Apple expands multi-user storage for video post-production

Apple’s Xsan storage and networking solution allows the use of multiple computers with concurrent file-level read/write access
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Apple Computer has released Xsan, an enterprise-class storage networking solution that allows video professionals, such as editors in production companies, to have access to centralized storage systems with up to 64 users.

Xsan is a 64-bit cluster file system for Apple’s Mac OS X that allows the use of multiple computers with concurrent file-level read/write access. It works via Fibre Channel technology.

Apple said Xsan allows up to 64 users to simultaneously access a single storage volume that supports multiple high-bandwidth video streams for efficient workflow in video and film editing, broadcast, visual effects and motion graphics creation. Files and volumes up to 16TB in size can be moved on the network.

Xsan storage networking eliminates the bottlenecks of Ethernet-based network file servers, whose performance will only get worse over time as denser formats such as HD become more common. Using Fibre Channel multipathing, in which two Fibre Channel cables connect a computer to the SAN, an Xsan client can theoretically achieve throughput of up to 400MB/s.

Apple claims that its Xsan, at $999, works out as half the price of some other storage products. Apple wants its customers to use its Xserve servers and Xserve RAID rigs as metadata controllers and storage pools.

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