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Hard lesson learned


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Hi all

 

Here's what happens when the disk (or a disk array in my case), where the Watchout 5.3 is installed, disappears from the operating system during the Watchout Show.

 

I had a 3 projector edge blend 3:1 widescreen image with a h.264 mp4 looping in the background and 2 captures, 1 DVI 1080p50 through Datapath VisionRGB-E2S and SDI 720p50 through Blackmagic Decklink extreme 3d

 

one moment the background loop jumps to edge of the screen, and both of the captures freezed for a second, and then the captures continued to work. I had set midi controller for the opacity of both captures and the real time control continued to work. Luckily, main content for the screen was the captures (Live and PPT) so the show was not interrupted.

 

during the break, I shut down the display software and discovered that the raid, where WO was installed had disappeared from OS. after the restart the disk array was back, I quickly uninstalled WO form the raid and reinstalled it to OS system disk. My show was fairly simple, so it run fine from OS disk.

 

It seems that the problem was caused by the Marvell Raid controller on the ASUS P9X79 WS motherboard. since i had 2 OCZ Agility 3 in raid 0 setup, the disks must be fine. After the restart the array was back online.

 

I had just reinstalled whole system (because one of the outputs from the HD7970-DC2T-3GD5 video card started showing only black and white picture), with all the latest updates to all the drivers and motherboard Bios.

 

Any similar experiences or ideas for avoiding such problems?

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Hi Kaarle!

 

I understand that you're looking for a deeper technical suggestion, but my simple advise is to use a one extra WO display computer as a full redundant back-up in situations like this. You know how easy it is to set this up with "Tiers" in WATCHOUT and it is a very cost-effective and simple way to handle the unexpected with grace.

 

Best regards,

Fredrik S

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Have to agree with Thomas. 

 

Biggest issue in our testing is the mb RAID randomly not showing up on boot.

Never got as far as using a mb RAID for a show.

 

To date, we use PCIe RAID controllers on any system we build with RAID,

and we always use a third non-RAID drive for the OS in such setups.

 

Our testing has resulted in no compelling reason to change to the OCZ Agility series - so far,

although that testing is ongoing - we test / prepare for our current choice reaching End of Life.

We continue to use the Vertex 3 and Vertex 3 MAX IOPS edition as our workhorse SSDs for now.

 

Note WATCHOUT uses DX DMA calls to the hard drives,

which is a bit more stressful than most Windows programs demand of the HD.

 

Hi all

 

Here's what happens when the disk (or a disk array in my case), where the Watchout 5.3 is installed, disappears from the operating system during the Watchout Show.

 

... so the show was not interrupted.

 

during the break, I shut down the display software and discovered that the raid, where WO was installed had disappeared from OS. ...

 

Wow. A drive that is being read from disappears and Windows doesn't go down in flames?

If it were hardware caused, one would expect a BSOD.

Even a driver doing such things under DMA demands,

one would expect something to crash enough to interrupt a show.

Very strange.

 

Curious, did you check the Windows logs for clues?

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A follow up to my post above. Our techs tell me that your issue sounds more like a defective drive.

On rare occasions, we have seen the OCS Vertex 3 SSD drive boot up ok, Windows functions normally,

and then the SSD drive will disappear after WATCHOUT is running. 

This is typically trapped in burn-in testing, and when it occurs,

the drive is replaced and the probelm one sent for warranty replacement.

 

Just the same, they all concur that the mb RAID controller is best avoided. 

I received comments from our tech staff like this:

 

"The onboard is very fast, but it's got lots of problems and is ultimately a tech nightmare.

Not to mention it cannot be backed up by Acronis. The PCIe controller solves all of our problems."

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The question is why to use RAID in watchout systems, SSD disks fast enough to deal with 6 FHD outputs easily.

 

For my systems I always install 2 separate disks, one for OS and second for watchout, its very hard to believe that disk will fail without RAID.

 

I have one PC with 6 outputs which runs everyday for 10-18 hours a day for already 6 months, and (knocking 3 times on wood :) )  no single problem was with that system.

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The question is why to use RAID in watchout systems, SSD disks fast enough to deal with 6 FHD outputs easily.

 

For my systems I always install 2 separate disks, one for OS and second for watchout, its very hard to believe that disk will fail without RAID.

 

I have one PC with 6 outputs which runs everyday for 10-18 hours a day for already 6 months, and (knocking 3 times on wood :) )  no single problem was with that system.

 

 

In general, I would agree that single SATA-III hi-speed SSDs are generally fast enough to handle most WATCHOUT requirements.

We do have some customers who will drive each output of a multi-output system

with both an mpeg2 and an overlaid animation codec .mov,

and that content demand does seem to benefit from RAID on an Extreme Edition system.

But I would put that advanced application in the 'rare' category.

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Thank you all for the expertise input on this matter.

I've removed the raid from the system and will continue with 2 ssd-s only.

 

to be honest - this incident made me even stronger believer in Watchout - its hard to believe that after this kind of hardware error - still the captures worked and we got out of it without any big problems..

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