Q&A with GB Labs - Storage for UltraHD, MAM and DIT

Q&A with GB Labs - Storage for UltraHD, MAM and DIT

What do you think will be the big themes and issues for the next 12 months?

We have already helped users overcome the perennial of driver errors, incompatible adapters and complex capacity expansion. So now, thankfully, when it comes to data storage, organisations can now start to plan for the future and not waste time on continuous system maintenance and endlessly configuring workstation drivers.

Firstly, and not surprisingly, the demand for 4K-ready storage is fast becoming a key concern. Secondly, users are starting to integrate asset management and automated media processing with their storage platform, a development that can potentially deliver huge rewards. Finally, the rise of fast Internet networks and the arrival of new collaborative solutions from the likes of Adobe, Forbidden Technologies and Telestream has been an exciting development for all types of content creators.

How are you preparing for UltraHD?

Broadcasters are taking a serious look at originating and delivering at 4K. However, there is a potential problem. 4K data rates using ProRes, and the intra frame XAVC codecs can be well above 80MB/s. Uncompressed or in DPX format, bitrates are incredibly high, overwhelming most existing storage units.

Fortunately, editors do not need to revert to an offline / online workflow. With our SSD- based SPACE storage, multiple editors can benefit from data rates in excess of 3GB/s and a no-compromise online editing experience.

Is UltraHD storage real-world tested?

Because 4K technology is relatively new, many vendors are still short on experience in mission-critical scenarios. As a British manufacturer, GB Labs was fortunate to be part of the London Olympics: one of our customers, Crystal Graphics, was contracted to produce motion graphics in multiple resolutions and multiple formats to the highest possible standard using Adobe and Autodesk graphics tools. With a team of 100 creatives accessing the same central storage system, there was no tougher testing ground. As a result, SPACE users have enormous confidence in our next-generation technology. It’s not buggy and it’s not beta!

How you helping users manage their data?

From the outset, analysts recommended intelligent file and metadata management. They knew that even a few months’ tapeless production could create data mayhem. Yet many users, from freelancers to broadcasters, opted for low-cost direct attached storage, external drives, and an ill-fitting jigsaw of incompatible storage arrays.

When we work with clients who took this approach, we offer transitional technology – SPACE Bridge and NanoSPACE - that can quickly and inexpensively convert eSata and Fibre Channel storage to work and inter-operate over Ethernet networks. With this in place, organisations can centralise, protect and begin sharing media. They can transfer files onto dedicated primary SPACE storage and nearline ECHO arrays for an incredibly fast, seamless and safe editing platform. We also offer fast LTO tape systems to offload and copy projects.

Our emphasis now is to help organisations develop automated data routines to hierarchically manage data onto the most appropriate silo and regularly backup files on and off site. Our developers are continually certifying third-party tools that can further enhance the user experience including solutions from Marquis, Metus, Cantemo and CatDV. We’ve also developed a cloud solution that’s attracting strong interest.

Is the film industry on your radar?

As well as UltraHD storage for film facilities, we manufacture on-set DIT stations. The most recent – 4K Duo – has a fast RAID and twin LTO-6 drives for infinite, protected storage. It’s portable and can be used to undertake a rough cut on location and to produce proxy files for local and remote viewing. 4K Duo joins Midi SSD and Mini SSD as high-performance mobile solutions for film makers.

Ben Pearce, Sales and Marketing Director – GB Labs.

Big Data, Total Security

Big Data, Total Security

At NAB will show the world’s first end to end 4K and 4K DPX storage solution Directors of photography are rushing to shoot 4K and 5K resolutions.

GB Labs introduces clustered Petabyte storage solution with no single point of failure

With the arrival of the new Cluster Head, GB Labs answers the call for a secure and scalable data silo. Suitable as a massive - up-to 30 petabytes - nearline solution for broadcasters, archives and content owners, Cluster Head provides archivists, quality control teams and media processing technicians instant access to media files over standard Ethernet networks. Configured as a tier one online platform, it has the power to deliver exceptional 4K speed, enabling large workgroups to collaborate on editing projects.

20131021 Big Data Total Security 2

Data is safeguarded to a very high degree. In addition, RAID 5 and RAID 6 protection secures each storage node and each storage cluster respectively. Crucially, the system, equipped with 10GbE and 40GbE connectivity, supports real-time data replication between multiple clusters of storage.

“For global content owners, 24/7 availability is critical and any data loss whatsoever is unthinkable. This new GB Labs solution is incredibly well protected with the option of real- time backup and data synchronisation. Despite this focus on security, it makes no sacrifice in terms of performance, scalability and usability.” Said Ben Pearce, Sales and Marketing Director at GB Labs.

With data protected at the node and cluster level, Cluster Head is a robust solution in its own right, with high fault tolerance. By installing multiple clusters, entire storage nodes can be kept for parity to safeguard against any node failure.

Cluster Head ships with the company’s heartbeat software that constantly analyses each node to warn of imminent or actual system or storage issues. For effective file management, the solution is compatible with third party media asset management systems including Cantemo Portal, Metus MAM and CatDV. The storage supports mixed OS environments and various NLE software packages, such as Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere Pro, Grass Valley Edius Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro.

SPACE in the Cloud for Creative Workgroups - IBC Storage News

SPACE in the Cloud for Creative Workgroups - IBC Storage News

IBC Storage News: GB Labs teams with Sohonet to offer truly connected cloud storage

Sohonet’s recently announced storage infrastructure as a service solution – Sohonet Media Storage - has been developed specifically for the Media and Entertainment sectors. Now, in an integration agreement with network storage specialist GB Labs, Media Storage functionality has been built into the OS of its latest RAID storage for a seamless and integrated private cloud experience for offsite backup, short-term archive or as an alternative to LTO backup.

The combined cloud solution promises a new level of collaborative content creation, greater data security and the fast transfer of files from production into post. It will be demonstrated for the first time at IBC on stand 7.J15B.

“The technology partnership takes all the complexities out of file transfers and backup. Field camera crews that ingest media onto portable Mini systems can automatically upload files to the cloud for processing by technicians at the facility or broadcast station. London-based editors can securely backup files to Sohonet Media Storage and share projects with international offices at the click of a button. It’s as straight-forward and versatile as the cloud should be.” Says Ben Pearce Sales and Marketing Director of GB Labs.

With a media network supporting data rates of up-to 10Gb/s, Sohonet can facilitate the transfer of data at high speed, Ben Dair, Sohonet’s Product Director, remarks “The emphasis of our Sohonet Media Storage service is security, reliability, flexibility and scalability. If users require additional storage for a prject, it is instantly available whenever needed. Having Sohonet Media Storage directly interface with GB Labs’ SPACE products enables customers to have a secure offsite backup of their files using production proven Openstack Swift Object storage technology transferred via the Sohonet Media Network.”

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The SPACE line of storage is ethernet-connected, with each unit running the CORE.3 OS. This platform not only administrates the array but also provides sophisticated media sharing, tracking, replication and transfer tools. With virtually no configuration required, the new features manage and automate the exchange of data with Sohonet’s Media Storage.

CORE.3, however, goes further, as Pearce explains “Increasingly, facilities and broadcasters need to copy files between sites, either for data security or collaborative editing. So, we have now also included built-in tools so that users can utilise Sohonet’s fast data network to transfer files between remote storage units or automatically mirror entire volumes in separate locations.”

Cantemo teams with GB Labs - IBC Storage News

Cantemo teams with GB Labs - IBC Storage News

Asset Management partnership delivers fruit at IBC 2013

With the announcement of Cantemo’s partnership with network RAID specialist GB Labs, a total media platform is created. Now media can be managed seamlessly throughout its lifecycle from ingest to delivery and archive, with content transferred, copied and secured over Ethernet networks with none of the usual data interchange issues. Cantemo Portal will intelligently organise and process almost limitless numbers of files over GB Labs’ SPACE multi-tier storage systems.

The relationship with GB Labs sees the software optimised and certified to run across SPACE networks, from super tier one (SSD units) to ECHO (tier two) and SPACE LTO (tape archive).

Parham Azimi, CEO of Cantemo remarked “Cantemo is designed to make life easier for video and TV professionals. However, transferring files to nearline storage or retrieving data from archive offline often requires use of a data transfer application. With GB Labs, the process is far simpler; there’s no need for a client program, it’s just fast and intuitive. This is why their SPACE technology is such a good fit with Cantemo: it’s all about the speed without any over- complication.”

Cantemo Portal streamlines and manages broadcast and post production file-based workflows, from ingest and edit to playout and archive. Its ingest and transcoding engine, content management system, project and storage administration tools and media distribution technology, in combination with the powerful extension layer which allows the system to be customised by any third-party make it arguably the most complete solution on the market.

“SPACE is all about performance: the best sustained read/write speeds, the fastest workflow and the quickest installation. Cantemo’s Portal takes us to the next level, helping editors, media managers, archivists and programme makers locate, process and deliver content more rapidly than ever. This is a superb match.” Notes Ben Pearce, Sales and Marketing Manager at GB Labs.

The solution can be seen for the first time at IBC 2013 on the 7.J15B stand.

GB Labs makes SPACE for Marquis Project Parking at IBC 2013

GB Labs makes SPACE for Marquis Project Parking at IBC 2013

Total tapeless workflow for Avid facilities created by new partnership between GB Labs and Marquis Broadcast.

Storage specialist, GB Labs, has today announced a collaboration deal with Marquis Broadcast, specialist in content workflows and media integration software. The partnership will now mean full support is provided for Marquis’ popular Project Parking application that gives Avid facilities total control over their media files and video projects. The result is a seamless shared editing and archiving workflow that delivers considerable cost-savings and greatly enhanced productivity. The new solution will be on show on the GB Labs Booth 7.J15B in hall seven at IBC in September.

Earlier this year, GB Labs announced collaborative Avid editing tools for its SPACE units. Now, in combination with Project Parking, supervisors have a complete oversight of every project and each associated file, which is essential for storage management data security, project restoration and disaster recovery. For Avid workgroups this means that projects can be archived and restored very quickly, and primary storage arrays can be managed far more efficiently. GB Labs’ fast networked storage is optimised for Avid sharing; its primary, nearline and tape-based systems sit on the same network for instant user access and very high-speed data transfer.

Now, thanks to the Marquis software, GB Labs’ Avid customers can immediately locate every project wherever it is stored on the network, recognise every duplicate file, manage redundant clips and easily transfer completed jobs to nearline or offline storage, ready to be restored as needed.

“Project Parking allows editors the confidence to manage the complete lifecycle of their Avid projects, from primary storage to archive.” explains Simon Fearn, product manager, Marquis Broadcast. “Because GB Labs manufactures storage that seamlessly covers the whole workflow, it’s an excellent platform for our software: together the two companies will make end-to-end media management exceptionally simple.”

Both the Marquis toolset and GB Labs’ SPACE are designed to be cost-effective and to enhance data workflows. Project Parking is formulated to help editors move data to archive swiftly and safely, and to reduce the amount of data needlessly held on expensive tier one systems. Similarly, SPACE excels at streamlining the movement of data to multiple concurrent users and at facilitating the transfer of data quickly and intelligently between different levels of storage, without the need for a control computer.

“This is a great match,” says Ben Pearce of GB Labs. “By adding Project Parking support to the GB Labs portfolio, facilities can now share Avid bins, edit collaboratively, archive safely and manage their storage. Combined, it’s a very powerful and cost-effective proposition.”

SPACE 4K Duo: The Facility goes on-location

SPACE 4K Duo: The Facility goes on-location

Total workflow solution for 4K production teams

4K shared storage goes on location with integrated, automated tape back-up and data transfer facilities to safeguard valuable data. GB Labs launches SPACE 4K Duo, the portable UltraHD workflow system.

The 4K location shoot is now commonplace, particularly in film, music video and drama production. However, for digital imaging technicians (DITs) working in the field, UltraHD is extremely problematic. Once data is ingested, replicating the material for insurance purposes can be taxing and the process of offloading files onto the facility’s network is often a slow manual process. Furthermore, the massive 4K data-rates mean that typical portable storage systems fill all too quickly and few can deliver multiple streams of video, making on set editing and grading very difficult.

GB Labs launches SPACE 4K Duo that not only delivers the capacity and performance needed for shared 4K editing, but also introduces a complete workflow that offers a secure disk to LTO tape workflow with automated, high speed backup and data transfer capabilities.

“For DITs in the field, ingesting, sharing, processing and protecting 4K video is a real headache.” Says Ben Pearce, Sales and Marketing Director of GB Labs. “They can store data on external drives, but this isn’t particularly safe, and there’s little they can do with the files until they get back to the facility. SPACE 4K Duo changes all that. Now the facility travels with the production crew: collaborative editing, picture grading, file transcoding and media management can all begin instantly, with full data security in place.”

Data ingest

SPACE 4K Duo enables users to import data fast without the need for a Mac or PC: Duo’s in- built USB three and an optional SATA port supports fast card readers for data ingest direct from the media. It can even host external hard drives for file offload, sharing and archiving.

Storage and shared editing

SPACE 4K Duo’s SSD-based RAID array provides 4.8TB capacity and very high sustained read /write speeds, easily exceeding 1GB/s. Mac and PC computers can connect to the system via 10Gb Ethernet for instant shared file access and collaborative editing, even with DPX and RAW files.

Data security

Media insurance and best practise demand multiple copies of video footage shot on tapeless cameras. Integrated into SPACE 4K Duo’s portable design are twin LTO-6 drives, with the capacity (2.5TB) and speed (160MB/s) to backup or offload files fast from the primary storage array. SPACE 4K Duo can automatically replicate all new data onto tape, even while editors are working on the footage.

System security is also high on the agenda: SPACE 4K Duo is housed in a 2U rack, the OS is optionally hosted on a mirrored SSD and dual PSU units are available for power supply redundancy.

Completing the workflow

On return to the facility or studio SPACE Duo 4K can safely and swiftly auto-replicate its new data onto a SPACE tier one or super-tier one array or into archive with SPACE ECHO nearline. All data transfers can be managed using the web interface, accessible over the local IP network.

Bridge launches: SAN becomes NAS at Broadcast Asia 2013

NAB 2013 News:

GB Labs’ new SPACE Bridge, enables SAN owners to convert their existing and legacy storage units into network attached systems, adapted to a new vital role.

Until recent years, fibre SAN storage dominated the world of shared editing platforms. Now superseded by more practical Ethernet-based solutions, they are gradually being replaced as tier one solutions across the broadcast and production community.

GB Labs’ SPACE Bridge is a rack-mounted unit that connects fibre or SAS systems to standard IP protocols for instant deployment on a network. Sales and Marketing Director, Ben Pearce summarises the rationale “Many companies have already invested heavily in storage that would have been considered state of the art only a few years ago but cannot sustain performance levels required in today’s multi-stream HD editing environments.

“Maintaining SAN systems is notoriously challenging, time consuming and costly and we find many companies are actually considering discarding their older systems. We wanted to help companies get more out of their original investment and to enjoy the benefits of network attached storage.”

The result, SPACE Bridge, is an upgraded storage system that resides on Ethernet networks and can be addressed by any mix of Mac, Windows or Linux computers, without the need for adapter cards, drivers or client software licences. The adapted storage also benefits from the fastest possible implementation of protocols such as NFS, SMB and AFP, as well as Active Directory Authentication for instant integration with Microsoft server environments. While SPACE Bridge cannot increase the fundamental performance of the array, it significantly improves the user experience and delivers considerable data workflow benefits.

“SAN systems rarely match the performance of SPACE tier one storage,” continues Pearce, “so we expect devices converted by SPACE Bridge to be used primarily in a nearline or backup role alongside SPACE. In doing so, not only is the life of the original unit extended, but users gain valuable additional workgroup storage on the network.”

SPACE Bridge also delivers the advantage of GB Labs hierarchical tiering software tools that allow the storage to be used with other SPACE products, media assets to be cloned or archived automatically from other GB Labs' systems. SPACE Bridge-converted arrays can work equally well in tandem with GB Labs’ SPACE LTO archiving racks, with files or complete projects being transferred at high speed to secure tape over Gigabit networks.

SPACE CORE version 3 launches today

With conclusion of the beta testing programme, GB Labs’ brand-new operating system with Avid Project Sharing and tiered storage is released today. Previewed to customers at NAB 2013, the new OS introduces a galaxy of new features and delivers a platform for the roll-out of even more innovation over the coming months.

All new SPACE products will ship with this cutting-edge OS pre-installed, with immediate effect.

“SPACE has always been an intelligent system, able to operate without a control workstation. CORE.3 takes this even further, with automated media and storage management built in. We have also developed the system to make integration with third party archiving, asset management and project tools even easier.” Said Ben Pearce, Sales and Marketing Director of GB Labs.

Version 3 will be rolled out to existing customers in the coming weeks.

Due to the unprecedented levels of interest in CORE.3-ready systems, please note that delivery times on new SPACE units will be 3-4 weeks, so we encourage you to place orders quickly to ensure fast delivery of your storage solutions.

Preview: SAN becomes NAS in the new age

NAB 2013 News: GB Labs’ new SPACE Bridge, enables SAN owners to convert their existing storage units into network attached systems, adapted to a new vital role.

Until recent years, fibre SAN storage dominated the world of shared editing platforms. Now superseded by more practical Ethernet-based solutions, they are gradually being replaced as tier one solutions across the broadcast and production community.

GB Labs’ ECHO Bridge is a rack-mounted unit that connects fibre or SAS systems to standard IP protocols for instant deployment on a network. Sales and Marketing Director, Ben Pearce summarises the rationale “Many companies have already invested heavily in storage that would have been considered state of the art only a few years ago but cannot sustain performance levels required in today’s multi-stream HD editing environments.

SPACE SSD has the storage power (over 3GB/s) to handle multiple concurrent streams of 4K DPX video. With this primary system residing on a standard 10GB Ethernet network, file transfer onto a 128TB SPACE ECHO (36 bay) nearline system is fast and simple. ECHO (36 bay) also has intelligent built-in tools for automated replication of the primary drive for total security of the media assets. Long-term 4K project archiving is taken care of by GB Labs’ new range of LTO-6 archive appliances. LTO SPACE makes the most of the tape’s 160MB/s native speed to back up and restore projects at the fastest possible data rate. LTO SPACE features up-to four 2.5TB tape drives, supports multiple tape spanning and efficient DPX sequence back up.

“Maintaining SAN systems is notoriously challenging, time consuming and costly and we find many companies are actually considering discarding their older systems. We wanted to help companies get more out of their original investment and to enjoy the benefits of network attached storage.”

The result, ECHO Bridge, is an upgraded storage system that resides on Ethernet networks and can be addressed by any mix of Mac, Windows or Linux computers, without the need for adapter cards, drivers or client software licences. The adapted storage also benefits from the fastest possible implementation of protocols such as NFS, SMB and AFP, as well as Active Directory Authentication for instant integration with Microsoft server environments. While SPACE Bridge cannot increase the fundamental performance of the array, it significantly improves the user experience and delivers considerable data workflow benefits.

“SAN systems rarely match the performance of SPACE tier one storage,” continues Pearce, “so we expect devices converted by Bridge to be used primarily in a nearline or backup role alongside SPACE. In doing so, not only is the life of the original unit extended, but users gain valuable additional workgroup storage on the network.”

SPACE Bridge also delivers the advantage of GB Labs hierarchical tiering software tools that allow the storage to be used with other SPACE products, media assets to be cloned or archived automatically from other GB Labs systems. SPACE Bridge-converted arrays can work equally well in tandem with GB Labs’ SPACE LTO archiving racks, with files or complete projects being transferred at high speed to secure tape over Gigabit networks.

NAB 2013 News: GB Labs enables high speed Avid project sharing

NAB 2013 News: GB Labs enables high speed Avid project sharing

GB Labs designs sophisticated Avid project and bin sharing into its new CORE.3 operating system for a complete workgroup storage solution without the need for client software or licences.

Most tier one storage solutions require the purchase and installation of new hardware and software applications to share Avid projects across a network. After NAB 2013, editors will be able to simply connect to their GB Labs SPACE network storage for immediate access to bins and Avid projects and a full speed collaborative creative experience. As with all GB Labs products, there is no license to pay, either upfront or annually.

Ben Pearce of GB Labs noted: “The SPACE storage philosophy has always been the fastest performance with the fewest headaches. We can now extend that mantra to Avid edit workgroups that currently have to jump through numerous hoops in order to share projects. We can offer Avid users the best user experience and fastest performance at a very reasonable price.”

Historically, sharing Avid projects on central storage has been expensive and technically challenging, requiring the configuration of emulators, drivers and administrative software on servers and workstations. Set up, support and management costs are typically high, and integration routines complicated. Now GB Labs is announcing an upgrade to its SPACE operating system that delivers Avid project collaboration with multi-user bin sharing out of the box on the same volume, with minimal configuration required on either the central storage or workstations. It supports concurrent Mac or Windows editors and delivers phenomenally fast performance multi-stream HD project sharing.

Avid sharing is to be available as standard with new SPACE tier one and SPACE SSD super tier one storage systems after NAB 2013.

As a tiered IP-based storage system, GB Labs facilitates the automated flow of data across SPACE networks. Completed projects can be quickly archived onto tier two ECHO nearline systems or secured onto tape using GB Labs’ multi-drive LTO-6 units. Files are tracked using supplied media management tools while, for advanced functionality, fully featured production asset management and media asset management software such as CatDV can easily be integrated.

The launch of GB Labs’ new CORE.3 OS will also mean the faster roll-out of new features, new integration partners and new language support over the coming months.

A demonstration of Avid project sharing will be available on booth SL5016 at NAB 2013.

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