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Topic: Sample Storage

  1. #1

    Sample Storage

    I admit I don't own many sample libraries at all, and the ones that I do all fit on one drive nicely.

    I know people out their own gigantic libraries, like the entire VSL VI collection (550GB) and other albeit slightly less massive collections. I am curious: How do you folks go about storing all of the sample data for quick access? Lots of external HD's? How many do you need? Do they run through USB or firewire hubs? Is it all on a 750GB Seagate internally?


  2. #2

    Re: Sample Storage

    I have 7 internal HDD's and 2 Externals via Firewire.

    At the moment, you can get 500 GB's for $150 from Newegg. (2x Western Digital 250 GB SATA 3.0gb/s, 7500 RPM 8mb cache) Thats not a bad deal! But this is only me. I don't know what other people do..
    ~Sam Ferrara~

  3. #3

    Re: Sample Storage

    Sample storage is demanding in many ways!

    First, for samples that stream from the disk you need speed, low seek times, and of course lots of space.

    Then there are samples that load into memory which require lots of space, but they are not nearly as demanding in terms of speed or even seek time.

    But wait, there's more<G>...

    I have about 600GB of samples and sound effects. It took literally hours to load them all into the computer, and that is something I never want to go through again if I can avoid it! So in addition to speed, and space, I'd argue some form of backup is required.

    The nice thing is you do have the original media, so backups are not as critical as e.g. your latest opus. Still no one wants to re-load 600GB!

    Put this all together and you end up with a bit of a quandry. What follows is one person's solution, and it won't suit everyone.

    I have two machines in the studio, one that runs Sonar and most of the rest of my tools, and one that runs GigaStudio3 and my sampler support tools. Each machine has a drive dedicated to sample storage.

    On the first machine the sample drive holds all of the samples for Garritan Personal Orchestra, Jazz and Big Band, Drumkit from Hell, Drumcore, Dimension, all my soundfonts, and a libraries for a couple of other synths. I've also stored the few loop libraries that I own. All told I have not yet filled a 250GB drive, which is fine by me, but that will change. I use a fast serial attached drive because (a) it's fast, and (b) it's on it's own path to the CPU.

    The second machine has a pair of 250GB drives that hold all of my sound effects libraries (approx 80GB today), all of my GigaStudio libraries (heaven only knows) and all my libraries for my hardware samplers (EPS, ASR-10, and S1000). Part of the reason the hardware sampler libraries live here is because I am converting them over to GigaStudio (albeit slowly!) Mostly it made sense to have tools like Translator and Awave on the same machine as the samples. There is still some shuttling around of samples, but it is kept to a minimum.

    Which brings me to the last part of my saga... I am in the process of creating copies of all three drives on other hard drives (probably a 500GB and a 250GB, but three 250GB will work too) so that I don't have to sweat a failure. These backup drives will sit in external enclosures on a shelf, they will not be live.

    I had considered setting up a mirrored RAID array and keeping everything live, but if I do that I run the risk of having something write to the sample drive in a way that I would not like, and the mirror will copy those errors over to my safety copy. Not good.

    And the performance benefit of a mirrored array is very small, it exists, but it does not yet override the risks mentioned above.

    One of these days, when I have too much money, ALL of my data will go onto a device attached storage area network. That solves lots of problems - it makes all data available to all machines as if it was local, the array hardware and software is much more sophisticated, and allows near-online mirroring, where the mirror is refreshed only when you want it to be, and you can also set up stripe sets, and the like for some real performance improvements.

    None of that comes cheap however, so for now that's where I am.
    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise

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