Preparing for the future in television and film


Kieron Seth# TV-Bay Magazine
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by Kieron Seth
Issue 80 - August 2013
We prepare students for a career in television and film, says Sean Thornton of Anglia Ruskin University. As such, the technology we use has to be real-world and broadcast standard
The Media Services team provides equipment to under- and postgraduate students and operates facilities that include TV and photographic studios, video editing rooms and media production suites. Content is created in a variety of formats using professional Panasonic and JVC camcorders, and DSLR systems. It is post produced using network-connected Apple and Adobe software suites, running on Mac hardware.

Prior to upgrading our infrastructure with GB Labs Space, we had a fibre channel-based storage system. Continues Thornton. It worked well and generally ran problem free. However, it had some key shortcomings that meant that it would no longer meet our needs. Firstly, it placed a cap on the number of user accounts that could access the storage; secondly the amount of space allocated to individual users was restricted, something that became a real problem as we transitioned to multi-layer HD projects.

The success of the film and television courses meant that an upgrade to the storage infrastructure was essential. With between 300 and 400 users, 35 Macs running Final Cut Pro and the Creative Suite, the university needed a powerful shared storage system that had the reliability for very intensive use, especially at peak times in the run up to assessment deadlines.
The university opted for GB Labs Space, a solution ideally suited to the students ever more demanding media projects. Now technology is not a bar on their creativity.

Thornton remarks that users are increasingly creating complex graphicrich programmes. With Space, they can access their personal files at any time, either by logging in via their university username or using group access credentials supplied by the media department. Employing personal and group logins means that security is easy to manage: individuals can protect their assets and identities or share files with other users very safely and very simply. Completed projects are transferred to parking areas on the drives to allow for group criticism, an essential part of the departments activities.

However, security goes beyond asset privacy. The entire system is RAID protected while plans are in place to formalize routine system backups. Thornton outlines the vision: Data loss is unthinkable. So for the next phase of development, we will have the option to replicate the complete storage system automatically onto a GB Labs Echo nearline system. Alternatively, we are also investigating the new Bridge unit that would allow us to use the old Fibre array as a network attached storage silo. Whichever route we take will add a new dimension to protecting our assets.

Both backup devices are loaded with software tools that automate data replication and archiving, with enhancements available for intelligent hierarchical storage management. The Media Services team, at Anglia Ruskin University, has already upgraded its Space with EX expansion modules for additional performance and capacity. Plans are afoot to increase system RAM to accommodate growing student numbers and to support still higher stream counts. As project deadlines approach, the students hit the network extremely hard. We always have an eye on managing storage capacities and maintaining system performance. Concludes Thornton.

By making the transition to Space, the university has the scope to grow its capacity, support more concurrent users, handle highly sophisticated video projects and secure every asset held on the network. With a sound foundation and a clear upgrade path, Anglia Ruskins storage network is a model worthy of many a professional facility.


Tags: iss080 | future | television | film | media services | students | dslr | Kieron Seth#
Contributing Author Kieron Seth#

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