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DataDirect Networks storage helps movie firm with HPC; and other data storage news

Antony Adshead, UK Bureau Chief
Movie firm opts for DataDirect Networks storage for HPC

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.

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.

Zero-loss disaster recovery too costly for most users

Achieving zero data loss from disaster recovery is out of reach for 57% of business IT users because of prohibitive costs. That's according to a survey of 200 IT decision makers in the UK and US that was carried out by technology market research firm Vanson Bourne for Axxana. In the UK, only 44% of financial services IT departments were likely to be put off by the cost of implementing an infrastructure that could recover 100% of data in a disaster scenario. That figure rose to 68% in the UK's manufacturing sector.

Scalable NAS vendor BlueArc pitches at genetic researchers

Scalable NAS vendor BlueArc has announced it is working to provide complete compatibility of its storage devices with next-generation sequencing tools made by genetic analysis technology and services company Illumina. BlueArc hopes to provide research institutions with shared network data storage and management products that provide robust performance and scale to accommodate growing data from next-generation sequencing workflows.

New cloud storage service from Iron Mountain

Iron Mountain has announced the availability of LiveVault 7.0, a fully managed, cloud storage data protection service designed to meet the application and server backup needs of mid-sized companies. LiveVault 7.0 comes with increased scalability to protect large servers and built-in data deduplication technology. The service offers proactive monitoring of storage and backup by Iron Mountain, and allows customers to protect 7 TB of data per server and restore data quickly with the TurboRestore onsite appliance.

Law firm selects business continuity and disaster recovery from Plan B

London-based law firm Magrath LLP has chosen Plan B Disaster Recovery to provide a fully managed, virtualisation-based business continuity and disaster recovery service. Plan B Disaster Recovery uses an intelligent snapshot appliance that plugs into Magrath's network and automatically takes copies of its IT systems. It converts this copy to one that will work in a virtual server environment then tests it to guarantee it will work on recovery. A full test recovery of Magrath's systems took Plan B Disaster Recovery less than 30 minutes.


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