What storage solution am I looking for?
April 9, 2014 8:04 AM Subscribe
This is for my lab. Setup: two computers, both Mac Pros. Each runs the same psychology experiment software. (Python-based, FWIW.) Our subjects have multiple sessions, and may use one computer or the other on subsequent days. We have multiple experiments running at once. We use Unison
to keep their data directories synchronized (it's better than running two rsync cron jobs) but it's starting to get temperamental. I know there must be a better solution, and I feel like it's hardware based.
posted by supercres to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
- Keeping people on one computer or the other is a non-starter. (They're tied to EM-shielded soundproof booths, and scheduling would be a nightmare.)
- Participants come in once a day at most.
- They have their own data directories; hierarchy is experiment/participant/session.
My ideal solution would be an eSATA RAID drive that the computers share, so it's mounted on both like a normal internal drive. I see issues, which may not be founded to someone who knows this technology better:
- Does this type of drive even have multiple eSATA ports? Most are NAS, and I'm worried about speed because...
- Millisecond-level timing is key in these experiments, so increasing delay in disk access would be very bad. Therefore...
- I don't want to use USB interfaces and...
- I don't want to go through the building's network. The switches are 100 Mbps. Can I set up two LANs in OSX (10.6 unfortunately...); one just for this shared storage and one for actual networking?
- These computers still need access to the building's LAN; they sync to our cluster overnight.*
- We may be adding a third computer within the lifespan of whatever solution we get now.
- We'll never be running the same participant on both computers at once, but I'm still leery about conflicts or trying to write to the same file.
* I know that I could rsync each testing computer to the cluster overnight, and then sync back down to each one. This seems like even more of a pain. The version on the cluster always needs to be the canonical copy. Also, it's in a different part of the building, so LAN is an issue again.
Something better that I'm not thinking of? Price isn't really a factor, but it's taxpayer money so I need to keep it reasonable. Can I solve this for less than $1k? (Ok for HDDs to be extra.)