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Re: Cache-A alternative

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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 "at"

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