Since the analogue days of film and tape, video productions have had a hugely important need to properly store and access their data. This could be footage, sound or in the modern era files and projects, but all require the same high level of security and speed of access. Today, thanks to the advent of 4K cameras, files are larger than ever before, which places even more of an emphasis on the ability to quickly find, review and work with a specific piece of data.
And that’s just at the production level. Once you take the many different elements of post into consideration (grading, mixing and visual effects, to name a few), it can be very difficult to keep track of everything. There are many different types of storage used within the media and entertainment industry to facilitate good work flows, but one of the most powerful is network-attached storage, or NAS.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how NAS solutions from the likes of Synology can help your production to run smoothly – getting you from pre-production to finished film easily and safely.
NAS is a storage server attached directly to your network, which can by accessed by anything on that network.
What is NAS?
There’s an increasing desire within the world of media production to be able to quickly access and use data from multiple workstations within the same network. Especially in higher end post facilities, this is effectively a necessity, as the financial and time cost of having the same set of data stored in multiple places for each computer to access simply isn’t efficient.
That’s where network-attached storage comes in, providing a RAID array across a server so that anybody on the network can access data.
But what’s a RAID array? Well, the acronym stands for ‘redundant array of independent disks’, and as you might expect, this basically means combining multiple disks worth of componentry into a single unit. The benefits of this over a single drive are huge, ranging from speed to capacity. Because of the increased performance that you get from a RAID array, it’s very common to see them being used in professional media management environment. The two most common types are RAID 5 and RAID 6. They are very similar, but with RAID 5, the unit will continue if one disk fails. With RAID 6, up to two drives can fail without causing a loss of data.
So, to boil it all down and put it simply – NAS is a storage server attached directly to your network, which can by accessed by anything on that network.
A photo posted by Synology (@synology.official) on
The need for speed
A helpful way to look at NAS is to compare it to its cousin DAS – direct-attached storage. Again, the clue is in the name, with these systems being directly attached to a workstation. Simple right? Well yes, the great benefit of DAS solutions such as thunderbolt drives or even USB sticks is that they can transmit data very quickly from the storage unit to the computer. This is perfect for environments where only one workstation is necessary, but if multiple people need to work at the same time, sharing data presents a challenge.
We know that NAS provides a solution to this, but how can we get it up to same speeds as DAS? The answer lies in 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks.
Now before you start trying to work out how many years it would take to save up for one of these systems, it’s important to note that their prices have come down significantly over the last few years. In fact, this type of network setup is becoming the norm in many industries that rely on speed, and the cost of having it is about the same as standard Gigabit Ethernet was a few year ago.
Increasing the speed of your network with a relatively affordable network upgrade can do wonders for your bottom line.
10 Gigabit Ethernet networks and the ‘p’ words
When it comes to film production and other areas of media management, speed isn’t just an issue of convenience. Sure, not having to wait three hours for the transfer of one terabyte may make your day involve a little less sitting around, but the knock on impacts are just as important. Think about the two ‘p’ words – productivity and profitability. These two are very closely tied together, and increasing the speed of your network with a relatively affordable network upgrade can do wonders for your bottom line.
In fact, this type of setup – combined with network-attached storage – is what we’re seeing a lot of amongst the country’s top post-production houses.
So, when it comes to setting up your storage and workflow, get in touch with DVT to talk about NAS solutions.
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