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August 2017

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Page 27 of 43 26 POST AUGUST 2017 T H E I N C R EAS I N G LY C O M P L E X D E M A N D S O F S T O R AG E F O R V F X he demands of ultra-high resolutions, high frame rates, HDR, stereo 3D and VR find VFX studios — from boutiques to multi-location facilities — looking for fast, efficient and affordable storage solutions to get the job done at every stage of production and after. Here's a look at how several studios are addressing these needs. T H E M O L E C U L E Headquartered in New York City and Los Angeles, The Molecule ( is a visual effects, motion graphics, VR and experiential de- sign studio with broadcast, cable and streaming series and feature films to its credit. "We're 12 years old and have gone through a lot of storage systems and configurations," reports CEO/CTO Chris Healer, who is partnered with Luke DiTommaso and Andrew Bly. "Now we have one unified name space, a comprehensive solution based on an EMC Isilon X400 Node NAS storage system array." The New York office acquired that system about a year ago; new storage for LA is still under consideration. "Prior to Isilon, we had a series of Linux systems serving NFS," says Healer. "We've always done NAS storage instead of SAN; it was a design choice we made a while ago." It had become time, though, to step up to "an enterprise-level solution with a deep level of redundancy. We moved to RAID 50, which is expandable, about five years ago to handle redundancy. But we liked Isilon's clustered file system so no individual piece of data or file is stored on one disk: It's spread out with multiple levels of redundancy. Also cool is Isilon's Smart Pools. That feature moves inactive data to more cost-efficient storage, but it's all within the same name space, which is very important." Healer says The Molecule spent a year do- ing research on storage options, then another six months specing out the final system. "Every file of ours is 8-100 MB, we need simultaneous read-write access, and we have hundreds of concurrent requests from users and the render farms," he explains. "A lot of large storage is geared toward scientific applications or financial institutions and universities where there are a lot of users but not a lot of hard-core traffic. But now media and entertainment has become a market for storage manufacturers to focus on." Healer points out that VFX studios migrating from "HD at 24fps to 6K and 8K at 60fps with deeper color depth and more color channels per STUDIOS OF EVERY SIZE SEEK OUT SOLUTIONS FOR DATA-INTENSIVE WORKFLOWS BY CHRISTINE BUNISH T The Molecule completed this greenscreen scene for The Americans. The Molecule's artist row The Molecule NY relies on EMC Isilon for its storage needs for its work on such shows as Netflix's Master of Master of Master None of None of .

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