HDNews accelerates HD video editing with Sanbolic's Melio FS

HDNews’ post-production editing system is connected to the SAN, which includes a dual Xeon-based PC running a Melio file system, LaScala volume manager and Adobe Premiere Pro with a Bluefish HD I/O.

VOOM HD Networks provides HD entertainment programming to the United States, including 10 original HD channels, which are created by Rainbow Media and currently available to Dish Network subscribers.

When VOOM embarked on the creation of a new HD 24-hour news channel, HDNews, the company determined it needed an advanced video editing and storage solution that would support uncompressed 1080i video content. The solution needed to have the bandwidth and performance to allow multiple editors to access and share the same video content at the same time. This capability would simplify workflows and accelerate the production of news clips and promotional content.

After evaluating the features, functionality, costs and availability of the market's off-the-shelf solutions, HDNews decided to build its own editing and storage solution out of industry standard component products. It turned to Sanbolic, a StorageTek and Cisco Systems partner, to provide software tools and services to enable high bandwidth-shared access to data. Sanbolic designed and implemented a high-performance Fibre Channel storage area network (SAN) to support the company's digital editing and storage needs. The components of the solution include:

A computer feeds video from an editing system on the SAN to a Grass Valley broadcast system.

  • Melio FS, an advanced symmetrical cluster file system, from Sanbolic
  • LaScala, a symmetrical cluster volume manager, from Sanbolic
  • D-Series disk storage systems (now called FlexLine) from StorageTek, a division of SUN
  • MDS 9216 storage switches from Cisco Systems
  • video editing workstations with Adobe Premier Pro editing software and Bluefish HD capture cards.

The resulting shared SAN storage system delivers the high throughput performance required for work with large uncompressed 1080i HD video files. The Melio FS clustered file system and LaScala volume manager allow multiple edit stations to have concurrent read and write access with guaranteed bandwidth of more than 165MB/s, which is required to avoid video stutter or dropped frames. In aggregate, the solution, built on high performance disk arrays, provides more than 1GB/s of bandwidth to the network from the shared storage pool.

The solution offers built-in redundancy. If any edit room goes down, staff can move to another editing room and continue working with the same content, available via the SAN.

HDNews Studio allows users to record and edit onto shared storage.

On the SAN's back end, the D-Series disk systems deliver the high reliability that's needed for HDNews' around-the-clock operations. The system is robust and has been in almost constant use over the past year and a half.

The use of the new shared SAN-based storage allows the operations team to manage a single pool of data and a single disk system, rather than multiple smaller storage pools. LaScala volume manager enables centralized creation, management and assignment of storage volumes, improving workflow management.

The shared SAN storage solution has increased staff workflow editing efficiency, simplified storage management, enhanced data consolidation and reduced overall storage costs. Staff members can work in any editing room, have access to the same pool of data and make edited program material available in any other room. For instance, while editors work on news clips, promotions personnel can put together promos for the same stories and help keep pace with the tight deadlines of news programs.

Looking ahead, HDNews has the option of directly integrating near-line archiving into the SAN so its employees can more easily repurpose existing content and archive.

Momchil Michailov is the CEO of Sanbolic.