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NZ film post-production house upgrades capacity as data usage spikes

Adam Bender | April 12, 2013
3D at 48 frames per second--a technique used in The Hobbit--uses 4TB per hour.

Park Road had been using a traditional archive system using direct-attached libraries. The company looked for technology that would provide high performance, reliability and integrate well with its other systems, he said.

"Park Road has a wide variety of systems running on Linux, OS X, and Windows, and it was essential for any new systems to run natively on all platforms."

The post-production house sought help from Quantum, a vendor it had used previously. "Various flavours of StorNext were already deployed at Park Road, and it was a logical step to consider Quantum's StorNext Storage Manager for virtualised tape archival," he said.

The new shared storage platform provides 1.5PB of disk, 2PB of near-line virtualised LTO tape storage and unlimited vaulted capacity, Oatley said. "This system has been proven under some of the most demanding load conditions and unforgiving deadlines."

The system at Park Road routinely processes multiple terabytes of data in a few hours and can handle in excess of 20TB per day at peak load.

With the film industry constantly upping the ante on visual effects, it's possible Park Road will have to add capacity again in the future. However, Oatley said he believes the current platform will simplify any future upgrades.

"Storage requirements are always growing, and technology is always struggling to keep pace," he said.

"Capacity will always increase, but the key is to think about the entire life-cycle of your data, streamline your workflow as much as possible, and to make technology choices that are scalable without having to re-architect from scratch."

While many types of companies are looking at the cloud for storage, Oatley said that approach is not yet equipped to handle the needs of a film post-production house.

"Cloud solutions currently lack the necessary bandwidth to serve rich media workflows at this level," he said.

"Cloud solutions are typically deal well with large client counts with smaller and more transactional data using a distributed model. Film post-production requires the exact opposite scenario - with fewer clients accessing massive files at high bandwidth from a central store."

 

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