Advantages of SSD Hybrid Solutions in Post Production Environments


James McKenna TV-Bay Magazine
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by James McKenna
Issue 102 - June 2015

There's a plan for everything in life. Think on it, scope it out, ask around and come up with a consensus, you'll be prepared when it happens. Like post production for example - you're bidding on a job that's acquiring in 6K for a UHD DPX deliverable, and you want the whole deal, edit through delivery, so you make a plan. Transcode to Pro Res HD for edit, up-convert to 6K for finishing and grading, render out to UHD DPX for delivery. Well done, it's a good plan. But wait - the colorist wants to work in DPX, and offline/online sounds like old-tech to the young producer, and he wants to run 6K raw throughout. The best laid plans are thwarted thusly. The new plan may be to rebuild the facility from scratch with fatter interconnects, new workstations and bigger, faster storage.

Welcome to 2015. Dedicated offline facilities and finishing houses are a thing of the past. To be successful as a project-driven facility, you have to be ready to turn around a job quickly, in the proper format, with scale-out capabilities and finishing power. Boutique post production facilities are known for their flexibility in handling anything that comes through the door, but with these new formats and deliverables, is that still feasible? Enter the hybrid solution. New technology SSD and spinning hard drives combine to deliver scale-out collaboration when you want it, finishing power when you need it, all in a tidy package.

The most obvious use of this technology is in the aforementioned scenario; you have a crowd of editors working on 6K raw timelines, likely taking up all of the bandwidth your shared storage has to offer, and you need to concurrently start grading with DPX. This may be impossible, unless you have chosen your solution wisely. At Facilis Technology, the TerraBlock 24D /HA is leading the way with virtual volume, project-based hybrid solutions for boutique facilities. A full array of 16 spinning hard drives with great bandwidth potential in and of themselves is combined with a smaller group of dedicated SSDs for ultra-high performance.

Since the TerraBlock is a virtual volume system, storage allocations can be created on either drive group, or mirrored between the drive groups to save protection space on the premium SSDs. Volumes can be created at any size and at any time, and resized based on the needs of the project. Clients can connect through two sharing modes, block-level for blazing speed to a few select workstations, or file-level to share among all workstations. Using the Facilis Shared File System, volumes are accessible with write permission on all three operating systems, over fibre channel and Ethernet.

When it's all said and done, up to 8 systems can be playing those 6K raw 8:1 files, along with 2 systems playing full UHD DPX on the SSDs at the same time, in the same 5u enclosure. With power like that, who needs a plan?


Tags: iss102 | ssd | post production | solutions | hybrid | delivery | storage | James McKenna
Contributing Author James McKenna

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