Avid NEXIS storage: is it worth the investment?

From now until December, you can trade in your Avid ISIS units (or any third party shared storage) for money off the latest Avid NEXIS storage. But how much better is NEXIS than earlier iterations of Avid storage, and what are you actually getting for your money? We asked our engineers to talk us through some of the key improvements…

 

Becki Crossley

NEXIS is Avid’s third generation of shared storage. Avid have stated that they wanted NEXIS to deliver more “flexibility, scalability, control, and extensibility” than ISIS could, but that extra development time has also made it more stable.

Long-term customers like IMG Studioshave reported a drop in the number of issues they’ve had with their storage, and more chance of a project surviving when problems do occur. “Avid storage is more expensive, but I don’t think anywhere in our system has a single point of failure,” their Head of Engineering told us. “And when we did have a fundamental problem with the system, we were able to keep it alive for four hours – that four hours’ editing time was the difference between our show making it to air or not.”

If a disk does fail, NEXIS users will find rebuild speeds are far better on their systems than any previous version. That’s because, unlike earlier generations of Avid storage, NEXIS is software-defined. When a disk in a software-defined system fails, you only need to rebuild as much of the disk as you were using, whereas in a hardware-defined system you have to wait for the whole disk to be rebuilt, even if there was very little information actually stored on it. Some NEXIS engine models will even have space for warm spare drives, to make recovery after a failure even easier.

 

Why Avid NEXIS?

NEXIS storage is designed to grow with your company, whether you need the entry-level Pro unit to support a small workgroup, or an ever-expanding array of E2, E4 and E5 engines. These three units are available in a range of sizes and speeds, which you can combine to create a storage solution that reflects the work you do. For example, you could combine a high performance SSD engine for online work with an E5 NL, a high-density, slower speed unit optimised for nearline storage, and scale up the capacity of both as needed.

NEXIS comes with an inbuilt System Director, which is capable of managing a smaller setup. As you expand, you’ll need to invest in an external Systems Director Appliance to boost your capabilities, and possibly even an Advanced Systems Director Appliance if you’re moving a phenomenal amount of data.

Using NEXIS’ internal Systems Director, a combination of E2 and E4 engines can give you up to 400TB of raw storage (up to 2.4GBps total bandwidth), with support for 40 active clients and eight million files. Adding a System Director Appliance licence takes you to 2.4PB of storage for 165 active clients and 20 million files, and an Advanced Systems Director licence gets you 6.4PB for 330 active clients working on up to 20 million files.

Despite the fact that it can reach these vast sizes, NEXIS doesn’t demand that you start any bigger than you need to. You can invest in the bare minimum and still have fast, reliable shared storage, and add in levels of protection, redundancy and functionality as your projects demand or budget allows. (Support for redundant networking, controllers, System Director Appliances and mirroring is all built-in, so those features are there for you as soon as you’re ready for them).

 
Get the bandwidth to handle any resolution

NEXIS is scalable when it comes to bandwidth as well as sheer capacity. In larger configurations, you can expect an aggregated system bandwith of 20GBps (yes that is gigabytes per second!), so can reliably support multiple users and many connected devices, even when they’re working in 4K and beyond.

 
Make workspace-level decisions about redundancy

Uniquely among major shared storage systems, NEXIS allows you to make workspace-level decisions about how much redundancy you’d like. Rather than having the same level of redundancy across an entire engine and wasting costly space protecting unimportant files, you can leverage the software-defined nature of NEXIS to dictate that your on-deadline project be RAID5 protected but your admin files only get RAID1 protection, even if they’re stored on the same NEXIS engine. There’s no need to use up disk space protecting files you don’t need, so you reduce the amount of storage you buy, and make more efficient use of what you have.

 

Make life easier for your engineers

Hardware redundancy is built into every storage engine, including redundant power supplies and cooling fans, redundant SSD-based system drives, and network connectivity. Some engines have space to store redundant hardware, which can be replaced "hot" – ie without needing the system to be shut down. And if your onsite engineer does have to get down into the belly of the beast, they’ll find that NEXIS uses standard Ethernet cabling and switches, as opposed to more expensive and complex technologies such as Fibre Channel, iSCSI and Infiniband.

 

So, what’s this trade in?

Glad you asked. From now until 17thDecember 2018, you can get up to £13,800 off a NEXIS system when you trade in your ISIS or third party storage. The discount varies from model to model, but you’ll get at least £3000 off your storage setup if you buy before the offer ends.

 
Why trade in with us?

As an Avid Elite Partner for storage with more than ten Avid Certified Support Representatives on staff, we’re the best people to ask about designing, building and supporting a NEXIS setup.

We’ll work with you to design and install a NEXIS system, and can integrate new storage with your existing systems, help you migrate your key data, and even provide training for your technical staff if you’d rather keep support in-house.

 

To find out more about the Avid NEXIS, get in touch with our expert team by emailing broadcast@Jigsaw24.com or giving us a call on 03332 400 888. For all the latest news and updates, follow us on Twitter @Jigsaw24Video or 'like' us on Facebook.

 

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