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OPINION: Faster and smaller shared storage is handy on location

The solid state disk revolution has delivered portable, extremely fast ethernet SAN solutions, explains Jan de Wit, chief executive, Dynamic Drive Pool

Sports events, news, festivals, presentations, movies; there are more and more outside registrations with more and more cameras with more and more content to be handled and judged before it can be released. Therefore facilities companies and departments are always on the look out to improve their offerings. The ability to ingest and edit material (edit while ingesting) on location with the smallest and fastest setup against the best rental price in the shortest time with the highest picture quality is a key decision factor.

High picture quality requires high bandwidth. SAN systems deliver the highest bandwidth. As the ethernet SAN-based DDP (Dynamic Drive Pool) manufacturer, we therefore have been involved in this market for years now.

These DDPs use spinning disks. Higher picture quality, more cameras, more Ethernet connections, more editors and more ingesting stations, means more spinning disks thus bigger systems. How come? It is the seek time. Spinning disk must seek the content on the disks during streaming.

Nowadays laptops, small desktops and cameras, lightweight cabling and\or having an outside vehicle as small as possible are becoming more and more important. Nobody wants it big.

Will Solid State Disk (SSDs) instead of spinning disks be the solution? SSDs used to be expensive with limited capacity. Not so long ago however 1TB SSDs came on the market with a price much better then the price of fast rotating (10K) spinning disks. SSDs are small and hardly produce any heat but most importantly there is no seek time. Using these SSDs in microDDPs created a perfect solution for outside broadcast.

MicroDDPs are hand carriable, 1U, 19-inch w x 10-inch d (48 x 25 cm), weighing 13 lbs (6 kg) with currently 7 TB raid 5 protected usable SSD storage on board.

So what can they deliver? The microDDP1GbE comes with 7 x 1GbE Ethernet ports and has a practical bandwidth of 400 MBps. The microDDP10GbE comes with 2 x1GbE and 2 x10GbE/RJ45 ports and has a maximum bandwidth of 1GBps.

What do these figures mean in practice? 7TB of storage is enough to hold more than 70 hours of ProRes HQ or DNxHD185 video material or approximately 300 hours of DNxHD45 or more than 100 hours of Pro Tools 100 track sessions.

The bandwidth of the microDDP1GbE is enough to stream close to 20 streams of ProRes HQ/DNxHD185 or some 80 streams of DNxHD45 or some 12 streams of red R3D material. These are some streaming examples. Transcoding equipment generating large numbers of IO’s or push/pull stations can be connected just as well. Because of 10GbE ports and faster CPU the microDDP10GbE delivers much higher numbers.

More about audio, video and film formats and numbers can be found on MicroDDPs and other DDPs are up for demonstration at our stand at IBC.