Meet the experts: Neal Kemsley

Meet the experts: Neal Kemsley

Before joining Jigsaw24, technical specialist Neal spent six years at Avid, leading a support team for their infrastructure pipeline, and eleven years working for an English audio firm in the US, on projects including the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He’s also a certified SCP Support Manager, and has the plaque to prove it. 

“I worked for Avid before I came to root6. Initially I was covering support for their customers in Bristol and Cardiff, but eventually I was leading a team of folks providing customer support for their infrastructure products, so things like Interplay, the bigger storage systems and the bigger workgroup-based products. I was also involved in delivering training, and I’m an Avid Certified Instructor for a number of classes on the technical support curriculum that engineers need to take to qualify as an Avid Certified Support Representative.”

Networking, workgroups and workflows

“My main specialities are networking, workgroups and Avid workflows. It’s always interesting to handle complex workflows based on shared storage and involving networks – there are lots of things that can go wrong. We recently had a university that had a really interesting NEXIS problem that we were able to resolve. It was very frustrating for them, because the customer essentially found that the storage had become inaccessible to a large number of clients attached to it, and we had to remote in to the network to diagnose it. It was an intriguing challenge. I’ve also got a lot of experience with various networking technologies from Dell, Cisco and Mellanox.”

Unpacking the stack

“Customers can come to Jigsaw24 confident in the knowledge that there’s someone who can answer questions on each level of the networking stack. It’s a team with a range of expertise. So for example Matt and Phil come in at the media layer, and as you can see from Phil’s tech talks they know a lot about making and connecting the fibre optics. When it comes to connecting from building to building, Dave, Rupert and Graham have done a lot of that, and have experience of hooking up facilities over dark fibre and exploiting those connections. And then when it comes to the actual networking part, getting the sites to communicate, that’s where I come in – putting the actual switches in place,  getting the routers in place and getting it all to talk to the internal equipment.”

Keeping an eye on the giants

“There’s constant interest in where Avid are heading next. We see it at various different product levels and I do think that, because so many of us come from Avid, we have a good understanding of how they work and a gauge on how things are going to develop. We work very hard to make sure we’re on top of the direction that Avid are taking with their technology, and we can also pass that line of questioning back to Avid and say, “This is what we’re hearing from customers – how are you going to make sure this product meets their needs?”

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Meet the experts: David ‘Saxon’ Greenep

Meet the experts: David ‘Saxon’ Greenep

David ‘Saxon’ Greenep spent ten years as an in-house mix engineer and producer for EMI and Mute Records, racking up an impressive discography while also working as a musician and composer. He brings a wealth of music production experience to our team, and is the one you want to get hold of to discuss production kit, mixing, and what it’s like to be in a band with Dave Gahan. 

Who’s sick of hearing about sound for picture? 

“If anyone has any questions about music-based production gear, that’s obviously been a huge part of my career and I’m the one in the team to speak to about that. We have Avid S6 and S3 mixing consoles in our demo room, and if you’ve got questions about those, I can run you through them. I think the S6 is evolving into something special, because with every single software update it gets, it gains new aspects that enhance your audio workflow, and I think the speed it’s growing at is pretty exciting. Some of the things it can do right now are pretty awesome. Just drop me an email to book a demo.”

Updating iconic studios

“We’re working on a lot of rooms with really interesting Dante networking in them – a lot of studios now have come up with really cool ways on routing audio via Dante, and achieving Dolby requirements with great new gear such as the JBL Intonato. Halo’s studio is definitely one of them, and a pretty iconic room to have worked on. Their Head of Audio Richard Addis is great, as anyone who’s heard him talking about sound design for VR will know.”

The Atmos whisperer

“Upgrading studios to Atmos-certified rooms is very much my speciality at the moment. A lot of people have 5.1 and 7.1 rooms that they’re trying to upgrade to Atmos pre-mix rooms or full Atmos certified rooms, as their high end feature customers are looking for that certification before they’ll use the room. A lot of facilities we speak to aren’t sure what the requirements for the different certifications are, which is something we can help with, as well as providing the actual hardware and working with you to configure their rooms.”

Avid welcomes Ambisonics 

“Ambisonics is a spherical system for 3D sound that’s popular for VR audio, and that it’s now integrated into Pro Tools in the same way that they integrated Atmos panning is very interesting. They’re also including Facebook’s Spatial Workstation plug-in as part of Pro Tools | HD as standard now, so it’ll be far easier for people to mix audio for 360 degree video and VR headsets.”

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Bottlenecks, bandwidth and the importance of building an up to date network

Bottlenecks, bandwidth and the importance of building an up to date network

If your company’s network is running on the back of out dated technology, there’s a good chance it’s struggling to meet the demands of your day to day data flow, and you’ve probably started to notice a dip in productivity and performance as a result.  

In 2017, networks are tasked with handling multiple devices, applications and workflows. And while you may be fully equipped to handle emails, web surfing and the transfer of documents and other small files, you’re going to need more bandwidth to be able to cope with the demands of the modern networking world.

We’ve listed a few FAQs below that should help you decide whether you need a network upgrade to better support the requirements of your organisation’s IT infrastructure…

So, what’s a bottleneck? 

No, we’re not talking about those things you slurp lager out of – we’re talking about high network usage slowing or altering the speed of a network. Speed is reduced when the network lacks the resources and bandwidth to cope with the demands of its users – networks will naturally slow down in an attempt to handle the additional traffic.

How do bottlenecks impact productivity? 

If your network is clogged with users attempting to access the same resources and lacks the infrastructure to support this kind of activity, it’ll create a bottleneck that’ll grind your network speeds to a halt. This isn’t exactly ideal if you’ve got staff using essential network-based applications, working on mission-critical files on the server or distributing large amounts of data across your organisation. Without sufficient bandwidth, your network will continually experience such slowdowns, so it’s best to start thinking about modernising your network infrastructure to better support your company’s data flow and the needs of your end users.

What are the benefits of updating my network?

If your networking infrastructure is lagging way behind the times, it’ll really show and your end users will have some serious difficulties working on the network. Complete with noticeable performance deficits, you’ll likely experience total network outages where nothing works until traffic is reduced – this is something you want to avoid, as an outage could cause you to lose data and possibly days of work.

To put it simply, by not upgrading you’re missing out on a load of substantial speed and performance benefits, and risking precious data. Bandwidth abound, you can rest easy that your network will be able to cope with previously crippling amounts of data usage, and can handle even the most demanding multimedia workflows.

Getting your network updated also means you won’t have to waste excessive amounts of time and resources trying to rectify problems created by slow speeds and poor performance – instead, your IT support team can focus on helping end users without having to fret over never-ending network bottlenecks. And don’t forget that you’ll likely see an uptick in productivity now that your employees can access everything they need and can use the network at full capacity.

Of course, it’s always important to implement best practice whether your network is up to date or not, especially when it applies to organisational growth and the IT infrastructure associated with it. Always remember that for every additional employee or device, it’ll have a knock on effect on bandwidth, storage and more, so your infrastructure will need to expand in conjunction with the business.

Try and implement monitoring systems that help you keep track of the resources in your network, how much data is being transmitted across your company, and potential shortfalls in bandwidth capacity and networking speeds. It’s also worth double checking that your network is configured correctly, so that fresh installations or new services aren’t blocking existing business-critical applications and causing unnecessary downtime.

How can we help?

We offer the full range of networking solutions, from the design and installation of complex multisite networks to tailor-made WiFi setups for business. In short, our engineers will make sure your network is fast, continuous and secure. Whether you’re looking for someone to help you with system design, structured cabling, active network hardware, wireless LANs, network security, or maintenance and support, we’re your guys.

Want to know more about networking? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Migrating from your old Xserve to new infrastructure

Migrating from your old Xserve to new infrastructure

We get it, you love your old Apple Xserve. You’ve grown up with it, got to know its quirks and foibles, and shared sweet memories in the soft glow of its system identifier light. But while Apple’s rack-mounted server may have been a loyal servant to your business over the years, it’s now obsolete. So it’s high time to move on from your outdated architecture and get with a new model.

Apple discontinued the Xserve all the way back in 2011, realising their server market was too small to actively compete with mainstream manufacturers. While it’s still supported up to OS X El Capitan, and you’ll probably get a couple of years of updates yet, if you want to use Apple’s latest operating system, you’ll find macOS Sierra has dropped software support for the systems altogether. So to make sure you’re up to date, compliant and – above all – secure, you’ll need to invest in new infrastructure hardware.

Originally, those wanting to continue using Apple for their server-based needs were catered for in the shape of the old Mac Pro tower or the more compact Mac Mini Server option. These ran the macOS Server system which, since the discontinuation of the Xserve, began getting simpler so that it was able to run on the more basic machines.

But for businesses who require enterprise-grade, industrial-strength servers, this solution wouldn’t really be ideal. So what next for former Xserve acolytes who need a server to cover deployments of both Mac and PC?

Many large Mac-based companies have been running Unix AppleShare file servers for years, so a rack-mount, scalable Unix-based server is the strongest option. You’ll find that many new servers from the likes of HP, Dell and IBM will actually cost you less than the price of the original Xserve, include more options for storage, and are easier to expand and scale with your business needs.

And if you still find yourself feeling overly attached to your old server, you could always do what some creative clever-clogs have done and turn your old Xserve into a coffee table.


Don’t live in the past; get your infrastructure reviewed

To make sure your setup’s as future- and disaster-proof as possible, book an infrastructure review with our expert field team. For just £450, they’ll visit your premises to ascertain how resilient your systems are, and provide recommendations for strengthening them further or ensuring you can support new formats and standards.

As well as help migrating from obsolete solutions such as Xserve, we can advise on:

– Storage utilisation and growth.

– Removing network bottlenecks.

– Securing critical systems.

– Creating a business continuity plan.

– Disaster recovery strategy.

– Developing cloud strategy.

– Integrating Mac and Windows environments.

Want to know more about Xserve, infrastructure and beyond? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook


Our ultimate guide to networking, WiFi and servers

Our ultimate guide to networking, WiFi and servers

Are you an IT manager whose network regularly leaves you wanting to bang your head against your server rack? We know how important it is to make sure your network gives you the speed you need for users to work effectively – especially designers and anyone working with and transferring large files over the server.

So this article is for you, as we get down to the nitty gritty of scalable networking, how our solutions can see you right, and look at how we helped Space Digital future-proof their infrastructure…


First things first, if your network doesn’t have built-in resiliency or sufficient bandwidth, you’re never going to get the maximum ROI – or the best work out of your employees. We offer the full range of networking solutions, from the design and installation of complex multisite networks to tailor-made WiFi setup. Put simply, our engineers will make sure your network is fast, continuous and secure, and with our range of support options, our engineers are just a phone call away if you need help. It all means you get faster, more reliable network and device access across platforms, improved end user security, and the peace of mind that you have technical support in case of any network issues.


Giving employees access to mobile devices is great for productivity (with everyone able to access business resources anywhere onsite), but it’s also going to have a knock-on effect on your network. We can help you deal with the challenges of connecting iPad, iPhone and more to your WiFi. We’ll do a WiFi survey and provide advice on hardware that’ll meet your needs, then install everything and perform ongoing network health checks, so you can ensure you have the bandwidth you need, without any loss of connection or disruption to your WiFi.


Whether you’re looking at a server upgrade, want to consolidate or virtualise your servers to host your legacy systems and web development, or give your business the agility and flexibility that comes with server virtualisation and consolidation, our solutions ensure you get the best fit for your business, and your investment is future-proof.

Some of the things we can do include workload optimisation, server room design, hardware provision, consolidation, virtualisation and migration pilots, and leasing, rental and finance options, all designed to give you faster delivery of core services, and a reduced energy and space footprint.


Customer story: Future-proof infrastructure at Space Digital

Over the years, we’ve helped many creative agencies and businesses get their network and infrastructure up to speed. For example, when post-production supremos Space Digital moved to new premises in MediaCityUK, they decided to build their own internal server room and recable their entire facility to enable their artists to work over 10GbE. As well as helping them design and install the facility, we’ve continuously advised Space Digital’s team on the latest hardware, including their new Thunderbolt-based workflow.

Simon Blackledge, Head of Post-Production at Space Digital, said: “Then we ran through where all the network points were going to be in the different offices, and the layout of the different edit suites. Jigsaw24 got back to me with the options for the cabling […] Jigsaw24 came up once all the floor had been laid and put down all the cabling for the network and the SDI leads and extenders. I moved my machines in a couple of days later and they had us all up and running – everything was fine.”

Free Server and Deliver event

If you want to learn more about infrastructure, particularly making your Apple estate work in perfect harmony with your IT environment, join us on Thursday 3rd September for our Server and Deliver event! Stop by from 5pm for a drinks reception before diving into keynote presentations with Dell, Quantum (Dothill) and Brocade on a whole host of key challenges creatives are facing today. We’ll be talking servers, storage and networking, Mac integration, device management, network migration, business continuity and much more. So if that sounds like your bag, RSVP your place by filling in the form below.


Want to know more about networking, WiFi and servers, and our insanely great infrastructure solutions? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


Shared storage for a video editing suite at Bath Spa Uni

Shared storage for a video editing suite at Bath Spa Uni

Bath Spa University were looking for an 11-seat, multi-user video editing suite. They gave Jigsaw24 a call and we helped them find the solution to meet their performance and budgetary requirements, and ensure that they were able to undertake real-world professional projects. As well as including the capacity for future upgrades, our experts implemented a render farm to operate out of hours.

Bath Spa offers a range of courses, from pre-degree study to postgraduate degrees. The university, home to around 5,500 students, has achieved exceptionally high rankings in the national league table. It has also been designated as a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in the creative industries, with strong links with key employers and industry partners.

Bath Spa University have made a significant investment in resources and facilities available to their students, both at the Bath School of Art and Design and the Schools of Music and Performing Arts.

Marrying professional and educational requirements

The university wanted an 11-seat video editing suite with a commercial focus that would be capable of fulfilling real briefs to a professional standard. The technical requirements included managed logins for full- and part-time students, fully shared data storage and roaming home folders and real performance suited to video editing by multiple users. It was also important for the university that the proposed solution consisted of professional industry tools, as completed projects could be used to generate revenue.

Designing a storage solution

Sammy Aindow, one of Jigsaw24’s leading systems and storage consultants, helped Bath Spa University investigate a number of possible solutions. Sammy specialises in backend broadcast and post-production systems, so he was able to assess exactly what was needed.

He decided against a ten Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) storage solution, as it was not the best value for money in this instance and instead suggested a Fibre Channel-based SAN, with redundant metadata controllers for high availability. The Fibre Channel fabric offered redundancy and 8Gb per second capability, which would give the university the opportunity to double their storage bandwidth in the future. In addition to this, tight directory integration would provide the centralised management and security required.

Careful coordination and project management

As the new video editing suite was located in a newly acquired university building where construction was still underway, careful coordination and project management was required. Components for the suite were delivered independently from a number of sources, while a subcontractor installed the Fibre cabling onsite. We organised and carried out the task efficiently, without encountering any problems.

The project was completed, including the final stage of configuration, in approximately three days. Technicians at the university undertook some preliminary work and set up their client machines, while our onsite engineers configured and installed the servers and storage.

Seeing the benefits…

The university now has enhanced professional facilities to offer both its staff and students. The addition of a compressor cluster was not in their original specification but has essentially resulted in the university getting two solutions for the price of one. Several options for redundancy and failover were incorporated to improve reliability and optimise the availability of the systems.

We made sure that Bath Spa got the best possible prices, enabling them to implement the latest 8Gb-ready Fibre Channel switching at no extra cost, with the capacity to double the bandwidth of their storage network in the future.

Want to know more about shared storage for your video setup? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

The difference between cheap and premium cabling

The difference between cheap and premium cabling

It’s useful to use an analogy comparing cable to copper plumbing pipe to answer this one:

If too small a pipe is used for say, central heating, an increase in water pressure results because the water has to flow through a narrower hole. This could cause reliability problems. The smaller bore pipe used can also lead to furring up of the system over a period of time.

With cable, the less metal (usually copper) used means there is more pressure to electrical current flow. This extra pressure is called Resistance. The longer the cable, the more resistance there is. Other factors also come into play that cause degradation of the higher frequency parts of the signal rather than the lower ones. All this means that using cheaper cable over long distances causes a serious deterioration in the quality of the signal, to such an extent that the signal, when it arrives at the receiving end, maybe unusable for the purpose it was intended for.

The use of premium cable (and therefore more copper) reduces this loss of signal quality.

Want to know more? Call 03332 409 306 or email