Category Archives: Storage

Panasas intros faster, customizable storage solutions for M&E

Panasas has introduced three new products that target those working in the media and entertainment world, a world that requires fast and customizable workflows that offer a path for growth.

Panasas’s ActiveStor is now capable of scaling capacity to 57PB and offering 360GB/s of bandwidth. According to the company, this system doubles metadata performance to cut data access time in half, scales performance and capacity independently and seamlessly adapts to new technology advancements.

The new ActiveStor Director 100 (ASD-100) control-plane engine and the new ActiveStor Hybrid 100 (ASH-100) configurable plug-and-play storage system allows users to design storage systems that meet their exact specifications and workflow requirements, as well as grow the system if needed.

For the first time, Panasas is offering a disaggregated Director Blade  — ASD-100, the brain of the Panasas storage system — to provide flexibility. Customers can now add any number of ASD-100s to drive exactly the level of metadata performance they need. With double the raw CPU power and RAM capacity of previous Director Blades, the ASD-100 offers double the metadata performance on metadata-intensive workloads.

Based on industry-standard hardware, the ASD-100 manages metadata and the global namespace; it also acts as a gateway for standard data-access protocols such as NFS and SMB. The ASD-100 uses non-volatile dual in-line memory modules (NVDIMMs) to store metadata transaction logs, and Panasas is contributing its NVDIMM driver to the FreeBSD community.

The ASH-100 and ASD-100 rack

The ASH-100 hardware platform offers the high-capacity HDD (12TB) and SSD (1.9TB) in a parallel hybrid storage system. A broad range of HDD and SSD capacities can be paired as needed to meet specific workflow needs. The ASH-100 can be configured with ASD-100s or can be delivered with integrated traditional ActiveStor Director Blades (DBs), depending on user requirements.

The latest version of this plug-and-play parallel file system features an updated FreeBSD operating foundation and a GUI that supports asynchronous “push” notification of system changes without user interaction.

Panasas’ updated DirectFlow parallel data access protocol offers a 15 percent improvement in throughput thanks to enhancements to memory allocation and readahead. All ActiveStor models will benefit from this performance increase after upgrading to the new release of PanFS.

Using ASD-100, the ASH-100, an updated PanFS 7.0 parallel file system and enhancements to the DirectFlow parallel data-access protocol has these advantages:
Performance – Users can scale metadata performance, data bandwidth, and data capacity independently for faster time-to-results.
Flexibility – The ability to mix and match HDD and SSD configurations under a single global namespace enables users to best match the system performance to their workload requirements.
Productivity – The new ActiveStor solution doubles productivity by cutting data access time in half, regardless of the number of users.
Investment Protection – The solution is backward and forward compatible with the ActiveStor product portfolio.

The ASH-100 is shipping now. The ASD-100 and PanFS 7.0 will be available in Q1 2018.

Sonnet’s portable eGPU accelerates computer graphics

Sonnet has introduced a Thunderbolt-connected external GPU (eGPU) device called the eGFX Breakaway Puck, which is a portable, high-performance, all-in-one eGPU for Thunderbolt 3 computers. The Puck offers accelerated graphics and provides multi-display connectivity thanks to AMD’s Eyefinity technology. Users employing a Puck will experience boosted GPU acceleration when using professional video apps.

Sonnet is offering two Puck models: the eGFX Breakaway Puck Radeon RX 560 and eGFX Breakaway Puck Radeon RX 570. Each Puck model is 6 inches wide by 5.1 inches deep by 2 inches tall. Both feature one Thunderbolt 3 port, three DisplayPorts and one HDMI port to support up to four 4K displays in multi-monitor mode.

The Puck connects to a computer with a single Thunderbolt 3 cable and provides up to 45W of power to charge the computer. On the desktop, the Puck has a minimal footprint. With an optional VESA mounting bracket kit, the Puck can be attached to the back of a display or the arm of a multi-monitor stand, leaving a zero footprint on the desktop. The kit also includes a 0.5-meter cable to help reduce cable clutter.

The eGFX Breakaway Puck Radeon RX 560 sells for $449., and the eGFX Breakaway Puck Radeon RX 570 costs $599. The optional PuckCuff VESA Mounting Bracket Kit has an MSRP of $59. All models are immediately available.

 

Dell 6.15

ATTO XstreamCore for remote access to DAS and sharing of devices

ATTO, which provides storage, network connectivity and infrastructure solutions, is now offering XstreamCore storage controllers to add remote Fibre Channel or Ethernet connectivity to SATA optical disc and SAS LTO tape devices, including the newly available LTO-8 tape format. XstreamCore is designed to provide the benefits of remote access to direct attached storage (DAS) technologies as well as the connection of multiple devices to be shared by multiple clients.

XstreamCore is a rack-scale flash and capacity storage controller that bridges 12Gb and 6Gb SAS storage devices and SATA devices to share and remotely connect them to Fibre Channel or Ethernet networks. XstreamCore includes exclusive ATTO developed features including xCore data acceleration to rapidly move data, the eCore control engine to add services and management features to storage while not affecting performance and SpeedWrite, a tape and optical performance feature that significantly boosts write-performance by effectively managing commands between attached clients and tape and optical devices.

By directly being able to connect up to 16 SATA optical or SAS tape drives with the possibility of additional drives being connected through SAS expanders, XstreamCore enables a lower cost of ownership versus native Ethernet or Fibre Channel tape devices. Fewer switch ports are required when using XstreamCore and power, cooling, cabling and weight requirements can be better managed as the ATTO controller allows separation of racks of client servers, storage and archive devices. ATTO XstreamCore FC 7500 currently supports connectivity for SAS tape devices and SATA optical devices to Fibre Channel connected servers or fabrics. ATTO Ethernet to SAS controllers will be available in early 2018 to support connectivity for these devices to Ethernet connected servers or fabrics.

 


ATTO intros quad-port version of 32Gb Fibre line of HBAs

ATTO Technology has added a new quad-port host bus adapter (HBA) to its Fibre Channel portfolio. The ATTO Celerity 32Gb Gen 6 FC-324E HBA will enable companies to use their existing storage area network infrastructure and address the growing need for high-performing, scalable and secure storage. Celerity is intended to support exponential data growth in applications such as 4K/8K editing and high-performance computing and data warehousing, along with the proliferation of virtualized servers and flash arrays.

According to ATTO, the 32Gb HBAs support data throughput of 3,200 MB/s per channel, maximizing the number of virtual machines per physical server. With 16 PCIe bus connections and four 32 Gb/s Fibre Channel ports, the FC-324E eliminates the bottlenecks created by I/O data-intensive applications.

With data centers moving to all-flash arrays, there’s a need to drive greater performance to more solid-state drives. Having four Fibre Channel ports in a single PCIe slot ensures high-density connectivity at the highest available performance for up to 1.2 GB/s throughput, making it well suited for environments that rely on next-generation, flash-based storage.

Celerity 32Gb HBAs also make it possible to increase the distance between servers and storage. Because they support more data in flight, users can extend their connection up to 10 kilometers without degrading throughput in demanding long-distance applications, such as a stretch cluster.

The ATTO Gen 6 line includes Celerity 32Gb and 16Gb HBAs in low-profile single-, dual- and now quad-port full-height versions. All versions are backward-compatible and take advantage of advancements in reliability and forward error correction to improve network performance and resiliency.

Celerity 32Gb Gen 6 quad-port FC-324E HBAs are available now.


Quantum targets smaller post houses with under $25K NAS storage

Quantum is now offering an entry-level NAS storage solution targeting post houses and corporate video departments. Xcellis Foundation is a high-performance, entry-level workflow storage system specifically designed to address the technical and budgetary requirements of small- to medium-sized studios.

Based on Quantum’s StorNext shared file system and data management platform, this new product offers enterprise-class Xcellis storage, including high performance and scalability, in a NAS appliance for under $25,000.

The 3U Xcellis Foundation system includes Quantum’s QXS disk storage chassis and Workflow Director appliance, which provides NAS connectivity and support for billions of files across up to 64 virtual file systems. Xcellis Foundation comes standard with 48TB of raw capacity, and users can upgrade to 72TB or 96TB. When the user is ready to scale the system, adding performance and capacity can be done cost-effectively and non-disruptively by simply connecting more storage. Connectivity is via dual 10 GbE or optional 40 GbE, and NAS protocol support is included with no per-seat licensing.

Here are some additional details about the new system:
• works with higher video resolutions, including 1080p and 4K, without introducing complexity or unnecessary cost to the workflow
• cost-effective IP connectivity over standard NAS protocols
• advanced data management capabilities that optimize performance and maximize capacity across different storage tiers while assuring that content is always in the right place at the right time
• seamless integration into a multi-tier storage infrastructure that includes flash, disk, nearline object storage, public cloud and tape archive
• the ability to scale up and scale out through readily extended capacity, connectivity and redundancy
• simple installation and setup via a web-based GUI

Quantum will be showing Xcellis Foundation at the upcoming IBCShow in Amsterdam, and the new appliance will be available through Quantum and its reseller partners later this month.

Speaking of resellers, here is what one —Nick Smith, director of technology at JB&A Distribution — had to say about the new system: “Xcellis Foundation gives our reseller community exactly what it’s been wanting ― a Quantum StorNext-powered shared storage solution designed specifically for smaller video production environments. [It combines] easy NAS connectivity, 4K-ready performance and simplified setup and management, all at a cost-effective price point.”


Caringo offering 100TB of free S3 scale-out storage to M&E firms

Caringo, a scale-out cloud and object storage platform company, is offering complimentary full-featured 100TB Swarm licenses to qualified media & entertainment firms with a need to store, manage and protect their growing library of digital assets while keeping them securely accessible.

Qualified firms include but are not limited to recording studios, content creation and post production houses, broadcasters and film studios.

“IT execs in the M&E space are under extreme pressure to provide long-term accessible storage and instant search and delivery to customers and viewers,” said Adrian Herrera, VP of marketing at Caringo. “The cloud isn’t a viable option for many because of security and cost concerns. The solution to this is using the same technology that powers major clouds — object storage — secure in their datacenter.”

The complimentary 100TB license and integration consultation is immediately available to qualified M&E firms. Interested parties can visit their website for more info.

The system offers:
• Hardware and server use for content. Use up to 95% of hard drive space and 100% of drive bays for digital assets.
• The ability to automatically add performance or capacity in 90 seconds and continuously upgrade hardware without downtime or disruption to asset accessibility.
• Automated policy-based protection to optimize for rapid access or data center footprint delivering enterprise-grade durability while defending against ransomware attacks.
• Cross-platform collaboration and access enabled by Write/Read/Edit via HTTP, S3 or NFS interchangeably.
• Rapid asset retrieval and instant delivery via integrated search with the ability to add custom metadata.

Main Image: NEP’s control room where Caringo’s solutions are in use.


Mistika Ultima offering storage connectivity via ATTO HBAs

SGO has certified ATTO’s 12Gb ExpressSAS host bus adapters (HBAs) for use with its high-end post system, the Mistika Ultima. This new addition can help post teams to better manage large data transfers and offer support for realtime editing of uncompressed 4K video.

The latest addition to the ATTO ExpressSAS family, the 12Gb SAS/SATA HBA provides users with fast storage connectivity while allowing scalability for next-gen platforms and infrastructures. Optimized for extremely low latency and high-bandwidth data transfer, ExpressSAS HBAs offer a wide variety of port configurations, RAID-0, -1, and -1e.

“Projects that our customers are working on are becoming incredibly data heavy and the integration of ATTO products into a Mistika solution will help smooth and speed up data transfers, shortening production times,” said Miguel Angel Doncel, CEO of SGO.


Quantum’s StorNext 6 Release Now Shipping

The industry’s ongoing shift to higher-resolution formats, its use of more cameras to capture footage and its embrace of additional distribution formats and platforms is putting pressure on storage infrastructure. For content creators and owners to take full advantage of their content, storage must not only deliver scalable performance and capacity but also ensure that media assets remain readily available to users and workflow applications. Quantum’s new StorNext 6 is engineered to address these requirements.

StorNext 6 is now shipping with all newly purchased Xcellis offerings and is also available at no additional cost to current Xcellis users running StorNext 5 under existing support contracts.

Leveraging its extensive real-world 4K testing and a series of 4K reference architectures developed from test data, Quantum’s StorNext platform provides scalable storage that delivers high performance using less hardware than competing systems. StorNext 6 offers a new quality of service (QoS) feature that empowers facilities to further tune and optimize performance across all client workstations, and on a machine-by-machine basis, in a shared storage environment.

Using QoS to specify bandwidth allocation to individual workstations, a facility can guarantee that more demanding tasks, such as 4K playback or color correction, get the bandwidth they need to maintain the highest video quality. At the same time, QoS allows the facility to set parameters ensuring that less timely or demanding tasks do not consume an unnecessary amount of bandwidth. As a result, StorNext 6 users can take on work with higher-resolution content and easily optimize their storage resources to accommodate the high-performance demands of such projects.

StorNext 6 includes a new feature called FlexSpace, which allows multiple instances of StorNext — and geographically distributed teams — located anywhere in the world to share a single archive repository, allowing collaboration with the same content. Users at different sites can store files in the shared archive, as well as browse and pull data from the repository. Because the movement of content can be fully automated according to policies, all users have access to the content they need without having it expressly shipped to them.

Shared archive options include both public cloud storage on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud via StorNext’s existing FlexTier capability and private cloud storage based on Quantum’s Lattus object storage or, through FlexTier third-party object storage, such as NetApp StorageGrid, IBM Cleversafe and Scality Ring. In addition to simplifying collaborative work, FlexSpace also makes it easy for multinational companies to establish protected off-site content storage.

FlexSync, which is new to StorNext 6, provides a fast and simple way to synchronize content between multiple StorNext systems that is highly manageable and automated. FlexSync supports one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-one file replication scenarios and can be configured to operate at almost any level: specific files, specific folders or entire file systems. By leveraging enhancements in file system metadata monitoring, FlexSync recognizes changes instantly and can immediately begin reflecting those changes on another system. This approach avoids the need to lock the file systems to identify changes, reducing synchronization time from hours or days to minutes, or even seconds. As a result, users can also set policies that automatically trigger copies of files so that they are available at multiple sites, enabling different teams to access content quickly and easily whenever it’s needed. In addition, by providing automatic replication across sites, FlexSync offers increased data protection.

StorNext 6 also gives users greater control and selectivity in maximizing their use of storage on an ROI basis. When archive policies call for storage across disk, tape and the cloud, StorNext makes a copy for each. A new copy expiration feature enables users to set additional rules determining when individual copies are removed from a particular storage tier. This approach makes it simpler to maintain data on the storage medium most appropriate and economical and, in turn, to free up space on more expensive storage. When one of several copies of a file is removed from storage, a complementary selectable retrieve function in StorNext 6 enables users to dictate which of the remaining copies is the first priority for retrieval. As a result, users can ensure that the file is retrieved from the most appropriate storage tier.

StorNext 6 offers valuable new capabilities for those facilities that subscribe to Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rules for content auditing and tracking. The platform can now track changes in files and provide reports on who changed a file, when the changes were made, what was changed and whether and to where a file was moved. With this knowledge, a facility can see exactly how its team handled specific files and also provide its clients with details about how files were managed during production.

As facilities begin to move to 4K production, they need a storage system that can be expanded for both performance and capacity in a non-disruptive manner. StorNext 6 provides for online stripe group management, allowing systems to have additional storage capacity added to existing stripe groups without having to go offline and disrupt critical workflows.

Another enhancement in StorNext 6 allows StorNext Storage Manager to automate archives in an environment with Mac clients, effectively eliminating the lengthy retrieve process previously required to access an archived directory that contains offline files  which can number in the hundreds of thousands, or even millions.


NetApp targets M&E workflows with ASE Cloud

NetApp is collaborating with ASE to expand the company’s ASE Cloud to the US, providing flexible cloud access for media and entertainment companies that need high bandwidth to manage massive HD files, which are often 4K and beyond.

ASE Cloud is built on NetApp StorageGrid Webscale, enabling ASE to offer object storage at an efficient cost per Gigabyte. The cloud service enables companies to manage and control their data in a public cloud without data egress fees, all managed through a web portal.

StorageGrid Webscale is a scale-optimized data solution that maximizes control over rich content, enabling secure and fluid movement. The software-defined object storage solution, says NetApp, allows customers to determine where and how their data is stored, depending on where it is in the content lifecycle. The solution also protects customer data with layered erasure coding, which combines node-level and geo-distributed erasure coding to efficiently prevent data loss.

ASE Cloud, powered by NetApp, is now available in the US.

Designed for large file sizes, Facilis TerraBlock 7 ships

Facilis, makers of shared storage solutions for collaborative media production networks, is now shipping TerraBlock Version 7. The new Facilis Hub Server, a performance aggregator that can be added to new and existing TerraBlock systems, is also available now. Version 7 includes a new browser-based, mobile-compatible Web Console that delivers enhanced workflow and administration from any connected location.

With ever-increasing media file sizes and 4K, HDR and VR workflows continually putting pressure on facility infrastructure, the Facilis Hub Server is aimed at future-proofing customers’ current storage while offering new systems that can handle these types of files. The Facilis Hub Server uses a new architecture to optimize drive sets and increase the bandwidth available from standard TerraBlock storage systems. New customers will get customized Hub Server Stacks with enhanced system redundancy and data resiliency, plus near-linear scalability of bandwidth when expanding the network.

According to James McKenna, VP of marketing/pre-sales at Facilis, “The Facilis Hub Server gives current and new customers a way to take advantage of advanced bandwidth aggregation capabilities, without rendering their existing hardware obsolete.”

The company describes the Web Console as a modernized browser-based and mobile-compatible interface designed to increase the efficiency of administrative tasks and improve the end-user experience.

Easy client setup, upgraded remote volume management and a more integrated user database are among the additional improvements. The Web Console also supports Remote Volume Push to remotely mount volumes onto any client workstations.

Asset Tracking
As the number of files and storage continue to increase, organizations are realizing they need some type of asset tracking system to aid them in moving and finding files in their workflow. Many hesitate to invest in traditional MAM systems due to complexity, cost, and potential workflow impact.

McKenna describes the FastTracker asset tracking software as the “right balance for many customers. Many administrators tell us they are hesitant to invest in traditional asset management systems because they worry it will change the way their editors work. Our FastTracker is included with every TerraBlock system. It’s simple but comprehensive, and doesn’t require users to overhaul their workflow.”

V7 is available immediately for eligible TerraBlock servers.

Check out our interview with McKenna during NAB: