Quantum StorNext and Extended Online Workflow Storage Enable 100% 4K Operation at Leading Hollywood Post-Production Facility

As an organization offering services that range from managing dailies and post-production editing to transcoding and final content delivery, MTI has no time for mistakes, slowdowns, or equipment failure.

“Post-production and dailies services for episodic television create unusual workflow and storage challenges,” explains John Stevens, MTI Film CTO. “We bring enormous amounts of data into our system. A typical project generates six to eight terabytes per day per project—and we normally have more than half a dozen series going at once. Our challenge is making all of that content available immediately for producers to view, and storing it in a location that allows the post-production team to access it as needed. Speed is critical. So is shared access to the files. So is raw capacity. And all the problems are becoming compounded as we do more projects, as resolution moves toward full 4K, and as we have to support different formats and platforms.”

Collaborative Workflow Platform Needs to Extend Online Storage

MTI Film has used Quantum’s StorNext platform for its shared workflow since the company launched its digital post-production services in 2009. But as MTI Film began to hit the limits of its existing storage system, it became increasingly apparent that constantly adding more RAID was not practical, especially considering the difficultly of maintaining reliable RAID volumes over a petabyte. What they really needed was storage that could scale into many petabytes without the limitations of RAID, but that still offered fast access to easily shared stored content. After looking at alternatives, MTI chose to deploy Quantum object storage Extended Online based on object storage technology.

Object Storage Basics

Object storage Extended Online uses a proven object storage approach with major advantages over RAID. It scales from 100TB to hundreds of petabytes, and protects data from equipment failure or site loss using self-healing technology and spreading data across multiple systems and sites. That distribution creates reliability levels much higher than RAID, and makes access to content much faster than tape or public clouds. And, growing object storage capacity is quick and seamless.

At MTI Film, object storage extended online storage is integrated into the workflow by StorNext Storage Manager, which automatically moves content from online storage to object storage based on policies that the team sets.

Greater Capacity and Greater Revenue Potential

“Extending our online storage with object storage and using StorNext Storage Manager to manage it makes perfect sense for us," says Stevens. "We get massive storage capacity that is off our SAN, but that [still] gives us very fast access to the files—we’ve been seeing performance of 350MB to 370MB a second—through our standard StorNext file system interface. Best of all, we can add capacity quickly and easily for a specific job and tie the costs directly to the project. It’s like having our own private cloud, except that the access times are much faster.”

Because object storage is an extension of MTI’s online storage, MTI can employ all of the StorNext APIs and management techniques to develop additional services for its clients, including giving clients direct access to stored files.

StorNext —Upgrade to the Next-Generation Workflow Storage Platform

As part of the project, MTI Film also upgraded to the next-generation StorNext platform using dual, redundant StorNext Metadata Appliances. StorNext  can archive up to 5 billion files per volume, increases performance up to 10 times, and enhances stability for large volumes.

“The upgrade to StorNext gave us a substantial performance boost, especially when we moved down the directory tree," says Stevens. "Now, we see the same speed throughout the entire data set. We made the transition over a weekend, and when the team came in Monday morning, they didn’t have to change anything—it was transparent to all the applications.”

Online Storage Upgrade

The MTI team selected other Quantum solutions to enhance other workflow stages. QXS storage with SSD-based flash provides performance for full-resolution 4K workflow. Quantum also supplied NetApp E-Series Storage for the best price-performance and highest reliability RAID for daily work-in-process. StorNext with StorNext Storage Manager ensures that content flows through all stages of the production pipeline seamlessly.

“Quantum StorNext and its tiered approach to storage management have been working in M&E workflows for years,” says Jason Kranitz, VP of Sales,Integrated Media Technologies (IMT).“We are proud to have participated in the design and integration effort for MTI Film’s deployment of the complete Quantum portfolio of offerings, includingStorNext, multiple tiers of disk, and Object Storage.”