At A Glance: G-Speed eS PRO

No production crew wants to have to worry about damaged or lost video. From initial capture to final edit, it’s imperative that workflows are failsafe, secure and accessible, and the only way to guarantee that costly reshoots don’t happen is to back up files. The challenge is that video files are big, bulky and difficult to store and transfer, and adequate RAID systems for production-level archival systems always have been fairly costly.

G-Tech’s G-SPEED eS Pro system of hot-swappable, large-capacity drives solves these problems in a sleek and cost-effective package. Available in a variety of configurations, the eS Pro series includes an aluminum enclosure design that houses four slots of removable 7200 rpm, 3.5-inch SATA II drives, each with up to 1.5 TB of capacity. Add this up, and each enclosure supports up to a massive six terabytes of space for video and files, with eS Pro technology available for 12- or 16-bay rackmountable chassis, which means daisy-chaining support all the way up to a massive 192 TB.

When used with the optional, two-port G-Tech PCIe x8 IOP RAID controller (with 512 MB of on-board DDRII memory), RAID 0, 1, 3, 5 and 6 configurations (as well as JBOD) are available for tailoring disk arrays to the needs of a production. RAID 0 (striping) will alternate data between the drives for faster read and write times, clocking in on the eS Pro units at 424/395 MBps, respectively, with one unit and an incredible 833/786MBps with two bays (according to G-Tech’s lab trials).

If worried about data redundancy, the lab results also get impressive numbers at RAID 5, with 317/296 MBps on one unit and 664/663 MBps on two. Basic RAID 1 mirrored settings also are available for each unit, as well as parity and striping options with RAID 3, 5 and 6 for balancing the performance of the units with the absolute safety of files.

Storage capacities are available at up to 6 TB per unit, which is scalable up to 12 TB, and each terabyte holds up to 84 hours of HDV at 1080i, 17 hours of DVCPRO HD 1080/60i, 10 hours of ProRes 422 HQ or 2.25 hours of HD in 1080/60i. Performance itself is ideal for video-editing applications with transfer rates that are better than high-speed Fibre Channel rates, thanks to the locking 12 Gb mini SAS port and included two-meter SAS cable.

SAS architecture also supports multistreaming, and a single-enclosure eS Pro offers multistream playback of ProRes 422 HQ when used with four 7200 rpm, 3.5-inch SATA II drives in RAID 0 mode. Or the unit can run a single stream of uncompressed 10-bit HD, while two units (eight drives) in RAID 3 or 5 protected mode can produce two simultaneous streams of uncompressed 10-bit HD, or a single 2K resolution DPX digital-intermediate sequence.

Managed via a browser-based GUI, the software controls configuration and management through the web via any local Internet browser. Access is as simple as clicking on a URL, and the software monitors power-supply voltage, fan rpm and the temperature of the RAID controller and hard drives. Auto-rebuild is built in to cover a possible problem, and an e-mail can be sent to alert up to four recipients of a problem as well.

The units are Mac-friendly for intuitive operation with Final Cut Pro, with HFS+ formatting right out of the box, as well as support of Final Cut Pro’s ProRes 422 codec. Installation is as simple as plugging in a G-Tech PCIe x8 RAID controller to an available Mac Pro slot and plugging in the mini SAS cable to the drive. The units also are PC-compatible with support for Windows 2000/XP/Vista.

The enclosure keeps itself cool with thermoregulated cooling fans, designed to operate quietly, and the drives are sleek and compact with a small footprint of 8.25×4.9×6.5 inches. There’s a three-year warranty with unlimited, free technical support. Pricing starts at a list price of $1,999 for one unit with 4 TB of storage (without the RAID controller) or $2,999 for 4 TB (with the PCIe x8 RAID controller card). A G-SPEED eS PRO XL series also is available, with a 2U, 12-drive or 3U, 16-drive rack-mount enclosure, starting at $6,999 for a 12 TB system. Spare drives are available in varying capacities from 500 GB and up, starting at around $115.

Contact: G-Technology by Hitachi, (310) 449-4599,