is going to eventually bog down, especially as it fills with data. Your video editing workflow is only as good as its weakest component. Why have improper storage be the weak link that slows down your editing?
For multicamera productions a G-RAID is a must! if you are a wedding videographer doing three camera shoots, or a sports enthusiast with 3 or 4 GoPro cameras, you are going to love editing with a G-RAID. If your one of the early VR Virtual Reality pioneers, strapping 6 or more GoPro (or other) cameras into a rig, you definitely want to use G-RAIDs for ingesting and stitching together all those cameras into your 360 degree or spherical view.
Picking the right G-RAID for you.
If you are looking for the lowest cost then look into the GRAID3 (USB3/FireWire) or GRAIDTH (Thunderbolt) fixed drives. They are available in 4TB or 8TB sizes. These units have drives integrated into them that cannot be removed. They come preconfigured in RAID 0 and cannot be set up any other way.
Once you have them in place, then press the power button. When either unit powers up the indicator lights will glow. Now it's time to connect the Thunderbolt 2 cable from the computer to one of the two Thunderbolt 2 ports on the back of either the G-Speed or the G-RAID.
If this is your first time using either the G-Speed or the G-RAID, you might need to use Disc Utility to format the drives. It can be used to create RAID 0, 1 or 5. RAID 0 stripes content across the drives making the overall throughput much faster than a single drive. We use the G-Speed for several days replacing our USB 3.0-based drive array. You can see that the G-Speed and RAID 0 was impressively able to achieve over 457 MB/sec writes and very impressive reads.
We also tested the G-RAID Studio alongside the G-Speed. Again, the results were impressive, with the G-RAID yielding about 200 MB/sec of throughput on both reads and on writes.
Look and Feel
We have to say we especially like the look of the G-Speed Studio. It screams Mac-compatible product to sit along your Mac Pro, the newer 5k iMac, or even an HP-based PC workstation.