How creative professionals struggle with Mac/SMB file sharing​

How creative professionals struggle with Mac/SMB file sharing​

The presence of Apple Macs in business is growing and IT administrators must take special steps to ensure that Mac users can effectively utilise basic services like network file access, searching, sharing, and printing.

These basic services become even more important when employees using Macs are highly collaborative creative professionals like designers, publishers, and video editors who perform much more frequent network-based files-related activities than the typical worker, and often on much larger files.

The unique IT requirements of creative professionals include software (e.g., design application suites like Adobe Creative Cloud), hardware (e.g., Apple desktops and tablets, and more scalable storage), high-performance search capabilities through large-scale file libraries, and the ability to easily share files with Windows servers and desktops.

Anyone who has worked in a mixed Mac/Windows shop knows that the two environments have significant compatibility issues. Creatives on Macs often suffer server performance and usability handicaps that severely and adversely affect their productivity and satisfaction with their work environment.

Problem 1: Connecting Macs to file-sharing systems

A first-response solution might be to use an Apple solution. However, the problem with this approach is that Apple servers have severe scaling limitations and they struggle to accommodate businesses with anywhere near 100 employees. A useful discussion of this topic can be found here. Worse, Apple discontinued the Xserve in 2011 and it is inevitable that Xserve product support will be discontinued eventually, too.

The only real solution to accommodate large heterogeneous Mac/Windows workloads is to use a Windows File Server, in combination with network-attached storage (NAS) or a storage-area network (SAN). This requires the use of Microsoft’s file-sharing protocol, Server Message Block (SMB), which presents significant compatibility issues in mixed Mac/Windows environments.

Apple has its own protocol for network file sharing – Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) – but most NAS devices and Windows file servers natively communicate only via SMB. The vast majority of businesses rely on SMB, SAN, and NAS for file sharing and storage.

Problem 2: Editing files directly on file servers

Creative organisations and departments share a common need to edit files directly from a server. Adobe does not support direct volume mounting. However: “Adobe Technical Support only supports using Photoshop and Adobe Bridge on a local hard disk. It’s difficult to re-create or accurately identify network and peripheral-configuration problems.”

This presents an obstacle for users of popular Adobe design applications, notably Photoshop. The alternative to pointing Photoshop at a mounted server volume (a controversial practice) is copying files directly to the Mac to edit. This turns out to be an untenable solution when dealing with many large files. Though not officially supported, many companies want Adobe’s software to point at mounted volumes, as this approach streamlines work processes and enables multiple users to work from a centralised storage location.

Problem 3: Macs searching through file shares

Creative professionals rely heavily on Apple Spotlight and its ability to provide fast, sophisticated filename and content searches through multiple servers containing thousands or even millions of files. They expect and need this network-based file search function to work the same way it does on their local hard drives.

This is a big problem, as Spotlight’s search functionality is not supported when Macs connect to NAS devices or Windows servers through SMB. As a result, content search from Macs does not work on Windows servers and most NAS devices, and ordinary file searches can take minutes or hours, instead of seconds. This greatly diminished search functionality has a hugely adverse effect on a Mac user’s productivity.

How Acronis Access Connect solves these problems

Acronis Access Connect allows Macs to connect to Windows file shares using AFP – Apple’s native file sharing protocol – by acting as an AFP file server running directly on a Windows server.

With Acronis Access Connect, organisations can quickly install a simple solution that eliminates these stubborn incompatibility problems, enabling Mac users to exist harmoniously and work productively in a Windows-based environment. Apple Spotlight search works properly. Problems with file naming, file access permissions, network printing, unreliable file transfers, and slow server performance disappear.

Consider the examples of two companies that overcame their Mac/Windows compatibility issues by using Acronis Access Connect:

Quad/Graphics

Quad/Graphics’ Media division faced compatibility issues that impeded its ability to share files across the organisation. It sought to integrate a mixed Mac/Windows environment of 600 Mac desktops and 50 Windows Servers, but the systems struggled to communicate. Quad/Graphics implemented Acronis Access Connect to give its Mac users fast and immediate access to Windows file servers. Acronis offered the only Windows-based AFP server solution to support all Mac versions.

The results were extremely positive, and later, Quad/Graphics had expanded its print operations to 30 sites worldwide. Their IT infrastructure was able to develop and expand, free of any Mac/Windows compatibility restrictions.

Phoenix Printing Plates Ltd.

Phoenix Printing Plates initially opted to create a Mac/Windows environment without Acronis Access Connect. They suffered from the common misconception that Apple/Microsoft compatibility issues had dwindled over time and that Apple’s official support of Microsoft SMB had eliminated the old incompatibility problems.

They quickly discovered that this was not the case. Mac to Windows Server connections were possible, but they suffered from a range of stubborn problems: long delays, the inability to rename or move files, time-consuming and inaccurate searches, and overall slow performance. Phoenix Printing Plates had looked to a new Windows server infrastructure to improve productivity and enable their team’s objectives, but it wasn’t until deploying Acronis Access Connect that they were truly able to do so. Restoration of full Spotlight search functionality and performance and fast, trouble-free file sharing with Windows servers made Phoenix Printing Plates’ Mac users productive and happy again.

If you want to try Acronis Access Connect, you can sign up for a 21 day free trial here.

To find out more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

This blog originally appeared on the official Acronis blog, which you can read here

From SAN to NAS: Your at a glance guide to storage

From SAN to NAS: Your at a glance guide to storage

Don’t know your SAN from your NAS? This quick guide will run you through the ten most common types of storage, from internal and external hard drives, to storage area network and network-attached storage, by way of solid state drives (SSDs), magnetic tape storage and RAID… 

Internal hard drives

Certainly the most common form of data storage is an internal hard drive – if you’re purchasing a ready-made notebook or workstation, it’ll generally already come included. They allow you to store files in a single computer, and come in the form of a traditional spinning disk hard drive, or more efficient solid state drive (SSD).

Pros: The convenience of internal hard drives is a major plus point, as they usually come bundled in with your new computer. They’re great for use with a single computer, but given proper support, can also be shared among multiple machines.

Cons: Limited capacity is a drawback, as is the fact that without special support, you’re confined to a single computer or server.

 

External hard drives

As well as internal hard drives, if you’re saving large files, you’re probably familiar with external hard drives. These are used throughout creative and business environments for local backup and archiving of data, and are usually small enough to sit happily on your desk.

Pros: The main upside of external hard drives is that they can be moved around multiple computers and users in your studio or office.

Cons: Just as with internal hard drives, external hard drives can be hamstrung by limited capacity. It can also be incredibly awkward to physically transfer data among multiple computers using external hard drives.

 

Solid state drives (SSDs)

As mentioned above, solid state storage can come in the form of an internal hard drive that ships with your Mac or other workstation, or as external hard drives. The external, portable variety are used for everyday simple file swapping and local data transfer, and larger capacity drives are often used for more heavy duty work like video processing, relational databases and high-speed data acquisition, either as an internal or external drive.

Pros: The main advantage of solid state storage is that, unlike your traditional spinning disk hard drive, they have no moving parts, which generally means there are fewer components which could potentially fail. They also have high read/write speeds, and the portable, external variety have a small form factor which makes them incredibly portable or chuck-in-your-laptop-bag-able.

Cons: On the downside, solid state storage has limited storage capacity, with many mobile drives topping out at around 1 or 2TB, and cost more than hard drives.

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Storage area network (SAN)

If you’re working with large databases, bandwidth-hungry and mission-critical applications, the above options are not the drives you are looking for. Storage area network (SAN) is a cover-all term for a network that gives multiple users block level access (as opposed to file level) to multiple storage devices and arrays, accessible to servers so that the devices appear to the operating system as locally attached devices. SANs are widely used by enterprises working with large amounts of data and apps.

Pros: The main reason you’d want to go for SAN is for consolidated block storage. SAN is also exceptionally reliable, widely available, very tolerant of faults, and super scalable, so you can expand on your SAN as your business grows.

Cons: One minus point with SAN is its high cost, which can be prohibitive to smaller businesses. Traditionally you’d also require a dedicated network, separate from the network supporting desktops. Managing SAN can be quite complex too, which could cause a few headaches.

 

Fibre Channel

Fibre Channel is a type of SAN used to connect shared storage to servers. Its high speed means it can often be found in datacentres and offsite storage dealing with large databases, bandwidth-intensive and mission-critical applications.

Pros: Fibre Channel lets you transmit data between devices at super-fast gigabit speeds (often at 1, 2, 4, 8 and 16 gigabit per second rates).

Cons: As it is a SAN though, it can be prohibitively expensive, and complex to manage.

 

iSCSI storage

Another type of SAN, iSCSI (or Internet Small Computer Systems Interface, if you’re not in a hurry), is a standard that provides block-level access to storage devices over an Ethernet network. As with Fibre Channel, it’s used for linking data storage facilities, SANs, for offsite storage and mission-critical applications.

Pros: iSCSI lets you transmit data between devices using existing network infrastructure, rather than dedicated cabling, so you can run it over long distances.

Cons: Although, it doesn’t compare as favourably with Fibre Channel when it comes to large database transfers, and is also equally complex to manage.

 

Network-attached storage (NAS)

Used for data storage and file stores, a NAS is effectively a file server often built as a computer appliance (a purpose-built specialised computer), and tends to be managed remotely, usually by a web-based GUI. The device provides access to storage at file level, rather than at a block level like SAN, using a variety of protocols, such as NFS, SMB/CIFS, and AFP. It provides local area network (LAN) nodes with file-based shared storage through your standard Ethernet connection, giving multiple clients on the network access to the same files.

Pros: NAS is great as it gives fast file access it multiple clients, it’s easy to share data, has high storage capacity, is easy to mirror drives, and lets you consolidate all your resources in one place. Redundancy, backing up copies of files, also means you’re protected against data loss in the event of a disk failure.

Cons: It is, however, less convenient than a storage area network (SAN) for moving large blocks of data.

 

D2D2T storage

Disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) is a backup and archiving system in which, as you may have guessed, data is first copied to backup storage on a disk storage system, then periodically copied again to a tape storage system. It’s often used for incremental backups of data, storage virtualisation, offsite storage and data archiving.

Pros: Upsides are redundancy (which safeguards against data loss), a high read/write speed for quick data transfer, and high capacity (use multiple tapes to your heart’s content).

Cons: The only problem with D2D2T storage is that it’s complex to manage.

Magnetic tape

A tape drive is a data storage device that reads and writes data on a magnetic tape. You’ll generally find these used for data archiving and offline storage, and are much favoured by the budget-conscious business.

Pros: The main thing tape storage has going for it is its low cost per megabyte. They’re also a fairly portable form of data storage, plus you get unlimited capacity, as you can always add more tapes.

Cons: However, tapes make it inconvenient to quickly recover individual files or groups of files, and you may have to buy quite expensive housing if you have lots of tape.

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RAID storage

A redundant array of independent disks (thankfully known more widely by the acronym RAID) is simply a method of combining multiple physical disks into a single unit for performance and/or reliability, and is used in pretty much every SAN, NAS and DAS array. RAID lets you easily swap files, and gives ‘data redundancy’, which essentially means you don’t lose data if a single disk fails, and lets you correct errors to protect against data loss.

Pros: RAID is high speed, high capacity, high data availability storage that’s reliable, secure and gives you fault tolerance in the face of disk failure (ie peace of mind).

Cons: RAID users may unfortunately develop a false sense of security though, with recovery from failure difficult in some systems. And if you’re looking at a high-end optimum system, be prepared for a high price tag.

 

Want to know more about storage solutions? 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.

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.

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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

We’ve teamed up with Rohde & Schwarz

We’ve teamed up with Rohde & Schwarz

We’ve teamed up with the good people at Rohde & Schwarz to become their latest UK reseller. We can now officially offer you their award-winning Clipster and Venice solutions, plus their Spycer and DVS-SAN storage range.

Rohde & Schwarz’s solutions have been a leading light in the broadcast and post space for the last 30 years, so we’re obviously pleased to be adding them to our lineup. And hey, it just so happens that their products dovetail perfectly with our expertise in storage and post workflows. Happy times.

So what are we selling? 

We’re going to be supplying the Clipster mastering station, which centralises your DI workflow, and the Venice ingest server. We’ll also be supplying SpycerBox Cell and Flex storage, which scales into their DVS-SAN storage solution.

Clipster

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Clipster is Rohde & Schwarz’s world leading mastering solution, designed to let post houses consolidate their DI workflow into a single system while retaining the ability to capture and master across a range of digital distribution formats (supported formats include RAW camera files, IMF, AS-02 and DCI cinema projects, including 3D). Clipster can also conform and edit uncompressed 4K data in realtime.

With Clipster, you can rely on one box to capture any video format, process any video data in realtime, conform and edit RAW data, perform scaling and colour correction, correct geometry and colour misalignments in stereoscopic footage, version your project to a range of  formats (including standards like AS-02 and IMF) and perform stereoscopic DCI mastering.

See the full spec sheet here.

Venice

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The Venice ingest and playout server is designed to act as the hub of any media production, allowing you to combine different formats like SD, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p in one production workflow, as well as supporting a range of codecs and formats. As Rohde & Schwarz explain, “Studio program signals, live feed or tapes, and generic video files or file transfer are captured in all typical broadcast codecs (XDCAM, AVC-Ultra codec group, DNxHD, Apple ProRes, etc.) directly without any transcoding in one single system. The material is available to all connected editing clients for immediate processing. Direct capturing in proprietary production storage is accelerated with the edit-while-ingest functionality.”

See the spec sheet here.

Spycer

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We’re not technically selling this, but only because it’s software that comes free with any Spycer-driven storage solutions (more on them in a moment). Effectively a gratis asset management system, Spycer connects your storage volumes and allows you to search for and preview your media, add metadata to files, copy and check files – you can even search external drives while they’re disconnected.

Spycer even lets you process RAW files quickly and efficiently. DVS’s data manager can easily find, view, convert, and edit data shot with cameras from RED, ARRI, Phantom or the Silicon Imaging camera. Spycer may also be used to visualise 3D LUTs.

SpycerBox Cell and Flex

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SpycerBox Cell and Flex are Rohde & Schwarz’s solutions for online and nearline storage. The Cell is a 1U unit that packs in 30 SATA, SAS or SSD disks to deliver hyperfast, dense online storage. It’s available with Fibre Channel or Ethernet connectivity and supports NFS and SMB volumes. SpycerBox Cell’s compact form factor and 3GBps performance per chassis make it ideal for high-resolution, high-IOP workflows.

Find out more about SpycerBox Cell.

SpycerBox Flex is a is a highly scalable and flexible online and nearline storage solution. Like Cell, it offers SSD, SATA and SAS drive options and Fibre Channel or Ethernet connectivity. It also continues Rohde & Schwarz’s penchant for high density storage, with a single SpycerBox holding as much as 96TB of data in RAID5.

As well as featuring the Spycer asset management system, Flex includes DVS SAN REMO management system for monitoring, building and servicing your storage, and can be used in SAN or NAS configurations, or even as a combination of the two. A built-in schedule manager allows you to automate backups, and Spycer can be integrated with your existing LTO solution to simplify archiving.

See the full spec sheet.

DVS-SAN

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DVS-SAN consolidates Spycer storage into a scalable, high capacity SAN solution capable of handling hundreds of connected clients. DVS-SAN is optimised for file sequences like DPX or OpenEXR, and can handle multiple realtime streams of uncompressed RGB 4:4:4 10/12/16 bit video files in levels scalable from 600 MBps to more than 10 GBps.

The DVS-SAN’s modular architecture means you can add storage clusters to achieve even higher data rates and a larger number of parallel video streams – and DVS’s systems are designed to hit these speeds continuously, not in short peaks. As with other solutions, your DVS-SAN can have Fibre or Ethernet connectivity, and can be mirrored or RAID 5/6, and DVS reckon your DVS-SAN should take up 25% less space in your server room than your existing SAN solution.

Find out more about DVS-SAN.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

NAB 2016: G-Technology offers new NAS solution for content creators

NAB 2016: G-Technology offers new NAS solution for content creators

New 12-bay G-RACK 12 enables teams of creative professionals to streamline media and entertainment workflows with the reliability, scalability, and studio-friendly technology you’d expect from the trusted G-Technology brand.

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G-Technology, a trusted premium storage solutions provider, today announced its new G-RACK 12 network attached storage (NAS) solution – its first NAS-based device that enhances its award-winning product portfolio for content creation professionals worldwide. This along with a sneak peek of new technology demonstrations and the latest G-Technology products will be on display at NAB, April 18-21, in Las Vegas, Booth SL6005.

“From our flexible Evolution Series and high-capacity, high-performance portable G-SPEED Shuttle XL to our new 12-bay G-RACK 12 NAS solution, G-Technology offers one of the broadest storage portfolios for virtually any audio, video or content creation workflow,” said Mike Williams, vice president of marketing, G-Technology. “Our goal is to continue to optimize efficiencies in pre- and post- production workflows, so whether you’re working on a TV commercial, a corporate video, or major motion picture, we can help you through the most demanding production environments, while delivering capacity, reliability, performance and style.”

The G-RACK 12 streamlines demanding media and entertainment video workflows, including 4K and above resolution, with a scalable 12-bay server offering capacities up to 120TB. Its reliability, high-performance, and centralized storage capabilities are perfect for small-to-medium size post-production houses, TV/broadcast studios, ad agencies, and in-house creative departments using Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro X, Avid Media Composer or other creative applications. An optional expansion chassis is available for expanding up to another 120TB of storage. The G-RACK 12 is the ideal storage solution for collaboration, utilizing quad 10-gigabit Ethernet connections for high-speed data transfers, saving both time and money.

“The G-RACK 12’s wickedly fast read/write speeds make it an unparalleled NAS option for professional environments, and its intuitive OS server interface allows us to get our entire department working off the G-RACK the same morning we unboxed it, all without hiring a specialist,” said Ted Pacult, post production supervisor for Documentary Now.

The G-RACK 12 incorporates a G-Technology-developed NAS operating system with BTRfs file system, with an easy-to-use graphical interface, removing the complexity of typical NAS administrative systems. The 12-bay, expandable units incorporate enterprise hard drives and are available in 48TB, 72TB, 96TB, and 120TB storage capacities.

“RED Studios Hollywood is constantly looking for the latest storage innovations, such as the G-RACK 12,” stated Jarred Land, president of RED Digital Cinema. “The 10-gigabit network speeds and ability to work within our Adobe, Final Cut Pro, and Avid ecosystems makes our G-RACK 12 an extremely valuable asset.”

G-RACK 12 pricing varies depending on capacity and configuration. You can pre-order G-RACK here.

For more on the latest NAB Show releases, take a look at our roundup post, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Buyers’ Guide: Content management and storage

Buyers’ Guide: Content management and storage

The say cleanliness is next to godliness, but we’d make a strong case for organisation being slightly closer. If you don’t have your fonts managed and your assets organised and backed up, you’re not going to be able to work efficiently, repurpose content and – most importantly – leave on time. Yes, we know it’s not the most exciting thing to read about, but getting your content management workflow together now will save you time for years to come.

The quick fix (for when there’s only a couple of you, and you don’t produce that much)

Okay, so let’s say you have a pretty speedy MacBook Pro. Get yourself a nice dependable desktop drive like a G-Technology G-DRIVE, then set up Time Machine for backup locally. To avoid any unwelcome data loss, we’d recommend getting some RAID storage – if your MacBook Pro has Thunderbolt 2, try making the most of it with a high-speed PROMISE Pegasus R4 array.

If you need to work together, the Synology Diskstation DS414 is a feature-rich 4-bay NAS specifically designed for growing businesses to effectively manage, protect, and share data. You can even add Extensis Portfolio Studio for better asset management and Suitcase Fusion to keep your fonts in order.

The neat freak (for when you’ve got a team to support)

If you’re working in a range of media we always recommend a capable iMac with Universal Type Server and Portfolio Studio to keep your files in check and easy for the team to access.

If you need extra local storage or want to run backups to a local drive, try something spacious like this 8TB G-RAID, while euroNAS’s 16TB, 16-bay 3U network server storage solution is a sterling contribution to your server room, and you can manage your backups with Archiware’s P5 software which can support two servers or a tape library. (Here’s the tape library we’d recommend, as it’s cheaper than high speed online or nearline storage for the long run.)

The archivist (for when you need big storage for big files and bigger archives)

If you’re churning out high volumes of multimedia files on something like this and a high speed Thunderbolt 2 RAID array, then you’ll need to beef up. Maximise your font management capabilities by upgrading to the Enterprise versions of your Universal Type Server and Portfolio asset management solutions. If you’re after something more video-specific, it’s well worth taking a look at axle Video’s solutions.

If you want to be sure all your data is backed up, opt for our manual backup service, Backup24, in which our team ensure your data is backed up to our Tier 2+ data centre. And to handle your NAS needs, the GB Labs Space range offer extremely fast large capacity shared storage for digital content creation.

Take control of content with MatrixCMS

By connecting up your PIM and CMS systems to create a single version of the truth for all work and enabling seamless cloud-based sharing of drafts and revisions, MatrixCMS makes it easier to stay on top of your assets. MatrixCMS provides a centralised store for all digital media, enabling an organisation to collate, manage and distribute their investment across the entire company. Arrange an online demo here (you have to scroll down to the bottom).

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