Editing Storage in the Production Pits

Posted By Tom Coughlin on April 17, 2013 07:43 am | Permalink
By Tom Coughlin
Coughlin Associates

Digital storage is a big part of the NAB show.  All that content has to be kept somewhere. Post production, including nonlinear editing, requires a lot of storage and with performance characteristics that are very different from most computer storage applications.  

The NAB has several activities going on with a post production focus.  The HPA had a post production pit in the back of the lower South Hall and Digital Production Buzz (who has a great radio program covering all aspects of post production) was doing radio interviews during the NAB show. 

Atto Technology was demonstrating a digital workflow with HP and Red at the NAB show, editing Red footage with Adobe Premiere Pro over an HP Fibre Channel network and utilizing the Quantum StorNext file system. Atto Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) and Express SAS HBAs were being used in several other exhibits throughout the South Hall.  In addition to Fibre Channel and SAS connectivity Atto plays an important role in Thunderbolt infrastructure to support many other storage companies.

 EditShare introduced a second generation of its Field mobile storage system (the Field 2, pictured below, left). This storage device, small enough to fit on the overhead baggage on an airplane, provides a portable complete, end-to-end digital workflow with tools for remote collaboration. With this device users can record up to two channels of HD in familiar codecs (XDCAM-EX35, DNxHD, DVDProHD and others). The device allows for edit-while-capturing with EditShare's Flow software. The device can scale up to 24 Terabytes using 3.5-inch and 2.4-inch HDDs and SSDs, including 10k SAS HDDs. And the EditShare Sync Tool allows users to send data from a remote location back home using a simple Internet VPN connection. In addition to the Field, EditShare produces a 60-bay high density storage system providing up to 240 TB of storage, four of which can be connected to a Geevs server to provide up to 960 TB of storage, including LTO tape backup.

Facilis (picture, below, right) premiered their TerraBlock v5.7 and introduced SyncBlock.  SyncBlock manages archive, backup and synchronization for direct attachment to the TerraBlock Shared Storage Sytsem.  SyncBlock include single and library LTO 5 products and include HDDs providing from 8 to 64 TB of storage.  The SynchBlock packages allow automatic archive, backup, synchronization, mirroring and transport of file media ingested into a TerraBlock. The TerraBlock supports 4 Gb/s to 16 Gb/s Fibre Channel and 1 GB and 10 GB Ethernet connectivity. The TerraBlock v5.7 now supports 4 TB HDDs, 16 Gb/s Fibre Channel and also provides ATTO ThunderLink support.  Drive recovery time is improved by 50 precent and its can capture DPX files to multi-user Write volumes.  The latest Apple and Windows post production software are supported.

Hitachi GST debuted its Evolution series of storage devices. These feature interchangeable and up to 1 TB  expandable storage modules that can be used as stand alone external USB 3.0 HDDs (the G-Drive ev PLUS) or in 6 Gb/s SATA docking stations to provide more storage options such as RAID 0, RAID 1 or JBOD as well as Thunderbolt connectivity.  The G-Drive ev PLUS storage modules provides data rates up to 250 MB/s and this can be even higher in the docking stations.  We should expect more developments with the Evolution products as time goes on.

LaCie (now part of Seagate Technology) has a full line of Thunderbolt external storage products for Mac and PC, including vary fast SSD products as well as mobile and desktop storage. They have also expanded their NAS Pro line-up. JMR displayed additions to their SilverStor Desktop storage systems. These products provide SATA/SATA JBOD and RAID storage with Thunderbolt support offering 700 MB/s data rates with up to 100 TB on the standard product and supporting 100's of TB with expansion chassis.  These products also support PCIe expansion, including PCIe SSDs.

There were a large number of other storage companies providing, Flash Memory, HDD, optical and tape based storage systems for post-production, archiving and play-out applications. These were mostly clustered in the lower South Hall mostly but with some located in other places, such as the North Hall. There must be more than 40 companies showing various storage (and related) solutions for post production and special effects; including Aberdeen, Amplidata, Avere, Avid, Chelsio, Exadata, Panasas, Small Tree, Tiger and many others, including those mentioned in our earlier blogs.

With the LG announcement of NCAA Final Four captured in 4K as an Ultra HD TV demonstration it is obvious that the amount of storage and bandwidth required for today and future post production workflows is increasing rapidly. With the support of the digital storage community serving the M&E industry these needs will be met, enabling a new generation of immersive consumer experiences.