Post Magazine

August 2016

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Page 43 of 51

STORAGE 42 POST AUGUST 2016 ow safe is your data? That is the universal question being asked hundreds of times each day. There are many diff erent facets to that question — data security, data recovery, data backup and even plain ordinary data integrity. Our data is the lifeblood of the organization, and for those of us in the media and en- tertainment industry, the creative content data that we work on is our business. With the recent explosion of 4K content, we are creating more digital data than ever before that needs to be captured, edited and distributed. To keep up with this signifi cantly larger amount of data per minute of content, storage vendors have been working hard to provide denser disk drives with the same footprint. In just the past few years we have seen the mainstream video format move from SD to HD to UHD, while the typical maximum storage capacity of a 3.5-inch rotational disk drive has gone from 4- to 6- to 8- and now 10TBs. These two changes have in eff ect balanced things out — you have much more space to store your content, but the content needs much more space per minute of content. This is good news and a challenge for the storage industry, which needs to stay ahead of the increasing demands for the higher resolution formats that consumers are demanding. However, there is a prob- lem lurking in all of this growing storage capacity, as you now are storing three times the amount of data behind a single disk drive. This means that three times more data is at risk today by that single drive failure than just a few years ago. This is forcing storage vendors to rethink the most cost-eff ective way to protect the customer's data as now there is potentially 10TBs of data aff ected rather than 2- or 3TBs. Traditionally, vendors would protect the customer's data by employing some level of hardware RAID. There are many diff erent levels of RAID protection, each with tradeoff s between performance, protection and lost storage space. The most secure hardware RAID protocol is RAID 1 and it is also the most expensive, as all data is written to two drives instead of one. This makes RAID 1 an unpopular choice. Hardware RAID 5 is most commonly used for storage ven- dors today, as it provides a good balance between performance, protection and capacity used. Another side eff ect often not taken into consideration is the amount of time it takes to rebuild your RAID when a disk drive fails. Rebuild times are directly proportional to the size of the disk drives being used within the RAID, therefore the rebuild time of 10TB-based RAIDs can take days compared to hours for RAIDs using 3TB or smaller drives. This has led to storage vendors look- ing for alternatives to hardware RAID 5 implementations. One option that is gaining traction is software RAID. In the past, software RAID implementa- tions were limited to lower performance applications and would not be used in a realtime video editing environment be- cause it couldn't meet the performance requirements. This has changed due to improvements in processor speeds. The system CPUs are used to replace the hardware RAID processing support and (due to the more modern fi le systems ZFS, XFS being the most common) soft- ware RAID implementation can support demanding video editing workfl ows. Software RAIDs cost lest than hardware RAID implementation and eliminate a hardware RAID controller failure from impacting the customer. Software RAIDs also have an advantage by needing less time to rebuild the RAID once a disk drive failure occurs. Even though software RAIDs are much faster than before, there is still a performance gap compared to hard- ware RAIDs. If that performance penalty from a software RAID is still too much to overlook, vendors are looking at an alternative to the traditional RAID 5 implementation and choosing to go with RAID 6. The RAID 6 implementation provides twice the data protection and better performance when operating in a degraded condition, helping to off set the failure of one of the very large disk drives within the RAID. Storage vendors in the media and entertainment industry have to become more proactive in protecting the data that their customers are capturing. Some of the implementation decisions that were sound in the past are now provid- ing greater exposure for their customers. There are multiple things that are being done for data security in the enterprise market space that also could help improve the digital creative content stored for post production — but at an increased cost. Depending on the size of the post house, there are data distribution techniques that provide greater data protection when us- ing multiple storage enclosures and more drives. Adding switches to the overall confi guration will allow greater fl exibility, providing fewer single points of failure and ensuring that the customer can get to their data at a higher percentage of time — which is job one. As all throughout the industry celebrate the technological advance- ments that improve picture quality and make our jobs much more enjoyable, don't forget the importance of ensuring that the assets you've captured are suffi ciently protected. STORAGE VENDORS ARE RETHINKING WAYS TO PROTECT CUSTOMERS' DATA BY CORKY SEEBER PRESIDENT SMALL TREE OAKDALE, MN WWW.SMALL-TREE.COM HOW SAFE IS YOUR DATA? H While software RAIDS are showing improvement, hardware RAIDs still off er better performance.

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