German Post-House, Schnittwerk, Expands Facilis Shared Storage
Facilis Technology has announced a major shared storage system upgrade at German post house, Schnittwerk. As well as expanding its Facilis storage network, Schnittwerk has become the first facility in Europe to install Facilis’ new Hub Server product.
Throughout the project, Facilis worked closely with local channel partner, Systempiloten. Over many years, the company has supported Schnittwerk with technical planning and consultancy services as well as fast and reliable support.
Established in 1998, Cologne-based Schnittwerk has developed a reputation as a pioneer in the use of new technologies to support its staff, which are regarded as being amongst the most creative in the German post market. Schnittwerk bought its first Facilis system in 2012 – a TerraBlock 24D 24TB with a 64TB expansion. This system enabled collaborative editing on a new non-fiction production where they worked simultaneously with six Avid Media Composer systems in online quality, as well as colour grading and retouching.
“Even at this time, the Facilis system was extremely reliable, high performance and flexible,” commented Marc Czessack, Head of Technical Post at Schnittwerk. “Especially the access to material on a cross-platform and cross-application basis was one of the main reasons for adopting the TerraBlock system.”
“It did not take long before we expanded the capacity of our TerraBlock system to provide additional production capacity,” continued Czessack. “The extension was very easy to accomplish because only one expansion chassis had to be attached to the existing system.
At the beginning of 2017, Schnittwerk instigated a third major TerraBlock system expansion with the addition of a TerraBlock 24EX/32 256TB storage system for high-resolution colour grading, VFX and mastering. Having already deployed 440TB in facility among three separate server chassis, Schnittwerk ordered a Hub server as soon as it was available.
“The decision to invest in Facilis systems was easy. There are not many shared storage systems that allow real Avid project sharing and Bin locking,” explained Marc Czessack. “Avid’s own storage solutions were not appropriate since they are not designed to work with third-party applications, which come from other manufacturers. Also, EditShare was also not suitable for us because the performance of their product was not good enough.”
“There are certainly cheaper solutions available, but they are far from flexible and fast. Now, with our TerraBlock and Hub Server system, we are able to access all volumes at every workstation and in multi-user write mode. This means that the storage space can be used much more effectively: no copies and versions have to be created and the individual workstations can also be used more flexibly for several applications. Most workflows have been simplified and automated in many ways.”
Marc Czessack believes that the Facilis systems are now a basic requirement for Schnittwerk to continue growing. “Our storage systems are now totally scalable as our business grows. They are a very important component in the future in view of our requirements for ultra high-definition, high dynamic range and high frame rate workflows and the associated high amount of data. The cross-platform management tool allows volume sharing based on each project or user and there is a possibility to work on more projects at the same time as well,” he concluded.
In developing its new Hub Server, Facilis Technology is focusing on those broadcasters and facilities that are seeking to grow their content-creation infrastructure on a limited capex budget. Ever increasing media file sizes and 4K, HDR and VR workflows are continually putting pressure on facility infrastructure. The Facilis Hub Server is aimed at protecting customers’ current storage investment and providing the most future-proof new systems available. The Hub Server architecture optimises drive sets and increases the bandwidth available from standard TerraBlock storage systems. In addition to this, Facilis is also shipping SSD and hybrid systems with 12Gb/s components that are the fastest shared storage systems in the smallest form factor available.
“We have always endeavoured to grow with our customers’ performance requirements,” said James McKenna, VP of Marketing at Facilis Technology, “With the advent of HDR and 4K workflows, this becomes a greater challenge. With Hub server, we have provided our customers a way to use their existing Facilis products in a new, high-performance architecture that takes their facility performance to the next level.”