Post Magazine

September/October 2019

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Page 35 of 43 34 POST SEPT/OCT 2019 rom higher demand for video con- tent, higher resolutions and frame rates, to tighter production timelines or more staff requiring coordinated access to content, several trends are impacting how businesses in the media industry approach storage resources. Thankfully, storage technology is advancing in parallel with these wider industry demands. As there is no 'one size fits all' in stor- age, it's critical that organizations employ a storage solution that meets their unique requirements. A vast array of parame- ters are configurable to create the best workflow-optimized foundation for each business — including drive type, storage array capacity, networking topology and file system performance tuning — which can have a significant impact on an orga- nization's productivity, bottom line, and agility to take on new projects. So, let's take a closer look at some of the key storage networking options available to businesses today and how they compare based on some specific M&E use cases. COMPARING THE OPTIONS AVAILABLE Networking choice has a fundamental im- pact on the overall performance and cost effectiveness of a storage infrastructure, with Network-Attached Storage (NAS) and Storage Area Networks (SAN) being the two most popular options available. NAS uses Ethernet-based protocols and was designed to enable groups of people to share files over a computer network, allowing data retrieval from a central location. It provides access to files using protocols such as network file system (NFS) and server message block (SMB), and clients access storage resourc- es over IP. NAS is the most widely deployed stor- age architecture in the world today, pri- marily thanks to its ease of management. It also offers financial benefits, as both the infrastructure and management costs are significantly less than Fibre Channel. However, its performance lags behind that of SAN-based solutions, so a differ- ent architecture may be more suitable for storage environments supporting more demanding workflows. SANs are fiber-based, dedicated high- speed networks that provide access to block-level data storage. They organize storage resources into a high-perfor- mance network, enabling each client to access shared storage as if it were a drive directly attached to the server. SANs were built from the ground up to be optimized for storage traffic — espe- cially rich media content — and to man- age multiple disk and tape devices as a shared pool with a single point of control. Fibre Channel is natively high bandwidth and low latency, making it the most efficient/fastest protocol for port speed value, while its network architecture aids scalability in terms of both performance and capacity. However, their main downside is cost. This isn't necessarily a factor of the hard- ware, but rather the increased manage- ment costs involved, as only a small sub- set of engineers can efficiently manage a SAN-based storage solution. MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE With all these factors in mind, how does each networking option align with some of the most common use cases found in M&E? Given its performance and cost ben- efits, NAS is suitable for a wide range of M&E use cases, particularly those that don't require high performance in throughput or latency. This includes offline editing, transcoding, 2D compos- iting and animation. NAS architectures are also suitable as a gateway, either to provide access to large active archive content repositories, or for ingest from web-native applications via Amazon S3 object storage. SANs, on the other hand, are often the first choice for video professionals needing a high-performance storage infrastructure to run their editing applica- tions. Their high-bandwidth capabilities are a great match for large-volume work- flows where an absolute "no contention" dependency is required, as well as for uncompressed high-resolution formats. They also have the low-latency charac- teristics needed to run large numbers of concurrent streams in shared/collabora- tive environments. However, while SANs were once the go-to option for realtime editing require- ments that demand low latency and high throughput performance, businesses are starting to move these workflows over to a NAS. This is primarily due to the ease of management and the cost savings avail- able with Ethernet-based architectures as well as the introduction of the new SMPTE ST 2110 standard ( 2110), which enables uncompressed video footage to be delivered to storage directly over an IP-based network. The key for media organizations is to evaluate their needs in terms of the appli- cations they're running. Are they running mostly visual sets? Are they doing color grading or transcoding? What kind of throughput is required? Businesses have to look at both their current and future requirements to evaluate whether a NAS or a SAN architec- ture is the best option to support their workflows. Choosing wisely is important and critical to supporting an organization's flexibility, scalability and growth. DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE NETWORK BY JASON COARI DIRECTOR, HIGH-PERFORMANCE STORAGE SOLUTIONS QUANTUM SAN JOSE, CA WWW.QUANTUM.COM F HOW TO CHOOSE THE IDEAL STORAGE INFRA- STRUCTURE FOR YOUR MEDIA OPERATIONS CONSIDERATION FACTOR NAS SAN DLC PERFORMANCE AVERAGE EXCELLENT GOOD SCALABILITY EXCELLENT GOOD EXCELLENT RELIABILITY GOOD GOOD GOOD MANAGEABILITY EXCELLENT AVERAGE EXCELLENT COST GOOD AVERAGE EXCELLENT S P E C I A L S E C T I O N : S T O R A G E

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