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  1. Another Couple of Reasons to Love SSDs

    February 26, 2014 by Steve Modica

    One day, when we’re sitting in our rocking chairs recounting our past IT glories (“Why, when I was a young man, computers had ‘wires’”), we’ll invariably start talking about our storage war stories.  There will be so many.  We’ll talk of frisbee tossing stuck disks or putting bad drives in the freezer. We’ll recount how we saved a company’s entire financial history by recovering an alternate superblock or fixing a byte swapping error on a tape with the “dd” command. I’m sure our children will be transfixed.

    No…no, they won’t be transfixed, any more than we would be listening to someone telling us about how their grandpa’s secret pot roast recipe starts with “Get a woodchuck…skin it.”  You simply have to be in an anthropological state of mind to listen to something like that. More likely, they walked into the room to ask you your wifi password (Of course, only us old folk will have wifi. Your kids are just visiting. At home they use something far more modern and futuristic. It’ll probably be called iXifi or something).

    Unfortunately for us, many of these war story issues remain serious problems today.  Disks “do” get stuck and they “do” often get better and work for a while if you freeze them. It’s a great way to get your data back when you’ve been a little lazy with backups.

    Another problem is fragmentation. This is what I wanted to focus on today.

    Disks today are still spinning platters with rings of “blocks” on them, where each block is typically 512 bytes. Ideally, as you write files to your disk, those bytes are written around the rings so you can read and write the blocks in sequence. The head doesn’t have to move.  Each new block spins underneath it.

    Fragmentation occurs because we don’t just leave files sitting on our disk forever. We delete them.  We delete emails, log files, temp files, render files, and old projects we don’t care about anymore. When we do this, those files leave “holes” in our filesystems. The OS wants to use these holes.  (Indeed, SGI used to have a real-time filesystem that never left holes. All data was written at the end.  I had to handle a few cases where people called asking why they never got their free space back when they deleted files.  The answer was “we don’t ever use old holes in the filesystem. That would slow us down!”)

    To use these holes, most operating systems use a “best fit” algorithm.  They look at what you are trying to write, and try to find a hole where that write will fit. In this way, they can use old space. When you’re writing something extremely large, the OS just sticks it into the free space at the end.

    The problem occurs when you let things start to fill up.  Now the OS can’t always find a place to put your large writes. If it can’t, it may have to break that large block of data into several smaller ones. A file that may have been written in one contiguous chunk may get broken into 11 or 12 pieces.  This not only slows down your write performance, it will also slow down your reads when you go to read the file back.

    To make matters worse, this file will remain fragmented even if you free more space up later. The OS does not go back and clean it up.  So it’s a good idea not to let your filesystems drop below 20% free space. If this happens and performance suffers, you’re going to need to look into a defragmentation tool.

    Soon, this issue won’t matter to many of us.  SSDs (Solid State Disks) fragment just like spinning disks, but it doesn’t matter near as much.  SSDs are more like Random Access Memory in that data blocks can be read in any order, equally as fast. So even though your OS might have to issue a few more reads to pull in a file (and there will be a slight performance hit), it won’t be near as bad as what a spinning disk would experience.  Hence, we’ll tell our fragmentation war stories one day and get blank looks from our grandkids  (What do you mean “spinning disk?”  The disk was “moving??”).

    Personally, I long for the days when disk drives were so large, they would vibrate the floor. I liked discovering that the night time tape drive operator was getting hand lotion on the reel to reel tape heads when she put the next backup tape on for the overnight runs. It was like CSI. I’m going to miss those days. Soon, everything will be like an iPhone and we’ll just throw it away, get a new one, and sync it with the cloud.  Man that sucks.

    Follow Steve Modica and Small Tree on Twitter @smalltreecomm.  Have a question? Contact Small Tree at 1-866-782-4622.


  2. Buying Storage

    February 13, 2014 by Steve Modica

    I’ve been in the computer industry for quite some time.

    Back in the early days, we worried a lot about running out of space on a computer or a server. If you filled up your Novell Netware system, what could you do?  Adding drives was an option, but it was expensive and “scary” and you’d still end up with another volume you had to train your users to use (we didn’t have the ability to stripe all that stuff together). Further, it was likely your disk controller only supported two drives and your motherboard only supported a couple controllers.  If you ran out of space in that scenario, it meant buying an entirely new platform (software included) that would be extremely expensive. There was also no guarantee all of your stuff would migrate cleanly.

    This led many of our early computer system design people down the path of expandability and modularity.  We wanted SCSI and later, Fibre Channel, so we could add device after device to a system and never run out of space. We wanted expandable filesystems so these new devices could be merged in without moving data around.  We wanted clusters so as we ran out of CPU power and IO slots, we could just add more. Never again would we find ourselves sitting on the floor at 10 p.m. trying to figure out why our second IDE drive wasn’t being seen by the new controller we installed last week.  (You forgot to change its address knucklehead. It’s conflicting with the first disk you put in there).

    So today, we have lots of options.  There are blade servers, clusters, and all manner of scalable this and that. You simply buy the first bit and start using it, and if you ever need more, you just buy some more bits and plug them in and it all gets bigger.

    The problem I have with this sort of model is the price for those first bits. You aren’t simply paying for the disks.  You’re also paying for the ability to expand. This expansion capability is extremely important if your business has the chance of wild and uncontrolled growth (and wouldn’t we all like that), but most of us are running smaller businesses. We’re like pizza places, but instead of selling pizza, we’re selling services. We’d be happy to see our businesses growing at 20% year over year.

    When I think about servers and storage, I like to focus on what I expect to need this year, and what will likely get me through next year.  Beyond that, I should expect to refresh the entire system.  Even if I “could” double the storage capability, will I really want to? Will 6Gb SATA drives be fast enough for the new 4K codecs coming along in two years?  Will I want to spend “expansion capable” dollars on storage technology that’s two years old?

    My personal opinion is that things are changing far too quickly to buy for a horizon past two years, and if you really think you might need to expand that quickly, you should probably be buying that storage now rather than hoping to add on in six months or a year.

    Follow Steve Modica and Small Tree on Twitter @smalltreecomm.  Have a question? Contact Small Tree at 1-866-782-4622.

  3. What’s Your NLE of Choice

    February 3, 2014 by Steve Modica

    Now that we’re several months removed from Apple’s introduction of Mavericks for OSX and we’ve all tested the waters a little, I wanted to talk about video editing software and how the various versions play with NAS storage like we use at Small Tree.

    Avid has long since released Media Composer 7, and from what I’ve seen, their AMA support (support for non-Avid shared storage), continues to improve.  There are certainly complaints about the performance not matching native MXF workflows, but now that they’ve added read/write support, it’s clear they are moving in a more NAS friendly direction. With some of the confusion going on in the edit system space, we’re seeing more and more interested in MC 7.

    Adobe has moved to their Creative Cloud model and I’ve noticed that it made it much easier to keep my system up to date.  All of my test systems are either up to date, or telling me they need and update, so I can be fairly certainly I’m working with the latest release. That’s really important when dealing with a product as large and integrated as the Adobe Suite of products. You certainly don’t want to mix and match product revisions when trying to move data between After Effects and Premiere.

    Another thing I’ve really grown to like about Adobe is their willingness to work with third party vendors (like Small Tree) to help correct problems that impact all of our customers.  One great example is that Adobe worked around serious file size limitations present in Apple’s QuickTime libraries. Basically, any time an application would attempt to generate a large QuickTime file (larger than 2GB), there was a chance the file would stop encoding at the 2GB mark.  Adobe dived into the problem, understood it, and worked around it in their applications.  This makes them one of the first to avoid this problem and certainly the most NAS friendly of all the video editing applications out there.

    Lastly, I’ve seen some great things come out of FCP X in recent days.  One workflow I’m very excited about involves using “Add SAN Location” (the built in support for SAN Volumes) and NFS (Network File Sharing).  It turns out, if you mount your storage as NFS and create “Final Cut Projects” and “Final Cut Events” within project directories inside that volume, FCP X will let you “add” them as SAN locations. This lets you use very inexpensive NAS storage in lieu of a much more expensive Fibre Channel solution.  For shops that find FCP X fits their workflow, they’ll find that NFS NAS systems definitely fit their pocket books.

    So as you move forward with your Mac platforms into Mavericks and beyond, consider taking a second look at your NLE (Non-Linear Editor) of choice. You may find that other workflow options are opening up.


  4. What you need to know about video editing storage in 2014

    January 20, 2014 by Steve Modica

    With the New Year festivities well behind us, today seems like as good a time as any to chat about where video editing storage is (or should be) headed in 2014.

    First, I’m really excited about FCoE.  FCoE is great technology. It’s built into our (Small Tree) cards, so we get super fast offloads. It uses the Fibre Channel protocol, so it’s compatible with legacy Fibre Channel.  You can buy one set of switches and do everything: Fibre Channel, 10Gb and FCoE (and even iSCSI if you want).

    Are there any issues to be concerned about with FCoE? One problem is that the switches are too darn expensive! I’ve been waiting for someone to release an inexpensive switch and it just hasn’t happened.  Without that, I’m afraid the protocol will take a long time to come to market.

    Second, I’m quite sure SSDs are the way of the future. I’m also quite sure SSDs will be cheaper and easier to fabricate than complex spinning disks. So why aren’t SSDs ubiquitous yet? Where are the 2 and 4 TB SSD drives that fit a 3.5″ form factor?  Why aren’t we rapidly replacing our spinning disks with SSDs as they fail?

    Unfortunately, we’re constrained by the number of factories that can crank out the NAND flash chips. Even worse, there are so many things that need them, including smartphones, desktop devices, SATA disks, SAS disks, PCIE disks.  With all of these things clawing at the market for chips, it’s no wonder they are a little hard to come by.  I’m not sure things will settle down until things “settle down” (i.e., a certain form factor becomes dominant).

    Looking back at 2013, there were several key improvements that will have a positive impact on shared storage in 2014. One is Thunderbolt. Small Tree spent a lot of time updating its drivers to match the new spec. Once this work was done, we had some wonderful new features. Our cards can now seamlessly hotplug and unplug from a system. So customers can walk in, plug in, connect up and go.  Similarly, when it’s time to go home, they unplug, drop their laptop in their backpack, and go home. I think this opens the door to allowing a lot more 10Gb Ethernet use among laptop and iMac users.

    Apple’s new SMB implementation in 2013 was also critical for improvements in video editing workflow. Apple’s moving away from AFP as their primary form of sharing storage between Macs, and the upshot for us has been a much better SMB experience for our customers. It’s faster and friendlier to heterogeneous environments. I look forward to seeing more customers moving to an open SMB environment from a more restrictive (and harder to performance tune) AFP environment.

    So as your editing team seeks to simplify its workflow to maximize its productivity in 2014, keep these new or improved technological enhancements in mind. If you have any questions about your shared storage solution, don’t hesitate to contact me at

  5. Academy and Emmy Award-Nominated Documentary Director Chooses Shared Storage from Small Tree

    December 16, 2013 by Steve Modica

    Kirby Dick Selects TitaniumZ-8 for Use at Chain Camera Pictures  

    Kirby-Dick-Invisible-WarLos Angeles, Dec. 17, 2013 Kirby Dick, an Academy and Emmy Award-nominated documentary director, best known for his work on This Film is Not Yet Rated, The Invisible War and Twist of Faith, selected Small Tree’s TitaniumZ-8 shared storage system for installation at Chain Camera Pictures in Los Angeles. After the successful implementation of the TitaniumZ-8 in the editing suite at Chain Camera Pictures, Dick purchased another Small Tree system for installation in his office located about a quarter of a mile away.

    Offering the right levels of storage capacity and connectivity to keep creative professionals working efficiently, TitaniumZ-8 is built on an operating system that was customized to be easy to use, feature-rich and reliable, while performing at a high level. Customers can choose from an eight-drive system with 2TB drives or up to an 80-drive system with 4TB drives. Both Small Tree systems with Dick and Chain Camera Pictures offer 32 TBs of storage and are configured to accommodate 6 GbE clients.

    “We were using an older RAID system for storage and were in desperate need of an upgrade,” Dick stated. “Prior to installing the Small Tree systems we were duplicating media and creating up to 3 TBs of hard drive backups each week. Now with the server-based solution we don’t have to do that, which is far more efficient for me and my team.”

    One of the most attractive features of the TitaniumZ-8 to Dick and his team is the system’s flexibility in working 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 and Apple Final Cut Pro X. The team had been working with Final Cut 7, but is currently shifting to Adobe Premiere. In addition to its flexibility, the TitaniumZ-8’s scalability played an important part in the decision to purchase this solution.

    “While we’re kind of a boutique documentary production company, when you get in the thick of a project and start bringing in someone for art or to archive material, you want to have the capability to introduce additional seats as needed,” Dick said. “With the Small Tree appliances, I know that we’ll be able to add to our current configuration easily and cost-effectively.”

    TitaniumZ-8 provides high-performance sharing, quickly and directly from the RAID, features simplified setup and management, and RAID protection for multimedia editing, and includes Small Tree’s industry-leading tech support. Configurable with up to 20 10GbE ports or 24GbE ports with storage capacities
    (raw) from 10TB to 320TB, TitaniumZ-8 can be upgraded on site through advanced ZFS technology, which enables servers to seamlessly integrate newly added storage while keeping existing files intact.

    For more information about Small Tree’s TitaniumZ-8 or any of its growing line of shared storage and networking products, visit Follow Small Tree on Facebook at or on Twitter @SmallTreeComm.

  6. Documentary Film Makers Take TitaniumZ-5 Shared Storage on the Road

    November 12, 2013 by Steve Modica

    Mobile Storage Solution Provides Production Team with Critical Access to Files on Location

    SG_BTS_1 Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Kibera, the largest slum in Africa.

    Nairobi, Kenya, Nov. 12, 2013 — Traveling to remote parts of Kenya while working on Shifting Ground, a documentary film following three women living in the slums of Nairobi, film makers at Seek Films and Ethikos Productions used Small Tree’s GraniteSTOR TitaniumZ-5 shared storage system to provide the entire production team with on-site access to content captured on location.

    Following a young girl, a teenage mother and an elderly woman living in the slums of Nairobi, three directors will interweave their stories into a full-length documentary showing a portrait of the slums through the eyes of these women and how women are at the center of a new movement taking place within the slums and the community. An all-in-one Ethernet-based shared storage appliance typically used by professional video editors who require shared access to media files at home, in the office or on location, the portable TitaniumZ-5 was an ideal solution for the Shifting Ground production team during acquisition.

    “While in Africa, we were mainly using the TitaniumZ-5 to take footage off of the cards – we were shooting on the Canon C-100 with Atomos Ninja 2 external recorders,” said Daphne Schmon, director and founder of Seek Films. “With the Z-5, we would offload footage from three to four cards at a time, then log and transfer the footage into Final Cut so that multiple workstations could have access to view footage simultaneously. Having a lightweight and robust storage system with us was a tremendous convenience.”

    A five-drive system supporting 2TB, 3TB or 4TB disk drives, TitaniumZ-5 is simple to set up and manage, allowing the storage to be available to users within minutes of initial start-up. The Server, Networking and Storage are all accommodated within TitaniumZ-5’s space saving desk top design, while the unit’s capability to support up to 2 ports of 10Gb Ethernet offers peak performance all at an extremely attractive price point.

    “From a technological standpoint, it was great to have an affordable storage solution that would provide redundancy to protect the files we had captured,” remarked Brian Rice, director and founder of Ethikos Productions. “The data on the Z-5 is double protected, which is extremely important because with the long trip from New York to Kenya, and then having to move from location to location in Kenya, it was crucial that the data was protected while the system was being knocked around.”

    Small Tree’s TitaniumZ-5 offers optimal flexibility with the ability 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 and Apple Final Cut Pro X.

    “The system’s flexibility was vital, as Brian works from Windows, while the rest of the directors work with MacBooks,” Schmon stated. “In our facility in New York, where the Z-5 will be used during video-editing, we’ll be running Mac Pros and a number of MacBook laptops. Additionally, we may use both Final Cut 7 and Final Cut 10 during post-production. Knowing that we’ll be able to work off the Z-5 seamlessly, regardless of the application or platform we use, is one less thing we need to worry about.”

    While ease of system set-up for the Z-5 is among its top benefits, upon arrival in Kenya, the Shifting Ground production team needed assistance from Small Tree to configure the unit so that it would meet their specific requirements. The Small Tree team in Minnesota worked via Skype to help the film makers set up their storage system. According to Rice, exemplary tech support demonstrates Small Tree’s commitment to its customers.

    “When the device was shipped to us it was configured in a very specific way,” Rice remarked. “The guys at Small Tree were so knowledgeable and were willing to work with us until they had us up and running. For me, that was huge…knowing that not only do we have a solid solution, we also have the support if we need it.”

    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.

  7. Audio Post-Production House Jazzes Up its Workflow with Small Tree TitaniumZ-5 Shared Storage

    October 28, 2013 by Steve Modica

    All-in-One Ethernet-based Shared Storage Solution Facilitates Collaboration


    Silver Spring, Md., Oct. 28, 2013Ott House Audio, an audio post-production company experiencing tremendous growth, recently installed a TitaniumZ-5 shared storage system from Small Tree. Working on audio for film and TV projects for well-known brands, such as the Smithsonian Channel and National Geographic, Ott House required an affordable solution that would facilitate collaboration.

    “We tend to collaborate a lot on projects, so we needed a budget-friendly solution that would prevent us from being bogged down by where we were working and what files we were using,” said Cheryl Ottenritter, head honcho and creative director. “With Small Tree’s Z-5, our editors are able to work on the same media simultaneously, which is far more efficient and effective.”

    A five-drive, all-in-one Ethernet-based system supporting 2TB, 3TB or 4TB disk drives, TitaniumZ-5 is simple to set up and manage, allowing the storage to be available to multiple editors within minutes of initial start-up. The TitaniumZ-5 offers optimal flexibility with the ability 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 and Apple Final Cut Pro X. According to Ottenritter, the system’s compatibility with Pro Tools was critical in her decision to install the TitaniumZ-5.

    “Pro Tools works better across different platforms, so there was no way we could introduce a shared storage solution that couldn’t handle that application,” Ottenritter remarked. “Additionally, the pool of available freelancers using Pro Tools is far larger, so it’s easier to find support for projects whenever necessary.”

    Providing high-performance sharing, quickly and directly from the RAID, TitaniumZ-5 includes simplified setup and management, RAID protection for multimedia editing and Small Tree’s industry-leading tech support, a value-added benefit to small, but growing post-production facilities such as Ott House.

    “Small Tree’s willingness to go above and beyond with its technical support is unlike anything I’ve seen before from a manufacturer,” Ottenritter commented. “At one point, they took the time and effort to discover that a memory chip on a computer was bad and helped with resolving that situation. They didn’t back away from an issue because it wasn’t their issue; they took ownership to make sure their system was working properly.”

    Six workstations, featuring Macbooks, Mac Pros and iMacs, are connected to the TitaniumZ-5 at Ott House. While the six workstations aren’t always in use, having the capability for all six to be running and accessing media concurrently provides much-appreciated peace of mind to Ottenritter and her team.

  8. Biscardi Creative Media By Oliver Peters

    October 25, 2013 by Steve Modica

    Biscardi Creative Media

    By Oliver Peters


    For many years, shared storage solutions seemed like they were out of reach for individual editors and small shops, but Small Tree Communications helped to change that. Biscardi Creative Media in Atlanta is a prime example of why storage networks aren’t a “heavy iron” investment any longer. Founded by Walter Biscardi, the company grew from its beginnings, working from Biscardi’s home, into a brand new, multi-suite facility a few years ago. During that journey Biscardi has been a Small Tree customer for the past seven years – expanding his investment from a single Small Tree unit years ago to now a 48TB ST RAIDII and the addition of a new Small Tree Titanium 32TB unit.

    According to Biscardi, “I initially had three edit suites in the house and first wanted to tie two of them together. In the new facility, I’m operating five edit suites, plus a Pro Tools mixing theater and a DaVinci Resolve station – all of which are connected to a hybrid of our older and newer systems. The original Small Tree ST RAIDII uses an Apple Mac Pro as the media server, while the new Titanium 32TB RAID is an all-in-one unit, with an integrated server inside the chassis. Our edit systems include five Macs and one Dell PC and run a mixture of software, including Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid Symphony. Since we service outside producers, we have to be able to accommodate a number of different editing applications. In addition, we have a library database system and iMacs for our clients in all the suites. The bottom line is that we have a wide range of computers, operating systems and applications that are all able to access and work with media that lives on the Small Tree storage network.”

    Biscardi’s storage is configured as volume-based media with the arrays divided into a total of six partitions. Workstations and client computers all connect using either 10GB or 1GB Ethernet ports via a 26-port 10GB Ethernet switch. Up to 24 computers are connected. The Thunderbolt-enabled iMacs connect to the switch using the Small Tree ThunderNet Ethernet-to-Thunderbolt adapter. As a facility that works on both outside shows for several networks and its own productions, the use of partitions makes it easy to keep ongoing work organized and accessible from any room. All media for a given production is stored within a folder structure on one of the partitions, so it is RAID-5 protected. Edit software project files are saved to the local machines, but then backed up to the Mac Pro media server for protection and for accessibility among the rooms.

    When media comes in, it is ingested from videotape or file-based media (camera cards or hard drives) and placed into the appropriate folder. The librarian creates a top-level folder structure for that project according to a standard folder and subfolder organization method used at the shop. Videotape sources haven’t disappeared yet. With the introduction of Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Biscardi Creative has been able to move the videotape capture and output functions over to Premiere Pro from Final Cut Pro 7. Everything ends up in a single master folder for that job, which makes the archiving task easy. Currently Biscardi archives to raw hard drives, but is moving to LTO data tape.

    The entire set-up is less daunting than it sounds and Walter gives all the credit to Small Tree. “We have no staff IT department, so it’s great that this system has been very easy to set-up and administer. With Ethernet, you simply use the built-in network functions of the operating systems, without the need for any extra SAN management software. Adding a client producer onto the network, so they can review their footage, is literally as simple as plugging in a cable and setting up their network log-in. For our main systems, Small Tree has tuned each computer for the optimum playback performance and they can log in remotely to troubleshoot the system. Gig-E is fast enough for editing with several streams of ProRes media and 10Gig-E is handy now that we are dealing with uncompressed 2K files in some of our Resolve color correction sessions. As we grow, expanding the storage will be as simple as adding another Titanium storage chassis.”

    Biscardi Creative Media has also worked with some of Small Tree’s smaller units, like the Titanium 5. They’ve used this for an on-site corporate editing project to connect the editor’s laptop and the client’s PC for a collaborative workflow. This is certainly an example for how shared storage is applicable to even the smallest installation, like a film editor working on location. Walter Biscardi views it this way, “The set-up is ‘stupid simple’. Small Tree has made it so easy that even clients can figure it out. As a facility owner, support is even more important. Storage solutions are at their best when you install them and forget them; but, when we have needed help, Small Tree has been there for us – even on weekends. The truth is that the system just works. I’ve been with them for seven years and I don’t see that changing. You just turn it on and it does whatever you need!”

    ©2013 Oliver Peters

  9. Small Tree Showcases TitaniumZ-16 Shared Storage System at CCW Expo 2013

    October 14, 2013 by Steve Modica

    Shared Storage Integrated and Optimized for Video Editing


    Oakdale, Minn., Oct. 9, 2013 — At this year’s Content & Communications World Expo in New York City, Small Tree will showcase its GraniteSTOR TitaniumZ-16 shared storage system (Booth 953). An all-in-one real-time Ethernet-based shared storage solution designed and optimized for the demanding needs of professional video editors requiring shared access to media files, TitaniumZ-16 is a full-featured, high-performance dedicated video editing shared storage appliance with advanced file sharing capabilities.

    Capable of supporting up to 24 video editing workstations without needing an Ethernet switch, TitaniumZ-16 is designed and tested to provide maximum performance for real-time video editing workflows. Built on an open source operating system that was customized to be easy to use, feature-rich and reliable, while performing at a high level, TitaniumZ-16 offers the right levels of capacity and storage software to keep video editors and other creative professionals working efficiently. Scalable from an eight-drive system with 2TB drives up to an 144-drive system with 4TB drives supporting 16 to 144 concurrent ProRes 422 streams, the system’s Server, Networking and Storage are all accommodated within the 3U rack mount design.

    Providing high-performance sharing, quickly and directly from the RAID, TitaniumZ-16 includes 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 this all-in-one system that is able to meet the most demanding editing situations.

    TitaniumZ-16 offers optimal flexibility with the ability 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 and Apple Final Cut Pro X. Additionally, the TitaniumZ-16 system includes Mint project sharing software from Flavoursys – customers can purchase a 4 or 8 seat license – which offers seamless project and media sharing for Avid Media Composer.

    “Editing video is a real-time process,” said Steve Modica, Small Tree’s CTO. “Frames have to arrive on time, every time. TitaniumZ-16 makes use of high performance 6Gb SATA drives and ZFS Filesystem technology to deliver maximum real-time bandwidth, which is the number of concurrent video editing streams possible with no dropped frames.”

    For more information on TitaniumZ-16, or any of Small Tree’s cost-effective shared storage and networking solutions, visit Booth 953 at this year’s CCW Expo or Follow Small Tree at or @smalltreecomm.

  10. Workflow Situation Far More Lucid for Cape Town Production Company After Installing Small Tree Shared Storage System

    September 25, 2013 by Steve Modica

    Titanium 8 System Provides Robust Solution to Meet LucidState’s Needs                                                                     


    Cape Town, Sept. 23, 2013 — Being in demand is a great problem to have for any company. For LucidState, a full-service production company in Cape Town, greater demand meant identifying a solution to multiple video editors needing simultaneous access to large – and network crippling – media files. With an eye on performance and cost, LucidState installed Small Tree’s GraniteSTOR Titanium8 Ethernet-based shared storage system to alleviate bandwidth and workflow concerns.

    Providing services ranging from live action production, color correction and compositing to VFX and post-production, as well as full CG, 2D animation and motion graphics, LucidState’s state-of-the-art and exquisitely designed studio facility includes two editing suites featuring Mac Pros and seven iMac UpSpec workstations. The team works primarily with Final Cut X, relying on Final Cut’s speedy and efficient handling of media and metadata to meet tight deadlines, but also utilizes popular video editing applications such as Adobe After Effects and Nuke (from The Foundry).

    “While we provide local services to a number of established and popular global brands, including Adidas and the National Basketball Association, we’re a growing boutique agency that needs to be mindful of its expenses,” said George Stofberg, LucidState’s founder. “Fortunately, Small Tree’s Titanium8 was the ideal solution for meeting both our workflow and budget requirements.”

    Titanium8 is a full-featured, high-performance dedicated video editing shared storage appliance with advanced file sharing capabilities. An all-in-one Ethernet-based solution, Titanium8 offers an ideal mix of capacity and performance, enabling video editors to work efficiently. Titanium’s operating system was designed to be easy to use, feature-rich, and reliable and perform at a high level. An intuitive web-based GUI makes it easy for non-IT users to setup and manage. Titanium8 supports Final Cut X and 7, as well as Adobe Creative Suite and other popular multimedia applications.

    “One of the biggest benefits of the Titanium system is the speed it delivers via Ethernet,” Stofberg continued. “We’re about to upgrade to 10GigE, so having a storage solution in-house that works over Ethernet is crucial to our future growth. Additionally, the system’s ease of use is remarkable…requiring no administrator, which is advantageous to production companies of any size as it allows editors to focus solely on the task at hand.”
    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.