Category Archives: Storage

We Want to Hear From You – Take Our Storage Survey!

If you’re working in post production, animation, VFX and/or VR/AR/360, please take our short survey and tell us what works (and what doesn’t work) for your day-to-day needs.

As today’s visual effects continue to become more sophisticated, and as VR/AR/360 video open up new frontiers for content creation, storage is more important than ever.

What do you need from a storage solution? Your opinion is important to us, so please complete the survey by March 8th.

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LaCie d2 and Rugged

LaCie at CES with new Rugged Thunderbolt and d2 storage offerings

Storage company LaCie, a Seagate brand, is at CES in Vegas showing updates to its LaCie Rugged and d2 storage solutions, with the latter helping to boost storage capacity on newer laptops such as the new MacBook Pro from Apple.

The new LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C combines the Rugged’s ability to withstand the rigors of being on the road —the drives are shock, dust, and water resistant — with USB-C compatibility and Thunderbolt speeds. Users can now store even more footage, allowing them to lighten their load a bit, thanks to an HDD capacity up to 5TB. The Rugged features Seagate Barracuda. In addition, the 1TB SSD version delivers speeds of up to 510MB/s, a 30 percent increase over the previous SSD generation. With these speeds, creative pros can transfer 100GB of content in about three minutes.

Thanks to USB-C, the user can connect the LaCie Rugged drive to USB 3.0-compatible computers as well as to USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 models. Plus, with an integrated Thunderbolt cable featuring compatibility with first-generation Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2, this LaCie Rugged drive can be used with many types of computers.

The LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C drive is bus-powered for mobility and backed by a three-year limited warranty. It will come in 2TB, 4TB and 5TB HDD and 500GB and 1TB SSD capacities, starting at $249.99.

Also new from LaCie is the d2 Thunderbolt 3, which the company says is a good companion to limited-capacity SSD-based laptops and all-in-one computers. It allows expansion storage up to 10TB for pro bandwidth-intensive creative apps.

Featuring Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 speeds through the USB-C port, the LaCie d2 drive performs very well on late-model laptops such as the new MacBook Pro — as well as on USB 3.0 computers. With capacities of up to 10TB, the LaCie d2 drive can store large video projects. It features a Seagate Barracuda Pro 7200RPM hard disk drive.

Featuring speeds of up to 240MB/s, this is a 10 percent improvement over the previous generation. Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports mean the user can daisy chain dual 4K displays, a single 5K display or up to six total LaCie d2 drives—all through a single cable connected to their computer. It’s also possible to power a compatible laptop, such the latest MacBook Pro, through a USB-C port. The LaCie d2 is backed by a five-year limited warranty.

The new LaCie d2 Thunderbolt drive will come in 6TB, 8TB and 10TB capacities starting at $429.99. The new LaCie Rugged and LaCie d2 drives will be available at LaCie resellers worldwide this quarter.

Seagate
Also at CES, DJI, makers of unmanned aerial vehicles such as the Phantom drone, and Seagate have entered into a strategic partnership. As drone cameras gain resolution and drone flight times grow longer, DJI and Seagate are focusing their efforts to securely and efficiently store, manage, download and share the hundreds of gigabytes of data that can be generated from a single drone shoot.

The companies intend to announce their first product collaboration later this year.

G-Tech 6-15

Quantum shipping StorNext 5.4

Quantum has introduced StorNext 5.4, the latest release of their workflow storage platform, designed to bring efficiency and flexibility to media content management. StorNext 5.4 enhancements include the ability to integrate existing public cloud storage accounts and third-party object storage (private cloud) — including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, NetApp StorageGRID, IBM Cleversafe and Scality Ring — as archive tiers in a StorNext-managed media environment. It also lets users deploy applications embedded within StorNext-powered Xcellis workflow storage appliances.

Quantum has also included a new feature called StorNext Storage Manager, offering automated, policy-based movement of content into and out of users’ existing public and private clouds while maintaining the visibility and access that StorNext provides. It offers seamless integration for public and private clouds within a StorNext-managed environment — as well as primary disk and tape storage tiers, full user and application access to media stored in the cloud without additional hardware or software, and extended versioning across sites and the cloud.

By enabling applications to run inside its Xcellis Workflow Director, the new Dynamic Application Environment (DAE) capability in StorNext 5.4 allows users to leverage a converged storage architecture, reducing the time, cost and complexity of deploying and maintaining applications.

StorNext 5.4 is currently shipping with all newly-purchased Xcellis, StorNext M-Series and StorNext Pro Solutions, as well as Artico archive appliances. It is available at no additional cost for StorNext 5 users under current support contracts.


JMR shipping RAID desktop and rackmount workstations for Mac mini

JMR, which produces scalable storage solutions for M&E, has made available its latest Thunderbolt 2-certified desktop and rackmount workstation for the Apple Mac mini.

The JMR Lightning model LTNG-XD-8-MMDT is a new desktop/DI cart workstation. The Mac mini installs via a slide-in sled from the rear, and the Lightning desktop provides front-panel USB 3.0, audio I-O and media card reader, while the rear panel provides all other Mac connections.

An internal Thunderbolt 2 controller and two-slot PCIe (x8 full-height slots) expander with an internal 6Gb SAS RAID controller are standard, as well as eight 3.5-inch hot-swappable disk drive bays providing up to 64TB of native disk storage capacity (RAID-0/1/4/5/6/40/50/60).

The desktop/cart unit will have an optional 9-inch LCD flip-up monitor (available in late November), which connects to the Mac mini and may be added or removed in the field without tools — this makes it well suited for ingest and dailies.

The Lightning desktop is portable and quiet, cooled by a low-speed centrifugal blower in a removable module. The unit also has a ventilated and hinged front door, with a Kensington lock slot to prevent accidental disk drive removal or theft.

Measuring 7” H x 11” W x 16” D, the new Lightning desktop for Mac mini starts at $3,999, including the internal ExpressSAS RAID controller.

The JMR Lightning model LTNG-XD-8-MM2U is a new 2U rackmount workstation suited for DI carts or machine room operations. The Mac mini installs after removing the slide-off top cover, and the Lightning rackmount provides front-panel I/O connections for USB 3.0, audio, GigE and HDMI, as well as a media card reader, while the rear panel provides all other Mac mini connections.

The Mac mini’s on/off power switch is remotely operated from the front panel. An internal Thunderbolt controller and two-slot PCIe (x8 full-height slots) expander with an internal 6Gb SAS RAID controller are standard, as well as eight 2.5-inch hot-swappable disk drive bays to provide up to 32TB of native SSD disk storage capacity (RAID 0/1/4/5/6/10/40/50/60).

Five internal cooling fans keep everything cool, with very low noise levels; at only 19-inches deep it fits any mobile or stationary rack providing 20-inch mounting depth. Pricing starts at $3,299, including an internal ExpressSAS RAID controller.

Both products are fully Thunderbolt Certified after exhaustive testing by the Intel-Apple Thunderbolt engineering group.


Promise, Symply team up on Thunderbolt 3 RAID system

Storage solutions companies Promise Technology and Symply have launched Pegasus3 Symply Edition, the next generation of the Pegasus desktop RAID storage system. The new system combines 40Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 speed with Symply’s storage management suite.

According to both companies, Pegasus3 Symply Edition complements the new MacBook Pro — it’s optimized for performance and content protection. The Pegasus3 Symply Edition offers the speed needed for creative pro generating high-resolution video and rich media content, and also the safety and security of full-featured RAID protection.

The intuitive Symply software suite allows for easy setup, optimization and management. The dual Thunderbolt 3 ports provide fast connectivity and the ability to connect up to six daisy-chained devices on a single Thunderbolt 3 port while adding new management tools and support from Symply.

“As the Symply solution family grows, Pegasus3 Symply Edition will continue to be an important part in the larger, shared creative workflows built around Promise and Symply solutions,” said Alex Grossman, president and CEO, Symply.

The Pegasus3 Symply Edition is available in three models — Pegasus R4, Pegasus R6 and Pegasus R8 — delivering four-, six- and eight-drive configurations of RAID storage, respectively. Each system is ready to go “out of the box” for Mac users with a 1m 40Gb/s Active Thunderbolt 3 cable for easy, high-speed connectivity.

Every Pegasus3 Symply Edition will include Symply’s Always-Up-to-Date Mac OS management app. iOS and Apple Watch apps to monitor your Pegasus3 Symply Edition system remotely are coming soon. The Symply Management suite will support most earlier Pegasus systems. The Pegasus3 Symply Edition includes a full three-year warranty, tech support and 24/7 media and creative user support worldwide.

The Pegasus3 Symply Edition lineup will be available on the Apple online store, at select Apple retail stores and at resellers.


ATTO ships ThunderLink for 40GigE connectivity to Thunderbolt 3  

ATTO Technology has the introduced ThunderLink 3401 ( $1,595) and 3402 ($1,995) devices, which allow 40GigE connectivity from new Thunderbolt 3 enabled platforms to networks and storage while also providing backwards compatibility to Thunderbolt 2 devices and 10GigE infrastructures.

With single- and dual-output options and speeds that double that of Thunderbolt 2, the new ThunderLink devices provide enough bandwidth for 4K video workflows via a single cable. ATTO’s Thunderbolt 3 devices allow for higher performance and large bandwidth-intensive transfers via all major Ethernet protocols.

ATTO’s ThunderLink features proprietary Advanced Data Streaming (ADS) technology for smooth data transfers, eliminating dropped frames and providing consistent time-to-data for high-performance applications or mobile workstation users.


Nat Geo’s Bertie Gregory shares tips for managing video in the field

Bertie Gregory may be only 22 years old, but he’s already worked at National Geographic magazine, won the 2015 Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year award and is filming Nat Geo WILD’s first online natural history series.

The show, called wild_life, launched on August 3. Each episode finds Gregory (@BertieGPhoto) seeking out wildlife — salmon, black bears, wolves, etc. — to capture with his cameras. We asked this very busy young Englishman about how he manages his workflow during his 18- to 20-hour days in the field.

Here are Gregory’s Top 5 tips:
1) Have a Backup Plan
Before you set foot in the field, find a data backup system that works for you and stick to it. You’re not always going to be at your best when you’re transferring data from one location to another, and you don’t want to make a mistake. Take time before filming to run through your backup procedures so that there are no surprises.

When downloading from my camera, I always make three copies — one to be stored in a separate geographic location and the other two on me. With file sizes being as large as they are now, having a good workflow in place is absolutely essential. I can aspire to be the best tracker or camera operator, but if we don’t have everything dialed in on the back end, then none of that matters.

2) Choose Reliable Equipment
There are many storage manufacturers competing in the market right now, which has been great for consumers, but be sure that you’re choosing equipment not only based on its price, but also its reliability and durability. There’s plenty of bargain-basement hardware out there that might cost a fraction of their higher-quality counterparts, but they’re likely to let you down exactly at the wrong time.

Between being stuffed in a backpack and overzealous airport baggage handlers, my equipment can really take a beating, so I tend to invest in equipment that might be a bit more expensive initially, but will easily save me significant amounts of time, money and effort over the long-term.

My equipment list:
Cameras:
– Red Dragon
– Canon C300
– Sony FS7
– Multiple GoPros
Computer:
– MacBook Pro

Storage:
– 20TB LaCie 5big Thunderbolt 2
– Multiple 4TB LaCie Rugged RAID drives

3) Choose Speed
I shoot a lot of footage — more than 500 GB on some days — and there’s nothing more soul-crushing than wrapping up 15 hours of filming and realizing that you still have hours of work ahead of you just to back up your data. When I get finished with a day’s shooting, all I want to do is get horizontal as fast as possible. That means I need fast transfer speeds. Look for backup storage devices that use Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 interfaces, and which also incorporate RAID technology to improve both speed and reliability.

4) Get Rid of Distractions
Making one mistake can ruin an entire day’s worth of time, money and effort when you’re backing up your footage. When I’m downloading, I do it in a quiet location without distractions. Just like with everything else in life, you’re going to do a better, quicker job if you have your full attention on the task at hand. Admittedly, this is easier to do in the wilds of Canada than in an office somewhere, but quiet places do exist, even in the modern office.

5) Keep With Your Plan
When you have the right equipment, people and plan in place, you’re ready to go — as long as you keep to that plan. But with the long days, the thankless nature of backing up your data and the strains that being in the field can put on you, it can be very easy at some point down the road to just not keep with the plan.

“Oh, I’ll just do it tomorrow” becomes, “Eh, I can do it this weekend,” which becomes, “Wait, when was the last time I backed up my data?” And while you may get lucky and not suffer a mishap while your data is vulnerable, you’re playing with fire every time you put off backing up your data. Keep to your plan, follow your backup schedule and you won’t ever have to worry.


Check out more on wild_life on Nat Geo Wild.


IBC 2016: VR and 8K will drive M&E storage demand

By Tom Coughlin

While attending the 2016 IBC show, I noticed some interesting trends, cool demos and new offerings. For example, while flying drones were missing, VR goggles were everywhere; IBM was showing 8K video editing using flash memory and magnetic tape; the IBC itself featured a fully IP-based video studio showing the path to future media production using lower-cost commodity hardware with software management; and, it became clear that digital technology is driving new entertainment experiences and will dictate the next generation of content distribution, including the growing trend to OTT channels.

In general, IBC 2016 featured the move to higher resolution and more immersive content. On display throughout the show was 360-degree video for virtual reality, as well as 4K and 8K workflows. Virtual reality and 8K are driving new levels of performance and storage demand, and these are just some of the ways that media and entertainment pros are future-zone-2increasing the size of video files. Nokia’s Ozo was just one of several multi-camera content capture devices on display for 360-degree video.

Besides multi-camera capture technology and VR editing, the Future Tech Zone at IBC included even larger 360-degree video display spheres than at the 2015 event. These were from Puffer Fish (pictured right). The smaller-sized spherical display was touch-sensitive so you could move your hand across the surface and cause the display to move (sadly, I didn’t get to try the big sphere).

IBM had a demonstration of a 4K/8K video editing workflow using the IBM FlashSystem and IBM Enterprise tape storage technology, which was a collaboration between the IBM Tokyo Laboratory and IBM’s Storage Systems division. This work was done to support the move to 4K/8K broadcasts in Japan by 2018, with a broadcast satellite and delivery of 8K video streams of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The combination of flash memory storage for working content and tape for inactive content is referred to as FLAPE (flash and tAPE).

The graphic below shows a schematic of the 8K video workflow demonstration.

The argument for FLAPE appears to be that flash performance is needed for editing 8K content and the magnetic tape provides low-cost storage the 8K content, which may require greater than 18TB for an hour of raw content (depending upon the sampling and frame rate). Note that magnetic tape is often used for archiving of video content, so this is a rather unusual application. The IBM demonstration, plus discussions with media and entertainment professionals at IBC indicate that with the declining costs of flash memory and the performance demands of 8K, 8K workflows may finally drive increased demand for flash memory for post production.

Avid was promoting their Nexis file system, the successor to ISIS. The company uses SSDs for metadata, but generally flash isn’t used for actual editing yet. They agreed that as flash costs drop, flash could find a role for higher resolution and richer media. Avid has embraced open source for their code and provides free APIs for their storage. The company sees a hybrid of on-site and cloud storage for many media and entertainment applications.

EditShare announced a significant update to its XStream EFS Shared Storage Platform (our main image). The update provides non-disruptive scaling to over 5PB with millions of assets in a single namespace. The system provides a distributed file system with multiple levels of hardware redundancy and reduced downtime. An EFS cluster can be configured with a mix of capacity and performance with SSDs for high data rate content and SATA HDD for cost-efficient higher-performance storage — 8TB HDDs have been qualified for the system. The latest release expands optimization support for file-per-frame media.

The IBC IP Interoperability Zone was showing a complete IP-based studio (pictured right) was done with the cooperation of AIMS and the IABM. The zone brings to life the work of the JT-NM (the Joint Task Force on Networked Media, a combined initiative of AMWA, EBU, SMPTE and VSF) and the AES on a common roadmap for IP interoperability. Central to the IBC Feature Area was a live production studio, based on the technologies of the JT-NM roadmap that Belgian broadcaster VRT has been using daily on-air all this summer as part of the LiveIP Project, which is a collaboration between VRT, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and LiveIP’s 12 technology partners.

Summing Up
IBC 2016 showed some clear trends to more immersive, richer content with the numerous displays of 360-degree and VR content and many demonstrations of 4K and even 8K workflows. Clearly, the trend is for higher-capacity, higher-performance workflows and storage systems that support this workflow. This is leading to a gradual move to use flash memory to support these workflows as the costs for flash go down. At the same time, the move to IP-based equipment will lead to lower-cost commodity hardware with software control.

Storage analyst Tom Coughlin is president of Coughlin Associates. He has over 30 years in the data storage industry and is the author of Digital Storage in Consumer Electronics: The Essential Guide. He also  publishes the Digital Storage Technology Newsletter, the Digital Storage in Media and Entertainment Report.


Panasas intros hybrid scale-out NAS ActiveStor 20

Storage company Panasas has introduced ActiveStor 20, the company’s latest generation hybrid scale-out NAS appliance.  According to Panasas, it features a 65 percent increase in flash and a 25 percent increase in hard drive capacity. High-density flash drives and 10TB HGST Ultrastar He10 helium-based hard drives offer unstructured sequential file and mixed-workload performance with rapid access to both large and small files.

ActiveStor 20 features include up to 208TB (Based on a 1+10 configuration of 10 storage nodes per ActiveStor) capacity per ActiveStor; up to 45PB (No enforced limits. Tested configuration: 130 shelves) max. PanFS namespace capacity; DirectFlow, NFS and SMB protocol support; multiprotocol support for Linux, Mac and Microsoft Windows clients; PanFS 6.1 data availability and management features, including software-based RAID 6+, snapshots, user and group quotas and SiteSync data replication.

“Technical advances in visual effects, virtual reality, 4K and higher resolutions have fundamentally changed the process of creating high-quality entertainment,” explains David Sallak, VP, products and solutions at Panasas. “At NAB 2016, Panasas announced a preview of DirectFlow for Mac — our first M&E-focused enhancement for creative workgroups, unique to the scale-out NAS market of storage products. Building on this media-optimized solution, Panasas has introduced ActiveStor 20. We believe that deploying scalable storage that’s transparent to creative teams and optimized for Mac and Linux while supporting Windows, delivers a compelling experience for media companies seeking to release the full potential of artists, editors and producers to gain competitive advantage in a crowded media and entertainment landscape.”

ActiveStor 20 production systems will ship this month (August).

Introducing a new section on our site: techToolbox

In our quest to bring even more information and resources to postPerspective, we have launched a new section called techToolbox — a repository of sorts, where you can find white papers, tutorials, videos and more from a variety of product makers.

To kick-off our new section, we’re focusing our first techToolbox on storage. Of all the technologies required for today’s entertainment infrastructure, storage remains one of the most crucial. Without the ability to store data in an efficient and reliable fashion, everything breaks down.

In techToolbox: Storage, we highlight some of today’s key advances in storage technology, with each providing a technical breakdown of why they could be the solution to your needs.

Check it out here.