Category Archives: Storage

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.”

Dell 6.15

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:

FMPX8.14

Flash memory at NAB 2017

By Tom Coughlin

Flash memory is still serving a supporting role in most media and entertainment applications, except content capture. This is where it dominates. Outside of content capture, a little flash can go a long way to accelerate many media apps. Things like metadata storage and search using flash memory provide a big ROI.

Flash as a high-performance storage tier is becoming more common for M&E aggregated storage systems, particularly for content delivery. On the other hand, flash memory is starting to show up in workflows as primary storage on workstations used for very high frame rate and 8K uncompressed video processing for operations such as color correction and final conform.

Flash for Content Capture
First let’s look at some flash memory trends and announcements from the 2017 NAB Show. According to Coughlin Associates’ 2016 Digital Storage in Media and Entertainment survey, flash memory is the clear leader in professional video camera media, increasing from 19% in the 2009 survey to 54% in 2016, while magnetic tape shows a consistent decline over the same period. In particular, magnetic tape declined from 34% to 2%. Optical disc use between 2009 and 2016 bounced around between 7% and 17%. Film shows a general decline with 15% usage in 2009, down to 2% in 2016. The trend with declining film use follows the trend toward completely digital workflows.

Pro cameras using flash memory include those from Arri, Canon, Grass Valley, Ikegami, Panasonic, Panavision and Red. These cameras use flash memory modules for content capture. There are various flash card formats supporting today’s professional video cameras. These are in various physical formats from SD card to compact flash.

Shortly before NAB 2017, Lexar announced a 256GB pro 1000X microSD UHS-II (U3) card for rapid capture and transfer of multimedia content. With UHS Speed Class 3 (U3), this card is ideal for high-speed capture of extended lengths of 4K, 3D and 1080p full-HD video. Capable of recording up to nine hours of 4K video, this card is also perfect for shooting action with an aerial camera since they require multiple memory cards for extended use. The new card comes with a microSD UHS-II USB 3.0 reader to dramatically accelerate workflow with high-speed file transfer up to 150MB/s.

Sony introduced two external video recording SSDs for docking to camcorders or high-performance DLSRs. The SSDs have a longer lifetime than typical solid-state media. Using Sony’s Error Correction Code technology, the 960GB G Series SSD achieves up to 2400TBW (terabytes written), while the 460GB drive can reach 1200TBW, resulting in less frequent replacement.

According to Sony, the 2400TBW translates to about 10 years of use for the SV-GS96, if data is fully written to the drive an average of five times per week. When paired with the necessary connection cables, the new G Series drives can be removed from a recorder and connected to a computer for file downloading, making editing faster with read speeds up to 550MB/s.

LaCie (Seagate) introduced its LaCie 2big Dock Thunderbolt 3 that offers high-speed Thunderbolt 3 interfaces (offering up to 40Gb/s data rates and up to 100W of power) with a two-drive RAID with capacities up to 20TB. The product will be available this summer.

LaCie

The unit includes a docking capability with front-facing SD and CF flash memory card slots for transferring content from pro cameras. It has a USB 3.0 hub for charging a phone or for connecting to a shuttle drive or a digital camera to off-load content. The unit can connect the 2big to high-resolution displays using a DisplayPort connection. The USB 3.1 port enables interfacing with USB-C and USB 3.0

Flash and Media Workflows
Besides content capture, there were several other announcements and demonstrations of flash-based workflows and content delivery at NAB this year.

DDN believes there are spot solutions where flash makes sense in M&E, including scratch space and DPX workflows. The use of flash memory in M&E could increase if the prices go down. Avid saw flash memory as part of a tiered-storage infrastructure. Flash memory is being used as primary storage in HP workstations for color correction or finishing (conforming content), as well as for 8K video productions. The current shortage in flash memory is extending lead times for orders — the biggest issue is the transition from plane to 3D flash and poorer yields for now.

JMR

JMR introduced its extreme performance JMR SiloStor NVMe SSD, a full-length, half-height PCIe 3.0 x8 drive that adds up to 8TB of high-availability storage to any server, computer or workstation using the latest V-NAND technology. It occupies a x16 PCIe slot and may be connected via Thunderbolt PCIe expansion to those computers offering this capability. The cards will come in 2TB, 4TB and 8TB versions. Sequential read speed is > 4,000 MB/s and write speed is > 3,000MB/s.

Flash Memory for Content Delivery
Dell EMC showed how to create scalable on-premise or hybrid cloud IPTV/OTT delivery platforms using Dell EMC’s All-Flash Isilon as the storage repository. The company was also doing demonstrations of high-speed uncompressed 4K editing with the All-Flash Isilon.

Quantum

Quantum showed an interesting table comparing HDDs and SSDs for streaming content. Because of the trade-offs for capacity costs, compressed content streams were less expensive for SSDs while the uncompressed content can be more expensive for SSDs than HDDs unless higher capacity SSDs are used. As a consequence the company’s all-flash StorNext 4K array can supply a greater number of streams than a HDD-based system (at a price of course).

NGD Systems and EchoStreams were at NAB debuting a 96TB 1U storage appliance. The1U server’s storage capacity is based on four Catalina NVMe solid-state drives from NGD Systems. It features four removable full-height PCIe NVMe SSD add-in card slots and optimized for media streaming applications.

Summing Up
Flash memory is providing valuable point solutions for media and entertainment professionals, the most prominent being digital camera media. In addition, as the price of flash declines and as higher bandwidth content drives the industry flash memory is serving additional uses as primary or tiered storage to ensure low-latency access to media assets.

At the upcoming 2017 Creative Storage Conference on May 24 in Culver City, you can learn more about the use of flash memory in M&E, the growth in VR content in professional video, new metadata management technologies, including machine learning, and how these demands will drive digital storage demand and technologies to support the high data rates needed for captured content and cloud-based VR services.


Tom Coughlin is president of Coughlin Associates. He is the founder and organizer of the annual Storage Visions Conference as well as the Creative Storage Conference. He has also been the general chairman of the annual Flash Memory Summit.


EditShare intros scalable XStream EFS 200, EFS 300 storage

EditShare, makers of shared storage and media management solutions, has introduced the XStream EFS 200 and XStream EFS 300 storage products. Like other XStream EFS products, these new products are based on the EditShare File System and provide fault tolerance while streamlining administrative tasks and providing a plug-and-play upgrade path. Unlike other XStream EFS products, the new EFS 200 and EFS 300 are the first to provide the option of starting with an affordable and scalable single-node solution that also includes the Flow Media Asset Management and Ark Media Archive applications.

This combination of complete workflow support, right-sized capacity and scale-out storage is suited for small or emerging media operations that can add as they grow.

“Obviously, developing an easy-to-manage, high-performance, fault-tolerant scale-out shared storage platform that scales out to meet the capacity and bandwidth needs of a typical media enterprise isn’t an easy task. Perhaps even more difficult is the task of developing one that also scales in to meet the needs of small or emerging video companies,” says EditShare storage product manager Bill Thompson. “Our new XStream EFS 200 and EFS 300 are great options for the thousands of smaller companies where a multi-node cluster is simply overkill for their needs.”

The premium XStream EFS storage platform is a distributed scale-out file system combined with an architecture that is specifically developed for media intensive workflows. It’s designed from the ground up to support large-scale workgroups requiring high-bandwidth, high-volume media ingest, transcoding, online collaborative editing and multiplatform distribution of HD, 2K, 4K and beyond. Whether a one-node or multi-node system, every XStream EFS model can easily be expanded to increase capacity and bandwidth. For ease of use and administration, all XStream EFS systems present a single namespace, regardless of the system size. Also, the performance of XStream EFS does not decrease as storage use increases. It’s continual optimal performance and outstanding reliability are backed by RAID-6 technology.

XStream EFS 200 Configuration

The XStream EFS 200 is a single-node configuration with 12 enterprise-grade HDDs offering 24, 48TB, 64TB, 96TB or 128TB of raw storage capacity in a 2U space-saving form factor. The XStream EFS 200 is “EFS Native Client” compatible. Client workstations connect via a lightning-fast, multi-threaded client to achieve a performance boost of 20 percent or more compared to legacy SMB and AFP network protocols. In addition to media management capabilities like advanced project sharing, the XStream EFS 200 ships with five Flow production asset management licenses and an Ark archiving application.

XStream EFS 300 Configuration
For studios that need greater capacity and lower cost per TB (usable) than is available with XStream EFS 200, they can step up to the XStream EFS 300. Equipped with 16 drives, the XStream EFS provides 28TB, 56TB, 84TB, 112TB or 140TB of usable capacity in a 3U chassis. Along with increased capacity, the EFS 300 has additional processor power offering increased bandwidth capability and stream counts. Like the EFS 200 series, the EFS 300 is “EFS Native Client” compatible and benefits from a performance boost of 20 percent or more compared to legacy SMB and AFP network protocols. In addition to media management capabilities such as advanced project sharing, the XStream EFS 300 ships with 10 Flow production asset management licenses and an Ark archiving application.

Sony intros extended-life SSDs for 4K or higher-bitrate recording 

Sony is expanding its media lineup with the introduction of two new G Series professional solid-state drives in 960GB (SV-GS96) and 480GB (SV-GS48) capacities. Sony says that these SSDs were designed to meet the growing need for external video recording devices docked to camcorders or high-performance DSLRs.

The new SSDs are an option for respective video recorders, offering videographers stable high-speed capabilities, a sense of security and lower cost of ownership due to their longer life. Using Sony’s Error Correction Code technology, the 960GB G Series SSD achieves up to 2400TBW (Terabytes Written), while the 460GB drive can reach 1200TBW, resulting in less frequent replacement and increased ROI. 2400TBW translates to about 10 years of use for the SV-GS96, if data is fully written to the drive an average of five times per week.

According to Sony, the drives are also designed for ultra-fast, stable data writing. Sony G Series SSDs feature built-in technology preventing sudden speed decreases, while ensuring stable recording of high-bitrate 4K video without frame dropping. For example, used with an Atomos Shogun Inferno, G Series SSDs are able to record video at 4K 60p (ProRes 422 HQ) mode stably.

When paired with the necessary connection cables, the new G Series drives can be effortlessly removed from a recorder and connected to a computer for file downloading, making editing easier and faster with read speeds up to 550MB/s.

G Series SSDs also offer data protection technology that keeps content secure and intact, even if a sudden power failure occurs. To add to the drive’s stability, it features a durable connector which withstands extreme repeated insertion and removal up to 3,000 times — or six times more tolerance than standard SATA connectors — even in harsh conditions.

Sony’s SSD G Series is expected to be available May 2017 at the suggested retail prices of $539 for SV-GS96 and $287 for SV-GS48.