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Managing Storage Needs

France’s Les Machineurs offers the finest in technical support for digital cinema production. Today, we are a go-to shop for camera rentals, post production, and colour grading for the full range of HD, 2K and 4K, and now stereoscopic 3D productions.

We think of ourselves as much more than technical advisors: we collaborate with producers and film directors at project inception to optimise their workflows well before anyone calls out the word “action”. From filming techniques to program mastering and transfer to 35mm film for cinema or television, we apply the right expertise and tools – and especially that “French touch,” to ensure maximum success for each client production.

A critical aspect of our operation is possessing high-performance, reliable, and high-capacity local storage to support our colour grading, editing, and digital cinema broadcast mastering services –a potential problem given the large-scale HD and 3D projects we’re now working on. Typical customer engagements include high-profile 3D sporting events, commercials, feature films in 3D, and HD production for the latest French television series.

To deal with these demands, we’ve rebuilt our local storage environment around Sonnet Technologies’ Fusion DX800RAID eight-drive desktop SATA storage unit and the multi-user Fusion RX1600Fibre 16-drive RAID rackmount fibre channel storage system.

The decision to bring in the Sonnet systems was an easy one. As a smaller independent media company, we place a high priority on price-performance – and Sonnet has a stellar reputation for delivering highper formance, cost-effective storage platforms.

All Sonnet Fusion systems come with a five year warranty and the system’s S.M.A.R.T data reporting provides real-time monitoring and reporting on the enclosure and drives’ status. Plus, by supporting our RAID 5 and RAID 6 operation, the Fusion systems ensure that our data is protected in the event of a drive failure without any loss in performance.

Features like this help us assure our clients that their priceless data will be safeguarded from the beginning of the shoot to the completion of post-production. And, since we’re producing HD television programs and working with output from RED cameras, including some 4K footage, we know we’ll always have sufficient storage to meet our needs.

At Les Machineurs, we have deployed 24TB Fusion DX800RAID systems in our four colour grading and edit bays in our Lyon office. In our Paris office, the 40TB DX800RAID system is used on a standalone Mac workstation, and our MetaSan is working on a Fusion RX1600Fibre + Expender to provide storage for 3D productions as well as complex colour correction (using DaVinci) for features, movies, documentaries, and commercials. The RX1600Fibre system provides a powerful online backup capability that can be accessed by multiple users from any workstation.

Both the DX800RAID and the RX1600Fibre include internal SAS expanders, which will allow us to connect additional storage enclosures without needing an additional RAID controller as our operation grows. The Sonnet desktop systems’ whisper-quiet operation was a large selling point, because we need to locate the DX800RAID systems very close to the workstations and multiple persons are often involved in the editing and colour correction processes.

Compared to other storage products we evaluated, the Sonnet Fusion systems were almost an exact match to our local storage requirements. We value our long-term relationship with Sonnet and we know we can always count on the company to be responsive to our needs and provide the solutions that will guarantee maximum security, performance, and reliability.

Emmanuel Pampuri is CEO & Founder of Les Machineurs, with operations in Paris and Lyon, France.

Sonnet Technologies