Quantum-ESG-Technical-Validation-Dxi9000-Deduplication-Appliance

ESG Technical Validation: Quantum DXi9000 Deduplication Appliance

Introduction

This report examines Quantum’s DXi9000 enterprise disk backup appliance, with a focus on how the DXi9000 fits into Quantum’s data protection portfolio. ESG examined the performance, deduplication, replication, data availability, scalability, and encryption capabilities of the DXi9000. Also examined: Disaster recovery solutions with Quantum’s Scalar tape libraries and integration with independent software vendor (ISV) offerings such as Veeam’s Data Mover Service (VDMS), Symantec’s NetBackup OpenStorage (OST), Auto Image Replication (AIR) and Granular Restore Technology (GRT).

Summary

ESG validated that a Quantum DXi9000 was able to sustain more than 38.4TB per hour—with DXi Accent—of multithreaded enterprise backup throughput with pay-as-you-grow capacity scalability. The DXi9000 demonstrated advanced security, virtualization, data protection, and management features suited to a wide range of requirements for backup and disaster recovery (DR). ESG confirmed that DXi variable-length deduplication provided significant savings in disk capacity and network bandwidth as compared with fixed-length deduplication. The tight integration of the DXi9000 with backup applications can help customers’ data protection needs across physical and virtual environments.

Background

As shown in Figure 1, ESG research indicates that improving SLAs, recovery point objectives (RPOs), and recovery time objectives (RTOs) are the most-cited data protection mandates coming from IT leadership.1 Considering this in combination with the similarly high priorities to improve security and compliance, while reducing costs, adds emphasis to those data protection imperatives. As these areas of IT focus become more important to the business, and critical data becomes more distributed, the need for solid business continuity and disaster recovery systems increases.

Quantum Data Protection and DXi9000

Quantum delivers a comprehensive digital asset storage portfolio. Quantum’s data protection portfolio includes DXi-Series enterprise disk backup appliances and Scalar LTO libraries to provide a solid combination of backup and archiving.

Quantum supports geographically and technologically diverse customer environments, from the data center to remote offices and virtual implementations, and it can scale to meet growing data and throughput requirements, providing a continuous data protection lifecycle from creation to retirement.

DXi9000 is the newest member of the Quantum data protection family designed to provide simple, cost-effective enterprise-scale protection. Quantum designed the DXi9000 to provide performance of up to 38.4TB per hour and up to 20.4PB of logical capacity in only 10U of rack space. DXi9000 is compatible with leading backup software, and up to 128 partitions can present themselves as CIFS/NFS shares, VTLs, or OST LSUs for flexibility. Replication, encryption, full hardware redundancy, and an integrated path to tape are standard features, helping to keep costs low and predictable.

The Quantum DXi9000 Series

Like all Quantum DXi systems, the DXi9000 Series runs Quantum DXi 4.0.1 software, which resides on the latest-generation DXi-Series appliances, providing enterprise-class data protection. DXi software uses patented variable-length, inline data deduplication, reducing data stored on disk by up to 90%, while automatic bandwidth-optimized replication provides a choice of protection approaches for remote sites over existing networks.

Quantum DXi9000 is designed to provide high performance, flexible, pay-as-you-grow disk backup storage leveraging numerous unique differentiating features and technologies:

  • A Broad Capacity Range with Pay-as-you-grow Scalability—The DXi9000 offers 51TB to 1.02PB usable capacity in 51TB licensable capacity-on-demand (CoD) increments, delivering higher density and greater power-efficiency per terabyte than the previous generation, and proactive data growth management with non-disruptive capacity upgrades.
  • Enterprise-class Performance—Up to 38.4TB/hour performance with Symantec OST Accent enables organizations to meet evolving backup windows with predictable performance.
  • Improved Data Availability—This is achieved via Dynamic Disk Pools (DDP) and data integrity checking. Dynamic Disk Pools (DDP) improve system performance during rebuilds without sacrificing availability.
  • Comprehensive Data Security—12TB self-encrypting drives (SEDs) provide hardware-based data-at-rest encryption, allowing users to enable encryption with zero impact to system performance. Data is also AES 256-bit encrypted during replication.
  • Complete Lifecycle Management—Integration with independent software vendors (ISVs) provides support—as with Symantec OpenStorage (OST)—and convergence of backup and disaster recovery—as with Symantec Automatic Image Replication (AIR). Integrated path-to-tape (PTT) provides offsite DR, archive, and compliance capabilities.
  • VM Instant Recovery—DXi and Veeam integration enables the Veeam Data Mover Service (VDMS) to move data between the Veeam proxy server and the DXi appliance. The VDMS communicates with the Veeam proxy server to manage the data flow between Veeam and DXi, reducing the time it takes to create synthetic full backups and run VM instant recovery. DXi appliances are certified through the Veeam Ready program as backup repositories and are Veeam Ready Integrated Storage Solutions. This is the highest level of certification Veeam provides for storage products.
  • Universal Connectivity and Presentation Options—Multi-protocol support provides simultaneous support for CIFS, NFS, VDMS; Accent distributed deduplication with Veritas OST, RMAN, and Linux OS; and OST over Ethernet, and VTL via FibreChannel.
  • Simple Licensing—All required software licenses including replication, direct tape creation, VTL, OST, and DXi Accent are combined in one package.

Additional Quantum data protection products and technologies include:

  • DXi4800—This technology scales from 8TB to 171TB of usable storage using capacity-on-demand, leveraging SSDs for performance and the same feature set as the DXi9000.
  • DXi V-Series—These virtual DXi appliances enable the Quantum enterprise-class feature/function set to run in a virtual machine for organizations without a dedicated hardware appliance. DXi V2000/V4000 models scale easily from 2TB to 24TB useable capacity, using capacity-on-demand growth.
  • DXi Accent—Optimizing remote backups from Symantec media servers using OST and Oracle database servers using RMAN, DXI Accent deduplicates data before sending it over the wire and only sends unique data.
  • DXi Dynamic Application Environment (DAE)—This environment provides the ability to host an application directly on the DXi server node. Certified applications such as a NetBackup media server or Veeam proxy server can run directly on the DXi, effectively creating a converged backup appliance and eliminating the need for additional server hardware.
  • Quantum Scalar Tape Libraries—These provide long-term retention for TBs to PBs of data.
  • Quantum Vision Reporting Software—This feature offers enhanced multi-site reporting across an entire data protection landscape, simplifying multi-site monitoring and enterprise diagnostics. DXi Advanced Reporting Tool provides robust reporting and monitoring of enterprise-wide backup, restore, and replication operations.
  • Oracle RMAN Integration—Oracle administrators can leverage Quantum DXi to enable business continuance, improved RPOs with increased retention, data security with no performance penalty, shared deduplication between Oracle data protection products and traditional batch backup software, server-less path to tape, and automated replication, all using familiar Oracle data protection tools and techniques.
  • AccentFS—Distributed deduplication for any backup application hosted on a Linux server.

ESG Technical Validation

ESG has been testing and analyzing the broad spectrum of Quantum’s data storage and protection offerings since 2007. This report examines the newest DXi offering from Quantum, the DXi9000 Series, looking at performance, data reduction, scalability, flexibility, and how it fits into the Quantum ecosystem.

Performance and Scalability

ESG tested the DXi9000 in a standard configuration, using Symantec NetBackup 7.6 to validate performance. The test bed emulated a simple data center environment as seen in Figure 3. Eight NetBackup media servers backed up multi-terabyte data sets to a Quantum DXi9000 appliance over a 10GbE LAN backbone. The DXi9000 connected to the network via four 10GbE connections.2

ESG Testing

ESG started with a series of backups to the DXi9000 via Symantec NetBackup OST. Full backups were run against data sets collected from a production environment. Testing began with eight media servers backing up data from 16 disk arrays to a DXi9000 with five expansion modules and 1.02PB of usable capacity.

A script was used to kick off 40 concurrent backup jobs using NetBackup. The DXi Advanced Reporting tool was used to monitor numerous DXi metrics. Throughput, Ethernet activity, disk utilization, and data reduction were all captured, as was CPU utilization. The first test attained throughput of 38.4TB per hour, seen in Figure 4.

ESG examined the NetBackup Activity Monitor, seen in Figure 5, and confirmed that all jobs completed with no errors, in under 30 minutes.

Results of the two performance test runs are shown in Table 1.

It’s important to note that in previous tests executed on the DXi series, ESG validated that sustained throughput was independent of the amount of storage enabled in the system. A system with 51TB of usable space licensed but the same number of expansion modules installed could be reasonably expected to perform just as well as a system with all storage capacity licensed.

Next, ESG examined data reduction using Quantum DXi deduplication. DXi leverages Quantum’s variable-length deduplication to optimize capacity efficiency in the data center and across the enterprise by efficiently deduplicating data locally, then only replicating deduplicated data. The tests used two data sets harvested from production systems: a 2.2TB structured data set, representative of data generated by a database or email application, and a 3.4TB unstructured data set, representative of file shares and home directories.

The first series of tests used the structured data set, which had a 10% daily change rate. ESG ran daily full backups of the data set to a DXi9000 appliance using a common, commercially available data protection software application that provides fixed-length deduplication. The first series of backups ran with DXi deduplication on and the fixed-length deduplication in the backup software disabled, then the data in the DXi9000 was wiped and the test was repeated with deduplication disabled in the DXi and enabled in the software.

This methodology was also used to test deduplication of the unstructured data set, running 47 days of backups using a full/incremental backup schedule: one full backup every seven days, followed by six days of incremental backups. In both cases, the data set backed up was identical, as was the backup schedule. The only difference was the type of deduplication. Figure 6 shows the results of the test.

Both systems performed consistently using both data sets and backup methodologies, with fixed rate deduplication reducing the footprint of the original data set by about 50% in both cases. Quantum variable-length deduplication was able to reduce the structured and unstructured data sets by about 85%.

ESG also tested the efficiency of Quantum replication by backing up a generated data set with known compressibility and uniqueness to a DXi9000 appliance and replicating to a DXi. In this test, the DXi9000 reduced the data set by 90%, storing the 2.17TB data set using only 218GB of disk capacity, as shown in Figure 7. During this single-threaded backup, throughput averaged 169 MB/sec.

As the backups progressed, the DXi9000 automatically began replicating the unique blocks to the remote DXi, as seen in Figure 8. Once replication completed, ESG observed that the DXi9000 transferred only 234GB across the wire to the DXi.

Figure 9 shows the data volume overview on the DXi after the backup replication completed.

ESG observed that the data stored on disk matched the data on disk in the source DXi9000. For this backup, DXi deduplication saved nearly 2TB of data movement, both to the local DXi9000 as well as to the remote DXi.

Finally, ESG upgraded an entry-level DXi9000 by entering a license key and rebooting the appliance to test the ease of accessing capacity on demand. We started with a DXi9000 with 51TB licensed. After entering the license, the DXi showed 102TB Disk capacity.

Why This Matters

According to ESG research, improving data backup and recovery service levels, RPOs, and RTOs make up the most-cited data protection mandates reported by enterprises (48%), and reducing costs was called out nearly as often (35%). IT administrators have been struggling for years to get nightly backups completed before business resumes in the morning. When asked what specific data protection costs are pain points and/or priorities for their organization, 66% of respondents cited storage hardware and 57% cited management (i.e., labor) costs.

Performance

ESG has validated not only that Quantum’s DXi9000 is Quantum’s highest performing disk backup and deduplication solution, but also that it achieves this feat while delivering high levels of data reduction. ESG testing demonstrated that a single Quantum DXi9000 disk backup system was able to sustain 38.4TB per hour of Symantec OST performance with four 10GbE connections and could be used to protect more than 300TB of data in an eight-hour shift utilizing less than 50TB of disk space using Quantum’s variable-length deduplication, with the ability to restore individual files in a matter of seconds.

Capacity Efficiency

Quantum DXi variable length deduplication was able to provide 85% data reduction for both structured and unstructured data in ESG testing, under both full and incremental backup schedules, compared with just 50% reduction for the tested fixed-length deduplication method. This translates to easier integration into an organization’s existing backup environment—since backup admins don’t need to adjust their schedules or methods—and substantial savings in both disk capacity and network bandwidth. The DXi9000 clearly demonstrated the ability to efficiently replicate only unique, deduplicated data to another DXi with no reconstitution required.

Pay-as-you-grow Scalability

ESG also validated the pay-as-you-grow scalability of the DXi platform, which enables organizations to scale to 1.02PB of usable capacity—up to 20PB of logical capacity with deduplication—in 51TB increments, on demand, with no disruption to operations.

In summary, Quantum provides enterprise-class performance while reducing complexity and eliminating the need for capacity and performance planning. Combined with Quantum variable-length deduplication, the cost of data protection capacity is minimized as well.

Security, Flexibility, and Efficiency

Quantum designed the DXi9000 from the ground up to be a secure, flexible, deduplication disk backup solution. The DXi platform can be configured to meet practically any data protection requirement, offering broad flexibility via pay-as-you-grow scalability, universal connectivity, and tight ISV integration.

The Quantum DXi9000 Series

Security

It’s important to note that some vendors use the term full-drive encryption (FDE) to describe self-encryption capable drives, but the functionality is the same. SEDs were designed to prevent unauthorized access to data if a drive or a group of drives is removed from a system. It’s all accomplished in hardware using 256-bit AES encryption, so there is no performance impact. Data in flight is also protected using AES 256-bit encryption. As Figure 10 shows, encryption is one part of Quantum’s overall strategy of end-to-end security to protect data everywhere—while it is in transit and at rest, whether it resides on tape or disk, including the ability to securely shred deleted files or virtual tape cartridges, or securely erase an entire DXi system.

ESG Testing

ESG examined the secure file shred capability on the DXi family. First, we deleted files on the DXi NAS share, then secure shred was started, as seen in Figure 11. During secure shred, all residual data and metadata associated with the deleted files or cartridges is securely erased from the disk drives by performing a single pass overwrite with zeros. While secure file shred is running, the DXi operates in limited mode, meaning no backups or restores may be performed and scheduled jobs (including replication jobs) are stopped. If necessary, secure shred can be canceled at any time to return the DXi to normal operation. It’s important to note that the amount of time it takes for secure file shred to complete is directly dependent on the total capacity enabled on the system.

This is not the case for whole-system secure erase, which occurs very quickly because it leverages the SEDs’ capability to provide cryptographic erasure. Cryptographic erasure orders SEDs to regenerate their internal key, which makes all existing data unrecoverable because it was encrypted with the old key.

Flexibility

The DXi architecture leverages intelligent metadata management, broad protocol support, and ISV integration with storage optimization for both high throughput and highly transactional data to provide the flexibility to support any data protection requirement. The DXi9000 uses Dynamic Disk Pools (DDP) based on NetApp E-Series Storage to improve system performance by spreading data and spare capacity across all available drives in each shelf, as shown in Figure 12. This reduces the rebuild time on 12TB drives, improving availability and performance simultaneously.

Quantum data protection solutions address the needs of organizations of all sizes, from the largest data centers to small remote offices.

Efficiency

Quantum architected the DXi series with efficiency top of mind. Leveraging 12TB drives and a new, high-density chassis design on top of their variable length deduplication, the DXi 9000 is particularly suited for reducing data center footprint, reducing power and cooling requirements, and maximizing performance while eliminating hardware upgrades with pay-as-you grow licensing—improving efficiency on many levels.

Why This Matters

Security

Widely publicized data breaches, privacy laws, and boardroom jitters are driving a behavioral shift toward security that goes beyond data encryption. ESG research indicates that strengthening cybersecurity initiatives is the most-cited IT priority for 2019.4 Should personal or financial data become compromised, an organization would potentially be liable for damages and heavy fines. The risk is real, and the costs are high. Encrypting data in flight and on disk reduces risk, avoids potentially crippling costs, and keeps the CEO out of the headlines. The Quantum DXi9000 secures data at rest and in transit with integrated AES encryption, and prevents unauthorized data access.

Flexibility

A growing number of organizations are struggling to not only protect their information assets, but also manage growing volumes of data and provide offsite protection and disaster recovery. With tens to hundreds of terabytes under management and annual growth rates accelerating, a data protection solution must be flexible enough to grow with an organization’s data set while providing predictable performance and secure data protection.

The DXi platform can be configured to meet practically any data protection requirement. ISV integration provides complete lifecycle management support and convergence of backup, business continuance, and disaster recovery. Multi-protocol support provides universal connectivity over CIFS, NFS, and FibreChannel. Simple licensing combines all software functionality, including replication, direct tape creation, VTL, OST, AIR, and DXi Accent, in one package.

Efficiency

Quantum has been providing an impressively efficient platform for many years. ESG first looked at Quantum DXi in 2007, and has periodically studied the system during the last 12 years. ESG has noted a cadence of continuous improvement in every area of efficiency we’ve examined, including improvements in ease of use and management, software and capacity licensing, storage density, security, and backup application integration.

The Bigger Truth

Backup and recovery are perennially near the top of the list of IT priorities for many organizations, along with server virtualization, information security, and managing data growth. As virtual environments grow and organizations struggle with expanding data sets, the need to provide flexible, robust, and high-performance data protection becomes ever more urgent.

Even while data grows, the window to protect and retrieve lost data shrinks. Only solutions that work seamlessly within an entire IT ecosystem can truly provide the benefits of full data protection and disaster recovery. Those solutions need to be flexible enough to work with multiple backup software solutions and robust enough to handle the protection and security requirements for data at rest and in transit. Virtualization introduces additional challenges requiring solutions that can not only back up and instantly restore entire virtual machine images, but also reach into those images to back up and instantly restore individual files as required.

  • ESG found that the DXi9000 sustained maximum throughput independent of the amount of storage in the system. The DXi9000 under test sustained 38.4TB per hour in entry-level, moderate, and full-capacity configurations.
  • Quantum’s variable length, inline deduplication was able to reduce real production data sets’ capacity on disk by 85%.
  • ESG validated the DXi platform’s pay-as-you-grow scalability to 1.02PB of usable capacity—up to 20PB of logical capacity with deduplication—in 51TB increments.
  • The Quantum DXi9000 secures data at rest and in transit with integrated AES encryption, and prevents unauthorized data access.
  • Backup application integration provides advanced functionality, converging backup, business continuance, and disaster recovery. Multi-protocol support provides universal connectivity over CIFS, NFS, and FibreChannel. Users license all software functionality—replication, direct tape creation, VTL, OST, AIR, and DXi Accent in one package.
  • ESG found the DXi 9000 highly efficient—reducing data center footprint, reducing power and cooling requirements, and maximizing performance while eliminating hardware upgrades with pay-as-you grow licensing, which improves efficiency on multiple levels.

The results presented in this document are based on testing in a controlled environment. Due to the many variables in each production data center, it is important to perform planning and testing in your own environment to validate the viability and efficacy of any solution.

With the DXi9000, Quantum has once again produced an impressive solution to protect data in physical and virtual data centers of any size. ESG believes that the combination of variable-length inline data deduplication, enterprise-class performance, extreme density, and pay-as-you-grow scalability provides a unique approach for optimizing data protection and recovery in today’s distributed enterprise.

If your organization is looking to streamline data protection and optimize the efficiency of backup, archive, and restore, then ESG believes that you should seriously consider Quantum’s DXi9000.

Keeping-Your-Data-Protected-During-Chaotic-Times

Keeping Your Data Protected During Chaotic Times

The world events of the past weeks have given us a clear view of what not having a plan looks like. We are learning that current infrastructures cannot support a pandemic the likes of what we’re currently living through and we’re managing it in crisis mode. Learning this lesson came at a great cost, but it is challenging us to rethink our preparedness. As I sit here on a stay indoor order from our local leadership and doing my due diligence to protect myself and others, I can’t help but draw parallels (being in the technology space) from these life-altering events to digital cyber-criminal events that are occurring right now as I write this. In my last blog, I wrote about the importance of testing your IT network and pointed out some strategies to use to ensure you are well prepared should ransomware or other cyber-attacks infiltrate your datacenter and cause irreparable damage. In this blog, I want to discuss – no, stress once again the importance of testing your backup strategies and business continuity plans.

Training & Preparedness

With a lot of the workforce working remotely, it is crucial that employees are trained to be alert to activity that targets regular users like you and me – watch out for those coronavirus emails that are being used as bait by phishers! There are sites that are using COVID-19 and Coronavirus as a lure to make victims ‘click the link’. Paul Chichester, Director of Operations at the NCSC, said: “We know that cybercriminals are opportunistic and will look to exploit people’s fears, and this has undoubtedly been the case with the Coronavirus outbreak.

Time and time again we’ve heard that cyber-attacks come in different forms such as data breaches, ransomware, phishing campaigns, and even some advanced hacking attacks. Investing in an excellent cybersecurity software plus employee training will play a major role in averting a disaster. Persistent criminals will take advantage of the opportunity to infiltrate your network via the various forms of cyber-attacks so let’s learn from previous incidents causing millions of dollars in damage (see previous blog – link) and avoid the same fate as best we can. Just last week, a report on the NCSC site stated that a global network of bots was brought down and dismantled. These criminals are believed to have infected more than nine million computers worldwide. https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/report/weekly-threat-report-13th-march-2020

The right mix of technology

Let’s start by asking the right questions. First, asses your cyber risk. Check out the NCSC website for guidance https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/risk-management-collection/essential-topics . Is your organization prepared to weather a cyber-attack? Is your network not only protected but resilient and able to predictably recover stolen, encrypted or lost data? What are the RPO/RTO’s that need to be met, and can they be met with your current data protection technology? If your network backup copies are compromised, do you have a copy offline and air-gapped? These and many more questions need to be asked to ensure that whatever data protection solution you choose, test your Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) to understand efficiency resiliency and predictability so you have the peace of mind that your data is protected.

The experts, highly recommended that you apply the time-tested best practice rule of 3-2-1-1 rule to be safe. Have both disk and tape to ensure a reliable copy is available when you need it. Whether you use cloud or hardware on-prem, be it fast performance technology to quickly process your hot data to cold storage technologies for long-term storage – the most cost-effective way to tier-off your data as it shifts in value is to leverage the different technologies that are available.  Here is an example from Quantum with DXi and object storage for enterprise backup where cost-effectiveness, scalability, and management of unstructured data is of extreme importance.

All these technologies combined will help you meet your RPO/RTO’s but in addition, should you need to call on your backup copy for any reason and your copy on spinning disk is compromised, your insurance will be the copy that is offline and air-gapped.

If we knew when disaster will strike, everyone would prepare. The reality is we never know. Test and practice your response to a cyber-attack. Whether you are small or large organizations, testing your resiliency is critical. Create practice scenarios in a safe environment where you can test your network and backup strategies, there are plenty of online help tools available if you’re organization does not have IT, professionals, to handle this type of exercise. Be prepared to handle a crisis scenario. If you’re in the public sector and funds are tight, leverage organizations like NCSC with their exercise in a box tool to practice your response https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/exercise-in-a-box .

These times call on us to provide you, the IT professional with all the tools and necessary information to help you make the best decision for your organization. Crisis or no crisis preparedness is key!

quantum-ole-blog

Ole Miss Case Study

Ole Miss Sports Production Generates a Wide Range of Captivating Sports Video Content with Quantum Storage

Ole Miss Sports Productions generates a tremendous amount of captivating content to support the University of Mississippi’s 14 Division I NCAA teams. When its existing storage environment began to fail, the organization turned to the media workflow experts at 1303 Systems, who recommended Quantum. Ole Miss installed a Quantum storage solution that is delivering the reliability, performance, collaborative capabilities, and scalability required for rigorous media workflows.

Teaming up with 1303 systems to implement a new quantum storage solution

To find the right storage solution, the Ole Miss team contacted 1303 Systems, which designs and builds systems for media and entertainment workflows. “The Ole Miss team needed to resolve some issues with their SAN and media asset management system right away,” says Chris Collum, president of 1303 Systems. “After addressing their immediate needs, we started making plans for the future to give them a stable platform to grow on for years to come.” The 1303 Systems team recommended Quantum. “We went with a Quantum StorNext solution for its stability and performance. It just works, it performs, it scales, and it doesn’t break,” says Collum. The Ole Miss team implemented a solution with a Quantum Xcellis Workflow Director and four Quantum QXS hybrid storage arrays. Subsequently, the 1303 Systems team deployed a Western Digital object storage archive that integrated seamlessly with the StorNext volume. StorNext intelligent tiering helps migrate content to the right storage tier at the right time. Finally, the 1303 Systems team integrated a new media asset management (MAM) system. Users can quickly find footage inside their Adobe Creative Cloud applications or even send video to social media easily.

Ole Miss Sports Productions creates a wide range of content for the University of Mississippi’s athletic teams. In addition to broadcasting video for ESPN and SEC networks, the organization produces clips for in-venue displays and social media platforms, supports athletic recruiting efforts, and generates a documentary series that spans the university’s sports. Producing great amounts of content requires robust data storage. But unfortunately, the organization’s existing environment could not keep up with demands. “Our older Xsan system pretty much failed on us,” says Stewart Pirani, manager of creative services for Ole Miss Sports Productions. “It wasn’t the solution that could handle our needs for the future.” In particular, the organization requires strong reliability. “We needed something that had a consistent uptime,” says Pirani. Consistent performance is also critical —regardless of whether editors and other team members are working in 720p, 1080p, 2K, 4K, or 8K – to provide a responsive experience as users edit footage, log clips, and view completed videos. The storage environment also must enable fast, simultaneous access to content for numerous team members. “We have roughly about 14 editors who need to be hitting the system all at the same time,” says Pirani. “They could be doing color correction, audio correction, to just generic editing. This system needs to be… robust enough to handle all of those editors at the same time.” Scalable storage capacity is also a must. “We knew that as technology changes, our cameras would continue to change and that the higher bit rate means higher data storage,” says Pirani. “As long as our cameras were scaling, our system also needed to scale.”

Maximize uptime and boosting productivity

With the Quantum solution in place, Ole Miss Sports Productions team members know they can complete tasks and meet incredibly fast turnaround times without encountering inefficient storage issues. “This system has really lived up to our expectations,” says Pirani. “Our productivity is at an all-time high because our editors don’t have any downtime. They’re able to access everything on our system without any hiccups.”

Accelerating collaborative workflows

From the moment of ingest, the Quantum solution delivers the performance that the Ole Miss team members need to accelerate workflows. “We send our producers and directors on the road with our teams all the time. They’re constantly getting the footage to tell their stories,” says Pirani. “Now, when they come back, we can ingest and log that content quickly and easily. Our team can start accessing all of that footage right away.” When it’s time for post-production work, the new environment facilitates collaboration and supports multiple concurrent streams. “At any given point, all our editors might need to be working on completely different projects or even the same clip,” says Pirani. “The Quantum solution is robust enough to handle all of that simultaneous work. Editors can work with a multitude of different clip formats all within their workstations.”

Preparing for continued growth

The Quantum solution gives the Ole Miss team a scalable platform that can grow quickly as the organization continues to amass more content in higher resolution formats. The addition of the object storage archive and MAM system after the initial StorNext deployment demonstrated how easily new capacity, systems, and technologies could be integrated with StorNext.

Recommending Quantum

Given the immediate benefits that Ole Miss Sports Production has experienced since moving to the new storage platform, it’s not surprising the organization strongly endorses Quantum. “I’ve recommended this system to a lot: of other colleagues in our industry.” Says Pirani. “Quantum is reliable, it is stable, and the performance is there. It’s what we need, and it’s what everybody else should have.”


Sources: https://www.quantum.com/globalassets/customer-success/case-studies-pdf/ole-miss-case-study.pdf

Quantum Amazing Facts Case-Study

Case Study: Amazing Facts

Begun in 1965 as a set of 15-minute radio segments combining science, history, and biblical teaching, Amazing Facts has grown into one of the largest religious broadcast ministries in the United States. Today the Sacramento, California–based organization airs weekly programming over more than 150 radio stations and a variety of over-the-air, cable, and satellite television platforms. It also produces its own original, special productions. In its more than 50 years of religious broadcasting, the Amazing Facts media team has continued to create and broadcast content through seismic changes in technology— and one of its constant challenges has been updating its infrastructure and workflows to keep up with, and take advantage of, changing technology. The television side of the house has seen the biggest changes.

STORAGE TO SUPPORT FILE-BASED MEDIA, A LONG-STANDING PROBLEM

“Ever since we moved to a file-based workflow, we have constantly wrestled with the problem of how to store, protect, and reuse the content we create,” explains Goce Shamakoski, Media Systems Engineer at Amazing Facts. The Mac-based production team installed an Xsan storage network and shared disk storage as an early solution to the problem. “Xsan let editors collaborate on projects—something that was extremely difficult in our earlier system—but over time we began to see its limitations,” says Shamakoski. The major issue was increasing data volumes. “When we record a service, we use five cameras to give us maximum flexibility and impact,” says Shamakoski, “and the result is that a typical hour-long program uses about half a terabyte of disk space.” The storage filled up quickly, additional disk resources were expensive to add, and—compounding the problem—some of the suppliers shifted their emphasis away from the media storage market and stopped supporting the solution. A particularly difficult issue was how to store older content that needed to be reaccessed for later use. “There was no integrated archiving function, so we wrote content off to LTO tape using a manual drive—and it was painful,” Shamakoski remembers. “We dedicated a part-time admin just to manage the archiving operation. It consumed 20 to 30 hours a week, and even then, it took us days to retrieve content to repurpose.”

SETTING PRIORITIES AND CONSIDERING OPTIONS

The IT team at Amazing Facts started looking for a new system, asking Advanced Systems Group (ASG) for help. ASG is an Emeryville, California integrator with specific expertise in media workflow. The team had several priorities for the new solution. Key factors were scalability and the ability to integrate archiving and data protection into the workflow. Flexibility over time was also critical since the team knew the system would need to change and grow in the future as new media formats and platforms were developed. “We also wanted to find a long-term partner,” explains Shamakoski, “one who was committed to this industry and could provide the support that we needed both at the installation phase and through future operations.” Compatibility with the existing Xsan platform would also be a major advantage to make the transition as nondisruptive as possible.

RESEARCH AND REFERENCES POINT TO STORNEXT

ASG recommended looking at a Quantum’s StorNext solution, but the team at Amazing Facts needed to be sure that it was the right choice for them. “We looked at every supplier of storage systems we could find, but didn’t find anybody else who could give us high-performance collaborative workflow and integrate archiving, too,” notes Shamakoski. “We also talked to lots of StorNext users. Some of them were Fortune 100–class customers and others were shops closer in size to us, with our 10 edit bays.” StorNext was the clear winner. “Everybody was enthusiastic about StorNext—and it was clear that Quantum was committed long-term to supporting this market with continued product development and experienced service teams.”

MAKING THE TRANSITION SMOOTH

The new solution included a StorNext M440 series metadata controller, 150TB of high-performance Quantum QXS RAID storage, and a StorNext AEL500 Archive library with LTO tape technology to provide 500TB of capacity. The Quantum and ASG support teams installed the new system. “We counted on StorNext’s compatibility with Xsan and hoped for an easy transition, but we were understandably a little nervous about it,” says Shamakoski. As it turned out, the switchover was perfectly smooth. “The upgrade team started working on Friday evening, and by Monday morning when the editors came into work, StorNext was up and running, and all the material from our Xsan was there and ready to work on in the same folders. The only thing they had to do differently was access the volume under a different name.” The new StorNext solution gives editors the same shared access to files that they had under Xsan using the existing Fibre Channel switch—but now, protecting and archiving content is a fully automated process carried out by StorNext Storage Manager, a policy-based data migration engine that manages data movement between storage tiers. “As soon as we ingest any content, the system automatically creates two copies on tape in the AEL Archive,” Shamakoski explains. One of them is vaulted off-site for disaster recovery protection while the other one stays in the library. “As our online disk fills up, we reclaim the disk space by removing the files that have not been recently accessed, but we leave the nearline copy on tape as an active archive.” Editors can see all the files they have access to through the standard Mac file system. When they open a file, it will either be available on disk or loaded back from tape to disk automatically.

AUTOMATING ARCHIVE SPEEDS UP PRODUCTION AND SLASHES ADMINISTRATIVE TIME

“The difference that the StorNext integrated archive has made to our work is huge,” says Shamakoski. “Bringing content back to be repurposed, a process that used to literally take us days, now happens in minutes or hours.” And administrative overhead has been reduced by a factor of 10. “Instead of dedicating someone to work 20 or 30 hours a week on archive management, with StorNext we now spend just two or three hours checking and confirming that everything is doing what it is supposed to. All that saved time means that we spend more time on other, more productive projects.” Reliability has been nearly 100%, and the service has been exemplary. “We haven’t had any issue that interrupted production since we installed the system nearly three years ago, and minor issues—when they did come up—were resolved quickly by either Quantum or ASG.” The team at Amazing Facts has started recommending StorNext to other organizations, too.

BETTER PROTECTION OVER TIME

For Amazing Facts, one of the most important StorNext features is the added protection that the archiving systems provide. “Having a copy created of everything as soon as we ingest it is a great improvement,” says Shamakoski, “and we really like the Storage Manager Vault feature. It flags tapes for off-site storage and keeps track of them.” The StorNext AEL Archive also includes an Extended Data Life Management (EDLM) feature that validates the integrity of data on tape by loading media into drives and checking for error rates. “We run a media integrity check before we off-site any tape, and if the archive starts to see any sign of deterioration, StorNext writes the files to new media. It really gives us high confidence.” The Amazing Facts team is starting to look at how it will expand the StorNext environment as part of a two-year project to move into a new, larger facility. “We know we will need more capacity and speed as our content grows, and we shift to 4K workflow—and StorNext will let us expand our existing system to support those needs,” says Shamakoski. The team is also looking at other options, including support for the cloud and using hybrid storage—adding a layer of solid-state disk (SSD) to a RAID array to support the high I/O operations of the special effects content creators. “We don’t know exactly what our future needs will be, but we like the fact that StorNext gives us so much flexibility,” says Shamakoski.

Sources: https://www.quantum.com/globalassets/customer-success/case-studies-pdf/stornext-solves-workflow-bottlenecks-for-amazing-facts-cs00413a.pdf

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AM Lithography Case Study

Leading Print and Packaging Supplier Relies on Quantum Libraries for Protection and Archiving AM Lithography has grown into a major national printing enterprise during an era that has seen a transformation in typography and press services. When the company was founded more than 35 years ago, Macs and Windows PCs were all still off in the future, and there are entire business segments— like third-party typesetting—that have essentially disappeared during its lifetime. But the company, headquartered in Chicopee, Massachusetts, has changed, adopted new technology, and become a trusted, full-service print, packaging, and mail service provider to some of the world’s premier brands. “The printing industry today looks nothing like it did in 1983 when we were founded,” explains Fred Gamber, AM Lithography’s Director of Pre-press Services, “but AM Lithography has maintained the same mission through all the changes: give clients a one-stop shop to get all their printing needs fulfilled with the highest quality, fair prices, and great service.”

USING NEW TECHNOLOGY TO EVOLVE THE BUSINESS

In the last two decades, a major part of the company’s success has been linked to how well it has adopted digital technology and used it to support its customer base. “We were early adopters of computerized type-setting, prepress, and mail service technology, and we have long recognized that IT services are a critical part of contemporary printing,” Gamber adds. “Today, what we get from customers are digital files with their original content, which we manage, process, and use to create finished material. Protecting that content, both for the short and the long term, is extremely important to us.” AM Lithography’s IT infrastructure uses mirrored 12 TB Red Hat Linux servers to handle the day-to-day operations. “Those servers have everything—including all the files that our customers send us. The data keeps growing every year, and we keep adding new technology and processes to protect it and keep it available.”

3-2-1 BACKUP STRATEGY PROTECTS AGAINST DATA LOSS

AM Lithography uses a 3-2-1 backup strategy for all of its data using backup software and Quantum tape libraries. “The IT team here has used Quantum libraries since long before I came to the company eleven years ago,” Gamber explains. “At first it was at the recommendation of our reseller—NAPC. They have helped us find the right technical solutions for years, they understand our business incredibly well, and helped us engineer and sustain a world-class workflow, backup and archive strategy.” The IT team uses daily incremental backups and weekly fulls, writing all the data to the Quantum library. “That gives us two copies,” Gamber explains, “the primary copy and another on tape. To provide the third copy, we periodically move tapes to an off-site location for longer term protection. That gives us both short term backup files for quick restores and long-term protection as part of disaster preparedness. Because the backups are on tape, they give us an important defense against cyberattacks like ransomware that can compromise files stored only on disk.”

LONG-TERM ARCHIVE STORED

In the same library but backup isn’t the only need. “We also use our Quantum library to provide a long-term archive for our work, and for that we use Archiware P5, software specifically designed to let us easily move files to tape for long term archive,” Gamber explains. “The interface is simple, anyone can retrieve files from tape quickly and easily, and it integrates easily with the Scalar library and its LTO drives and media. We can leave tapes in the library for quick access, and we can create duplicates to move off site for DR protection, as well.” Today the AM Lithography library is a Scalar i3 designed to provide mid-sized IT environments true, Enterprise-class data protection and archiving. The library can start as small as a single, 3U rack-mountable system, but it scales in 25-cartridge increments to accommodate data growth, eventually reaching a capacity of up to 12 Petabytes. The library uses Quantum capacity-on-demand, software-key based scaling to provide easy, and non-disruptive, economic growth. Best-in-class storage density and the industry’s most energy efficient power supplies minimize data center space and cooling requirements to keep costs low.

FAST BACKUP AND RECOVERY

“The Quantum library is incredibly fast,” Gamber explains. “Backups all get finished within our allowed windows— even our weekly full backups only take a few hours—and recovery of files is also fast, almost instantaneous. Reliability has also been exemplary. Once the system was up and running, it just works—we go months at a time without having to look at it or think about it.” Recovery speed was important recently when one of the servers was taken out of commission by a cyberattack. “I admit to being nervous when I first heard about the attack, but all of our preparation and planning paid off big time. We had all the data safely on tape and we rebuilt the system in only a few hours. Nothing was lost and we were back up and working the same day.”

TAKING A PARTNER APPROACH

“AM Lithography has also thought of its clients as partners,” Gamber said. “We want to help them solve their print and packaging problems over the long term— and we pride ourselves on having many, many customers that have used our services for decades.” The company looks for the same approach in when it picks its vendors. “We put a premium on finding people we

can work with successfully for years— Quantum fits that pattern. We have used Quantum libraries over and over again, upgrading to the next generation of drives, media and platforms as our needs change. When an issue does come up, and they are rare, the company takes whatever action is needed to resolve it quickly.”

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Monticello Associates Case Study

Quantum DXi and Scalar Provide Small Businesses with the Peace of Mind that Comes from Simplified, Tiered Data Protection

AGING INFRASTRUCTURE TOO SLOW AND UNRELIABLE FOR GROWING BACKUP NEEDS

Monticello Associates is an employee-owned asset management and investment consulting business that employs 39 people at its headquarters in Denver and another five at its Cleveland satellite office. The company has two data centers, one onsite at its headquarters and a second for business continuity and disaster recovery at a colocation facility near Denver. While it’s a small business, Monticello is growing quickly, with a long-term strategy that envisions the adoption of new technologies and services like desktop virtualization. When Trevor Fougere, Monticello’s IT Director and Computer Systems Analyst, joined the firm in 2007 as its lone, full-time IT professional, one of the first things he noticed was that the company had a very old and questionable backup system. “It was old and troublesome,” says Fougere. “We were dumping our main file shares, as well as our mail storage onto an old Dell PowerVault LTO-2 tape system. Tapes were recycled every two months. We kept the most recent months’ worth of tapes onsite and sent the others to offsite storage. But there was no way to tell if the tapes were useful, and we experienced many failures during backup and recovery operations. We would have to restart backup jobs after each failure and monitor until completion.” “Basically, we had old tape, old tape drives, and an older-generation server. It just wasn’t 100% reliable.” Having long worked in the financial services industry, Fougere knew this was a serious and immediate problem for Monticello. As a stopgap, he implemented a disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) system with a single LTO-2 tape drive. Monticello would have the ability to do limited restores from disk, but not much else. He also adopted a more rigorous backup process, with weekly backup tapes stored offsite with Iron Mountain for a year and annual tapes going offsite for seven years. But Monticello’s technology foundation was expanding. The company was growing both its file server and Exchange server structure, had added a virtualized environment using VMware, and had implemented an EqualLogic SAN at its main Denver offices that replicated to an identical SAN at its secondary facility for disaster recovery. Now the company needed to upgrade its data protection.

QUANTUM DELIVERS COMPREHENSIVE DATA PROTECTION

Fougere wanted to establish a solution that would provide 3-5 years of headroom for the company’s backup and recovery needs. He still believed D2D2T offered the most cost-effective approach, but he wanted a system that was faster for both backup and restore, more reliable and less costly than his current system, and one that reduced the cost of tape and minimized manual handling. He also needed it to incorporate support for Monticello’s legacy LTO-2 tape. “Given that we’re a highly reputable company that deals with many influential clients and money managers, I didn’t want to experiment,” Fougere notes. “Disk-to-disk-to-tape is a proven system for backup, and you can’t beat it for price.” In addition to better performance, Fougere wanted to be able to store a full month of data onsite (one full backup and four incremental backups) under a greatly expanded backup plan that included additional system-states and a development environment—as well as the possibility of virtualized desktops using Citrix’s VDI. At the outset, Fougere estimated the total backup size to be approximately 900GB before deduplication, with the potential for that to double once the new backup plan was fully in place. Monticello sought bids from hardware vendors and VARs, including H.A. Storage Systems, which specializes in data storage and data management solutions. Monticello considered three options:

  • A basic hardware upgrade of its current system, comprised of a Dell T420 server with local storage and a PowerVault (LT0-4) tape library.
  • An EMC DD620 deduplication appliance with DataDomain and Tandberg t40+ tape (LTO-5) connected to an unspecified server. Monticello would have had to find a third party to migrate its legacy tape to LTO-5.
  • A Dell R310 server, Quantum DXi4601 deduplication backup appliance, Quantum Scalar i40 (LTO-5) tape library, and a single LTO-3 tape drive for legacy data access (the solution proposed by H.A. Storage Systems).

In the end, according to Fougere, the choice was simple.

“From a capability/performance standpoint, the Quantum-based solution was tailor-made for our needs,” he says. “I really liked the idea of having an integrated solution, and I’m very familiar with Quantum.” DXi OFFERS ROOM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS The 8TB capacity of the DXi solution leaves quite a bit of room for Monticello’s expanding data needs. So even as the company has added server-states and more Exchange data, with the appliance’s powerful data deduplication they haven’t come close to maxing out the system. “We keep upping our retention periods to try and get past the 20 percent level of storage used on the DXi, and we still can’t get there,” Fougere comments. And Monticello Associates is also benefiting from the impressive performance of the DXi solution. Full backups are set to run after close of business on Fridays and are usually done by early Saturday morning—just a fraction of the time they used to take. From Fougere’s perspective, the backup capacity and speed are matched by the reliability of the solution. “We haven’t had an ounce of trouble with it,” says Fougere. “With our old system, I’d wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares of failed backup jobs. But since we started using the comprehensive DXi and Scalar solution from Quantum, our backup failures are pretty much non-existent.” In addition, the Scalar tape component is a key part of the overall system. Monticello is now able to keep six months of weekly file server backups on hand. “It’s great to have those available for immediate restore if we need them,” he notes. Overall, the new solution has been a perfect fit for a small business-like Monticello Associates. “Compared with some of the other vendors and VARs we spoke to, working with Quantum and H.A. Storage Systems has been a pleasure,” says Fougere. “We’re really happy”.

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Four Reasons Why you Need a Modern File System for Media Workflows

In media and entertainment, it’s often difficult to meet even the basic requirements for data storage. You need to ingest content quickly, provide fast access to that content, facilitate collaboration, and cost-effectively preserve and protect content over the long term.

But as viewing habits are changing, and the creative process continues to evolve, meeting the escalating requirements for storage is becoming more difficult than ever before. You need greater performance and flexibility to handle 4K and higher-resolution content from a growing number of sources. You also need to balance this with capacity and cost.  And last but not least, somehow streamline management of an increasingly complex storage environment.

Within the technology ecosystem of a modern storage implementation, there are a number of crucial aspects at play influencing the dynamic interplay of performance, capacity, management and cost. Chief among these is the file system.  So, let’s take a quick look at four key areas where a modern file system can really make a difference to your overall workflow efficiency.

Performance

It wasn’t long ago that organizations could make do with storage performance that was “just good enough.” However, as the industry has moved to higher-resolution formats, much more performance is required for real-time editing, color grading, transcoding, and other tasks.

This is where the right file system substantially improve the performance of the underlying storage hardware – no matter if its composed of solid-state drives (SSDs), hard-disk drives, or any combination of the two.  For example, a file system that separates user data and metadata operations—and runs those operations in parallel—enables both tasks to complete faster while helping ensure data transfer is unimpeded. In addition, a file system that slices logical unit numbers (LUNs) and enables the creation of stripe groups can help better match high-performance workloads to high-performance storage.

Flexibility

To enhance the efficiency of workflows and facilitate collaboration among team members, storage solutions must enable simple, flexible access to content. By creating a single, global namespace, a modern file system can give team members direct access to files, images, and other content at high speed—no matter where users are located.

The right file system will also support several types of storage systems and connectivity options. This means that the file system should natively support shared storage area network (SAN) environments with Fibre Channel connections as well as scale-out network-attached storage (NAS) environments over Ethernet. Such flexibility for different storage types and connectivity provides organizations the capability to architect the most ideal infrastructure for their specific use case.  And as most organizations will need to expand and grow as their business becomes more successful, they have the option to migrate to a different topology as future needs dictate. 

Optimization of Storage Resources

How can you effectively balance performance, capacity, and cost for your storage environment? One tried and true method is to architect a multi-tier environment that seamlessly integrates multiple types of storage; from Tier 0 flash-based storage through object-based systems, data tape archives, and cloud archives.  This kind of structure allows for the hottest data to be placed on the fastest storage pools, while cold or less frequently accessed data can be placed on capacity optimized storage pools. 

Another crucial functionality is that the data movement must be automated so it flows seamlessly across those storage tiers.  Ultimately this translates into the ability to keep current, time-sensitive projects on high-performance arrays while moving older, less-frequently accessed content to cost-effective media and large-capacity archives.

Streamlined Management

Very few media organizations have large, dedicated administrative teams to handle storage. As storage environments grow in size and complexity, organizations need ways to simplify management so their IT teams can more easily meet the requirements of their users. The right file system will streamline administration by offering an array of capabilities—from remote management options to analytics tools. This means an entire multi-tier environment can be managed with a small staff or even a single person.

Move forward with StorNext

So as you can see, there are a handful of exceptionally good reasons why investing in a storage infrastructure powered by an industry leading file system could really make a large impact on your business. To learn more how StorNext can deliver the performance, flexibility, balance, and streamlined management I just described, download the new eBook, “Modern File System Functionality That Can Supercharge Your Media Workflows. “

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Motion Design Studio Moves to StorNext for Next-Stage Growth

When Swordfish started to be limited by its legacy storage infrastructure, the company turned to Quantum’s StorNext Pro Foundation with the help of integrator, Advanced Systems Group. The result was performance fast enough even for 4K resolution files, support for all Swordfish’s existing applications, and a configuration that made the switch easy and affordable.

Swordfish is a graphics studio in San Francisco that specializes in motion design, both for marketing and user experience. The company’s customer list includes some of the largest and most innovative tech companies on the globe, including Sony, Google, Dolby, and Salesforce. com, as well as advertising clients that represent a wide range of traditional consumer products. The company started out small but grew rapidly as it added more and more clients and expanded the kinds of services it could provide. In the process, Swordfish’s success put a huge strain on its legacy infrastructure and storage resources.

 “I started Swordfish about 2-1/2 years ago with limited resources,” explains founder and Executive Creative Director, Matt Silverman. “We had an [Apple] Mac Mini and some directattached storage. After a while, we found ourselves working on really big 4K projects, with lots of RED source footage, and a bigger team. Everybody was trying to hit those files at the same time over GigE, and we realized that we needed a much more robust solution. “As a motion design studio, our needs are very different than a traditional post house. Although we do projects of different sizes, some of them involve a lot of big, heavy 3D renders of 4K resolution content—and some of the new ones are stereoscopic 4K so everything doubles in size. On projects like that, the processors really bottleneck, and it might take us up to three hours to render a frame. So we needed really powerful performance, but we also needed a system sized for our business. And whatever we came up with also had to work with all the different applications that we were running— that includes Premiere, DaVinci, Maya, Cinema 4D, Houdini, [and] RV for playback.”

StorNext Pro Foundation was designed to make it easy for a company the size of
Swordfish…to combine the highest performance, the widest range of applications,
and to be both simple to install and cost effective

Dave Van Hoy – President, Advanced Systems Group

ADVANCED SYSTEMS GROUP HELPS PLAN STRATEGIC CHANGE

For help in planning the next steps, Swordfish turned to Advanced Systems Group LLC (ASG), an integrator based out of Emeryville, CA that specializes in selecting, installing, and supporting production, post-production, and shared storage systems for the broadcast, film, creative, and corporate video markets. “I had worked with ASG before, at another company, and I had complete confidence in them,” Silverman explains. “What they had designed and installed then was a very large Quantum StorNext system using a Fibre Channel SAN. I loved the performance we had, but I didn’t think there was any way that we could scale that kind of environment down to be practical for [a] 20-person company like Swordfish and still give us the power we needed. And I really didn’t know what it would take to meet our needs and give us the ability to handle the next generation of even higherresolution content that we can see coming.” Swordfish was happy to take ASG’s recommendations. “I’ve got so much on my plate as a business owner and creative director that the last thing that I want to worry about is the technical details of this Fibre Channel versus that Fibre Channel,” says Silverman. “Having a valueadded reseller like ASG, who I trust with my life, is great. Whatever they say to use is what I’m going to use because I know that they’re going to be providing me with the best solution.”

STORNEXT PRO FOUNDATION PROVIDES THE ANSWER

The system that ASG recommended was the StorNext Pro Foundation solution. It combines StorNext 5 software, redundant metadata controllers, and high-performance SAN storage in a pre-configured solution. The system installed at Swordfish includes 96TB of high-performance SAN storage.

“StorNext Pro Foundation was designed to make it easy for a company the size of Swordfish…to combine the highest performance, the widest range of applications, and to be both simple to install and costeffective,” says Dave Van Hoy, President, Advanced Systems Group. “Based on our experience with other innovative startups that are pushing the technology envelope, we knew it could meet all of the company’s needs and give them performance and scalability to meet their needs in the future.”

 The StorNext high-speed Fibre Channel connectivity solved all of the performance problems that Swordfish had been seeing, and it gave the company bandwidth to offer services to its customers that had not been possible with the legacy system. “With the old system, we didn’t have the speed to bring customers in and let them be part of a client-supervised session,” Silverman adds. “But with StorNext, now we do. We can take huge files—32-bit EXR files where each frame is maybe 16 to 20 megabytes a frame—just drop them right into RV and hit play. It works perfectly in real time with no dropped frames. That means that we can offer lots more post-production services than we could before, and that means we can successfully compete with the big LA post houses.”

ROBUST AND RELIABLE

In addition to performance and scalability, Swordfish was looking for a solution that would provide trouble-free reliability and be “bullet-proof.” “My business relies on data. The bits that are on those drives is all I got. If I lose those bits, I will be out of business,” Silverman explains. “The StorNext Pro Foundation has proved to be every bit as reliable as the ASG team told us it would. The thing just works, and that’s the beauty of it. You just let the thing run in the background. You never have to turn it on. You never have to turn it off. It just goes, and it creates this amazing network for you to attach to. “If you’re looking for a backbone for your company, there’s no better solution. The Quantum StorNext Pro Foundation is the heart and soul of Swordfish and I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

Source: https://www.quantum.com/globalassets/customer-success/case-studies-pdf/motion-design-studio-moves-to-stornext-for-next-stage-growth-cs00328a.pdf