Symply is trying to reinvent the SAN. The company’s new Workspace is a shared-storage system that pairs a 12-drive RAID tower with an appliance that it says connects as many as eight clients directly to the disk array via Thunderbolt.

Symply founder and CEO Alex Grossman says he thinks of it as a system for a new kind of workgroup — small groups of editors, probably younger than the industry median, working in a more casual atmosphere than the typical post facility.

If those users are frustrated by the limitations of a typical NAS, Grossman sees the Workspace as a logical step up. For one thing, he says, it’s a “deskside” product, not much bulkier than a traditional workstation, that fits their environment better than more traditional rack-mounted storage infrastructure. For another, it’s flexible — Grossman says testing has shown clients can be connected via Thunderbolt at a distance of 60m without degrading performance. And he notes, it’s a relatively inexpensive way to get the advantages of the Quantum StorNext 6.2 file system, which it employs.

Symply says an entry-level Workspace 24 TB configuration ($10,995) can support around 10 streams of ProRes 422 30p, or around six streams of ProRes 4444. Scale up to a Workspace 48 TB ($13,995) and 4K comes into the equation, with about eight streams of ProRes 4K 422 30p. At the high end of the line, the Workspace 288 ($33,595) can handle 40 streams of ProRes 422 30p, 24 streams of ProRes 4444, and about 16 streams of ProRes 4K 422 30p, the company said.

Even a few streams of ProRes 4K 4444 60p should be available on that top-tier system, according to Symply’s testing.

Pre-production test results on Mac OS and Windows

Workspace supports Mac clients; Windows and Linux client support is available for an extra charge, and additional hardware is required, Symply said.