Storage highlights from NAB

Posted on April 26, 2006

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—Storage vendors hoping to cash in on the high-capacity, high-speed video/media/entertainment market used this week's National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas to roll out a wide variety of new products. Here's a sampling from the show floor.

Advanced Technology and Systems Co. (ADTX) and Apace Systems announced interoperability of their 4Gbps Fibre Channel RAID and 10Gbps Ethernet NAS technology for shared multi-platform video editing and post-production workgroups. The pairing of Apace's NAS systems with the ADTX RAID systems provides NAS-SAN storage configurations for applications such as uncompressed, multi-stream HD workflows. Apace provides 10Gbps Ethernet NAS systems and has equipped its e2500 eStor networked storage systems with 10Gbps Ethernet cards and 4Gbps Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBAs). The NAS devices provide a gateway between 10Gbps Ethernet and 4Gbps Fibre Channel SANs with ADTX Array MasStor LP RAID arrays.

Asaca introduced its OSVault network archive storage server appliance, which is designed to provide disk-speed access and transparent connectivity to Asaca's TeraCart optical libraries. OSVault features dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and can be scaled to 12TB per server to provide near-line access to files. The server includes a 4GHz Intel P4 CPU, 512 MB of DDR-2 memory, dual-boot OS disk, and a CD-RW/DVD drive. It can be configured with 3, 6, 8, 12, or 24 500GB hot-swappable Serial ATA (SATA) hard drives.

Asaca also showed its TeraCart BD at NAB, a Blu-ray optical library that scales to 72.5TB and offers write speeds of up to 72Mbps. The TeraCart BD library can be configured to simultaneously manage 50GB recordable, dual-layer BD media as well as DVD-RAM, DVD-ROM, DVD+R or RW, DVD-R or RW, CD-ROM, CD-R, and CD-R/W within the same library. The library can also manage multiple virtual libraries within the same cabinet.

Atto Technology demonstrated its line of Serial Attached SCSI (SAS)/ Serial ATA (SATA) RAID adapters, which are designed for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs.) Using SAS and PCI Express (PCIe), the ExpressSAS RAID adapters offer throughput of up to 2.4GBps. Fault-tolerant features include hot swap, hot spares, online capacity expansion, battery backup, and optimized disk utilization for SAS drives, SATA II drives, or a combination of both. The adapters support RAID levels 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and 60.

Avid Technology announced at NAB support for "virtually any" third-party Mac OS X or Windows XP content creation tool on the Avid VideoRAID and Unity shared-storage systems. The announcement was part of the introduction of Avid's Open Storage Initiative. The company also tripled the capacity of its Unity disk arrays to192TB, and doubled the capacity of the Avid Unity MediaNetwork and LANshare systems.

Globalstor's ExtremeStor-iNAS is a 64-bit NAS/iSCSI system that extends the company's ExtremeStor series. Designed for SMBs, ExtremeStor-iNAS is available in 12-, 16-, 24-, or 36-bay versions that can be configured with either 250GB or 500GB hot-swappable SATA disk drives. Capacity ranges from 3TB to 18TB.

ExtremeStor features dual Opteron CPUs, hardware-based RAID controllers, clustering capabilities, and dynamic volume expansion. RAID support includes levels 0, 1, 5, and 0+1. The system comes with Ultra320 SCSI connections, and is also available with Fibre Channel connections on some models. Pricing starts at $9,000 for a configuration with 12 250GB SATA drives

Iomega's REV disks are being used by Grass Valley as recording and playback media for Grass Valley's Infinity Digital Media Camcorder and Infinity Digital Media Recorder. Branded as the Grass Valley REV PRO drive and removable 35GB REV PRO disks, the products combine the portability and low cost of videotape with the speed of hard drives. Grass Valley is also launching stand-alone REV PRO drives, which are based on Iomega's 35GB REV drives, and allow media professionals to record more than two hours of standard definition (SD) or 45 minutes of high definition (HD) video with the ability to use encoding and compression schemes.

In addition to demonstrating its Sledgehammer and Xstoner product lines, Maximum Throughput introduced several new products and technologies at NAB, including:

  • Sledgehammer Dual Stream is an uncompressed dual-stream, HD-capable digital disk recorder (DDR) with Sledgehammer NAS capabilities.
  • MAXcluster is a clustered storage configuration that supports guaranteed real-time I/O streams, and is based on multiple Sledgehammer storage systems.
  • High-speed backup, via InfiniBand or 10Gbps Ethernet connectivity, supports sustained speeds of up to 500MBps.

Neterion participated in IBM's Digital Media Center live streaming demonstration. The demo featured a complete Thomson Grass Valley NewsRoom system connected to an IBM server equipped with Neterion's Xframe II 10Gbps Ethernet adapters. Neterion Xframe II adapters support PCI-X 2.0 and provide wire-speed (10Gbps) performance.

Ten companies demonstrated automation and media management applications integrated with Omneon's MediaGrid active storage system at NAB. MediaGrid is designed for integration with workflow and content management systems. MediaGrid combines grid storage with grid computing using multiple interconnected-yet-independent storage servers to create a system that scales in increments of capacity, bandwidth, and processing power. The MediaGrid architecture is designed to eliminate bottlenecks so that clients and applications have access to media content at all times.

NAB chose Open Source Storage's OSFiler, a new NAS/SAN storage appliance, to be part of this year's NAB-HD Pavilion, which featured a DTV station. The OSFiler can push and pull HD content over either multi-2Gbps or dual-10Gbps Ethernet links, delivering up to 3.2Gbps throughput. The filer can be configured with 3TB to 24TB of capacity.

Sanbolic has released a Quality of Service (QoS) component for its Melio FS shared file system. The QoS component allows Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 users to dynamically allocate bandwidth to specific workstations in workgroup environments. Melio FS software enables multiple users to share access to content files on SANs. The QoS feature was added to centrally provision shared storage while guaranteeing bandwidth to and from workstations during editing and broadcast.

In related news, IBM is using Sanbolic's Melio FS and LaScala software in a shared SAN built for HD video production and streaming media applications. The solution also includes an IBM 4800 storage system and QLogic HBAs. Sanbolic and IBM are showing multiple streams of uncompressed HD format video while it's being captured live on the NAB show floor and streamed in a mixed production environment.

Vicom Systems announced Vmirror, a new family of high-availability and data-protection appliances for Apple Computer's Xserve RAID storage systems. Vmirror is a Fibre Channel appliance that routes and mirrors data from Apple hosts to Xserve RAID arrays. It offers fail-over in the event of storage system outages, and mirrors one or two pairs of Xserve RAID arrays while presenting them to connected host systems as a single storage unit.

The 1U rack-mount Vmirror doesn't require the installation of software, and it supports PowerMac G5, Xserve G5, Xsan, and Xserve RAID storage systems. Model VM-1 is a single appliance priced at $8,950, and Model VM-2 is a dual, clustered appliance priced at $14,500.

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