Film production company Smoke & Mirrors has implemented 250 TB of DataDirect Networks storage hardware to support an IBM Nehalem-based high-performance computing (HPC) application at its London headquarters. The new infrastructure allows eight instances of the same 2,048-pixel-wide movie file to be worked on simultaneously with 300 Mbps throughput required for each stream.
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The processing and storage infrastructure -- which was implemented by HPC system integrator OCF -- comprises two DataDirect Networks S2A6620 storage arrays with a total capacity of 250 TB to support processing on six IBM System x3650 M2s with Nehalem Dual quad cores via QLogic switches. Storage is in three tiers with the most demanding data residing on 15,000 rpm SAS drives, secondary data on SATA disk and a backup tier on a 700 TB Quantum Tape Library.
The new setup replaces one in which movie files were scanned manually and held on a large number of directly-attached drives; retrieving existing files consumed several person days an month, said Smoke & Mirrors CIO Mark Wildig.
"Previously, we would end up with multiple copies, which had to go through a process so that we didn't end up with version control problems. But we can now run eight streams from one central pool of storage with many people working on a single instance of the file. It's all about workflow and we're 30% more efficient than we were," he said.
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