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Jamie Crausman
Cache-A alternative
on Jul 15, 2016 at 3:23:52 pm

We use a Cache-A pro cache unit to archive our media. We have (mostly) been happy with the integration between CatDV and Cache-A but are now being told by ProMax that they are ending support for our unit and the replacement units will not have a CatDV plugin.

So I'm interested in what other CatDV users are doing for LTO archiving, and I'd love to hear from someone at Squarebox as to what they recommend.

Jamie Crausman


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Josh Phillippi
Re: Cache-A alternative
on Jul 15, 2016 at 5:16:47 pm

Jamie-

Good Morning! Piston Media Group is a re-seller & integrator for Video Software & Hardware products, moreover, we try to be the best resource we can for product information. Part of our product offerings include both ProMAX and CATDV. We also offer a product called XenData for LTO Archiving. This integrates directly with CATDV. Please see the links below for more information. The XenData range of data storage systems is optimized for reliable long-term retention of video files. Systems are available that store content on LTO cartridges, Sony Optical Disc Archive cartridges or on RAID. Disk systems include Continuous Data Protection (CDP), backing up to either a locally attached LTO library or the Amazon cloud. Please feel free to reach me any time for more information about ProMAX, CATDV, XenData or any other products or workflows. We are happy to help in any way we can, and if we can earn your business in the process, then we have done our job.

A CatDV asset management system from Square Box Systems when integrated with a XenData Archive, provides a powerful and cost effective solution for management and long term retention of video assets on either LTO or Sony Optical Disc Archive (ODA) cartridges.

http://www.xendata.com/partners09/catdv.html

Josh Phillippi
CEO / Founder
Piston Media Group
(888) 829-7320 x101
(818) 318-8211
jp@pistonmediagroup.com
http://www.pistonmediagroup.com


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bryson jones
Re: Cache-A alternative
on Jul 18, 2016 at 7:19:46 pm

Hi there,

As was mentioned XenData provides a product that does indeed use a "cache" to archive files in its standard workflow. Also, there is middleware to connect a CatDV Server system to a XenData system. (Written by us at North Shore actually, so I know a bit about it.) ;)

We recommend you take a look at that option as it's powerful and a great solution.

Note that there is also a XenData plugin available from QLS. That has been available for a couple of years. The North Shore middleware was just released at NAB 2016 so be clear about which version you are evaluating and being presented.

However, back to the point. I would like to address a significant change in strategy that I personally have been advocating for for several years. And that the Cache-A EOL/Upgrade is now forcing. This may have an impact on small single-user CatDV systems so I wanted to address it asap.

The Cache-A "plugin" for CatDV allowed a single CatDV client system to push assets to a Cache-A archive device. While this was awesome for small systems/users, it had several problems that were difficult to overcome and imposed a workflow that was revolutionary, 8 or 9 years ago, but is rather creaky today. Full disclosure, I love Cache-A, the old and new owners, and I was even involved in connecting Square Box and Cache-A back when they first dev'd the solution. However, times change... as we now see.

The idea of one client machine pushing to the archive means that you were tying up that client machine with a file copy. Also it means that to restore, a client machine was involved (and tied up for the time that that action required.) This is a problem in a lot of modern post workflows. It also meant that the speed of the operation was dependent on the connection of that system to both the archive and storage systems.

Several years ago we (and Square Box but I can only speak for North Shore here) started working to connect more archive systems to CatDV and advocated for the use of Worker Node systems to perform these actions as automations. The user selects the assets to archive, sends the job instruction and then the Worker Node and Archive system perform the file operations, thus freeing the user's CatDV system to do other work while this runs. This also allows a user on a web client to archive assets that they may not even have a mount for, and allows a user on a slower network (1Gb ethernet?) to start a job that can be performed by a Worker Node on a 4, 8 or 10Gb connection to the storage device. You can see the advantages here.

Our XenData plugin follows this model, where the CatDV user is merely sending the instructions and our middleware and XenData are pulling the files to the archive as opposed to a user having to copy them to a network cache (and wait and be limited by network speed.) So in effect, while XenData is functionally similar to a Cache-A (but far more advanced as far as workflow and capabilities,) when it is used in an automated CatDV system, it functions more like a true enterprise archive system (which it is) as opposed to the more user-centric CatDV to Cache-A plugin workflow.

Contact a reseller or XenData for more info on the structural differences in these methods. I just wanted to point out that changing from Cache-A to XenData with an automated connection to CatDV is more than simply adding a new Archive system and single piece of software. It is in-fact, a move to a far more robust and automated archive methodology.

Hope this helps. One of the best things about CatDV is how diverse their partner collection is. I'm sure you'll find a great solution.

Has anyone else moved from Cache-A to another archive system? Pipe up.

bryson

bryson "at" northshoreautomation.com

northshoreautomation.com


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Jamie Crausman
Re: Cache-A alternative
on Jul 21, 2016 at 9:09:12 pm

Thanks Josh and Bryson for your replies.

Finding a new LTO archiving solution for CatDV is only part of the problem.
I've got a existing archive of more than 60 LTO 5 tapes created using Cache-A. We need to be able to restore these files as needed for our productions. The tapes are all .tar format.
Cache-A also has its own catalog info that I'd want to bring into any new solution as there are some assets that are cataloged outside of the CatDV interface.

I doubt I'm the only one in this situation. Anyone else?

Jamie



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bryson jones
Re: Cache-A alternative
on Aug 1, 2016 at 4:16:20 pm

Sorry for the delay in response.

We've done many archive migrations. Including a Cache-A migration of over 150 tapes for a customer.

We're currently starting a migration operation for a client who has over 400TB of tapes as I type. (Not a Cache-A rig but one from a company that was purchased and so has changed significantly.)

The good news? That LTO5 will still work (for the next year or so at least) and when you want to move that data over, it'll fit on a mere 25 LTO-6 tapes. If you go to LTO7, you can use even fewer. A manual restore and archive mostly just requires patience and persistence.

Also, the new archive operations can be done mostly automatically, in the background once you set them up, unless you choose another archive system that does not allow archive operations to be automated.

I've discussed with Xendata and Square Box the need for a plan for smaller one-user systems and believe that they will be working with resellers to develop and document this so some help is on the way.

North Shore is currently focused on assisting a few larger organizations with a more automated solution, although that will surely spin off some good info for the "lone gunmen" as I call the super creative and resourceful folks who manage an archive and CatDV system by themselves. (I, more than most, know how hard this task is.)

In the end, for larger organizations, this points out the need for a long term plan as your archive might outlive the companies that build the archive systems. An effective "pack up and go" strategy as well as a plan for drive upgrades should be part of anyone's plan who is currently purchasing an archive system.

bryson

bryson "at" northshoreautomation.com

northshoreautomation.com


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bryson jones
Re: Cache-A alternative
on Sep 23, 2016 at 11:51:20 pm

Hey guys, we recently did this webinar on the XenData workflow with CatDV.

https://vimeo.com/183999842

bryson

bryson "at" northshoreautomation.com

northshoreautomation.com


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Josh Phillippi
Re: Cache-A alternative
on Sep 24, 2016 at 1:05:35 am

Thanks Bryson!

This video will be very helpful in understanding the Xen Data / CATDV workflow. We at Piston Media Group understand the growing concern regarding the EOL of Cache-A. We are working diligently with the team at Xen Data and are able to help implement a transition and workflow for the migration to Xen Data / CATDV. We will be hosting a webinar very soon detailing this workflow. In the mean time, for a 1 on 1 web demonstration where we can discuss your needs specifically, please call a Piston Media Group representative at (888) 829-7320 or email us at info@pistonmediagroup.com. As a dealer and systems integrator for ProMax, Xen Data, and CATDV, we are here to help.

Josh Phillippi
CEO/Founder
Piston Media Group
jp@pistonmediagroup.com
http://www.pistonmediagroup.com
Cell: (818) 318-8211
Office: (888) 829-7320
Skype: jp.pmg


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