Post production storage - in a flash!

Posted By Tom Coughlin on April 30, 2015 11:07 am | Permalink
Faster data rate requirements in the post production environment are driving the use of flash memory. Although the cost of flash memory has made this adoption slower than it might have been in previous years, the 2015 NAB show demonstrated increasing interest and use of flash memory in post production. New direct attached speedy interfaces, such as Thunderbolt 2, are built to utilize the data rates possible with solid-state storage devices, and both SSD and multi-HDD-based Thunderbolt 2 product were on display.  

OWC ( was showing several SSD solutions for the 4K video workflow, including their SSD-based Viper Pro Thunderbolt SSD geared for 4K workflows with two Thunderbolt 2 ports and sustained speeds up to 1,375MB/s with an SSD capacity up to 8TBs. Other OWC products at the show included the  Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD.

Sonnet Technologies ( was showing several Thunderbolt products as well, including their Echo Express Thunderbolt 2 to PCIe card expansion systems, a new Twin Thunderbolt 2 to dual port copper 10 GbE adapter, a Thunderbolt Pro P2 card reader and Thunderbolt docks. They also had Tempo PCIe SSD cards.

Other companies with Thunderbolt 2 offerings (with or without SSDs) at the 2015 NAB include G-Tech (a part of HGST, a division of Western Digital), LaCie (a division of Seagate Technology), Promise Technology (their Pegasus 2 R2+), QNAP, and several others.

HP ( announced a Z-Turbo PCIe SSD drive on their video workstations. This is a Gen2 NVMe flash memory product from Samsung with sequential data rates of 2.15GB/s read and 1.55GB/s write. Capacities of these MLC products are 256GBs and 512GBs. The products will be available in June with the 512GB unit selling for $699.  

NetApp ( was showing their EF All-Flash Array for media metadata, transaction and analytic processes, but they were also promoting it for 4K and high-frame-rate production workgroups who need to edit, render and transcode concurrently. The NetApp E-Series is focused on large broadcast production workgroups, large content repositories and some 4K facilities. Bitcentral was demonstrating its CORE:news integrated with NetApp solutions.

Other companies had flash memory-based solutions for media workflows, including EditShare's XStream Field 2 for a high capacity mobile storage array for work in the field. EMC, DDN and others also were showing flash memory appliances to serve the M&E market.   

Some SSD makers were at the NAB, including Samsung, Micron and other specialized companies such as Amp Inc., who produces SSDs primarily for the embedded product market.

In addition to flash-based editing equipment there was a lot of HDD post-production oriented storage hardware at the NAB show, many using some flash memory to accelerate performance.  DotHill was demonstrating its AssuredSAN storage array providing support for multiple edit streams depending upon the number and type of HDDs used.  Avid, EVS, HGST, JMR and others offer nearline and active archive HDD-based storage systems for the media and entertainment industry.  Coho Data was showing its Coho DataStream scale-out NAS storage, including pure flash, pure HDD and hybrid storage systems.  

EditShare renamed their product line to XStream products including their XStream EFS scale-out storage as well as their XStream HT and XStream ST high performance share storage.  EMC was showing the MXFserver software that allows editors the freedom to open projects in different editing systems simultaneously.  EMC was also showing their popular Isilon scale out storage products that has been a popular M&E storage platform for several years.

XOR ( was showing its G-Series, E-Series and T-Series NAS and SAN storage systems. Facilis ( was showing its series of shared TerraBlock shared storage systems. Promise Technology was also showing its Vess R2600 Pro file-sharing NAS product, as well as other HDD-based products. Nexsan (a division of Imation) was showing its NST2000 hybrid storage appliance using solid-state memory for its FASTier caching for NAS and SAN applications and capacities up to 168TBs. Tiger Technology was showing its Shared Storage and Shared Storage Workflow Controller with a projetSTORE pro software workflow system.

Chenbro is a maker of high density storage chassis and has been at many NAB shows.  Another supplier of servers, storage and enclosures is AIC, which has many products. Avago Technologies (formerly LSI), as well as ATTO, make storage cards and other products that are used throughout the media and entertainment industry.

Quantum ( was showing its intelligent workflow-optimized storage StorNext Pro SAN solutions for high performance workflows, tying this product to their StorNext Media Asset Management software and their archive products to provide managed storage services for a complete media workflow. Much of the HDD based equipment offered by Quantum are produced by Dot Hill. DDN was also offering storage products to support media workflows, including their object storage WOZ system and their MEDIAScaler high performance converged media storage for end-to-end data management.  

Digital storage is the key element of modern post production. You can find out more about storage in post production at the 2015 Creative Storage Conference (, June 30, 2015 in Culver City, CA.