Digistor brings shared workgroup storage to the University of Sydney's student video production facilities

June 2014

University of Sydney

When the University of Sydney's Faculty of Arts and Social Science needed to improve their media workflow, they came to Digistor.

The Context

The University of Sydney's Faculty of Arts and Social Science has up to 25 Adobe Premiere Pro video editing suites that are in simultaneous use across several labs. Equipped with the latest video, audio, and graphic creation packages, these labs enable students to produce current affairs programs, narratives and documentaries, sharing content among themselves for assessment purposes.

The Problem

As with any such facility, storing and transferring vast amounts of data, especially HD video, is a continual issue. As the students always outnumber the available suites, finding a way to manage all of this data efficiently and to protect students' assessment assets rapidly became critical. Added to this was the need to replace the laborious and time-wasting method of transferring files to and from individual workstations.

With ambitions to create their own affordable web-broadcast channel on providers like Vimeo, the University realised that they needed a high-performance centralised storage repository that could handle any amount of back-end distribution without degrading the high performance the students need. They came to Digistor for a solution.

Digistor's Approach

"The students need access to numerous large source files and were having to transfer these files and their own work to and from local workstations," says Matt Wood, Digistor's Sales Consultant for the account. "This is an inefficient and time-consuming way to handle video editing, and it's a common problem in educational institutions, who can't always stay at the leading edge of technology."

"We applied our usual consultative approach to the problem," says Matt. "We met with the University, analysed their service delivery goals and their technical and operational requirements, then white-boarded several possible options and narrowed the choices down to two vendors. As we're not vendor-driven, we can focus on the best possible solution for whatever our customers need, rather than pushing a particular brand or technology. We've proven the value of this approach on numerous occasions, including at other educational institutions such as the University of Newcastle, RMIT and Deakin University."

The Solution

Digistor recommended EditShare, because of its strong pedigree in both the commercial and education sector, flexibility with choice of non-linear editing applications, and its ability to handle the required layers of real-time editing across multiple workstations.

"We recommended an EditShare XStream 64-terabyte storage solution, "says Matt. "This provided enough bandwidth to ensure that none of the students would experience delays, even when all 25 editing suites are working with HD media files simultaneously."

With large numbers of video streams required, Digistor paid particular attention to performance to guarantee that the system would cope without disrupting any student's work, even during peak assessment times.

"Another advantage of EditShare we identified," adds Matt, "was that it is Ethernet-based, so it integrated perfectly with the University's existing network."

Education Workflow
EditShare Education Workflow Diagram

Careful Deployment

To deploy the solution, Digistor engineers provided installation, roll-out and acceptance testing services to ensure the system achieved the required levels of performance. This involved testing real-world scenarios across all 25 suites working with multiple simultaneous video streams.

"Just providing a system isn't enough," says Matt, "you need to make sure it's all installed and functioning at 100%. Digistor's engineering team excels at this."

Ongoing Support

Digistor Customer AssuranceAnother critical aspect of the University of Sydney's choice to use Digistor was their need for someone to implement and support the system over the long term.

"Universities wants to focus on education, not on IT support," says Matt, "they don't have the time or the expertise to support a system like this and they certainly couldn't afford any downtime, so support was a major part of our proposal."

Digistor proposed a Digistor Customer Assurance Plan (DCAP), under which they provide unlimited telephone, email and remote support over extended business hours, plus twice-yearly preventative health checks.

"The preventative health checks are important," explains Matt, "because every storage solution can accumulate minor corruptions, fragmentation and so on that can result in eventual failure. We catch these before failures occur."

Into the Future

Phil Glen, Digital Media Unit Manager of the Faculty of Arts and Social Science, says that from the University's perspective, the EditShare system Digistor recommended had a real edge.

"We knew EditShare could handle our needs based on its positive reputation in the education sector, but it really nails the performance we require. It also enables us to take advantage of the complete suite of EditShare tools for media asset management.

"When we need a way to manage content for our web video channel, EditShare's Flow sounds like a great solution," says Phil, "we can add this on without making any changes to the existing storage environment, so that could save us time and money in the long run."

The students are now fully-engaged with the new system, and able to access their workspace on the EditShare from any edit suite in the labs.

"This is a great outcome for the students," says Matt. "The University of Sydney installation of EditShare is a classic example of how Digistor applies technical expertise, operational experience and local knowledge to provide not only the best solution for the customer, but a perfect installation and long-term support. It's the consultative approach and services that really make the difference."

EditShare Integration with Adobe Premiere Pro


About EditShare

EditShare is the technology pioneer in networked shared storage and tapeless, end-to-end workflow solutions for the post-production, TV and film industries. Digistor provides integrated digital media production solutions including project scoping, installation, roll-out and on-going support with storage workflow utilising EditShare's products.