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Film, Television and Radio School seeks 200TB

Simon Sharwood

Storage vendor employees who thought they had scored the cushy job of holding the fort between now and mid-January just got an important gig: responding to a new tender from The Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) for 200 terabytes of storage.

The School wants the storage because it currently has no central storage infrastructure and is therefore finding it hard to manage data.

“Over recent years, AFTRS productions and media associated with teaching requirements have grown in size and scope. There are many more productions each year and these are increasingly using digital capture and high-resolution file-based production methods,” the tender states. “These increases have caused the school’s storage requirements to escalate and have created many islands of storage pools around the school that are unmanaged and unprotected. AFTRS is seeking a solution to these production storage requirements.”

“Proposed solutions must provide simple, reliable, managed centralised information storage for the school’s Student Productions and Teaching Labs,” the tender continues. “This storage will service a pool of workstations that need to edit multiple high definition streams online from this storage and a wider community of labs, teachers and students accessing the storage through fast network shares.”

AFTRS says it needs 65TB right away, plus the ability to scale to 100TB in eighteen months and then 200TB three years after initial deployment.

The winning bidder will need to demonstrate that it can serve 25 edit suites concurrently consuming 4K video files, with around 70 users likely to use the system at peak times.

Further requirements include:

•         “... support [for] file locking to allow only one user to update a file at a time. But still allow multiple users to read the same file.”

•         Compatibility with “Apple, Windows and Linux operating systems and hardware.

•         The ability to “” ... handle the creation and deletion of huge numbers of small files that are typical of Graphics File Formats such as DPX for editing, CGI and Visual Effects.”

•         Capability to “... handle the delivery, creation and editing of multi-gigabyte and terabyte files.

•         An ability to “...handle read and write transactions that may take considerable time to complete such as is involved in rendering processes” and to “... support large files specifically created using the RED Rocket systems including files greater than 2GB.”

Intriguingly, the tender suggests direct connections between storage appliances and endpoint devices, stating “In some cases, direct Ethernet connections (i.e. bypassing network switches) may be desirable to maximise throughput. Respondents must outline the capacity and capability of their solution to direct connect clients for this purpose.”

A new backup solution is also sought, with a recovery point objective of between two and four weeks. An archive is a further requirement.