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  1. Leading Experimental Production Company Pushing Composites up to 20K with Small Tree Shared Storage System

    May 19, 2014 by Joe DiBenedetto

    TitaniumZ-16 and ThunderNET Solutions Making a Huge Difference for Editing Team


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     New York City, May 20, 2014 — Dedicated to standing out in the world of experimental art by virtue of its technical and artistic rigor, 3-Legged Dog has carved out its place as a leading creator of experimental multimedia productions. Located in New York City, 3-Legged Dog recently installed a TitaniumZ-16 shared storage system and ThunderNET solution from Small Tree to accommodate the substantial amount of content the company’s editing team must work with on each project.

    “We’re pushing an insane amount of data – like composites up to 20K,” said Cameron Vokey, line producer at 3-Legged Dog. “With seven compositors working in composites between 4 and 20k, we needed a solution that would open up 10 gigabit Ethernet for us and that’s what the TitaniumZ-16 in tandem with ThunderNET did. It’s pretty impressive.”

    A 501(c)(3) company, 3-Legged Dog handles projects for a wide variety of notable clients, ranging from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and American Express to Michael Kors and Lady Gaga.

    3LD shoots primarily with RED Scarlet and RED Epic Dragon cameras.  Leveraging Adobe After Effect’s outstanding capability to process native R3D files, playing directly off the TitaniumZ16, 3LD is able to greatly compress the time and simplify the editing process by eliminating the need for intermediate codecs. According to Vokey, the main composite size is over 35 million pixels per frame.

    The company’s editing setup currently includes nine Mac-based workstations (and six render nodes) running Adobe Creative Suite connected to a 48TB shared storage server designed by Small Tree to provide high performance sharing. TitaniumZ includes simplified setup and management, RAID protection for multimedia editing and Small Tree’s industry-leading tech support.

    “The system came in, I got on the phone with Small Tree and configured it quickly,” Vokey stated. “It’s incredibly easy to learn. On top of that, Small Tree’s customer service has been like the server itself…extremely reliable.”

    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 flexible and scalable configurations, TitaniumZ can meet the demands of today’s 4K workflows whether they’re using Red, Arri or Phantom.

    “It sounds crazy, but we shoot a number of performances in 3D,” Vokey remarked. “We want to be able to edit that footage onsite with our own equipment and the TitaniumZ and ThunderNET systems will enable us to do so. The project we’re currently working on is so large that it almost entirely consumed the 48TBs and we had to stay vigilant in deleting files towards the end. But we know where to go when we need to get cranking on the next one.”

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

  2. Snapshots…your trashcan, on steroids

    by Steve Modica

    I have to admit, as an old time UNIX guy that’s been around inodes, fsck and corrupted filesystems all my life, snapshots sounded a little too good to be true.

    The word was long known to me.  Customers would say, “I took a snapshot of that disk so I could upgrade it and revert if I screwed something up.”  It’s just that imaging a disk would take hours.  You’d start the copy and go home for the night.

    These new snapshots (like those supported by ZFS) were instantaneous.  One click and you would “instantly” have a new copy of your data.  How?  That’s not even possible.  To make it even weirder, the new copy takes up no space!?  Now it’s starting to sound like perpetual motion.

    The actual explanation is a lot simpler. Every filesystem is composed of data (your file data) and metadata (the name of the file, permissions, location of blocks, inode number, etc.).  All this metadata is what organizes your data.  You have what’s called an “inode table” where all that stuff lives, and it “points to” the actual data you wrote.  It might be video data, or your mom’s apple pie recipe.

    When you create a snapshot, you are instantly making a copy of that inode table.  You now have two. All these inodes point to the same data.  So the data was not copied.

    Now the magic happens. When a user deletes a file from the original data, the inode for that file is removed, but the snapshot inode remains.  ZFS will keep the data around as long as there’s an inode in some snapshot somewhere pointing to it.  The same is true if you edit a file.  The old data is saved, but the new data gets written.

    All this old stuff (old data) essentially becomes part of the snapshot.  As more things change, the snapshot grows larger. If you were to delete “all” the data on the original filesystem, the snapshot would essentially grow to the size of the original filesystem. (The original filesystem would drop to 0.)

    In some ways, it’s a little like a trashcan. When you delete something, it doesn’t really go away. It goes into the trash. If you wanted to, you could drag it out of the trash.

    There’s a similar way of recovering snapshots.  You simply “clone” (or mount) them.  When you do this, the snapshot inode table is mounted and it still points to all the old data.  That file you deleted yesterday?  If you mount yesterday’s snapshot, it’s right back where it was.  Simply drag it back out.

    Obviously, while snapshots make for a great method of saving previous images of a set of data, they are not a backup solution.  If your RAID dies and can’t be recovered, your snapshots die too!  So for true backup protection, consider rsync or some other method of moving your data to another system.

    Small Tree’s TitaniumZ servers support snapshots and rsync and we have a very nice graphical interface so you can manage it all yourself. If you have any questions about snapshots or a backup solution that’s right for your editing team, don’t hesitate to contact me at