David McMillanSYDNEY—Our production system at Fairfax Media historically has been Apple to the core. In the early days, our news production team made do with a few individual Mac edit suites running Final Cut Pro, but as demand for video content began to grow, we quickly upgraded to shared storage built around Apple’s Xsan. This enabled a more collaborative approach while providing the improved workflow and performance critical to meeting the short production cycles of a news-driven organization.
TIME TO RECONSIDER SYSTEMS
More recently however, given our rapid and continual growth, along with Apple’s end-of-life plans for Xserve RAID and changes to the Final Cut Pro roadmap, it became clear that we needed to rethink our approach. Though we liked Apple products, we wanted the freedom to take advantage of different hardware and software options, so we began looking for additional partners with firm, long-term commitments to supporting video production. After doing our research and working with an experienced integrator, Computers Now, we chose to move to a workflow centered on Quantum’s StorNext platform.
Quantum came to the project with a superior understanding of the video production environment. The company clearly has a roadmap and vision for improving workflow efficiency and productivity, as well as a commitment to the market. We heard only positive comments from the many Quantum customers we interviewed, and the company’s success in helping other media and entertainment organizations establish efficient collaborative workflows reinforced this feedback.
In technical terms, Quantum products were just what we needed. They ensure 100 percent Xsan compatibility for our current Xsan workstation clients and include enterprise-server-quality metadata appliances that support rapidly growing collaboration. The solution we deployed included StorNext Q-Series high-performance disk storage and a StorNext metadata appliance that supports file sharing and serves as the underlying file system. As an open-system shared storage platform, this enables a collaborative workflow in which multiple editors can share high-resolution content while working with their preferred Mac- and Windows-based clients and applications.
WHAT LEARNING CURVE?
We also were able to bring the system online rapidly, without compromising the tools and processes used by our editors. In fact, the transition required no retraining and was achieved with no downtime. We completed implementation in four weeks and did the final rollout during a single weekend. Our editors left on a Friday and returned the following Monday to find familiar tools in place and all files imported into the new system, enabling them to pick up just where they had left off.
Working with the Quantum system, we have significantly improved our productivity: With only a small staff increase, we have boosted the number of clips we publish weekly by about 40 percent. In the future, we’ll be able to achieve even greater gains. The addition of StorNext archiving capability, including Quantum’s LTO-based StorNext AEL Archives, will enable us to automate the copying of content to tape while maintaining immediate access for re-use. This approach will speed up our process of archiving assets and finished content and give us a much more economical platform than one built only on disk storage.
David McMillan is head of production at the metro Video unit of Sydney’s Fairfax Media. He may be contacted at email@example.com.
For additional information, contact Quantum Corp. at 408-944-4000 or visitwww.quantum.com.