Snöball Film opts for GB Labs Space storage
Snöball Film AS is a leader in educational video production. The company, founded in 2000, has recently witnessed strong growth, and now has some 20 employees. In 2012 the company produced more than 80 films and, to cope with increased workload, the company took the decision to upgrade their archive and storage systems both to improve its workflow and to ensure data security.
"Until this year we relied on external hard drives," says producer Marte. "But this is an expensive and labour-intensive way of working. It resulted in redundant double copies, complicated file management and poor security. We started a process to update our workflow, which would support Adobe Premiere Pro, and the full Creative Suite."
With assistance from local reseller Video 4, Snöball opted for a 40TB GB Labs Space storage and archive solution. Editors, graphic artists, directors and data loggers now have access to a intuitive and straightforward file system. External hard drives have been gradually phased out for greatly enhanced data management. New projects are ingested directly onto the server, with the team able to work on different projects from different workstations without having to worry about making local copies of the material.
"We are all very happy with the solution. Our data is now handled in a secure manner, enabling us to concentrate on what is, after all, the most important thing: to make good, informative educational films."
Snöball Film's storage network is based on the 24-port Brocade switch with 10GbE uplink ports. The storage itself is housed in a USYSTEMS silenced rack cabinet.
For more details: http://www.snoball.no/
Space takes on 400 students
“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 post-graduate 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 Mac’s 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 graphic-rich 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 department’s 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 Ruskin’s storage network is a model worthy of many a professional facility.