IT for Post Production Toronto

20GbE for Video Professionals

I need  to share my RED media between multiple users so one person could colour grade the same project another is editing at the same time, so I want to build a Network infrastructure greater than 10 GbE speeds.

Apple released a Thunderbolt3 based Mac mini on Oct 30th, 2018 with a 10GbE option.

Thunderbolt3 gives us incredible ability to implement fast SSD storage and 20GbE+ networking.

Storage: (1) AKiTiO Thunder3 Quad Mini $330 with (4) four 7.68Tb Enterprise level SSD’s 


This will give 30.6 Tb at 1346 MB/s.  So with LAN storage serving files at 1346 MB/s, 10 GbE at 1090 MB/s would be the bottle neck.

The interesting fact is that although hardware raid has always been trusted to be the most reliable, when building an SSD Raid, software raid proves to be the way to go as it’s much faster.

A 40 GbE network is possible with a  MacMini with Thunderbolt 3, but I’m electing only 20 GbE .

Switches from HP with QSPF+ (40GbE) are pretty expensive and have far more ports than I need, so I cannot justify one.

I’ve selected an UBIQUITI ES-16-XG Edge Switch because it is quiet, cost effective and supports link aggregation. $764.

I use an ATTO ThunderLink® NS 3102 (10GBASE-T) to connect the switch to the server. Basically, this is a 40Gb/s Thunderbolt™ 3 (2-port) to 10GbE (2-Port) Adapter.

Setting up Link-Aggregation on the switch and on the Mac mini basically gives me a 20 GbE APF/SMB server.

Since 20 GbE is ~ 2180 Mb/s, it significantly faster than the SSD Raid’s performance of 1346 MB/s.

I’m happy with this, the bottleneck being the SSD Raid. Sweet eh?

If 15Tb of SSD speed isn’t large enough for your production, simply get a Netstor NA338TB3 and use an ATTO ExpressSAS® R60F HBA 6Gb SAS RAID Card as the hardware raid controller. Using 16 x 4 TB 2.5″ hard drives will give you 64 TB in Raid5, or 1950 Mb/sec, nearly maxing the 20 GbE’s  2180 Mb/s performance. Super sweet!

Off the shelf solutions like LumaForge’s Jellyfish are limited to 650 – 1000 Mb/sec but our solution is built for demanding real world 4K post environments: i.e. 1950 Mb/sec that need to play Prores 4444 MASTERS which need 1414 Mb/sec.

UPDATE: as a side note, I did mention above server shares of AFP and SMB. AFP is disabled by default in OSX server on High Sierra as APFS does not support AFP. You can still enable AFP sharing if you format your SSD Raid with HFS+.  I still prefer and HIGHLY RECOMMEND HFS+ over APFS for SSD Raids even though APFS is faster. The reason being is that although the latest version of Diskwarrior, version 5.1 does recognize APFS, it cannot repair them. In production environments, not being able to repair the directory structure of your data could be catastrophic, so for now (until Diskwarrior can repair APFS) I am recommending formatting SSD raids with HFS+.