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Storage roundup: Visual effects studio opts for LTO-4 tape drives, shuns disk; and more

Antony Adshead, UK Bureau Chief
The Mill, a London-based visual effects studio, has implemented 15 Tandberg LTO-4 tape drives for rapid backup of digital video. The company decided to opt for tape backup rather than disk-based backup on speed of throughput and cost grounds.

The Mill has seen increasing amounts of digital video use, which means its 15 editing suites require a total of approximately 40 TB of storage for backups. The company decided to go for tape because providing disk-based backup would have required a storage-area network (SAN) with high throughput speeds that could match that of LTO-4, which is about 120 Mbps uncompressed.

"We spent £2,000 on a tape drive for each of 15 video workstations. The alternative would have been £200,000 on at least one high-end SAN to meet our bandwidth requirements," said Paul Crisp, systems software manager at The Mill.

The search for a vendor was narrowed by a requirement that tape drives had to have Fibre Channel (FC) connectivity because these were the only card slots available to use in their edit suite workstations. "Tandberg was the only vendor that could give us single, standalone Fibre Channel drives," Crisp said.

DroboElite gains VMware Ready status

Data Robotics has announced its DroboElite data storage array has achieved VMware Ready status. The designation indicates the product has passed a detailed evaluation and testing process managed by VMware and is now listed on the VMware vSphere 4.0 Compatibility List. DroboElite is a RAID-enabled disk array product with iSCSI connectivity aimed at the small and medium size enterprise (SME) market.

Hitachi launches G-Drive with portable Apple drives

Hitachi has announced European availability of its G-Drive mobile USB and G-Drive mobile portable hard drives for Apple Mac users. The G-Drive mobile USB has a USB 2.0 interface, while the G-Drive mobile also has FireWire 800. Both are formatted for Macs, and are Time Machine-ready for simple automated backups.

Broadcaster ditches tape for Isilon clustered NAS

Broadcaster Travel Channel has implemented 60 TB of Isilon clustered NAS as part of a technology refresh at its London headquarters, which saw it move data from 30,000 tapes to disk. Travel Channel has built its new production environment using Isilon NAS to serve files across a Gigabit Ethernet network to multiple edit suites running Apple Final Cut Pro 7 editing tools.

"The complexity and scope of our channel meant that we were wasting a lot of time with physical tapes," said Matt Westrup, head of operations at Travel Channel, "and the move to a file-based environment provided us with a huge set of financial and creative advantages."

Westrup estimated the centralisation of Travel Channel's 30,000 media tape library onto the Isilon cluster has reduced workflow tasks performed by content production staff by approximately 30%, as locating media from its tape library is now unnecessary.

Magirus teams with Cisco; opens new data centre division

Distributor Magirus has become Cisco Systems' first Specialty Data Centre Distributor in western Europe. Magirus has also announced the creation of a data centre division. The moves will see the Stuttgart-based distributor offer unified data centre technologies focused on virtualised server environments and storage based on Cisco's Nexus and MDS director-class SAN switches.

Overland Storage launches iSCSI SAN

Overland Storage has launched the SnapServer SAN S2000, an iSCSI SAN platform with capacity of up to 120 TB aimed at the mid-sized market. The SnapServer SAN S2000 features active-active mirroring and failover, snapshots, replication, automated capacity expansion and centralised management. The product is certified for use with VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V environments, and is priced at £9,750, excluding VAT.


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