In today’s fast paced industries, including Media and Entertainment, the demand for more data and video to be produced, exchanged and stored in greater volumes is ever increasing. Not only is source material and deliverables in media becoming larger as formats like UltraHD, 4K and even 8K become more prevalent, but the needs of creatives and producers of content have become more complex and demanding. Many media companies today have a global presence and with that a growing need to be able to collaborate more effectively, which has been typically extremely challenging or cost prohibitive.
It’s no secret that I get excited when there are new developments in products and services that enable better collaboration. As a Solution’s Architect, much of my focus in a Media and Entertainment pipeline/solution is on core infrastructure that delivers cost effective efficiencies that work on improving collaboration. At the heart of this is a proven storage solution that meets or exceeds the customer’s requirements.
We’ll be looking at Quantum’s latest offering, StorNext 6. Many mid to large Media companies will probably be familiar with Quantum and in most cases already rely on a Quantum storage solution to deliver high performing and reliable data to their collaborative creative users. In recent years, we’ve seen StorNext 5 replace ageing XSAN storage and older ‘roll your own’ StorNext storage solutions and soon Quantum will be releasing StorNext 6.
Quantum’s StorNext 6 release has many new exciting data management and collaborative features/tools, along with several key, under the hood improvements that not only enable the new features and tools but ensure there is a solid foundation for future performance, scalability and feature improvements.
Let’s take a look at the new collaborative features and tools of StorNext 6.
Technically speaking FlexSync is a new product that enables efficient and high-performance filesystem copy, but it’s so much more than just an excellent ‘copy’ tool taking advantage of StorNext 6 under the hood improvements, I like to think of it as Quantum’s approach to replication.
FlexSync can copy files/folders between directories within the same filesystem or copy a filesystem to another. In ‘IT Speak’, I would describe it as one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-one file copy scenarios that can be configured to operate on specific files, specific folders or entire file systems.
The under the hood improvements to StorNext’s 6 Metadata and expanded File Auditing capabilities allow smart and efficient processing of files, this is particularly important in large filesystems. This allows for fast identification of files that have changed without the need to lock and scan like replication with traditional filesystems. In addition to being able to instantly identify filesystem changes FlexSync is able to intelligently copy ‘blocks’ that have changed reducing bandwidth requirements, Important for geo-collaboration in bandwidth limited locations.
Replication performance improvements are dramatic in many instances reducing sync/copy times from days/hours to minutes and often seconds.
FlexSync allows users to set policies that automatically trigger copies of files, folders and/or filesystems making them available as soon as possible to multiple teams in geo spread locations. This has been a long-desired feature in many storage solutions and granted there are other solutions that out there have their own unique approaches to replication and sync’ing of ‘namespaces’, it’s exciting to finally see this coming to Quantum StorNext in an expected high performing and simple integrated way that Quantum is known for.
FlexSync enables many more collaborative use cases and other use cases not discussed here, such as Disaster Recovery.
FlexSpace is a newly developed foundation designed specifically for enabling collaborative workflows with geo-spread locations. FlexSpace provides a central repository that can be shared by many teams/organisations that are geographically spread. Each location has a FlexSync Agent that provides S3 compatible connectivity to Object Stores including Public and Private cloud services that will store the shared repository.
Having a central repository permits new use cases such as shared Archives, Project based collaboration and content synchronisation.
Users will be able to access the repositories at their different geo locations via UI using a local application, providing the ability to browse, checkout and upload content or via web browser which does not require a local application/agent but is limited to checkout/downloads at present.
Below is a diagram that shows some use cases that are now possible with FlexSync.
For more information about other use cases or use cases you’re looking to enable please contact us at Digistor.
Quality of Service (QoS) while not something most people would consider to be a collaborative enabler at first glance, I see as an opportunity to better structure how performance is shared between all the users thus enabling better user and overall shared or collaborative experience. StorNext 6 brings per client QoS that has a few modes. The default or general QoS mode is Fair Share and as the name suggests all clients on this default mode will share equally in the available bandwidth. For demanding clients such as those in online/finishing suites or those dealing with 4K content could set First Come or the highest priority mode which attempts to allocate the client first with the requested Bandwidth or as close as possible with any remaining bandwidth to be used for other clients of the other two modes. Lastly there is the Low Share mode that places a ‘cap’ on bandwidth for clients that are intended to be low priority background tasks.
These are just some of great new features and improvements that you’ll find in the upcoming release of StorNext 6.
StorNext 6 will be shipping with all newly purchased Xcellis™ and StorNext M-Series offerings, as well as Artico™ archive appliances, in the coming month. It will be available at no additional cost for StorNext 5 users under current support contracts with Quantum.
If you’d like to know more about Quantum’s new StorNext 6 features or you’re an existing Digistor and Quantum customer wanting to upgrade to StorNext 6, please call us at Digistor