Tag Archives: archive

Quick Chat: Scale Logic’s Bob Herzan talks storage

Can you imagine for a second what it would be like without proper storage in our datacentric production and post world? Anarchy! To say it’s a big part of the puzzle would be an understatement.

At postPerspective, we cover storage news, technology and usage in a variety of ways, so recently we reached out to Scale Logic, which provides RAID, SAN and NAS, as well as other archiving solutions, to find out about their products and process.

Some of you might remember that Minneapolis-based Scale Logic Inc. grew out of what was once Rorke Data, which offered products to the post industry for almost 30 years. Scale Logic president/CEO Bob Herzan and about 20 former Rorke Data employees took that technology and experience and built on it, creating new products targeting the media and entertainment space.

Let’s find out more.

Genesis Unlimited is new-ish, but the Genesis platform has been around for how long?
Genesis’ predecessors were released in 2008 as a NUMA programing technology that uses multi-thread processing. The Genesis development team has been building software RAID solutions for the M&E market for eight years, so Genesis Unlimited is a third-generation product. The Genesis RX was introduced over three years ago, and the Genesis Unlimited was announced at NAB 2015.

Genesis Unlimited

Genesis Unlimited

What should pros know about your Unlimited and RX products?
HyperFS and the Genesis RAID software have been combined and sold as a licensed “SAN in a box” solution for five years now, but Unlimited licensing began in April 2015. The Genesis RX series features unlimited connectivity, which allows facilities to connect all their various systems to the central storage with the correct network speed.

Can you talk about how this helps post users specifically?
Imagine having your fixed SAN or NAS solution at your facility, then having the ability to invite freelance editors to come into your facility and simply be able to connect to your shared storage via Fibre or Ethernet and begin collaborating immediately — without the need to purchase additional hardware or software. The peace of mind this offers allows users to stop thinking about the technology and focus on the creative.

How does Unlimited differ from your other offerings?
Unlimited is tailored for reliability and cost, and it aims to solve connectivity, application compatibility, file system and data storage issues in the one box. While all of our products are meant to scale well, Genesis Unlimited’s scalability is designed for independent scale-out in performance and capacity.

You say you target M&E. How is this system optimized for the workflows of post and VFX pros?
Rather than adapted for M&E use, the system was built from the ground up with M&E in mind. Genesis has features like the HyperFS file system, which can optimize its stripe pattern for either GOPs or iframes. The Realtime Initiator offers guaranteed throughput.

Post pros using our tools don’t want to worry about bandwidth control when it comes to mission critical applications. For example, you might have an important customer reviewing your most recent edits while you review your full resolution 4K output in another bay. Our users don’t want to worry about what other workloads are happening on the SAN — if the bandwidth is overtaxed it could cause poor playback. The Unlimited solves the guesswork by allowing your playout server to take priority on the bandwidth available while other workstations on the SAN will share the leftover bandwidth.

Genesis products installed at 4 Max Post in Los Angeles.

Genesis products installed at 4 Max Post in Los Angeles.

Can you further explain the Realtime Initiator?
Genesis Unlimited can detect client machines connected through its connection ports via iQN or WWN, at which point it’s simple to input recognizable names, like “edit bay1” or “Mac1.” After naming the edit bays, you can toggle on or off realtime, which guarantees an amount of bandwidth for that machine and creates two pools of users: those that are realtime and those that are non-realtime. The non-realtime group can get suppressed with either a bandwidth ceiling they can’t collectively go over or a number of IOPs.

There are many practical uses for this, such as ensuring uninterrupted use for a client coming in for review of a project or setting power editors to realtime while the facility’s ancillary stations are non-realtime.

The Realtime Initiator feature will also give a block-level client priority access to the storage to ensure that no matter what the current workload on the SAN is, the most important suite in a facility will be able to playback without dropping frames.

How have you made this product secure in terms of data protection?
RAID-6 protection is standard on Genesis Unlimited, but it also offers RAID-7 protection — we have a hardened, safe Linux kernel and RAID-7.3 capability, which makes it very secure. The partial restore feature further exemplifies our focus on data security by only degrading a small portion of the disk when bad sectors are detected.

How does this relate in real-world workflows?
Well, for the most part, RAID systems themselves are very secure. When you have an issue with a RAID it typically is going to be due to aging hard drives, so as your system gets older your drives begin to fail. RAID-5 allows one drive to fail, RAID-6 allows two and RAID-7 allows up to three before your facility starts to be at risk of loosing data.

Scale Logic's lab techs testing out product.

Scale Logic’s lab techs testing out product.

The creative industry for the most part are not IT professionals and don’t necessarily take the same types of preventive maintenance measures that you see in IT. Finding ways to simplify the users’ experience and building in extra protection lets everyone sleep better at night.

This is a scalable system, but what’s the cost of entry? Can the smaller guys take advantage of Genesis Unlimited?
Yes, Genesis Unlimited is built with the collaborative work group in mind; this could be smaller boutique post houses, on-set production, broadcast and cable stations, houses of worship, as well as corporate facilities moving some of their marketing in-house.

These types of companies may not have the ability, or want, to purchase a dedicated Fibre Channel switch or metadata controller, but with Genesis Unlimited they can scale their solution as they grow. The 12-bay Genesis Unlimited starts at $24K using 2TB drives.

If you were a medium-sized VFX house working on commercials, what kind of system would you need and how does this benefit you?
We would recommend our 24- or 36-bay Genesis Unlimited, depending on their storage and bandwidth needs. We also offer a full line of traditional shared SAN solutions if the customer requires things like a dedicated metadata controller or high availability. These can either be used initially or migrated from a Genesis Unlimited, using existing hardware and licenses.

Do you have an advisory committee?
In relation to the HyperFS and our RX Series RAID storage (RX, RX2 and Unlimited) we are qualified for Adobe Anywhere, and certified with Blackmagic, NewTek, Telestream, FileCatalyst, Levels Beyond, Axle Video, Digital Vision, CatDV and others.

We also have developed an advisory board that will meet four times a year. This board is made up of eight industry veterans who currently hold executive positions at some of the industries leading storage manufacturing companies. We believe this committee and its dedication to the media and entertainment market will not only help drive HyperFS and our solutions sets, but will help us develop more focused features that continues to build efficiencies into our solution set.


NAB: Media archives drive storage innovation

By Tom Coughlin

Higher resolution, frame rate, pixel depth and the number of cameras for pro video projects is increasing the storage capacity requirements for professional media. The growing size of new projects, combined with the vast collection of media and entertainment content already in archives will drive the size of media archives.

In addition, the desire for ready access to this content to support reuse and other purposes increases the need for faster more active archives. The 2014 Digital Storage for Media and Entertainment Report from my own Coughlin Associates estimates that over 96% of all digital storage in the media and entertainment industry is used in archiving and preservation.

The 2015 NAB show was a showcase for many digital media archive solutions. Magnetic tape is a big player in the traditional media archive market. The most popular tape format in media and entertainment is the LTO tape. The LTO Consortium says that tape storage costs are now less than $0.008 per GB ($8/TB). The LTFS file system used in LTO and other tapes is now supported by SNIA standards. Magnetic tape is now being used in object storage environments and Swift now supports LTFS. The group says that they have seen roughly a 6% growth in magnetic tape in the media and entertainment market.

Fujifilm had a booth with Crossroads Systems where they were showing the Dternity tape-based cloud storage system with the Crossroads Strongbox product. Oracle and IBM were also showing their tape based storage systems that they are targeting for media and entertainment (IBM currently offers up to 10TB of capacity on a half-inch tape cartridge). Several companies were showing the USB interface tape drive made by IBM in their NAB booths. Several companies were showing the USB interface tape drive made by IBM in their NAB booths. mLogic was showing a Thunderbolt LTO tape drive.

ProMax acquired Cache-A in July of 2014, At the 2015 NAB show the company released a significant update to its archiving appliance lineup. The Pro-Cache and Power-Cache products have been redesigned from the ground up to improve the speed and reliability of archiving to LTO tape. The Pro-Cache’s expanded network connectivity includes 4 x 1GbE network controllers accompanied by a 10GbE network performance boost that makes it up to 2x faster than previous systems. The Power-Cache (our main photo) onboard RAID is now up to 16TB with room for an optional onboard LTO-6 or LTO-5 drive.

ProMAX Pro-Cache and Power-Cache copy

Spectra Logic announced updates and enhancements to their BlackPearl Deep Storage Gateway. The newly enhanced Spectra Logic BlackPearl Deep Storage Gateway sits in front of deep storage tape libraries and allows users to move data anywhere within their network using simple HTTP commands. An interesting feature of the BlackPearl hardware is that they use flash memory for caching write and read information to a magnetic tape library. Because of the very fast data rates for mounted tapes flash memory avoids dropping of data or needing to rerun tapes to complete data transfers. Spectra Logic also announced that they were providing an archive tier to private clouds running on the NetApp StorageGrid using the BlackPearl Deep Storage Gateway.

Sony has been driving cartridge archive system using 12 Blu-ray write-once optical media in their Optical Disc Archive (ODA). These cartridges are scheduled for a significant increase in capacity in 2015 with the planned introduction of 300GB 5.25-inch optical write-one archive discs. In addition to the Sony booth companies such as XenData and Qualstar were showing both disc and tape archive libraries in their booth. MassTech also announced support for Sony’s ODA by their asset management system. There is a significant segment of the media and entertainment market that prefers optical discs for cold archiving rather magnetic tape.

backup progress with proxies copy PRP Back Up Screen Shot

Imagine Products and Sony have created a new ODA archiving solution for Mac users. The company’s PreRoll Post LTFS archiving application (pictured above) creates thumbs, proxies and rich metadata while backing up files and folders to multiple locations at once. It also uses checksum technology to ensure that the files and folders are copied accurately. Users simply drag and drop files and folders into the queue for copying to the disc.

Software to support backup also has an important role in M&E. SGL was showing a full archive demonstration with Grass Valley. The company was also launching an Asset Migration Service (FlashNet Migration Service) to move assets between one tape platform or generation to another. They were also showing partial file restore via Avid Web Services.

For more active archives there were several HDD systems geared to active archiving on display at the NAB. HGST (a division of Western Digital) was showing their HDD-based Active Archive System. This was HGST’s first foray into large storage system design and it was leveraging its internal drive costs to offer a cost effective object based storage system cheaper than many white-box solutions. HGST’s Active Archive System is an object storage system that delivers 4.7 petabytes (PB) of raw data storage in a single rack. The company says this product will provide long term retention of media data with fast access when needed.

Dr. Tom Coughlin, president of Coughlin Associates, is a storage analyst and consultant with over 30 years in the data storage industry. He has six patents to his credit and is the author of Digital Storage in Consumer Electronics: The Essential Guide. He also helps put together the Storage Visions Conference. You can we reach him at tom@tomcoughlin.com.


Talking future workflows and future archives

By Tom Coughlin

This year’s HPA Tech Retreat, which took place in February in Indian Wells, California, had some interesting presentations and displays, pointing the way to the future of media and entertainment. But before I dig into some general observations and an update on the future workflows and archive solutions that were on display, I will share this: You likely have already heard that the HPA is now part of SMPTE, but the more recent bit of news is the organization is changing its name from the Hollywood Post Alliance to the Hollywood Professional Alliance. Ok, now let’s get to the tech talk…

In the CES Review at the HPA Retreat, Peter Putnum pointed out that there weren’t as many TVs on display as Continue reading

ProMax intros Pro-Cache, Power-Cache archive appliances

Since acquiring Cache-A last summer, ProMax — makers of the Platform shared storage system and One editing workstations — have developed the ProMax Pro-Cache and Power-Cache systems. The new archive appliances feature technology upgrades and improvements offering performance boosts for increased system speed, responsiveness and reliability.

In alignment with its worldwide channel of reseller partners and distributors, ProMax is offering a special trade-in promotion for existing Cache-A customers to upgrade to the new Pro-Cache and Power-Cache models.

Both models have new chassis designs and include new V4 software features. The Template Manager creates and manages scheduled backups, while the Incremental Archive automatically monitors target spaces for file changes and then updates the archive.

“As soon as Cache-A became a ProMax product line, we took action to address the most urgent needs of customers,” notes ProMax CEO Jess Hartmann.

The ProMax Pro-Cache features a new Quad Core CPU with Turbo Boost to 3.1GHz to increase system speed. A new dedicated PCI SSD system disk provides reliability and a performance boost to OS and archive database operations (up to 4x faster than previous systems). The Pro-Cache’s expanded network connectivity includes 4x 1GbE network controllers accompanied by a 10GbE network performance boost that makes it up to 2x faster than previous systems. The redesigned chassis features a new component cooling system to complement the appliance’s upgraded power supply.

The ProMax Power-Cache also features the same upgrades of the new Quad Core CPU with Turbo Boost to 3.1GHz, the addition of a dedicated PCI SSD system disk and a performance boost to OS and archive database operations to amplify the appliance’s speed and performance. The 10GbE network performance boost will also make the new Power-Cache up to 2x faster than previous systems. The Power-Cache has its own all-new 2RU rackmount chassis, which has been designed as an enterprise class device and features a new cooling system, upgraded component cabling and dual redundant power supplies. The system’s onboard RAID is now up to 16TB with room for an optional onboard LTO-6 or LTO-5 drive.

Michael Devine joins workflow specialists Masstech

Masstech Group, which provides media asset management, archive and workflow solutions, has hired industry vet Michael Devine a a member of the company’s North American sales team.

Devine brings over 20 years of experience servicing broadcast and media companies, most recently with digital media services provider RR Media. Prior to that, he worked as a regional sales manager for Front Porch Digital and held a variety of sales positions for software vendors including Signiant, VideoBank and eMotion.

One of the solutions he’ll be selling is the company’s flagship Masstech for Enterprise, a complete media asset management, archiving and transcoding solution for file-based media operations.  The company will be exhibiting at the upcoming NAB show in Vegas.

Digital Vision, makers of Nucoda, acquired by management team

Twenty-six-year-old industry staple Digital Vision, which makes the popular Nucoda color grading suite along with restoration and film scanning solutions, has been acquired by its management team — Kelvin Bolah, Greg Holland and Claes Westerlund.



Digital Vision says the acquisition, from Swedish company Image Systems for 6.1 million in Swedish currency, will provide significant funding for future investment in R&D.

Bolah will become CEO, while Holland takes the role of worldwide VP of sales, and Westerlund becomes worldwide VP of operations. As part of the acquisition, the entire Digital Vision team will remain with the new company, as will all of the company’s offices in London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York and Sweden.

“Digital Vision’s staff, customers and partners were of the utmost importance in this acquisition and our main reason for the management buy-out,” says Bolah. “Having worked with them for many years and seeing their passion, expertise and the amazing projects they produce, we knew we had to keep the Digital Vision brand alive. With the investment that the company now has we will be able to accelerate the R&D and engineering to deliver our award-winning products in a timely fashion to a global customer base.”

Digital Vision’s current product range includes the Golden Eye 4 archive scanner; the Bifrost Archive Bridge, a scalable solution suitable for archives of any size; the Nucoda color grading suite;  Phoenix film restoration software; and Thor hardware designed for realtime 4K image processing.