Over the last six years, Novus Select has blossomed into a full-blown creative agency with its portfolio ranging from car commercials to documentaries for large multinationals. The 14-person company recently moved from their small Lake Tahoe cabin to a real corporate office with the inevitable growing pains of managing back-end production storage
A SEA OF STORAGE
With the move from film to digital came the challenge of backing up – at first to CDs, then DVDs, and eventually external hard drives. As the jobs piled up, so did the drives. It fell to Andy Mead to maintain this ocean of offline gigabytes and wade through it when requests came in for historical files for project updates or for internal promotional assets. At one stage, they were warehousing over one thousand drives, with half of them being backups of the other half, the majority of which were G-Technology®.
While dramatically boosting efficiency, growing business meant that producers were pouring in roughly 8TB of still images and video each month. Moreover, it was difficult to have concurrent workflows with more than one editor working off the main storage since the G-SPEED Shuttle XL is connected to a single workstation.
The only sensible path was to scale up to network attached storage (NAS).
Sticking with their trusted brand, Andy chose G-Technology’s 120TB G-RACK 12 and 120TB G-RACK 12 EXP expansion configured in RAID 6 for 200TB of usable storage. As future needs grew, he could simply add additional expansion units, up to a total of 4.
One of the four 10 Gbps Ethernet ports is used as a public IP so that field producers can grab assets as needed. The other three ports allow three or four editors to work concurrently on the same collection of project files without the fear of jamming up a host workstation or inconveniently having to run drives between desks. This allows significant growth of the editing team without sacrificing any workflow efficiency.
FROM SPRAWL TO SHUTTLES
The logical upgrade was three 80TB G-SPEED Shuttle XLs. One remains on-site, the second at a facility three miles from the main office, and the third roughly 50 miles away. They are rotated and updated regularly, with periodic incremental backups, so that if some natural disaster, such as a flood or tornado, damages two of the G-SPEED Shuttle XLs, the remaining unit would still keep the back-up media safe.
“You can buy a cheap camera or the gold standard of cameras. You get what you pay for. Storage and servers are no different. It was clear we had to go with a top-shelf solution. We’ve been doing over 100 projects a year in the field, and most of those are done on G-Technology products. We need reliability and speed, and we need it to be robust in the field. With years of seeing these qualities across G-Technology’s storage portfolio, we had high confidence of getting more of the same with the G-RACK 12. It was affordable, and G-Technology’s customer service has been extraordinary over the years.” Corey Rich, Co-Founder.
For a small company, pulling out even one person to upgrade can be hugely disruptive, fortunately, the G-RACK 12 migration posed no setbacks to productivity.
“I was shocked at how easy the G-RACK 12 was to install. Unpacking, loading the drives, installing in the racks, booting it up, and going through the wizards was maybe two hours of time. I can’t imagine how the web-based GUI could have been easier to navigate and implement. Physically copying the data is a separate step, but in terms of business impact, we saw no slow-down to our operations because of this storage install.” Brett Wilhelm, Producer.
Interfacing multiple Macs and Thunderbolt storage devices onto a single network without compromising performance meant turning to ATTO for rock-solid interconnect solutions. The ATTO ThunderLink 10GbE adapters bridge Mac and iMac systems via Thunderbolt to the high speed 10GbE ports on G-RACK 12 via the 10GbE network switch. The daisy-chained G-Speed Shuttle XLs link by Thunderbolt via a Mac Mini coupled with an ATTO ThunderLink to the 10GbE lines for high speed offload to G-RACK, providing a fully interconnected, ultra-reliable, high-speed, storage workflow solution.
With centralized network storage, it’s much easier for the Novus Select team to build portfolios and marketing assets letting them build their brand better and faster. Having the G-RACK 12 allows the company to shift their focus from asset management back to productive creativity. Most importantly, now the Novus Select team can find the time to do that one most elusive thing of all: enjoy life.