Bruton Stroube Finds StorNext a Perfect Fit

January 23, 2018
ST. LOUIS—At Bruton Stroube, we have been telling stories through compelling images for more than three decades, first through photography and now with video. Today our capabilities include a complete range of production, post production, sound design, transcoding and delivery services, and we work on everything from ads and PSAs to short-form documentaries.

When we first expanded from photography into video production, we recognized that video workflow and storage requirements are dramatically different than for still images. So, we built our system from the ground up—evolving with the technology as needed. The Quantum StorNext shared storage and data management platform has played a fundamental role in enabling this growth.

The StorNext platform enables Bruton Stroube to record and store content in 4K/UHD.

EVOLVING WITH THE TECH
In our early days of video production, when lower-bitrate HD formats were adequate, we adopted Mac platforms as our standard and used local storage arrays to support the workflow. Then, as resolutions and bitrates increased and we started shooting in 4K and RAW formats, we added an Apple Xsan server and expanded to about 20 TB of storage capacity. Giving us shared high-performance Fibre Channel access to our content, the Xsan really made everything easier, but camera technology quickly outran what the system could do. When we moved to the latest Red Epic-W cameras and started capturing everything in 6K or 8K, we were swamped. Typical shoots were creating a couple terabytes a day, doubling our storage needs.

The demands of higher-resolution video formats pushed us to look for a more robust solution that could provide scalability and excellent performance, while maintaining compatibility with Xsan. It also needed to be affordable. We knew that StorNext and Xsan had compatible technology and we had already used StorNext licenses to integrate a Windows workstation for 3D projects into the Xsan environment. But we didn’t think a shop like ours—modest in size with three active edit stations—could possibly afford it. Fortunately, after discussing the possibility with long-time collaborators Jason Knopp of Knopp Consulting and systems integrator BrightSource IT, we discovered that in terms of features, performance and total cost, StorNext was our best option.

We also valued Quantum’s longterm commitment to the digital media market. With earlier investments, we found ourselves stranded when suppliers shifted business models and left us without support or a growth path. We were determined not to go through that again.

MEETING EXPECTATIONS
StorNext offered full compatibility with Xsan and all the applications used by our creative team. It also enabled high-speed, shared Fibre Channel access to multiple editors with seamless scalability, which supported the independent increase of capacity and performance as our requirements evolved. StorNext’s support of multiple storage tiers also allowed us to leverage different storage tiers for better cost management.

We opted to deploy a complete Quantum solution featuring StorNext software, Xcellis workflow storage appliances, QXS-series hybrid storage arrays and a Scalar i3 tape library. The Quantum team did a few days of on-site preparation and then, during lunch, simply switched the system over. When we returned, we had magically added about 72 TB to our existing volume and everything worked exactly as it had before.

In the months since the system has been up and running, we haven’t had a single second of downtime. StorNext has given us everything we had hoped for and it offers smart options for growth as our needs change.

James McKenzie resides in the St. Louis area, where he is a cinematographer at Bruton Stroube Studios. He can be contacted at [email protected].

For more information, please visit www.quantum.com or call 800-677-6268.

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