Reseller and Systems Integrator root6 met the challenge posed by a particularly demanding application for the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at The University of York with the deployment of PixStor from Pixit Media. BSc courses in film and television production and a new course for this academic year in interactive media required the facility to be re-equipped with a new storage area network. The new network had to be capable of supporting the extreme peaks of use involved when all 48 students in the FCP and Adobe-equipped lab are required to access the same clip simultaneously, and also cater for the high bandwidth required for uncompressed grading and finishing.
Technical Facilities Manager Erik Olafsen takes up the story. “Because we have to make every penny count, we did our homework very carefully. We drew up a three-tier list of parameters to evaluate both the technical and budgetary aspects of the installation – as solutions to this kind of application can prove very expensive.
“We sourced and reviewed vendors and SI partners, compared overall costs, cost of licences and ongoing support. Next we looked at cost per terabyte, though not in isolation as available bandwidth was also a key factor. Finally we examined the level and quality of support we could expect to receive.
“What impressed us about root6 was not only that they thoroughly understood our concerns and objectives but that they went the extra mile in the pre-contract stage, providing us with up to date revisions and drawings as our plans evolved.”
The PixStor solution provided by root6 unifies storage and network components in a software layer to deliver the required sustained high performance while significantly reducing both costs of ownership and ongoing support as the reseller’s Sales Director Rupert Watson explains. “PixStor uniquely combines SAN performance with the manageability of a central NAS in a single unified platform – it’s a software based approach to performance and capacity scaling that we are particularly excited about.”
PixStor is based on IBM’s GPFS with proprietary enhancements to make it specifically suitable for the demanding media market. Hardware agnostic, customers are able to select the most appropriate hardware for storage and networking from a wide range of certified components, significantly reducing growth and support costs.
“The fact that we could choose our own hardware was of considerable importance,” continues Olafsen. “Like others, our storage requirements are ballooning. In our case we’ve currently installed 140TB of Dell storage but undoubtedly this will increase in the future. The beauty of the PixStor solution is that it will scale as we expand, continuing to provide predictable performance at a cost realistic to our operation.”
A final factor in selecting root6 and Pixit Media was the two companies’ abilities to integrate with the University’s existing IT environment. Unlike any other storage vendor, Pixit Media support performance from the desktop application down, implementing authentication services such as Active Directory where required, and incorporating the network fabric into the overall solution.
“Pixit Media’s ability to guarantee performance across our network, and bind their solution seamlessly to our existing IT domain set them apart,” concludes Olafsen. “In conjunction with root6’s integration skills we have installed a flexible workflow architecture, as opposed to a storage product.”