Claiming to do for storage what Nvidia GPUs have done for graphics, Fusion-io’s flash memory cards work as caches for the data in highest demand, which can accelerate some applications.
“When you start RAIDing drives of spinning discs or SSDs together you soon hit a bottleneck and diminishing returns of bandwidth,” explained Vincent Brisebois, director of Visual Computing.
“Even with eight RAIDed SSDs it would be tough to pass 2Gbps. Since a single stream of 4K is 1.2Gbps, then working in stereo at 2.4Gbps puts you beyond that barrier. And it gets even worse if you do 60fps like Avatar 2 and 3 and you require 7.2Gbps. These are bandwidth requirements beyond traditional storage forcing a lot of studios to perform DI with low res proxies.”
At SIGGRAPH in July, Fusion-io showed an HP workstation capable of 12Gbps – or eight streams of 4K uncompressed in realtime. “It’s critical for working on 8K broadcast or 4K HFR,” stressed Brisebois. “Over a network we could supply eight workstations with enough bandwidth to do 4K.”
Prime Focus, Pixelmondo, and Stereo D use the cards for review and playback. The technology is found in compositing stations like Nuke v7 and Autodesk Flame. It enables Assimilate Scratch to play back 4K uncompressed at 90fps. According to Brisebois, typical SSD latency is around 1 millisecond, while ioFX latency is just 0.04 milliseconds.
By Adrian Pennington