I've learned a bit about how we need to configure XSAN. And I've learned a bit about the differences between going by the book and what works in the real world. Our IT team has seen it all and they are all over this project now. We're at the start of sandboxing new topologies for XSAN 2. Since we only fairly recently started moving to XSAN 2 from 1.4, there are some feature differences that we needed to sync up on - namely better virtualization and multi-san. It looks like multi-san promises to be great help for us. If we can take our six volumes and make them into two SANs, we can use our MDCs in tandem each as it's own primary controller and as the other's secondary. It seems this will give us another level of redundancy as well as allow us to sandbox new SAN configurations. Downsides are that we can only pool luns within the same SAN - meaning the aggregate throughput of the system is potentially quite a bit less than in one storage pool. I think if we plan it out well, each SAN could have both high performance and older systems for a good mix of each on each. However, if we instead configure our older systems all together in one SAN, they could be in a pool also designated as the "test bed".
Suffice it to say, we're going to be experimenting for a few weeks or even months prior to our full rollout of our newly configured SAN. I'm going to reinstall Final Cut Server in the meantime and start testing it on the original (slower) SAN volumes so I can begin to customize the metadata fields, groups and sets we'll need. I'll have to be aware of what's happening with the devices since our current volumes will be destroyed and reconstructed as part of the new SAN. It's going to be tricky, so we're planning each step in as much detail as we can think of.
We entertained the thought of hiring an XSAN consultant, but we have a tenacious bunch of engineers and techs who pride themselves on learning on the fly. Thankfully, this is all augmentation of an existing workflow and we're releasing the new system in parallel with the old. So we'll continue to work on older projects as we always have with the new ones being tested in production as we go.
We're hedging our bets by adding a capture system in our studio which will capture to a DAS RAID alongside our existing system which captures to the SAN. So if our SAN goes down, our studio won't need to miss a beat.