Fast Enough? Data-Driven Broadcast Infrastructure
COW Library : SAN - Storage Area Networks : Bob Zelin : Fast Enough? Data-Driven Broadcast Infrastructure
Everything that we have known in the broadcast industry is changing right in front of us, at a record pace. There was simply too much for one person to see at NAB 2010, so I will concentrate on the area that I am heavily involved with these days -- storage arrays.
Many manufacturers are currently making RAID arrays that allow us to work at uncompressed HD rates. As videotape fades away and drives fill with footage, people want faster and faster arrays, with more and more storage -- and with no videotape original source material, people want to know how to manage all this data, and how to back it up. It was also amazing to see so many wonderful shared storage systems on the market: systems based on Ethernet from Small Tree, Maxx Digital, Apace, EditShare, and 1 Beyond; fibre systems from JMR, Sonnet, Rorke, and Facilis; and unique iSCSI systems from companies like Studio Network Solutions. All wonderful, all aggressively priced, all adding flexibility to the workflows in our studios.
Historically, ingest meant loading in some form of videotape and digitizing. Even if the original footage was film, ingest was from videotape.
But what is universally happening, whether we like it or not, is that all sources are becoming data -- whether from Panasonic P2, Sony XDCAM EX and NX, JVC GY series cameras; Convergent Design nano- Flash, AJA Ki Pro, Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras; and of course, high end, hi-res cameras from ARRI, RED, and others. It is a fantasy that Sony HDCAM SR tape will remain the format of choice for high-end ingest, as this will fade away quickly -- no matter how much money all of us have invested in these various tape formats. One workaround to preserve the investment in HDCAM SR cameras: capture files to the Sony SRW-1 disk recorder.
Of course you still need to get these digital files into your system. The single most impressive ingest product that I saw was the Sonnet Technologies Qio, pronounced Cue-Eye-Oh. Using a single PCIe slot, it gives you two P2 readers, two Sony SxS readers, and two CF Card readers.
My first reaction was, "It takes up another card slot?!? What if you need a slot for a SATA card?" The Sonnet Qio also incorporates the well known E4P eSATA card - built right into the Qio! So in addition to everything else, you get four eSATA ports, all of which support port multiplication for your eSATA drives. Amazing!
Qio by Sonnet Technologies with dual P2, SxS, and CF slots.