Our guide to Thunderbolt 3: Is it time to upgrade?

Our guide to Thunderbolt 3: Is it time to upgrade?

It’s been almost two years since Intel announced Thunderbolt 3, trumpeting it as the new “computer port nirvana”. It is currently the fastest, most versatile connection for any dock, display or peripheral device, including all manner of USB storage. So is it time you upgraded to the most up to date standard in connectivity?

Bandwidth

First of all, let’s look at bandwidth. Thunderbolt 3 offers a huge 40Gbps, double that of Thunderbolt 2. But very few devices are built with components that even come close to filling all that, so is there a benefit? Well, yes and no – in reality, with Thunderbolt 3, the protocol or bus is no longer the bottleneck.

If you daisy-chain enough external hard drives, you will get a speed boost, but the connection won’t make a single external drive with just one disk any faster. When you’re using multiple Thunderbolt peripherals down the same cable, all that extra bandwidth can become useful.

lacie_12big_cables_all_hr

For example, the LaCie 12big with 12x enterprise-class hard drives pushes the throughput beyond that achieved with Thunderbolt 2, up to 2600MBps. And that’s actual transfer speeds not theoretical bandwidth. If you use a really high bandwidth SSD like that in the LaCie Bolt3 (PCIe nVME) it is possible to saturate all that lovely bandwidth – 2800MBps! That’s enough for some serious realtime 6K editing straight off SSD.

Extra functionality

Thunderbolt 3 also delivers power to your laptop – the LaCie 6big and 12big deliver up to 15 watts to your MacBook or MacBook Pro! Thunderbolt3 cables are now the same size as USB-C, the next generation interface, and USB-C devices will work on Thunderbolt3 ports.

LaCie 6big

It also supports 5K displays, and packs in plenty of other functionality like display port video and PCIe support, using an adaptor. So if you’re currently rocking Thunderbolt 2 or other previous standards, now might be time to think about upgrading your ports and achieving the highest, happiest state of connectivity.

Want to know more about Thunderbolt 3 and LaCie storage? Email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com or call 03332 409 306. For everything else, ‘like’ us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24.

Four questions to ask yourself when you’re choosing NAS

Four questions to ask yourself when you’re choosing NAS

If you’re currently relying on a cupboard full of hard drives to provide your creative team with storage, here are a raft of benefits that come with moving to network attached storage (NAS), including increased productivity, easier collaboration, and a reduced chance of a version control error ruining a print run or someone accidentally deleting your files. 

However, these benefits are going to be pretty short lived if you opt for a sub-par NAS system. Ideally, you need intuitive management software that allows you to work with your assets in the way you want to. So, when looking for NAS solutions, there are a few things we recommend asking yourself…

1. Is it scalable? 

It’s important to choose your NAS based on not just your requirements now, but where you predict your business will be in the future -some NAS setups have limits on the amount of storage capacity or throughput available to you, making it difficult to scale up if your business expands.

Keep an eye out for scale-out NAS systems, which can provide greater redundancy and can scale in a linear way. Scale-out NAS is designed to be modular, and by adding more nodes of storage you can increase capacity, throughput and resilience without greatly increasing the amount of management work you need to do.

2. Is it redundant? 

Data redundancy – the ability to use drives in whatever RAID configuration you prefer – is important, and you should ensure that your NAS setup has enough capacity to allow you to do this, even as you expand. But you’ll also want a NAS solution that supports hotswapping, so you can switch out bad drives without powering everything down if something goes wrong.

It’s also important to opt for a NAS setup that and has redundant power, as a power failure will stop your entire NAS dead in its tracks and you’ll lose access to everything, not just one disk. Having a redundant cooling setup is also recommended, as this prevents your power supply (or indeed the drives themselves) overheating and failing.

3. How piecemeal is it? 

If your NAS’s server, housing, drives and software aren’t engineered to work together, you’re unlikely to get optimal performance for any given element. While it can be tempting to cut corners on elements like drives and housing in order to keep your initial outlay down, the risk of them failing (and needing to be expensively replaced) and losing you valuable uptime is far higher.

Ideally, you want to chose a NAS setup where each element has been engineered to work together. Although very few companies offer everything you need, keep an eye out for long term, strategic partnerships between any software and hardware vendors whose products are compatible; you’re going to get much better results going with them than trying to put something together piecemeal yourself.

4. Does the management software do what you need it to? 

Based on the kind of assets you’re storing and the level of expertise you have available in-house, the features you’ll need in your NAS control software will vary. Check how it handles back ups and make sure you’re preferred workflow is supported, whether that’s backing up to a cloud service like AWS, or to another NAS device.

If you have mobile workers, check that remote access to the NAS is supported, and whether there will be any restrictions that could prevent people in key roles getting the data they need, when they need it. Other common considerations include what kind of antivirus and security protection your NAS system can offer, and whether third party plug-ins for third party services are available, as this will allow you to consolidate your existing functionality into a centralised, more easily managed system.

Want to know more about storage and bandwidth, or want to book your Infrastructure Review? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email sales@Jigsaw24.com, or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

3-2-1 backup solutions for photographers

3-2-1 backup solutions for photographers

To mitigate against the ever-present threat of disk failure, a corrupted card or accidental deletion, backing up should be a major concern for any professional shooting images and video. Luckily, there’s a whole array of products that can help you follow the golden rule: always have three copies of your data, on two types of media and keep one backup copy offsite.

Backing up in the field

It’s best to ingest dailies and rushes as soon as possible after a shoot, then start making multiple copies straight away. You can ingest and duplicate straight on to mobile drives – we recommend a ruggedised one (i.e. one that’s got at least some drop and shock protection) like the G-DRIVE ev RaW Rugged 1TB hard drive. If you find yourself working in a particularly exotic location where water, sand and dust pose a threat to your backup copies, then choose drives with the added protection of an all terrain case.

Even the most rugged and reliable mobile drives can still fail, so a nifty way to make two simultaneous copies to disks is by using a RAID, and for backups in the field there’s nothing better than the Rugged RAID from LaCie. It’s even bus-powered over Thunderbolt too, so there’s no need to lug around an external power supply with you.

rugged_graid_drive

Backing up in the studio

Depending on your field backup strategy, you might want to make additional copies when you’ve back in the studio. If you’ve backed up onto G-DRIVE ev modules then you can drop the mobile drives straight onto a RAID-protected storage array like the G-SPEED Shuttle XL ev, which adds further protection for your data against disk failures. If you only need one additional copy, you could drop backups on to a straightforward external drive. While there’s no redundancy built in should the drive fail, this is a popular fuss-free solution, and with external drives now sporting capacities of up to 10TB you get plenty of bytes for your buck. Take a look at our range of external drives here.

Backing up to other types of media

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Maxing out internal storage, cards and drives can get expensive, especially if you’re keeping multiple copies of your data. Offloading to lower cost media like LTO tapes or centralised NAS storage is a good strategy once you have an initial copy sorted. While it takes longer to recover data from tape than from other media, the cost per TB is exceptionally low and you don’t even need a centralised LTO tape library to benefit. The M-TAPE Thunderbolt Tape Drive is direct-attach over Thunderbolt, and this bundle comes with YoYotta software to index, backup, archive and restore all your camera ingests and track assets from production to post.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook