JetStor Delivers Performance Needed for High-definition, 3D Film Production


THE ORGANIZATION

Evergreen Studios is a visionary production company that finances and develops premium content, and builds narrative worlds for theatrical, television, comics, web, mobile and video game platforms. The Los Angeles-based company is best known for its unique development skills, proprietary technical offerings and utilization of emerging technologies to advance its production process and storytelling capabilities. Evergreen works with some of the most renowned creative talent in the entertainment industry to extend the consumer experience and tell stories beyond their native platforms. It has also produced several television shows for Discovery Channel and Syfy and most recently, Evergreen joined forces with 20th Century Fox for the 2013 animated feature film, Walking with Dinosaurs, which revitalized the BBC franchise.

THE CHALLENGE 

As a production company, Evergreen Studios has robust storage demands. It needs to safely house large files of high-definition footage that represent many thousands of dollars of production costs. It also must stream these files to workstations for online and offline editing and post-production work. Online editing is done with footage directly from the camera whereas offline editing uses lower quality proxies that consume less bandwidth. Edits done to the offline footage are then transferred to the online footage.

Evergreen used enterprise-class storage for much of its online editing, but these solutions are very expensive to buy and maintain. It had relied on less costly storage systems for its offline work, but these lacked the reliability that the studio demanded. 

“We needed a secure, cost-effective solution for storing hundreds of terabytes of production data,” said Jamie Evans, Post Production Manager for Evergreen Studios. “This storage, however, needs to have extraordinary throughput. 3D content, for example, entails two streams of uncompressed video, one for each eye. Working on these projects is like doing two online edits at the same time.”

Evergreen Studios required storage platforms for its multimedia production work that are not only very fast, but also as reliable as its high-end solutions and much less expensive to own.

THE SOLUTION 

Four JetStor SAS 742F 42-bay FC RAID Arrays, two JetStor SAS 716F 16-bay RAID Arrays, and one JetStor SAS 724F 24-bay FC RAID Array from Advanced Computer & Network Corporation (AC&NC).

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

• Four JetStor SAS 742F 42-bay FC RAID Arrays

• Two JetStor SAS 716F 16-bay RAID Arrays

• One JetStor SAS 724F 24-bay FC RAID Array

• Two Brocade 5300 SAN Switches

BENEFITS IMMEDIATELY REALIZED

Evergreen Studios met its needs and then some by replacing its legacy, mid-tier storage products with JetStor platforms. At any given time, the production company stores about half a petabyte of video and multimedia data on its seven JetStor RAID arrays, consuming only half their total capacity. 

Key for Evergreen Studios is the performance that the JetStor chassis deliver. It found that they can provide throughout of up to one gigabyte per second and the JetStor SAS 724F RAID Array, which is provisioned with ultra-fast solid-state drives (SSDs), can hit speeds of two gigabytes per second. The production company intended to use the arrays for offline work, but the systems deliver enough speed for online editing as well.

“Although our JetStor solutions are far less costly than our high-end storage, we ended up using them in the same way,” explained Evans. “We’re just as comfortable with the JetStor arrays for editing and post-production work as we are with our enterprise-class systems. This is true of even 3D content.”

Additionally, the JetStor platforms are nearly as reliable as Evergreen’s top-tier storage solutions. Moreover, the JetStor chassis are provisioned with off-the-shelf, third-party drives whereas the high-end systems require expensive, proprietary drives that must be ordered from the vendor. Consequently, the production company can afford to keep spare drives for its JetStor arrays should one need to be replaced.

“When we need a new drive for our enterprise storage, the system could be in a degraded state for days if not a week while we await a replacement, which is scary,” said Evans. “Not so with our JetStor solutions. Their downtime is minimal and I can service them myself, which is a big plus. Getting this rapid replacement time from our enterprise vendor would mean paying a lot more for elevated support.”

Evans adds that the drives on JetStor chassis are hot swappable. He simply inserts a new drive and the platform automatically rebuilds the data.

“I like the JetStor way of doing business,” said Evans. “The upfront investment is much less, as are the operational costs. They deliver a strong price per gigabyte of storage without compromising performance or availability.”

HOW WE DID IT

Evergreen Studios deploys its JetStor systems in a robust storage area network (SAN). It installed four JetStor SAS 742F 42-bay FC RAID Arrays that are provisioned with either three or four terabyte drives. These are particularly high density, power efficient platforms. The company also uses two JetStor SAS 716F 16-bay RAID Arrays with three terabyte drives, and one JetStor SAS 724F 24-bay FC RAID Array with SSDs. All have dual power supplies and all but the JetStor 724F platform are configured for RAID 5. Each device has redundant 8 gigabit per second Fibre Channel links to two Brocade 5300 SAN switches.

The production company uses the RAID Manager application to configure and administer its JetStor solutions. RAID Manager helps to reduce downtime by emailing administrators with alerts of any issues, enabling prompt servicing.

CONCLUSION 

Evergreen Studio’s JetStor solutions are an ideal complement to its high-end storage system. They furnish all the speed and dependability needed for sophisticated feature-film editing and production, and do so more economically than high-end systems. 

“JetStor arrays provide value, especially compared to costlier enterprise-class solutions,” concluded Evans.  “They offer massive storage with outstanding throughput at a much better price point.”

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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