Project Info

  • Product: BrickStor
  • Concept: Workflow challenges
  • Date: June 9, 2015

In this episode of IT Matters we discuss solving digital media workflow issues. Many of our media-focused customers face unique challenges including: streaming video, post-production and 3D rendering. Media environments require sharing a lot of data among a team. As organizations and workforce becomes more distributed it becomes impractical, inefficient and dangerous (think: disk failure, loss, corruption and potential theft) to share portable drives. In an enterprise environment we must keep all of those assets protected, complaint and available in a common place.

But what happens once you take your hard drive and put all that data into your shared storage which is then used by your entire team? Instead of having one hard drive serving one user – you have several hard drives serving several or even hundreds users. People think there’s a different workload for movies, that where you have streaming videos that it will be sequential workloads. And then you have the modifying, rendering and still editing that they think is going to be a Random I/O. But the reality is that to the storage system and the disk it pretty much all looks like Random I/O. It’s akin to two people listening to the same record at the same time – it’s not easily done.

This is an area that we’ve put a lot of engineering and resources into, ensuring our storage system, BrickStor, meets these demands as efficiently as possible. Some of the technology that we’ve built into the system itself specifically deals with Random I/O, Streaming I/O and also deals with this type of environment with the specific needs faced by the media industry. Our unique hybrid architecture combines RAM, Flash and spinning hard drives to give our media customers the most efficient I/O able to handle creative workloads. That’s better Random I/O, and more IOPS at a lower latency than other solutions out there.

For streaming video, our systems have a Prefetch capability which allows you to watch a video and predict the next frame. Our systems automatically and intelligently cache those next frames into RAM to provide very low response time. When multiple people are using a rendering we eliminate dropped frames.

Moving on, let’s address protocols in the media workspace. Once you have your storage system and it’s optimized and fast in your environment – how will you access it? SMB2 is very popular in Windows environments but what we’ve seen is that it is not high performing in Apple environments, it’s orders of magnitude slower. Our clients appreciate that our unified storage supports both SMB2 as well as Apple File Protocol (AFP). In an enterprise environment you typically have single sign-on issues, you have to log on to a centralized server. You probably have a variety of users including Linux, Windows, MAC users in the mix. So how would you unify that under single sign-on? We see that a lot of creative houses still have Windows active directory for their main central authority and access control, which helps with MPAA audits; however, our system actually integrates with Active Directory and joins the domain so that you can manage permissions just like you would as any other Windows user within Active Directory – no special settings – just grant permissions!

BrickStor is built specifically to deal with the challenge of the enterprise. It is the most efficient enterprise solution with single sign-on for our customers in the media industry.

Stay tuned for our next video which will cover capacity management and dealing with data protection which affect the workflow in media environments.

Brickstor: Built for Media. Built for the Enterprise.