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Movie distributor need a replacement for VNX5300

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Adam Grayson
Movie distributor need a replacement for VNX5300
on Jan 26, 2015 at 10:11:24 pm

Hey everyone. First post on CC, long time lurker.

We are a fairly large distributor of independent movies, which means tons of storage and transport logistics, with none of the budgetary benefits of being a big Hollywood studio.

We ingest about 20-25 completed movies per month from the production companies, which we then store, manipulate (usually editing for length and transcoding), and deliver. Everything is Apple ProRes 422 or DNXHD, no 4K or anything like that. Right now we have an EMC VNX5300 (~130GB all on file storage) and a Quantum Scalar i500 (~200GB) for colder storage. The storage capacity is fine for the medium term, but the performance from the VNX is pretty terrible. The connectivity internally is all 10gbps ethernet via fiber and Brocade TurboIron switches.

We have a decent size post department that is doing QC, doing some editing (usually for length or local market requirements), transcoding, plus about 2 dozen customers downloading regularly via Aspera. If I had to guess, on average there are about 15-25 active reads happening on the VNX, and maybe 1 or 2 writes.

The performance of the VNX really does suck for what we do. Like really suck. It's gotten so bad that we are back to a USB hard drive sneakernet, and the VNX is really just for archiving. Our content people don't get sufficiently good performance to even play a movie, so they just give up and do it from USB.

EMC of course is trying to sell us Isilon, but I don't have a $150k burning a hole in my IT budget. We do like the low maintenance aspect since we really don't have an IT department. The single file system is great, but we currently use Microsoft DFS to achieve that anyway.

So what now? What I really need is a system that could deliver video playback reads to 25 users simultaneously without buckling. Besides the big name stuff (EMC, Netapp, etc.), where is the stuff that a small post house should be using for a awesome performance with a reasonable $/GB price tag?

Thank in advance for any input

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Bob Zelin
Re: Movie distributor need a replacement for VNX5300
on Jan 27, 2015 at 2:26:34 am

I love posts like this, and I love to bash them. No matter how much I post, no matter how much money is spend by advertisers on Creative Cow, no matter how many people respond, there is always SOMEONE that insists that they must have an EMC/Isilon/NetApp server that is so
F#$%ing expensive, yet cannot perform the same duties that is readily accomplished by Facilis, EditShare, AVID ISIS, Studio Network Solutions, Small Tree, Maxx Digital, ProMax, Apace, GB Labs, etc, etc. - only to have a response by someone saying "so what is wrong with NetApp, what is wrong with EMC" -

You have 25 clients - EVERY ONE of the companies that you see advertise on Creative Cow can handle this workload. Everyone of the companies that you see discussed on Creative Cow - ON THIS FORUM can handle 25 clients of ProRes422HQ without issue. Yet your IT department (not you) has decided on EMC/Isilon/NetApp, and obviously you are having problems.

Here is your solution.
Step 1) - go to your boss, and have him FIRE YOUR IT MANAGER.
Step 2) - call ANY COMPANY that you see advertise on Creative Cow (no recommendations - call ANYONE - because ANYONE can accomplish exactly what you want to do that you see advertise here).
Step 3) - you are done. You will have 25 clients all working on the same Media at the same time without issue.

As many of you read this - you may say "why is this Bob Zelin idiot so angry all the time " - because I know that many IT managers hate our "proprietary" solutions, and I was just "fired" from Robert Half and Associates, for having a perfectly working solution, but a solution that did not integrate with their PC Windows Open Directory Cisco switch environment, and they didn't like it - EVEN THOUGH IT WORKED ALL THESE YEARS. I fully understand that these IT managers want a solution that matches a solution that works for their Microsoft Office environment, and GUESS WHAT - it doesn't work.

Find ANY VENDOR that has a forum on Creative Cow. Find ANY VENDOR that you see discussed here on this forum. Call them. You will have a working solution for your 25 clients without issue. The most important thing is to NOT INVOLVE YOUR IT DEPARTMENT, because they do not have a clue, and you can see that you do not have a working solution.

There is not a single vendor here that will charge you $150,000.
I am telling you - the #1 thing you can do right now is to have your IT manager FIRED. Then you can get started.

Send him this link.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.

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Adam Grayson
Re: Movie distributor need a replacement for VNX5300
on Jan 30, 2015 at 8:05:25 pm

Well Bob I certainly appreciate your honesty. :)

We are a small company with no IT department. Much of the architecting of our EMC setup was done by an outside consultant.

I have reached out to a few of the brands you suggested to discuss our needs.

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Neil Smith
Re: Movie distributor need a replacement for VNX5300
on Feb 22, 2015 at 4:38:43 pm

Hi Adam,

Like BobZ points out, there are many shared storage solutions that can easily (and inexpensively) meet your requirements without costing you an arm and a leg.

Where are you based?

We specialize in providing shared storage solutions to Media & Entertainment customers in the LA area and deal with these kinds of requests all the time ... there's quite a bit bit of editing and film based workflow done around here :-) ... many of our customers are looking to move away from propriety fibre channel based topologies to more open NAS based approaches ... 10GbaseT networking has come along in the last few years.

If you haven't chosen a solution yet, there's some questions you should be asking of any vendor you talk to in order to ensure that their proposed solution matches your workflow requirements at your budget level.

If you need to talk things through, give us a call and we'll be happy to give you some pointers. Or just search through the Cow for some of BobZ's other threads ... super smart chap and totally focused on providing no BS advice to any company looking to move away from Isilon or StorNext based SANs.


Neil Smith
LumaForge Systems
shedding light on storage matters

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