Since they were first introduced over a decade ago, shared storage solutions have been the industry standard for sharing content in media workflows, enabling teams to collaborate more effectively. With shared storage, multiple users can directly access content across a SAN connection at the same speed as direct-attached storage. Shared storage has the power to stream high-resolution content to team members at rates high enough to never drop a single frame.

While Shared storage seems like the answer offering unmatched performance, scalability, and flexibility, it has always come with a price – the difficulty of deployment and administration. Setting up and administering a shared storage environment requires intelligent upfront decisions to be made, often followed by iterative fine-tuning. And once it’s up and running, keeping it at optimum performance can be time consuming. How much storage capacity does my team need for ever-growing content in HD, 4K, even 8K? How much network bandwidth will we need to serve all of our users on workstations? How beefy should our metadata controller be? There are rules of thumb, but most installations involve baseline testing and tweaking to ensure optimal performance.

This delicate balance can easily be disturbed as the volume of content managed grows or when additional clients accessing the content are added. The answer can be as easy as increasing the amount of content or metadata storage or upgrading the network bandwidth, but pinpointing the problem isn’t always straightforward. And it’s a lot easier to justify the budget expense to management when you have hard data that shows the infrastructure changes you want are truly needed. As our modern workflows become more complex with a greater number of formats both in acquisition and delivery, and higher resolutions, the problems of set up and management are compounded.

Quantum StorNext Connect

That’s where a fully-featured management platform like StorNext Connect comes in. StorNext Connect allows you to install, manage and monitor all your StorNext shared storage resources—storage, CPU, memory, network—in an intuitive graphical view. With StorNext Connect, you can shorten the time it takes to deploy or upgrade a StorNext environment: there’s an easy, self-guided interface to simplify installation to start and real-time metrics that can establish a baseline performance before you roll it out to users.

After deployment, StorNext Connect can be set up to alert you of problems before they affect users, and can reduce the risk of downtime or degraded performance by eliminating error-prone manual tasks involved in system upgrades. And when it’s time to extend or upgrade your StorNext environment, your original baseline can be compared against current conditions to prove to management the necessity of the upgrade.

For monitoring, StorNext Connect shows performance, throughput, and latency of all workspaces at a high level, plus a drill down to individual components. This includes both historical trends and real-time current status with statistics that are updated every minute. You can also set StorNext Connect to perform health checks for hardware and system status and send email notifications to your staff and experts at Quantum.

For management, StorNext Connect makes it easy to download software and upgrade your MDCs and Windows and Linux clients, including upgrading groups of clients at the same time. You can also restart clients and MDCs, check status on automated tasks, and troubleshoot performance bottlenecks using the real-time activity, performance and usage graphs.

As the value of content for re-monetization increases, more and more media workflows are including tape-based archives like the StorNext AEL Archive. StorNext Connect is designed to manage digital content libraries, offering additional features that help you maintain its long-term value. As with the disk storage reporting, both real-time data and historical trends are available. You can view access status information and drill down into archive media statistics to see how much of the tape media in your digital library is in use. Finally, you can determine how much of your archived content has been vaulted off-line for safekeeping or for cost-savings.

With StorNext Connect, you’ll have all the information at your fingertips to resolve issues today and help you plan for growth of your business in the future. StorNext Connect is expected to be ready for General Availability in December 2014. It will be in Limited Availability on Pro Solutions sales October 30. 2014.

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