When to Use Network Attached Storage (NAS)

Network Attached Storage (NAS)NAS Storage Device - ACNC is a file-level computer data storage system which connects  to a computer network and then provides data access. NAS can enable simpler and lower cost systems such as load-balancing and fault-tolerant email and web server systems by providing storage services.

NAS vs. Traditional File Servers

NAS offers a number of benefits over traditional file servers. Some of these benefits include lower cost, less downtime, and better security. NAS products are simpler than traditional file servers. They strip out all of the unnecessary capabilities of a traditional file server when makes NAS less prone to crashing and more secure.

NAS vs. SAN (Storage Area Network)

NAS is often contrasted with SAN, The biggest difference between a NAS and a SAN is that a NAS is one single storage device whereas a SAN is a network of multiple devices. NAS also tends to utilize TCP/IP and Ethernet connections, whereas  SAN protocols include Bere, iCSI, or SCSI.

NAS devices are better suited to individuals and small business users who do not need massive amounts of storage.

AC&NC can custom our JetStor NAS devices to suit your needs. Contact us today for a custom solution: (800) 213-2667.

[case study] Speech Recognition and Transcription Applications for Yap, Inc.

Few software solutions are as difficult to develop as speech recognition and transcription applications. Interpreting speakers’ inflections, accents, and dialects requires programming sophistication approaching artificial intelligence.

To improve accuracy rates, industry-leader Yap, Inc. refines its transcription algorithms by vigorously analyzing spoken language with a powerful computational farm. The firm needed robust, cost-effective solutions to store terabytes of voice files and stream them to its banks of high-end computers.

Read more below about how JetStor RAID Arrays enable Yap to accomplish these critical tasks and provide customers nationwide with the most accurate speech transcription rates in the industry.

Yap is Perfecting Text-to-Speech with JetStor® RAID Solutions

THE ORGANIZATION

One of the more remarkable and useful capabilities of digital communications is converting spoken language into text, and no one does it better than Yap, Inc. Founded in 2006, Yap introduced the world’s first fully automated cloud-based speech recognition platform. Its voice-driven capabilities let users interact more naturally with their handsets and offer service providers greater revenues per user from increased voice and data usage. Enterprises like Microsoft, Sprint, and MetroPCS use Yap’s Speech Cloud™ for such applications as voicemail-to-text, mobile messaging, conference call transcription, and call mining. Moreover, when Yap was selected as a finalist in Silicon Valley’s first ever TechCrunch event, often called the “American Idol” of the technology industry, its speech transcription technologies were widely acclaimed for curbing texting while driving. The firm, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, also won the VMA Innovation Award, a distinction given annually by Europe’s leading wireless operators.

THE CHALLENGE

Developing software that can transcribe spoken language into text with reasonable accuracy is extremely challenging. Interpreting inflections, pitch, accents, dialects, and even the “ums” and “ahs” common in everyday speech demand programming that approaches the sophistication of artificial intelligence. Yap’s solutions currently deliver an industry-leading accuracy rate, which is why they are being rapidly adopted by service providers and telecommunication companies. This impressive performance, however, fails to satisfy Yap’s team of scientists.

Ryan Thomas, a research scientist for Yap, explained that a form of Moore’s Law is at work in the speech transcription field. “Just as the number of transistors on a microprocessor will double every two years, the error rate for speech transcription drops by 10 percent every year,” he said. “The field is very competitive and to flourish, Yap must remain in front of the curve.”

As a result, Yap conducts vigorous research to improve its speech transcription algorithms. At its data center, it continuously operates a powerful computational farm to refine its statistical models by analyzing terabytes of people’s speech. “The more data we process and study, the more accurate we can make our solutions,” said Thomas. “Data lies at the core of our business.” Storing this data while making them rapidly available for high-performance computing is a daunting task.

Yap surveyed the marketplace for solutions but rejected large storage arrays from manufacturers like EMC. “We were using the General Parallel File System, which is a clustered file system developed by IBM, so we didn’t need all the bells and whistles that drove up the costs of monolithic arrays,” said Thomas. Moreover, Yap wanted systems that were modular, enabling it to quickly add storage capacity as its research demanded. “To support our work and ensure we remained competitive in the field, we needed primary storage that is fast, reliable, scalable, and cost-effective,” Thomas added.

THE SOLUTION

JetStor® SAS 516F 16-bay RAID Arrays from Advanced Computer & Network Corporation (AC&NC)

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

BENEFITS IMMEDIATELY REALIZED

By turning to AC&NC solutions, Yap gained a high performing storage cluster to support its research. Every JetStor SAS 516F RAID Array can house 16 450GB 15K RPM SAS disks for 7.2TB of storage. Yap’s initial Jetstor installation was provisioned with 30 terabytes of capacity and linked to its server farm, comprised of powerful dual-socket, quad-core devices, with 4Gbit Fibre Channel connections. When even greater bandwidth is required, staff can upgrade the solutions to 8Gbit Fibre Channel links. “Our JetStors store and deliver data as quickly as our servers can handle the traffic,” said Ryan.

Yap determined that each JetStor SAS 516F platform, when configured for RAID 5, delivers the I/O bandwidth to support three of its high-speed servers. “Unlike a large storage array, our JetStor cluster is modular. This was quite important because as we continually expand our compute farm, we can quickly and easily boost storage by installing additional disks and chassis to the cluster.” The JetStor solutions also provide the reliability to support Yap’s around-the-clock research environment. “Once we set up an array, which is simple to do, it requires hardly any maintenance,” said Ryan. “Our JetStors have proven to be rock-solid primary storage.”

Ryan also explained that AC&NC delivered these capabilities at a fraction of the expense of many competing solutions. “A large storage array from one manufacturer cost four times more than our JetStor systems,” Ryan added. “We pay only for the functionality we need and want. And whereas many providers seem to overprice their disks, AC&NC disks are very cost-competitive. JetStor RAID Arrays are affordable and deliver an unbeatable return on investment.”

HOW WE DID IT

Yap first built its research environment with SATA arrays from another vendor, but the cost of owning these systems was high because their disks were expensive. Additionally, Yap’s research quickly advanced and the firm required greater performance from its primary storage. Yap then learned about AC&NC, discovering that the firm’s faster SAS arrays and disks offered the sweet spot for performance, scalability, and economy.

Yap’s JetStor 516F SAS RAID Arrays connect to the server farm at 4Gbit Fibre Channel speeds. The servers, in turn, attach to Yap’s computing cluster with Gigabit Ethernet links. The JetStor solutions house all the voice data that Yap’s computing resources access from the servers. “We’re phasing out the SATA drives,” noted Thomas. “The JetStors give us the fast storage we required to accelerate our research.” To present the JetStor arrays as a single storage pool to the servers, Yap deployed GPFS, a high-performance shared-disk, clustered file system. By clustering the storage devices, administrators improve data throughput, simplify scalability, and avoid managing the JetStor solutions as individual devices.

“The JetStors work well with GPFS, which is used by many of the world’s most powerful supercomputers,” said Thomas. “The combination of the AC&NC solutions and GPFS is ideal for a computationally-intensive environment like ours. With these technologies, we’re poised to get ever closer to perfectly accurate speech transcription.”


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[case study] JetStor Delivers Vital Software-as-a-Service to the Construction Industry

THE ORGANIZATION

Barryhund Administrators, Inc., based in West Sacramento, CA, plays a critical role in construction projects. Construction jobs begin only when contractors assess the work and submit bids. To do so, they require blueprints and architectural designs, which used to be reproduced on specialized copiers. Founded in 1997, Barryhund Administrators eliminates this costly and time-consuming step by making blueprints and designs available digitally. The ten-person company provides an online project and bid management web portal for construction associations, which are clearinghouses for contractors, construction companies, and public agencies about upcoming projects. There, contractors quickly view blueprints and specifications either online or as downloads, greatly expediting the industry’s processes.

THE CHALLENGE

Barryhund provides its solution, called Online Plan Service, via hosting services and software-as-a-service. The offering must be always fast and available or contractors would be unable to access construction blueprints and documents, and projects would be delayed. In addition, the firm must contain expenses to ensure construction associations find Online Plan Service more cost-effective than hosting their own. Low costs also deter any competitors from undercutting Barryhund on pricing. Finally, any technology must adhere to the primary rule of Rex Klein, founder and CEO of Barryhund Associates; “I must understand my systems and be able to manage them, even at 3:00 AM when no one else is around.”

Barryhund had used several storage systems to house and deliver terabytes of data, including PDFs, scanned images, databases, and financial and business data. These solutions, however, were at the end of their lifecycles and their manufacturer had greatly increased replacement costs. Moreover, they demanded frequent firmware updates, which often caused availability issues. “As a small company with storage at the core of our services, I need storage that is easy and inexpensive to own and operate, yet still delivers the availability and performance my customers demand.”

THE SOLUTION

Two JetStor SAS 724S 24-bay RAID Arrays, one JetStor SAS 742S V2 42-bay RAID Array, and one JetStor SAS 764S 64-bay RAID Array from Advanced Computer & Network Corporation (AC&NC).

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

  • Two JetStor SAS 724S 24-bay RAID Arrays
  • One JetStor SAS 742S 42-bay RAID Array
  • One JetStor SAS 764S 64-bay RAID Array
  • Two LSI SAS 6160 switches
  • Three Dell R620 servers

BENEFITS IMMEDIATELY REALIZED

As Barryhund provides infrastructure for the construction industry, JetStor platforms buttress the firm’s infrastructure. Four JetStor RAID arrays link via a switch to three servers, providing the benefits of direct attached storage (DAS) with all the capabilities of shared storage. The firm gains the speed and simplicity of DAS and the capacity and flexibility of clustered storage.

“Whereas our prior storage had Ethernet links, our JetStor solutions utilize 6Gb/s SAS2 connectivity, delivering excellent performance but with far fewer cables,” said Klein. “Our firm may be small, but our customer base is large and we’re meeting its needs quickly, easily, and economically.”

The JetStor RAID arrays also meet Klein’s rule for ease of use. He relies on the JetStor RAID Manager browser-based management and monitoring software to remotely configure and control his JetStor solutions and to receive e-mail alerts of any system events. All he requires is a laptop with connectivity to manage the platforms and check their health.

“If I were unavailable, it would be easy for someone to understand our deployment and administer the JetStor arrays,” said Klein. “I save a lot of money by not having to train someone to manage our storage. But even better, our JetStors are bulletproof and require hardly any attention, which is essential when IT resources are limited.”

Additionally, Klein protects his data by dedicating half of the JetStor arrays’ capacity to production data and the other half for backups. By backing up data directly between the JetStor solutions, backups are extremely fast. “With a DAS to DAS configuration, I can backup 32 virtual machines in less than 60 minutes,” said Klein. “Because I’m backing up to my production platforms, I can get operational in minutes should a failure occur, rather than hours or days. This capability offers us both a measure of safety and a competitive advantage.”

HOW WE DID IT

Barryhund Associates replaced its legacy storage first with a JetStor SAS 742S 42-bay RAID Array. “I had prior experiences with a JetStor solution and they were very positive,” explained Klein. “The system was simple to install, fast, and ultra-reliable.” Klein then deployed a JetStor SAS 764S 64-bay RAID Array which provided even greater capacity in the same 4U form factor. He linked both to Dell R620 servers via two LSI SAS 6160 switches. One switch is active while the other offers failover redundancy. Dual SAS2 links connect the JetStor systems to the switches.

Finally, he added two JetStor SAS 724S 24-bay RAID Arrays. “They’re very compact 2U systems that use smaller drives and thus consume less power,” said Klein.

The architecture is clustered because each JetStor array shares its storage with two servers. It is also virtualized using VMware vSphere 5.5. To contain costs, the platforms are provisioned with 1 TB SATA drives for a total capacity of 130 TB.

The JetStor solutions are configured for RAID Level 0+1. RAID 0+1 delivers the same fault tolerance as RAID level 5 and offers high I/O rates thanks to multiple stripe segments.

The JetStor systems are engineered for non-stop operation with a fully cableless design, dual hot-swappable power supplies, and hot-swappable drives with automatic rebuilding of data on new drives.

CONCLUSION

With JetStor systems, Barryhund Associates enjoys a very dense, virtualized storage solution in a small form factor. Their basic DAS configuration provided high-speed, plug’n play operation.

“If you need simple, reliable, fast, and clustered storage that takes very little time to manage, then your answer is simple—JetStor,” concluded Klein. “Having tried many competing products, I can honestly say I’m a JetStor fanboy.”

ABOUT ADVANCED COMPUTER & NETWORK CORPORATION (AC&NC)

Advanced Computer & Network Corporation designs, manufactures and markets high-performance, competitively priced data storage RAID systems. With an extensive line of Fibre Channel, NAS, DAS, and hybrid flash storage solutions for any computing platform and operating system, comprehensive free technical support, and fast on-time product deliveries, AC&NC brings freedom of choice to all clients, from workgroup to enterprise. Our RAID systems ensure rapid, round-the-clock access to all of the information our customers rely on to move forward in the 21st century.


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[case study] Video Burbank Police Dept. Replaces Analog Media with JetStor RAID Arrays

Video surveillance is a boon to police departments and other government agencies, but the video often needs to be preserved as potential evidence for investigations. For users of analog systems, this means recording video on bulky tapes, a challenge for the police department of Burbank, CA, the “media capital of the world.”

The Burbank Police Department has been using analog cameras to safeguard its headquarters, requiring staff to replace videocassettes every eight hours as they became filled and then to store the tapes. Storage was time-consuming, labor-intensive, and inefficient, but replacing the entire analog system with an IP solution was too costly.

Read more below about how the Burbank Police Department deployed an IP video storage solution with JetStor RAID Arrays that supports its analog cameras and all but automates the archiving of video footage.

Burbank, CA. Police Department Streamlines Video Storage With an IP Solution and a JetStor Raid Array

THE ORGANIZATION

Often called the “media capital of the world,” Burbank, California, is one of Los Angeles County’s storied cities. “A city built by People, Pride, and Progress” according to its motto, Burbank is home for the headquarters or production facilities of such media and entertainment leaders as Warner Bros. Entertainment, Warner Music Group, NBC Universal, The Walt Disney Company, the Cartoon Network, Viacom, Nickelodeon, and PBS.

The stylish Burbank Police and Fire Headquarters Facility, the police department’s headquarters, is worthy of Burbank, featuring an atrium and a statue of a police officer and firefighter outside.

THE CHALLENGE

The Burbank Police Department’s mission, of course, is to protect its community of some 103,000 citizens and this starts within the Burbank Police and Fire Headquarters Facility. The building has long relied on an NTSC video surveillance system to monitor the entire site, including its jail in the basement that houses up to 73 felony and misdemeanor arrestees, and the parking lot outside.

The system uses an analog matrix switch that enables officers to view any of the feeds coming from some 32 cameras. The state of California, however, mandates that surveillance video be stored for a year as evidentiary records, compelling the Burbank Police Department to preserve its analog video on VHS tapes.

The department used time-lapse video so all the cameras did not record at once, but each VHS tape could store only eight hours of video, requiring officers to replace them three times every day. Moreover, the department had to store many boxes of recorded tapes, which consumed a lot of space, and sorting through all the tapes to find any one in particular was laborious. “The analog video system became a time-consuming administrative headache, and the department wanted a more modern and efficient system,” said Casimir Blonski, Professional Services Engineer for Enterprise Security, Inc., an Anaheim, California-based provider of access control and video surveillance systems. “With our experience delivering video surveillance for law enforcement and Homeland Security needs, we proposed a storage solution that has proven itself for such mission-critical deployments.”

THE SOLUTION

One JetStor SAS 516iS 16-bay iSCSI RAID Array with 2 Tb disks from Advanced Computer & Network Corporation (AC&NC). VideoEdge Network Video Recorder on a Dell PowerEdge R710 Server IP Storage for the Burbank Police’s Analog Video Surveillance System

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

  • JetStor SAS 516iS iSCSI RAID Array with gigabit iSCSI links to the network video recorder
  • Five American Dynamics VideoEdge IP Encoders
  • American Dynamics VideoEdge Network Video Recorder
  • Dell PowerEdge R710 Rack Server

BENEFITS IMMEDIATELY REALIZED

Enterprise Security designed and installed an IP video storage system in which the Burbank Police Department’s analog video streams are digitized and saved on a JetStor SAS 516iS RAID Array. The security vendor increased the number of cameras to 39 for greater visibility throughout and around the police station.

Rather than intermittently saving video feeds, all of the streams are now continuously stored on the JetStor solution. As a result, the police department has a complete evidentiary record of all activity within its headquarters for investigations and court proceedings. “The practical, economical way to store thousands of hours of video is digitally, but replacing the entire analog video system, including the cameras, would have been expensive,” said Blonski. “Instead, we preserved the existing hardware and replaced the VHS recorders with an IP storage solution.

The JetStor economically archives a year’s worth of video, even though we added additional analog cameras for greater security coverage.” The JetStor array also eliminates the need to manually replace VHS tapes every eight hours and then warehouse them. “The police department went from a very labor-intensive system,” said Blonski, “to one that is fully automated, freeing officers to concentrate on their law-enforcement tasks.”

HOW WE DID IT

The decision to retain the analog surveillance cameras and matrix switch meant their video streams had to be converted to digital files for storage on the JetStor RAID array. To this end, Enterprise Security installed five American Dynamics VideoEdge IP Encoders that receive the video from the switch, convert them to digital files, and compress them to conserve bandwidth.

From the encoders, a Gigabit Ethernet switch delivers the digitized video to a Dell R710 server that supports an American Dynamics VideoEdge Network Video Recorder (NVR). The NVR sends the data over gigabit iSCSI links to the JetStor system for storage, as well as provides streaming feeds that officers monitor in real-time. “JetStor solutions are economical alternatives to the products of other storage vendors,” said Blonski. “We’ve long partnered with AC&NC and our customers are very happy with its solutions.”

The JetStor array stores over 71 gigabits of digital video every day, and its 27 terabyte capacity ensures a year’s worth of storage. At the end of the year, the oldest files are overwritten with new video data. Additionally, the JetStor system is configured for RAID 5, which uses block-level striping with distributed parity data. RAID 5 protects the police department against data loss while providing high-speed read/write performance. “We use the JetStor GUI RAID manager application to administer the array, but once a JetStor chassis is set up, which is easy to do, it runs transparently,” said Blonski. “Burbank’s JetStor has been rock solid. It simply gets the job done.”

CONCLUSION

The Burbank Police Department proved that existing analog surveillance systems need not be entirely replaced to cost-effectively meet government mandates for video storage. NTSC video can be digitized and archived on high-speed JetStor RAID arrays, meeting tight budgets and security and forensic demands.

“JetStors offer the reliability, economy, and performance to satisfy law enforcement and Homeland Security needs,” said Blonski. “We’re going to deploy them when we virtualize our own server environment. Maybe that’s the definitive statement to make about JetStors; we use them ourselves.”


 

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[case study] Retirement Community Security Archives 30 Days of Video Surveillance with JetStor

Video cameras have proven to enhance a community’s public safety. The Osborn, the premier retirement community in New York’s Westchester Country, wanted to offer its retired seniors this extra measure of safety as well as monitor its staff.

The Osborn also wanted to archive its video for a month as a record of resident and staff activities. With 100 cameras initially deployed across its 56-acre campus and plans for 100 more, the retirement community needed a storage solution that is robust, economical, and easy to manage.

Read more about how this leading retirement community deployed JetStor Raid Arrays to retain its video records and bolster the security of its residents

The Osborn Delivers an Extra Measure of Retirement Security with JetStor RAID Arrays

THE ORGANIZATION

Retirement is hardly more elegant than at The Osborn Retirement Community. Situated on 56 landscaped acres in Rye, New York, The Osborn is Westchester County’s premier retirement community. Since 1908, the non-profit facility has provided retirees uncommonly gracious amenities to pursue “a sophisticated lifestyle that’s fun-loving, cultured, and energetic, yet also relaxing.”

Today, its 500 residents enjoy both independent and assisted care living with a full range of senior care services.

THE CHALLENGE

Although the Osborn earned its reputation for excellence by focusing on the well-being of its residents, the retirement community wanted to do more. It sought to further ensure the safety of its seniors by monitoring indoor and outdoor public areas throughout its sprawling campus.

To meet this objective, The Osborn required an enterprise-wide video surveillance system. “Video surveillance would bolster security and let us better support our residents,” said Richard N. French, Director of Information Technology, The Osborn Retirement Community. “We’d be able to quickly locate residents who may appear missing as well as monitor our staff to ensure they deliver high-quality services.”

Administrators, however, wanted to do more than monitor live video feeds. They also needed to store the video to preserve a record of resident and staff actions. “We required a storage solution that was economical, reliable, and easy to use,” said French. “We didn’t want our staff to continually swap VHS tapes within banks of videocassette recorders, which would have been burdensome.”

To meet its needs, The Osborn turned to Omni Data, a leading provider of technology solutions based in Woodbridge, Connecticut. Omni Data proposed an effective solution.

THE SOLUTION

One JetStor SAS 516iS 16-bay RAID Array and one JetStor SAS 516J 16-bay RAID Array, both with 2 Tb disks, from Advanced Computer & Network Corporation (AC&NC).

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

  • HP 2520 ProCurve switches with Gigabit Ethernet links
  • HP 3500 ProCurve switch with Gigabit Ethernet links
  • HP ProLiant 380 servers with Gigabit Ethernet links
  • Milestone IP Video Management Software
  • One JetStor SAS 516iS RAID Array & one JetStor SAS 516J RAID Array

BENEFITS IMMEDIATELY REALIZED

In concert with Omni Data, The Osborn deployed a comprehensive IP video surveillance system that is supported by a Gigabit Ethernet network and two JetStor RAID Arrays. The facility’s staff can monitor the retirement community by viewing live color feeds from any of a 100 cameras positioned in hallways, stairwells, and public spaces as well as along well-tended gardens, greens, and walkways. The digital streams are then stored on the JetStor platforms for four weeks, after which they are replaced by new footage.

“An IP video surveillance system eliminates the tedium of swapping analog tape cassettes every eight hours once they fill up,” explained French. “The JetStors easily archive the 30 terabytes of data that we archive at any one time, all but automating video storage. Their capacity will also support the 200 cameras we’ll soon install for more extensive coverage of our campus.”

By turning to JetStor platforms, The Osborn simplified oversight of its residents. Unlike some competing solutions, the two JetStor chassis let administrators pool storage into one 30 terabyte logical volume. “JetStors are not limited to 2 terabyte pools,” said Scott Sebastian, Director of Sales, Omni Data. “With 100 cameras in use, 2 terabyte pools would have filled up quickly, forcing staff to constantly redirect data to new volumes. Even when The Osborn deploys twice as many cameras, the JetStors will store the data without continual manual intervention.”

As a result, the JetStor solutions allow staff to keep their eyes on residents rather than the storage infrastructure. “The JetStors simply work without issues,” said French. “And as RAID arrays, they also ensure our video is preserved without any data loss.” The Osborn now augments its impressive amenities and services with even greater security and protection for its seniors. “We can keep a watchful eye on our residents and rapidly respond to any needs they may have,” said French. “We’re safeguarding their quality of life, and thanks to solutions like our JetStors, we doing this easily and cost-efficiently.”

HOW WE DID IT

To deploy IP video surveillance, The Osborn uses HP ProCurve 2520 switches to collect digital feeds from the cameras. The devices forward the data at Gigabit Ethernet speed to an HP ProCurve 3500 core switch, which distributes the video to Milestone IP Video Management Software running on three HP ProLiant 380 servers. The Milestone application enables staff to view any camera feeds; it also detects any motion in the video and delivers www.omnianswers.net/ just that footage to the JetStor arrays for storage. “By saving only images in which people actually move, we don’t store hours of empty stairways, conserving space on our JetStors,” said French.

The JetStor arrays appear to the Milestone solution as a single storage trove. The JetStor 516iS chassis receives the video feeds and stores them on its 2 terabyte disks and those of the JetStor 516J device. The RAID 5 setting delivers block-level striping across multiple disks for both data availability and strong read/write performance. “Even if a disk fails, we won’t lose a frame,” said French. “The JetStors have proven to be high-value solutions, offering excellent build quality and very competitive pricing and cost per terabyte of storage.”

CONCLUSION

As organizations, companies, and government agencies turn to video surveillance to bolster security and oversight, The Osborn demonstrates that an IP solution with reliable, easy-to-use storage like JetStor RAID Arrays is a cost-efficient strategy.

“The JetStors are the best bang for the storage buck,” said Sebastian. “They provide the features of other storage systems, but more economically. AC&NC is also a good company to work with, not just for its products but also for its outstanding customer service. As a technology integrator, that’s important to us and it’s another reason why we recommend JetStor solutions to our customers.”


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[case study] Storage Correctional Facility Archives +100 TB of Video Data

Video surveillance is a powerful tool for law enforcement and other security-intensive industries. Inyo County Jail, the only correctional facility in California’s Inyo County, the third largest county in the nation, sought a video surveillance solution to enhance the safety of its staff and inmates.

Inyo County Jail, however, needed to do more than enable its correctional officers to view live video feeds of the facility. Officials wanted to save the security video for a year for forensic and investigative needs. With 96 cameras operating 24/7, this meant storing over 100 terabytes of data, a challenge considering the jail’s limited budget and IT resources.

Read more below about how JetStor Raid Arrays enabled Inyo County Jail to store its video simply, reliably, and economically.

Inyo County Jail Enhance Security with Video Surveillance Supported by JetStor® RAID Solutions

THE ORGANIZATION

At 10,412 square miles, California’s Inyo County is the third largest county in the nation and, considering its natural resources, one of the most remarkable. It is home to Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states, Death Valley, the lowest point in the U.S., and the Great Basin bristlecone pines, the oldest life forms in the world.

It is also home to Inyo County Jail, the county’s only correctional facility, located in the county seat of Independence, CA. The facility houses 96 inmates, who are supervised by a staff of nearly 50 correctional officers and administrators.

THE CHALLENGE

Tasked with providing a safe, secure facility for people serving their debt to society or awaiting court proceedings, Inyo County Jail decided to turn to one of the most powerful security tools available to penal institutions—video surveillance.

The jail sought to install 96 IP video cameras throughout its facility and enable its staff to view live feeds from guard towers and watch commander areas. Correctional officers would have views of the entire jail, enhancing security for staff and inmates without hiring additional guards. Inyo County Jail, however, wanted to store its surveillance video for a year for potential investigative and forensic needs.

As a result, it needed a video system that can save gigabits of video every day and reliably archive over 100 terabytes of data for a year. Moreover, its solution needed to be economical to fit within tight budgets. It also had to be simple to maintain because the jail lacked dedicated IT staff, relying on an IT administrator who must service the entire county.

The correctional facility turned to one of southern California’s leading providers of security and surveillance systems, American Security Group in Vista, CA. “We’re familiar with law enforcement needs,” said Anthony Sparks, Director of Operations, American Security Group, “and we offered a storage solution that we’ve already deployed to meet stringent security demands.”

THE SOLUTION

Two JetStor SAS 516iS 16-bay iSCSI RAID Arrays with 2 Tb disks and four JetStor SAS 516J 16-bay iSCSI RAID Arrays with 2 Tb disks from Advanced Computer & Network Corporation (AC&NC). Video servers on Dell PowerEdge R510 systems

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

  • Two JetStor SAS 516iS iSCSI 16 bay RAID Arrays with gigabit iSCSI links to video recording servers
  • Four JetStor SAS 516J iSCSI 16 bay RAID Arrays with gigabit iSCSI links to the JetStor SAS 516iS RAID Arrays
  • Two Dell PowerEdge R510 servers
  • Three Dell PowerConnect 6248P Gigabit Ethernet switches

BENEFITS IMMEDIATELY REALIZED

The American Security Group installed a comprehensive IP video surveillance system anchored by JetStor RAID Arrays that meets Inyo County Jail’s security and storage needs. Correctional officers view live color feeds from cameras within and outside the facility on monitors at their stations or from remote locations. They even can rewind and fast forward the video to review inmate behavior. Hourly, the video is sent to the JetStor solutions, resulting in 4.4 to 12 gigabytes of surveillance video stored daily.

The JetStor systems ensure that the jail’s video is secure thanks to their RAID 6 configuration. This dual parity setting means that no data is lost even if two disks fail. “We knew that JetStor can meet the critical demands of law enforcement, having successfully installed them for police departments and military bases,” said Sparks. “They’re easy to deploy and ideal for 100-200 terabyte storage needs. Plus, they cost a fraction of competing solutions with similar capacities.”

American Security Group manages the JetStor arrays using the web-based JetStor GUI Raid Manager application. The application will automatically email the security provider’s staff should any problems arise with the devices. “We’ve never received an email from the JetStors,” noted Sparks. “Their unwavering reliability makes them the solution of choice for mission-critical surveillance storage, especially wherever IT resources are limited.”

HOW WE DID IT

Key to Inyo County Jail’s long-term video storage is the system stores on the JetStors only digital “footage” in which there is motion. This prevents saving hours of empty hallways. With 96 cameras continually feeding video streams, this strategy slashes by 60 percent the amount of data that is archived.

“By safeguarding only the video that shows people in motion, we economized on the jail’s storage costs,” said Sparks. “Moreover, correctional officers can find video evidence of an incident without having to plod through hours of uneventful images.” The feeds from the cameras, which vary between high-definition and VGA depending on the sensitivity of the locations surveilled, are forwarded over the fiber-optic Gigabit Ethernet network to three Dell PowerConnect 6248P switches.

The switches send the data to two Dell PowerEdge R510 JetStor RAID Arrays at Inyo County Jail. The jail’s video surveillance system was designed and installed by the American Security Group.

CONCLUSION

By enabling staff to remotely monitor all inmate activities within the facility, the advanced video surveillance system at Inyo County Jail increases security and safety. Its reliance on JetStor RAID Arrays ensures a long-term video record of inmate behavior economically, reliably, and without administrative overhead. “Preserving and safekeeping surveillance video, without loss or disruptions, is vital to a strong security strategy,” concluded Sparks. “That’s why we’ll continue to recommend JetStor solutions to our customers in law enforcement and other safety-conscious industries like healthcare.”


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[case study] Video Backup – Disk to Disk Storage

Few data files are as large, costly, or more frequently reused than those created for video programming. One of the nation’s largest production studios develops and stores hundreds of terabytes of entertainment shows, promos, commercials, sports, documentaries, broadband content, network IDs, and interstitials for leading cable programmers.

Initially, the studio stored its content on virtual and non-virtual tape libraries. However, these solutions were slow and ineffective. When original files were lost, tight production schedules were compromised as administrators labored to retrieve backups.

Read more about how this award-winning production studio used JetStor RAID Arrays to combine the economies of tape libraries with the speed and efficiencies of disk storage.

Leading Production Studio Safeguards Programming with JetStor® RAID Solutions

THE ORGANIZATION

This full-service production studio, located in the southeast, is one of the largest in the U.S. Founded some 30 years ago, it produces entertainment shows, promos, commercials, live sports, documentaries, broadband content, network IDs, interstitials, and DVDs for leading cable programming providers. Its commitment to entertainment excellence is exemplified by the many industry awards its work has garnered over the years.

THE CHALLENGE

The studio found that success led to a critical challenge—safeguarding its work. Every week, its producers, artists, and executives generate data, especially large multimedia files, that must be stored and backed up. Initially, it relied on robotic tape libraries for back-ups due to their low per-gigabyte storage costs, but this strategy presented shortcomings. With their limited I/O capabilities, the tape drives ran constantly to keep pace with the flow of production data.

Moreover, restoring files was arduous. To retrieve a file, the entire monthly back-up of the file’s directory had to be restored, followed by incremental restores of snapshots until the day the file was last saved. Administrators tried virtual tape libraries, which provided faster I/O speeds, but retrievals of files still remained difficult. “We needed a new storage strategy if we were to protect our work according to our business needs,” said the studio’s storage engineer. “It had to combine economical and extremely reliable storage solutions with a means for rapidly accessing backed-up data.”

THE SOLUTION

Twenty JetStor® SATA 516F 16-bay RAID Arrays from Advanced Computer & Network Corporation (AC&NC)

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

  • ZFS file system running on the Solaris operating system
  • Twenty JetStor SATA 516F 16 bay RAID Arrays, each with 32Tb of storage
  • QLogic fibre channel switches linked to the JetStor Arrays

BENEFITS IMMEDIATELY REALIZED

The studios’ strategy was to implement a primary storage repository for users’ data, and an identical site for back-up. Each site is anchored by ten JetStor SATA 516F RAID Arrays that house 233 terabytes of data. Should disaster strike, administrators can transform the back-up site into the live repository in minutes, enabling users to store and access their files routinely. The infrastructure greatly improves operational efficiencies over tape and virtual tape libraries.

By using ZFS, a public-domain file system for managing enterprise data storage, administrators view all the data stored on the JetStor solutions as unified virtual storage pools, permitting rapid access to back-up files. “Production deadlines are no longer jeopardized because of the time needed to restore data,” said the studio’s engineer, “and our staff no longer has to contend with work orders for laborious tape recoveries.”
Additionally, the stored data is up-to-date. Administrators use rsync to back-up 27 production SAN and NAS servers onto the JetStor Arrays at the primary storage facility. Every several minutes, the ZFS file system makes incremental block-level updates of the files on the primary site and saves them to the JetStors at the back-up site.

This strategy ensures that users can restore the latest versions of files should the primary site become unavailable. “Moreover, when we update or replace servers, we no longer have to temporarily park data on devices strewn across our network,” said the studio’s engineer. “Now, we simply attach a new server, direct it to our storage pool, and then remove the old device, saving us a lot of time and trouble.”

The JetStor solutions each provide robust RAID 6 protection, which means no data is lost even if two disks fail. The devices feature additional safeguards such as redundant, hot-swappable power supplies with two independent power inputs. Administrators can easily configure, manage, and monitor the solutions using the web-based JetStor GUI RAID Manager.

For extra protection, they immediately receive e-mail notifications should any issues arise with the solutions. “Low cost and scalability are further benefits,” explained the engineer. “Our ZFS system is free and scales to an astronomical billion terabytes. Our JetStor Arrays can each store 32 terabytes of data in one compact enclosure at a fraction of the cost of large storage arrays. And our system’s operating expenses are all but negligible in our overall IT budget.”

HOW WE DID IT

The engineer initially developed the innovative storage strategy on a small scale. Using ZFS, he created an experimental virtual storage pool, called a zpool, by linking Dell and HP servers to legacy JetStor RAID Arrays. ZFS seamlessly operated with the servers and presented a unified view of the stored data, allowing fast access to individual files. When he had to remove data from a server that needed an upgrade, he stored the files in another zpool on JetStor and other storage systems. Although the data was scattered across storage devices, he was able to reclaim all the files easily. The engineer used this same approach to back up an Apple Xsan file system from a Dell server onto a JetStor SATA 516F RAID Array.

When a studio artist lost 500 gigabytes of data on a time-sensitive project, the engineer simply directed the project’s manager to the storage pool and the back-up files were retrieved within minutes. “The manager was all but stunned to recover the data so quickly,” the engineer noted.

Administrators then built the first primary storage site with 5 JetStor RAID Arrays, each with one Tb drives in its 16 bays. They connected production servers to fibre channel switches linked to the JetStor solutions and control the flow of data with virtual LANs (VLANs). To ensure effective disaster recovery, the engineer and his team built another primary storage site at a different location and linked it to the older site, now designated as the back-up facility, via a 10 gigabyte connection.

The new primary site featured 9 JetStor RAID Arrays, but with 2 Tb drives in their bays that doubled their capacity to 32 Tb per array. Administrators mirrored the two storage sites by adding four JetStor RAID Arrays with 2 Tb drives at the back-up site. They replaced the 1 TB drives in the site’s existing arrays with 2 Tb drives. They finished, for the time being at least, by adding another JetStor chassis to each site, bringing the total to 20 JetStor devices.

CONCLUSION

The studio demonstrated that the most effective solution is not always the most expensive. “By relying on ZFS and JetStor, we’ve met our business and IT needs well into the future,” said the engineer. “We have a storage repository and a DR site with redundancy, flexibility, and scalability, all at very competitive costs.”


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[case study] Improved Server Performance – Lower Cost for School District

School District Server StorageDeploying a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) reduces boot storms, which is a common problem for computer usage in schools, but not without demands. When students all log in at the same time, the storage devices flood with requests for applications, therefore creating what is known as a boot storm.

Titusville Area School District (TASD), serving over 2,000 students with 286 employees spread across 6 sites, required a solution that could virtualize 1,200 desktops, laptops and tablets that fit within their budget.  It sought robust storage to sustain its virtualized environment, but without the complexity and expense of large enterprise storage systems.

Read below how Titusville Area School District (TASD) engineered a powerful, streamlined solution with  JetStor 724iFD FC SAN RAID Arrays to support virtualization effectively and affordably. Or, download the pdf above.

School District Lowers Costs & Improves Security by Virtualizing Desktops with Powerful JetStor® 724iFD Arrays

THE ORGANIZATION

Titusville Area School District (TASD) began in 1837 as a one-room, wooden building serving 100 students. Today, the public school system includes three elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school, and serves over 2,000 students with 286 employees. Located in northwestern Pennsylvania, it spans 200 square miles across three counties. But its mission remains the same—partner with parents and communities to ensure that students “achieve their fullest potential as life-long learners.”

THE CHALLENGE

Like many school districts, TASD must make do with limited resources and it had only a two-person IT staff to maintain over a thousand computers spread across six sites. Security patches and application updates were difficult to install in every individual device, which put the district at risk from malware. As a result, TASD faced the cost of hiring additional IT personnel.

An alternative was deploying a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Computer would access operating systems and applications from servers in a data center. IT staff would maintain only centrally stored programs and could easily install patches and updates. However, VDI deployments demand extremely robust storage, and computer usage in schools only aggravates the problem. At the start of each class period, students all log in, flooding the storage devices with requests for applications and creating what is known as a “boot storm.” Yet the large, complex enterprise storage systems that could reduce boot storms were beyond TASD’s budget.

THE SOLUTION

Two JetStor SAS 724iFD 24-bay RAID Arrays from Advanced Computer & Network Corporation (AC&NC).

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

  • Five rack-mounted Dell R815 Rack Servers
  • Five QLogic QLE10522 FabricCache adapters, one in each server
  • Two QLogic v5800 Fibre Channel switches with redundant 8 gigabit (GB) Fibre Channel links
  • Two JetStor SAS 724iFD 24-bay RAID Arrays, each with four 200 GB solid-state drives and twenty 600 GB hard drives, for 25.6 TB of storage capacity
  • VMware® View 5.2

BENEFITS IMMEDIATELY REALIZED

By using an innovative combination of flash, solid-state, and mechanical storage to virtualize 1,200 desktops, laptops, and tablets, TASD significantly reduced its capital and operating costs while providing its students, teachers, and administrators with fast access to applications and the Internet. Every day, they can boot up their devices and log into class assignments without the latency of boot storms.

The district’s IT staff merely updates master copies of applications that are centrally stored on the JetStor 724iFD arrays in the high school to ensure that every user is working with the latest versions. Additionally, security patches are now quickly installed on the master copies, enhancing the safety of devices across the district. The deployment so streamlined IT services that the district eliminated the need for, and costs of, additional IT staff.

By utilizing the solid-state and mechanical drives of the JetStor 724iFD solutions with the flash storage of QLogic FabricCache Adapters in its servers, TASD obtained blistering performance and immense storage capacity in a single rack. It avoided the pricey systems that would normally be required to deliver such a robust VDI, eliminating upfront capital costs and reducing its ongoing power and air conditioning expenses.

“The school district has a data center in a rack,” said Thomas Breakiron, technical services manager for Cross IT, the district’s value-added reseller and systems integrator. “Its solution has more power and capacity than much larger corporate data centers had not long ago. Moreover, the system is green because it lowers the district’s operating costs and carbon footprint.”

Other benefits of the VDI deployment include delivering any applications easily, even Microsoft Word to Android devices, and enabling teachers to access their files conveniently from home. The solution also can scale to support the district’s remaining devices.

HOW WE DID IT

Cross IT engineered a powerful, cost-effective solution that features two key components, the first being the two JetStor 724iFD RAID arrays. Each 24-bay array has four extremely rapid 200 GB solid-state drives (SSDs) and twenty 600 GB hard drives spinning at a speedy 15,000 RPMs. “We could have used VMware-certified storage systems from any number of vendors but we chose these from AC&NC because they’re screaming fast,” explained Breakiron. “When we ran a pilot with 250 virtualized desktops and just one JetStor 724iFD chassis, the device never broke a sweat and we knew we made the right decision. These systems are also rock-solid and require hardly any management, qualities that schools today need. If a problem ever arises, the devices will even email us and the district’s staff.”

The JetStor 724iFD solutions are configured for RAID 10 for both speed and data protection. They have redundant 8 Gbit Fibre Channel links to two QLogic v5800 Fibre Channel switches. The switches, in turn, have redundant 8 Gbit Fibre Channel connections to five Dell PowerEdge R815 Rack Servers. Here lies the second component that makes this design so successful.

The servers have PCIe-based QLogic QLE10522 FabricCache Adapters that cache data to accelerate server I/O access. Each adapter has 200 GB of non-persistent flash storage for an aggregate of one terabyte. Operating systems and applications are stored on the SSDs in the JetStor 724iFD chassis and sent to the FabricCache Adapters for ultra-fast reads. This combination eliminates boot storms, even with 1,200 virtualized desktops. All writes are quickly stored on the hard drives of the JetStor 724iFD arrays.

CONCLUSION

The installation at TASD shows that school districts can greatly economize on their IT services by deploying virtual desktops. “Bolstered by hybrid JetStor 724iFD RAID arrays with their SSDs and hard drives, schools can deploy high-density VDI solutions with the brute strength worthy of enterprise implementations,” concluded Breakiron. “These systems can cost-effectively meet the needs of educational institutions everywhere.” John Frye, director of technology for TASD, agrees. “With clever engineering and products like AC&NC’S JetStor RAID arrays, we’re providing advanced data center capabilities,” he said. “We’re improving our educational services, streamlining IT, and saving money. It’s a win-win for our students, staff, and communities.”

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[case study] Digital Video Storage – Film editors turn to JetStor

Digital Video Storage - HD Video StorageFew applications pressure storage devices like video editing. Filmmakers must store huge digital video files and then stream them at over 200 megabits/sec to shape raw footage into narratives. This challenge was particularly acute for acclaimed filmmaker Lawrence Carota as he made his documentary, “Crude Sacrifice,” on Canada’s Athabasca Tar Sands, the world’s largest oil-development project.

Carota not only had to digitize 24 hours of super 16 mm film into high-definition 1080p video, his tight budget prohibited secondary storage to back up his files. As a result, the independent filmmaker needed storage solutions that were fast enough to stream multiple high-definition video feeds for editing, yet sufficiently reliable to safeguard 16 terabytes of footage.

Read more about how JetStor RAID Arrays satisfied both of these requirements, giving Carota post-production capabilities equal to a studio’s IT environment without the costs and administrative overhead.

Independent Producer’s Acclaimed Documentary Takes Off Using JetStor® RAID Solutions

THE ORGANIZATION

Founded by Lawrence Carota in 1997, Vancouver-based Ocean Tides Productions crafts industrial and training films, interactive CDs, and, most importantly, documentary films about people and the issues they face. Having delivered such classics as “Keepers Of The Light” about the automation of lighthouses worldwide and “A Nurse’s Opinion,” a prescient look at nursing in Canada’s healthcare system, Carota, a filmmaker for 35 years, shot and edited potentially his most far reaching documentary, “Crude Sacrifice” (www.crudesacrifice.com), over the last three years.

The innovative work examines the adverse health effects on residents in Northern Alberta who live downstream of the Athabasca Tar Sands, the world’s largest oil-development project. The extraction is Canada’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, accounting for almost one percent of all greenhouse gases in the world.

THE CHALLENGE

As an independent filmmaker, Carota’s challenge was making a documentary with the scope and social importance of “Crude Sacrifice” on a very limited budget. Lacking any support from governmental agencies, environment organizations, or businesses, Carota economized by shooting the documentary in super 16mm film.

To ensure the highest resolution for screenings and DVD distribution, he needed to digitize all raw footage into uncompressed 10-bit, 1080p RGB video. Without the resources for a Fibre Channel switch and secondary storage systems to back up his digital files, he required primary storage that is affordable and very reliable. He also needed terabytes of capacity to store 24 hours of high-resolution footage and extraordinary performance to stream multiple video feeds for editing.

THE SOLUTION

One JetStor SATA 516F 16-bay RAID Array and one JetStor SAS 516F 16-bay RAID Array from Advanced Computer & Network Corporation (AC&NC).

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

  • Two Apple Macintosh Pro workstations with dual quad-core processors, ATTO Fibre Channel host adapters, and an AJA KONA 3 video card
  • One JetStor SATA 516F 16 bay RAID Array with 16Tb of storage linked via 4-gigabit Fibre Channel to the Mac Pro workstations.
  • One JetStor SAS 516F 16 bay RAID Array with 16Tb of storage linked via 4-gigabit Fibre Channel to the Mac Pro workstations.

BENEFITS IMMEDIATELY REALIZED

With JetStor RAID arrays anchoring his production environment, Carota edited 16 terabytes of digital video files into a feature-length documentary at a fraction of the cost traditionally incurred by professional filmmakers. The built-in Fibre Channel ports of his AC&NC solutions, coupled with their extremely fast I/O functionality, reduced data transfers from hours to minutes, greatly accelerating the editing process. The reliability of his JetStor solutions eliminated the need for secondary backup storage and a costly Fibre Channel switch to link them.

“Without any backup in place, we worried that we would lose files should a disk fail, which would have been disastrous,” Carota explained.

“But AC&NC removed that risk. Its storage arrays performed flawlessly, and we didn’t lose a second of footage during months of post-production.”

Moreover, Carota found the JetStor arrays easy to manage and monitor.

“We had post-production capabilities that were the equal of a studio’s IT environment, but without the costs and administrative overhead,” added Carota. “We couldn’t have made ‘Crude Sacrifice’ without economical solutions like those from AC&NC.”

Indeed, Carota’s resourcefulness and hard work have begun to pay off. Released as a System of Illusion Pictures film, “Crude Sacrifice” premiered at the Planet in Focus International Environmental Film & Video Festival in Toronto, Ontario. It was the only film out of 88 entries from around the world to receive Honorable Mention.

HOW WE DID IT

To edit “Crude Sacrifice,” Carota searched for storage solutions that met his needs for economy and dependability. Carota learned about JetStor arrays from AC&NC and was impressed with their performance, features, and data security. He deployed a JetStor SATA 516F RAID array with 16 one-terabyte disks and linked it via four gigabits per second Fibre Channel to a Mac Pro workstation with a Fibre Channel adapter.

Carota then used the array’s web-based management tool to configure the system for RAID 5 storage. A RAID solution features multiple hard drives that enhance performance and provide fault tolerance and error recovery with such techniques as data striping and mirroring. RAID 5 uses block-level striping with parity data distributed across all of the array’s disks to safeguard data even if two drives fail. Additionally, the Fibre Channel protocol ensures no data is lost during file transfers.

As a result, Carota’s AC&NC solution protected his work regardless if it was stored on disks or moving between devices. “I felt secure trusting years of my work to JetStor RAID solutions,” he noted. Carota deployed a Cinetel film scanner to transfer his analog film footage onto Sony HDSR tape and then used an AJA KONA 3 solution to convert the video into uncompressed, 10-bit 1080p digital files stored on the JetStor array. As more footage was converted, Carota installed another JetStor SAS 516F RAID Array, also with 16 one-terabyte disks, for additional storage.

Once the raw footage was stored on the JetStor arrays, Carota and his team used a second Mac Pro workstation with Apple’s Final Cut Pro video editing application, as well as Adobe Photoshop, to edit “Crude Sacrifice,” make color corrections, and add such effects as titles and credits. Another key advantage of his JetStor RAID arrays was their performance. The resolution and frame rates of broadcast-quality files demand throughput of at least 200 megabits/sec per stream and Carota needed two such streams for editing purposes.

“Our JetStor solutions delivered the speed we required,” said Carota. “Their extremely fast throughput expedited our post-production work by letting us retrieve and save enormous files very quickly.”

CONCLUSION

“High-definition 1080p is emerging as the medium of choice for filmmakers, but it requires speed and vast amounts of storage,” said Carota. “You need a robust IT environment that’s economical and easy to manage. That’s why we turned to AC&NC. Its solutions deliver very solid performance and tremendous capacity in a small form factor. We built a full-fledged, professional post-production studio in a little room and now we’re working on distribution deals for “Crude Sacrifice.'”

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