Post Magazine

Storage Supplement 2015

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 9 of 15

8 STORAGE SOLUTIONS MARCH 2015 STORAGE SOLUTIONS ith the constant discussion surrounding 4K and larger acquisition formats, and the ultimate delivery of UHDTV to viewers' homes, there is grow- ing concern about how storage and infrastructure factor into the ability to run an efficient post work- flow at these more demanding data rates. Since most post houses have spent considerable time and effort getting their HD workflows as efficient as possible, it's no surprise that talk of 4K, 6K, and 8K digital images, along with the higher frame rates and advanced color spaces that encompass UHDTV's future, might be cause for anxiety. After all, how many of us actually believe that budgets and schedules will increase to ac- commodate new demanding formats and deliverables? As media creators tool up for the 4K challenges they're facing now, it's equally important to plan for the future. How do you leverage the infrastructure you have to tackle the myriad transcode and collabora- tion requirements, while still delivering the bandwidth and functionality that's not going to leave you behind schedule and over budget? SCALING OUT AND SCALING UP In today's post pipeline, more people need access to project media than ever before. "Scale-out" is a term that describes increased access to network resourc- es for departments and individuals like producers and graphics artists. The necessity of doing this in a cost-effective manner has boosted 1 Gigabit Ethernet into the forefront of connectivity options. While it's important to support the bandwidth of high-end full frame 4K uncompressed workflows, we're seeing an increase in the use of compressed 4K codecs in the 4:4:4 space like Apple's ProRes and Avid's DNxHR. These lower data rates make it much more feasible to "scale-out" and allow multiple users to work with those beautiful — if slightly modified — 4K images. If the final delivery requirement is one of these compressed 4K formats, then it's completely feasible to stay in that format throughout the entire workflow. With shrinking schedules and budgets, a shared storage network must deliver the performance to handle every scenario that comes in the door without forcing you to buy or rent additional storage. There's no reason to think that a shared network would not be able to provide a collaborative environment, while also delivering the capability for uncompressed 4K DPX conform when it's time to finish. However, when searching for such capability, it's clear that not all shared storage systems are alike. Many are not designed for demanding data rates we encounter in post. With thousands of DPX files being accessed, it's necessary to optimize a storage system to go beyond the limitations of standard network file systems built for traditional enterprise workloads and requirements. To provide maximum flexibility, an important consid- eration is the connectivity between clients and storage server. While Ethernet is the most popular method for collaborative workgroups, there is also a need for high- speed Fibre Channel when maximum bandwidth for fin- ishing at 4K and higher is required. You want a system that can be easily reconfigured from shared multi-user access to high-bandwidth single-user access as the project evolves. If you find yourself having to complete- ly switch storage systems between offline editing and finishing, then it's costing you valuable time and money. THE IMPORTANCE OF OPTIMIZATION Maintaining consistency of performance is a top priority for any post workflow. As such, a shared storage system built for media production needs to be optimized beyond what basic RAID or drive arrays can provide. With large files to read and write, along with the randomization of multiple streams and clients, traditional hard drive systems reach the limit of perfor- mance too quickly. If things slow down as the system reaches full capacity, you can be sure it's going to happen at the wrong time. Consistent performance is something you should demand in your SAN. As we march towards 8K, higher frame rates, and advanced color space, one thing is clear: it's going to take careful planning to avoid roadblocks. The last thing you want is for your well-oiled machine to grind to a halt because your storage system runs out of gas. SCALE-OUT 4K+ COLLABORATIVE WORKFLOWS: IS YOUR FACILITY READY? BY JAMES MCKENNA VP OF PRODUCT MARKETING FACILIS TECHNOLOGY, HUDSON, MA WWW.FACILIS.COM W

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - Storage Supplement 2015