Post Production Office Selects Accusys Storage Systems, Central Management and the Latest Non-Linear Editing Solutions

Post Production Office LTD. (PO), founded in 2003, is primarily engaged in post-production television advertising. The company provides comprehensive services such as high quality digital post-production special effects synthesis, digital editing, rendering and mixing, conversion and animation.


PO holds more than 30% of the advertising post-production market in Hong Kong, while 40% of their advertising post-production is from China. One of Hong Kong's biggest film and television post-production companies with staff that has accumulated deep experience in the industry. With the expansion of the post-production market, PO entered the domestic Chinese market in March 2010.

The Challenge

Post-production work is not only technically competitive, it is also a software and hardware intensive industry, which involves storage system performance, varying degrees of stability, prevention of frame dropping and latency. For a long time , read and write performance was limited by storage limitations and flatness and while multiple-stream editing permitted multiple workstations to simultaneously access the same storage pool of data, ultimate efficiency had not been fully achieved thus plaguing those in the in the post-production industry.


Their Shanghai office already possess professional color grading raw cut, video editing facilities that utilize the most advanced domestic and imported equipment in the industry. However, multiple workstations providing simultaneous access to media footage so essential to success is not fully achievable without a powerful and capable SAN data storage system.


PO’s operating environment difficulty is that six high definition workstations and film scanners need a simultaneous connection to the central storage system pool. In full resolution 2K film scan flow, a minimum of 400MB/s sustained uninterrupted transmission bandwidth efficiency is required. In the past, only using a directly connected DAS 4Gb FC storage system method could support this rate.

The Solution

The Accusys ExaRAID HD series with PCIe technology is designed to satisfy all broadcast and post-production demands as an efficient and cost-effective solution. It provides editing workstations with innovative external PCIe Disk Array and high-bandwidth 20Gb performance. Whether performing multiple stream editing of uncompressed HD video streams, 2K/4K film post-production or data transmission in high-demand applications, its PCIe technology, ultra-high bandwidth performance and stable characteristics are breakthrough improvements in digital editing workflows.


PO utilizes ExaSAN, in order to meet the high bandwidth requirements and to consider scalability. PO has installed two 24bay 20Gb and a set of high-speed disk array 12bay system at 10Gb. The ExaSAN program includes the 9 clients ExaSAN Switch, an expanded storage G1 Switch, and the G2 Switch for connecting up to 12 workstations, 10 Gb PCIe optical cable and PCIe HBA, all form complete and effective hardware solutions that fully support PO’s application environments.


Management of the post-production environment at PO brought together Xsan and StorNext FX. Xsan uses Mac as the main file system and StorNext FX can be installed on any workstation for non-Mac clients to achieve cross-platform functionality, for windows, Mac, Linux Redhat and Linux SUSE multiple operating system platforms sharing a high-speed ExaSAN central storage system pool.

The Workflow

PO has three Mac hosts for Final Cut Pro and Autodesk Smoke, an HPX8600 for Film Master Color Grading, an HP Z800 for Autodesk Flint, a Linux SUSE workstation for DFT Spirit 4K/2K/HD (Film Scanner) and two Xservers for an Xsan metadata redundant server. The ExaSAN system supports Mac, Windows, Linux drivers. The above nine workstations and server through a 10Gb NT-HBA and optical cable are connected to the high-speed ExaSAN Switch. It uses Xsan file system functions so that with a two A24D ExaSAN storage system, you can stack bandwidth up to 96TB and 40Gb, with overall output performance of up to 2500MB/s. Xsan and metadata management requires separate metadata spaces. General Fiber SAN solutions will put media control and metadata in the same storage system if the sequential and random access is for one RAID controller, and sequential and random behavior in the same RAID controller affects performance. And in POs case, they also put Xsan metadata storage in separate spaces in the ExaSAN A12S. In particular, this enables sequential and random separation, allowing more stable and smooth performance.

The Benefits

PO's Managing Director Dennis Yang said; “Hong Kong uses 4GB FC SAN storage as its central storage system, but there are limits in terms of speed, while costs are not low. Therefore, they chose for their new office in Shanghai, “the PCIe SAN solution” said Yang, “Is very fast, and 4G or 8G FC related costs are not high to facilitate future upgrades and expansion. The total bandwidth of the current program can be measured at over 2000MB/s, A single workstation is up to 700MB/s and its performance is twice that of optical fiber solutions! So it can support six HD and 2K workstations to provide full services, and do not worry about using up the bandwidth and speed. In the studio you can easily copy and share project clips.”


Accusys storage systems, having achieved much acclaim from end users, are able to fulfill all video editing application requirements as well as making it a very practical solution for the television advertising industry.

Solution Requirement

Central Storage:

Accusys 96T PCIe high-speed and high-speed PCI-E switch, Apple's Xserver to use as the central storage controller two a hot standby.


Management Software:

Apple's XSAN (Apple platform) Quantum Stornext (Redhat Linux / SUSE Linux / Windows 2003 platform) as the sharing of SAN management software.


Workstation:

Film scanner, Film Master 2009 color system, Autodesk Flint, Autodesk Smoke on Mac, Apple FCP, etc.