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  1. Small Tree Unveils its Own Storage Operating System and Project Sharing Interface at NAB 2014 to Strengthen Company’s Shared Storage Solutions

    March 28, 2014 by Joe DiBenedetto

    ZenOS and Project Wrangler Deliver Super Fast Access to Video Editors

    3U_TitaniumZ with ZenOS

    Oakdale, Minn., March 27, 2014 — At this year’s NAB, Small Tree (Booth SL11105) will unveil  its own storage operating system and new Interface to strengthen their already robust TitaniumZ all-in-one, real-time, Ethernet-based shared storage systems.

    Based on FreeBSD 10, Small Tree’s ZenOS operating system provides video editing teams using TitaniumZ with even better performance by capitalizing on Samba 4 and Native Avid Media sharing high speed multipath iSCSI support for super fast access from individual clients. Small Tree’s newly developed Graphical User Interface, Project Wrangler, is an iSCSI sharing tool that allows users to create, mount and share iSCSI projects quickly and easily, while also enabling Active Directory and Open Directory support for seamless integration, as well as NFS support for Avid and Final Cut X project and library sharing.

    “Talk to video editors and you learn quickly that what they want most of all are intuitive tools that eliminate waiting around for access to files and minimizing rendering times,” said Steve Modica, Small Tree’s Chief Technology Officer. “We developed ZenOS and Project Wrangler to ensure our TitaniumZ shared storage systems provide optimal performance and efficiency unmatched throughout the industry.”

    Small Tree’s TitaniumZ is capable of supporting up to 24 video editing workstations without needing an Ethernet switch, and was designed and tested to provide maximum performance for real-time video editing workflows.

    Offered in three scalable models – TitaniumZ-5, TitaniumZ-8 and TitaniumZ-16 – Small Tree’s popular shared storage product can be configured with up to 20 10GbE ports or 24 GbE ports with storage capacities (raw) from 10TB to 1PB (Petabyte). TitaniumZ can be upgraded on-site through advanced ZFS technology, which enables servers to seamlessly integrate newly added storage while keeping existing files intact.

    Providing high performance sharing, quickly and directly from the RAID, TitaniumZ systems include simplified setup and management, RAID protection for multimedia editing and Small Tree’s industry-leading tech support. Creative teams will feel the difference in increased performance and productivity immediately with any of Small Tree’s all-in-one systems featuring ZenOS and Project Wrangler.

    TitaniumZ was designed to be simple to setup and manage. The storage can be made available to users within minutes of initial startup, while the powerful and convenient browser-based Project Wrangler interface makes management of TitaniumZ straightforward. Using Project Wrangler, TitaniumZ can be managed from anywhere with an Internet connection.

    All three TitaniumZ systems offer optimal flexibility with the capability to work across multiple protocols (AFP, SMB, NFS and iSCSI) and platforms, including Adobe Creative Suite, Avid Media Composer, Avid Pro Tools, Apple Final Cut Pro 7, Apple Final Cut Pro X, and Blackmagic Design Davinci Resolve. Available in a variety of drive configurations, from 5 to 144 disks, with multiple network scalability options, Small Tree’s newest line of shared storage solutions can meet the demands of today’s 4K workflows whether they’re using Red, Arri or Phantom.

    For more information on TitaniumZ featuring ZenOS and Project Wrangler, visit Small Tree at NAB (SL11105) or Follow Small Tree LinkedIn, or @smalltreecomm.

  2. Thunderbolt Updates

    March 20, 2014 by Steve Modica

    We’ve been working pretty hard on Thunderbolt products over the last few weeks and I thought I’d write up some of the interesting things we’ve implemented.

    I’m sure most of you are aware that Thunderbolt is an external, hotplug/unplug version of PCIE.  Thunderbolt 1 provided a 4X PCIE bus along with an equivalent bus for graphics only. Thunderbolt 2 allows you to trunk those two busses for 8X PCIE performance.

    PCIE Pause

    This is a new feature of Thunderbolt designed to deal with the uncertainty of what a user may plug in.

    Normally, when a system boots up, all of the PCIE cards are in place. The system sorts out address space for each card and each driver is then able to map its hardware and initialize everything.

    In the Thunderbolt world, we can never be sure what’s going to be there.  At any time, a user could plug in not just one device, but maybe five!  They could all be sitting on their desk, daisy-chained, simply waiting for a single cable to install.

    When this happens, the operating system needs the capability to reassign some of the address space and lanes so other devices can initialize and begin working.

    This is where PCIE Pause comes into play.  PCIE Pause allows the system to put Thunderbolt devices into a pseudo sleep mode (no driver activity) while bus address space is reassigned. Then devices are re-awakened and can restart operations.  What’s important to note is that the hardware is “not” reset.  So barring the odd timing issue causing a dropped frame, a PCIE Pause shouldn’t even reset a network mount on a Small Tree device.

    Wake On Lan

    We’ve been working hard on a Wake On Lan feature.  This allows us to wake a machine from a sleep state in order to continue offering a service (like File sharing, ssh remote login or Screen sharing).  This may be important for customers wanting to use a Mac Pro as a server via Thunderbolt RAID and Network devices.

    The way it works is that you send a “magic” packet via a tool like “WakeonMac” from another system.  This tells the port to power up the system far enough to start responding to services like AFP.

    What’s interesting about the chip Small Tree uses (Intel x540) is that it requires power in order to watch for the “magic” wake up packet. Thunderbolt wants all power cut to the bus when the machine goes to sleep.  So there’s a bit of a conflict here.  Does a manufacturer violate the spec by continuing to power the device, or do they not support WOL?

    This is most definitely true for the early Thunderbolt/PCIE card cage devices.  They were all very careful to follow the Thunderbolt specification (required for certification and branding) and this leaves them missing this “powered while sleeping” capability.

    Interested in learning more about how you could be using Thunderbolt? Contact me at


  3. Small Tree Introduces Specialty Thunderbolt 2 Gigabit Connectivity Solutions

    by Steve Modica

    New Line Up Works Seamlessly for Mac and Windows Systems

    Oakdale, Minn., March 20, 2014 — With its high performance I/O capabilities, Thunderbolt™ 2 is an extremely attractive tool for post-production professionals seeking to optimize productivity and efficiency. To further strengthen the workflow environment for those relying on Thunderbolt™ 2, Small Tree is introducing a new line up of specialty Gigabit connectivity solutions that work seamlessly with Mac and Windows systems.

    “Small Tree has updated its current Gigabit chip to the new Intel i350, which gives our customers a new range of features for supporting Thunderbolt™ 2 performance and power specifications,” said Steve Modica, Small Tree’s Chief Technology Officer.  “These new cards allow us to offer a wider range of products for connecting Mac or Windows systems with Thunderbolt™ 2 ports into optical and multiport environments for things like Link Aggregation, traffic monitoring and high security environments.”

    Highlighted by its recently introduced ThunderNET2 system, Small Tree’s Thunderbolt™ 2 inspired technologies add network bandwidth to any computer with a Thunderbolt port.  Features include the ability to daisy chain up to six devices to a single port on the host computer, whisper quiet normal operation and portable protection for any environment.

    ThunderNET2 provides creative media professionals a cost-effective option to integrate Thunderbolt equipped platforms into high performance storage and data networks. Small Tree designed the system, as well as it entire line of Gigabit connectivity solutions, to support post-production pros harnessing the increased processing power available in today’s all-in-one desktop and laptop computers.

    For more information on Small Tree’s line up of products dedicated to harnessing the full power of Thunderbolt™ 2, visit, or call 1-866-782-4622 for a price quote.

    Follow Small Tree on LinkedIn, or @smalltreecomm.

  4. Brand New Media Selects Shared Storage Solution from Small Tree

    March 17, 2014 by Steve Modica

    Multi-Office International Digital Media Company
    Accelerates Workflow with Plug and Play Implementation


    Singapore, March 17, 2014 Ideal Systems, an industry leading, multi-national systems integrator providing innovative solutions to broadcasting, telecoms and enterprise companies, recently integrated technology from Small Tree at Brand New Media’s broadcast facility in Singapore. Brand New Media (BNM) is a global digital media company that required a robust shared storage solution to accelerate its workflow without disruption to their infrastructure and manpower.

    “We came across Small Tree at the NAB conference (last year) and were really impressed by the company and their high performance networking and shared storage products,” said Fintan Mc Kiernan, CEO at Ideal Systems Singapore. “They have a great blend of hardware and software skills that allow them to create unprecedented bandwidth to their storage devices. This is going to be vital for our customers in Asia, such as Brand New Media, as they start to build out their capacity for 4K Ultra HD production work flows.”

    Working with many of the world’s biggest brands and broadcasters including Seven Media Group, Prime Media Group, TVNZ, StarHub, the Health Promotion Board of Singapore and NTUC Fairprice, BNM provides turnkey solutions via the creation and distribution of new content via their transmedia channels  television and all connected devices. Before installing a Small Tree TitaniumZ-16 with 128TB to accommodate the company’s continued growth, BNM relied on a series of portable hard drives and a 32TB server to meet its storage needs.

    “Due to the nature of our business, BNM is constantly looking for  solutions that are cutting-edge yet cost-effective to expand our server space and Small Tree’s TitaniumZ storage systems offer just the performance we need,” stated Colin Ng, Broadcast Manager at Brand New Media. “We look forward to the upkeep of our infrastructure and automating our data and server management to an unparalleled degree.”

    Capable of supporting numerous multimedia content creation workstations with a highly flexible mix of gigabit Ethernet and 10 gigabit Ethernet configuration options featuring storage capacities (raw) from 10TB to 576TB (Terabyte), TitaniumZ is designed and tested to provide maximum performance for real-time video-editing workflows. BNM has its eight workstations – Mac and Windows – at its Singapore location, seamlessly running a variety of multimedia software applications, including Apple Final Cut

    Pro 7, Adobe After Effects and Adobe Photoshop. The shared storage system works flawlessly with the entire Adobe Creative Suite in addition to Apple Final Cut Pro X, Avid Media Composer and Autodesk Smoke, offering creative facilities optimal flexibility.

    Available in a variety of drive configurations, from 5 to 144 supporting 16 to 144 concurrent ProRes 422 streams, with multiple network scalability options, and extremely easy to install, Small Tree’s TitaniumZ line of shared storage solutions can meet the demands of any facility, large or small.

    “The Small Tree system was simply ‘plug and play’,” said Colin Ng. “It happens to be one of the easiest pieces of hardware we have in our facility.”

    For more information about Small Tree and its growing line of shared storage and networking products, visit Follow Small Tree on Facebook at or on Twitter @SmallTreeComm.

    About Brand New Media

    Brand New Media (BNM) is a global digital media company with offices and dedicated studios operating across Australia, Singapore, US and Europe. Brand New Media owns, creates and operates digital channels allowing leading brands to become broadcasters. Brand New Media’s ChannelPLAY platform delivers content and channels to all devices, anywhere and anytime, delivering an innovative and integrated marketing solution to brands. For more information, visit

  5. Testing with Adobe Anywhere

    March 7, 2014 by Steve Modica

    Small Tree has been working closely with Adobe to make sure our shared editing storage and networking products work reliably and smoothly with Adobe’s suite of content creation software.

    Since NAB 2013, we’ve worked closely with Adobe to improve interoperability and performance, and test new features to give our customers a better experience.

    Most recently, I had the chance to test out Adobe Anywhere in our shop in Minnesota.

    Adobe Anywhere is designed to let users edit content that might be stored in a high bandwidth codec, over a much slower connection link.  Imagine having HD or 4K footage back at the ranch, while you’re in the field accessing the media via your LTE phone and a VPN connection.

    The way it works is that there’s an Adobe Anywhere server sitting on your network that you connect to with Adobe Premiere and this server compresses and shrinks the data “on the fly” so it can be fed to your machine much like a YouTube video.  Except you are scrubbing, editing, cutting, dubbing and all of the other things you might need to do during an edit session.

    This real-time compression/transcoding happens because the Adobe Anywhere system is taking advantage of the amazing power of GPUs.  Except rather than displaying the video to a screen, the video is being pushed into a network stream that’s fed to your client.

    I tested my system out with some Pro Res promotional videos we’ve used at trade shows in the past, and did my editing over Wi-Fi.

    What I found was that the system worked very well.  I could see that the Adobe Anywhere system was reading the video from Small Tree’s shared storage at full rate, then pushing it to my system at a greatly reduced rate.  I had no trouble playing, editing and managing the video over my Wi-Fi connection (although Adobe recommends 1Gb Ethernet as the minimum connectivity for clients today).

    This type of architecture is very new and there are caveats.  For example, if you are very far from the server system or running over a very slow link (like a vpn connection), latency can make certain actions take a very long time (like loading an entire project, or using Adobe’s Titler app which requires interactivity).  Adobe cautions that latencies of 200msecs or more will lead to a very poor customer experience.

    Additionally, just because the feed to the clients is much lower bandwidth (to accommodate slower links), the original video data still needs to be read in real-time at full speed. So there are no shortcuts there.  You still need high quality, low latency storage to allow people to edit video from it. You just have a new tool to push that data via real-time proxies over longer and slower links.

    All in all, I found the technology to be very smooth and it worked well with Small Tree’s shared network storage.  I’m excited to see the reach of Small Tree shared storage extended out to a much larger group of potential users.

    For a demonstration of Adobe Anywhere over Small Tree shared storage, visit us at the NAB Show in Las Vegas this April (Booth SL11105).

  6. Small Tree to Showcase ThunderNET2 at NAB 2014

    March 4, 2014 by Steve Modica

    Capitalize on Thunderbolt 2™ Technology and Support
    4K Video File Transfer and Display SimultaneouslySmall Tree

    Oakdale, Minn., March 4, 2014 Small Tree, the Ethernet-based shared storage and networking specialist, will showcase its new ThunderNET2 solutions for post-production professionals at NAB 2014 (Booth SL11105). With ThunderNET2, users will be able to support 4K video file transfer and display simultaneously.

    Created to support post-production pros harnessing the increased processing power available in today’s all-in-one desktop and laptop computers, ThunderNET2 opens up a whole world of possibilities. Combining high performance I/O capabilities of Thunderbolt™ 2 with the flexibility of PCIe, Small Tree’s ThunderNET2 provides creative media professionals a cost effective solution to integrate Thunderbolt equipped platforms into high performance storage and data networks.

    ThunderNET2 features improvements to Small Tree’s ThunderNET solution introduced last year and which already has provided major performance enhancements for post-production companies. One company whose efficiency has been optimized with ThunderNET is 3-Legged Dog (3LD), a community-oriented and artist-run production and development studio for emerging and established artists and organizations that create large-scale experimental artworks of all kinds.

    “Using Small Tree’s ThunderNET, we’re pushing an insane amount of data – like composites up to 20K,” said Cameron Vokey, line producer at 3LD. “If we were using straight up Gigabit, this would not be happening. It needs to be as fast as Thunderbolt. We wouldn’t be getting the read/write speeds we’re achieving without ThunderNET.”

    ThunderNET2 boasts the widest range of 1 or 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity to Mac Pro, iMac, Mac Mini, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air systems, providing higher levels of network performance and connecting seamlessly to Small Tree’s Ethernet shared storage appliance, TitaniumZ, or 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches. ThunderNET2 can also provide additional Gigabit Ethernet connectivity to the user’s current network.

    “With its more compact design combined with the 20% increase in performance, ThunderNET2 provides a very cost effective solution for Thunderbolt equipped systems,” said Corky Seeber, president of Small Tree. “Typically, these same systems don’t provide enough network connection flexibility for professionals in the creative fields. ThunderNET2 capitalizes on the new Thunderbolt™ 2 technology to create an affordable and extremely powerful solution for the post-production industry.”

    Adding network bandwidth to any computer with a Thunderbolt™ 2 port, Small Tree’s ThunderNET2 can be configured to support specific requirements, allowing customers to select the proper amount of bandwidth to meet both workflow demands and budgets.

    For more information on ThunderNET2, or any of Small Tree’s cost-effective shared storage and networking solutions, visit Follow Small Tree on LinkedIn, or @smalltreecomm.