San in tune for BRIT School

Centralised storage brings famous music school increased archival security plus added flexibility.

In a bid to address increasing storage demands as its pupils push the boundaries of content creation, the British Record Industry Trust (BRIT) School has implemented a San-based solution.

Amy Winehouse, Katie Melua and Leona Lewis are among the past students of the  BRIT School which is dedicated to the education and vocational training of 14-19 year olds in performing arts, art and design and media. The school prides itself on its technology resources offering students a sophisticated learning environment, featuring what it claims is state of the art equipment typically only found in the most advanced of workplaces. 

Anticipating the increased demand for content creation, sharing and storage after revamping its edit centre by purchasing a new editing suite, the BRIT school knew it needed to find a solid and reliable storage solution. 

“Our needs were demanding: we wanted a shared storage system that would allow any student or group of students to simultaneously access, edit and share media files from any of the seven available FCP workstations in the editing suite,” explained Alison Pemberton of the Broadcast and Digital Communication Department at the BRIT School.

The BRIT School turned to Studio Network Solutions who created a customised shared storage system, featuring two globalSAN X-16s with SANmp able to handle multiple, simultaneous streams of high definition video over Gigabit Ethernet using iSCSI.

The San was connected via one of two Mac Pros 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports with the other network port being used for a separate LAN connection. This gave students the ability to open up their projects from any of the seven suites.

An archive server was also installed, to access the globalSAN volumes with Read Only access for backing up and the server was configured so it can mount volumes with Write access should a restore ever need to occur on the system. The server archives from San to an LTO 4 Tape Library using a local SCSI connection and Backbone NetVault workgroup software.

Centralising storage needs has brought not only archival security but a huge increase in flexibility. “The system that we are now using is not only reliable, but because of the current trend in Apple as a brand, the students are no longer finding the conversion from PCs to Macs difficult. The fact that students now have the freedom to use any computer in the room, allows us and our students to be much more flexible.

“We are able to have more projects happening at the same time as our globalSAN can now handle the volume of work,” added Pemberton.   “Our globalSAN solution is working like a dream, providing us with the freedom and security we have desperately needed.”

This was last published in May 2008

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