Few things come along that alter the world of filesystems and make them exciting, especially for folks in the Media and Entertainment industry. Especially with the multitude of distractions, tight turn-around schedules, and little budget. That’s why Quantum dove deep into their treasured StorNext product to revolutionize and re-invent what can be considered the most modern and developed shared filesystem to date: StorNext 5.
The vast majority of the enhancements were down on the very low level of the metadata and journaling section, but this is not to be overlooked as trivial or a “nice to have.” The effects made to this layer have profound consequences to the overall system performance and scalability on a massive level. Looking at this holistically we can see a handful of the most major changes: The ability for multithreaded metadata operations, new layering of extents on a contiguous range of blocks, online metadata copy, and what I like to call “intelligent” affinities. These select few updates are just some of the more major changes that will have great affect on media and entertainment workflows.

So, what makes this exciting?

We have now opened the door to new possibilities in workflow optimization. The ability to fully utilize all aspects of the Metadata controller hardware immediately allows for increased speed in accessing files, directories, or even optimizing for massive render farms. Browsing large directories filled with tons of files, such as a DPX based workflow, could be slow in not only older versions, but other filesystems. StorNext – now being able to handle multithreaded Metadata operations – strips out any of those issues.

Future fragmentation has also been nearly eliminated with the new optimized contiguous block Metadata structure. In the old days and on other competing filesystems it was a struggle to wipe and replace the storage after a couple years of use. This had to be done because the speed decrease due to fragmentation had taken a drastic toll. This problem has been abated in StorNext 5.

I’m always hearing from the IT crowd about their Scale-out NAS ability for snap shots, and I’m finally happy to see StorNext come out with something similar to this ability. StorNext has had an ability to copy the metadata off to another pool of disks, but never in an “online” fashion that typical snap shots do. StorNext 5 now allows for a user to potentially build scripts that run copies of the metadata during production. For anyone afraid of a user accidentally deleting the wrong files, consider that fear gone.

In terms of workflow changes, StorNext now possess the ability to categorize files to affinities based upon their extension. It is a pretty amazing idea that a file that ends in (for example) .dpx, .wav, or .mov could be automatically routed to a fast pool of disks. This can drastically optimize any high-end workflow, or even potentially keep older vs. newer RAID storage better managed.

In all, there are many enhancements to StorNext5, and it is always great to see a tried and true veteran product become modernized to compete in the ever changing landscape. It doesn’t just have implications for the media and entertainment workflows, but those customers are some of the most demanding and for what StorNext has just added, they should be very, very happy.

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Find out more about everything StorNext at www.stornext.com.

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