Tips for Implementing Storage
Before implementing storage for post production, you first need to determine your company’s present and future direction, and then balance the appropriate technology offerings with the business vision. For instance, storage for VFX (2D, 3D, art) is different then for Digital Intermediates-the former requiring a larger number of workstation or render nodes. These workstation and render nodes tend to be small IO performance over NFS for VFX. On the hand, Digital Intermediate applications require large IO performance that’s capable of sustaining 2K (288 MB/s) or 4K (1.2GB/s) throughput per workstation.
For large IO read/write requirements, one can select a storage vendor like DataDirect Networks like we did. DataDirect’s S2A9500/9550 storage solution can support multiple 2K read/write streams using the same controllers. Please take a look at the illustration above as an example of a SAN configuration.
2. "Speeds and feeds," how to deal with connectivity and platform issues.
We need to separate connectivity into two types as previously mentioned: small IO and large IO performance. Small IO will require a large NAS gateway to support a large number of render nodes. Large IO in the post industry often is associated with Digital Intermediate workflow-necessitating a few workstations connected directly to a SAN to support high throughput read/write operations.
3. Issues you’ll face while implementing a storage infrastructure or migration plan.
Storage vendors often tout that they can have 50 to 200 TB per rack (up to 500 TB plus in a dual rack configuration). However, they fail to mention that it’s nearly impossible to move 50 to 200 TB from disk to tape or any other archive medium for long-term storage when the storage system is being utilized to generate income. Most NAS solutions must move data via a Gigabit Ethernet network.
For example, moving 10 TB via a Gigabit network will take more than 24 hours and that assumes that there’s no activity on the NAS server. This is the reason why I’m in favor of a SAN solution where multiple servers can act as a NAS gateway and other servers can be connected to a tape library for backup operations.
4. General words of wisdom
A) Not all storage vendors can support small IO and large IO metrics at the same time-choose wisely.
B) Focus on a scalable architecture, scalable infrastructure, scalable servers and scalable storage.
C) Plan for growth. Storage in the post industry grows at 50 ‘ 100 percent per year.
Andy Tran is senior exec. VP/CTO at Pacific Title and Art Studio in Hollywood, CA. He can be reached at 323-769-3700 or