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GB Labs to launch new extreme performance, Hybrid, cost effective shared storage range

This year at IBC, GB Labs will be launching a groundbreaking shared storage range called FastNAS which seamlessly combines the benefits of hard disk drive (HDD) and Solid State Drive (SSD) in one box.

The FastNAS range is the result of GB Labs eight years of pioneering SSD shared storage and Hybrid disk technology. This research and development puts us well ahead of our competition with a pedigree in proven technology.

This turnkey content creation system, with features of our larger systems is ideal for anybody interested in ultra high performance combined with large capacities. The range has an incredible price point starting from only $9,999.

With performance up to 3000MB/s, 1Gb, 10Gb and 40Gb Ethernet options, capacities up to 320TB and dynamic expansion built in as standard. Our unique Nitro* technology combines two very different disk characteristics to provide the benefits of both. Nitro works in harmony to intelligently streamline demanding digital media and entertainment workflows.

Users can work collaboratively with virtually all creative software in a cross platform environment without requiring extensive IT knowledge. Easy to use, easy to support and backed by a global support team.

FastNAS features Core 3 Lite, a new version of our award winning Core 3 OS, which has been perfected to giving users incredible tools and outstanding performance combined with ultimate stability.

Find us on stand: 7.J15 at IBC 2016

GB Labs and Comprimato to Unveil Single File, Multi Resolution Storage Workflows with Adobe Premiere Pro CC

— Intelligent software simplifies file management and minimizes storage space requirements for 

complex high-resolution video production pipelines —

GB Labs have partnered with Comprimato, a high-resolution video compression technology company, to offer intelligent, resolution-agnostic live transcoding software for GB Labs media storage, enhancing and simplifying workflows for Adobe® Premiere® Pro Creative Cloud users. The new solution provides users with a single file available at multiple resolutions, for easier file management and reduced storage space requirements. With the new technology, video editors and post-production professionals will be able to streamline their projects and infrastructure for a more efficient production pipeline

One file, one path, multiple resolutions.

For complex production workflows, decoding media files saves hours of re-versioning or multiple copy creations to satisfy proxy editing at one end of the production workflow and finishing workflows at the other.

Our technical partnership with Comprimato will greatly enhance the user experience for both Adobe Premiere Pro CC users and those who manage the storage they work from.
Dominic Harland – CEO of GB Labs

“We are very excited about this partnership. By integrating the Comprimato video compression technology with our partners, GB Labs, we significantly enhance video editing workflows.”
Jan De Waard – VP of Sales, Comprimato

Both GB Labs and Comprimato will be attending IBC and will be available on stand 7.J15 to discuss the technical partnership and answer any questions.

GB Labs Launch Echo36 with complete failover at IBC 2016

Echo 36 is the big brother of GB Labs Echo nearline storage product. The Echo36 with our new Cloak DR software offers complete failover for power/disk failure and localized disaster. This makes Echo 36 a bulletproof storage solution for large broadcasters where data availability is paramount.

Two Echo 36 units working together provide unparalleled security and high availability with no single point of failure through storage and networking layers. Our unique Core operating system writes to both units simultaneously and in real-time, even when the units are up to 10Km apart.

Should one Echo 36 unit be completely destroyed, the same data is available in seconds from the other. Users on the network would be unaware because our operating system manages this transition over a single virtualized IP address, leading to no downtime and no relinking of media or other servers.

About GB Labs

The Space product range built by GB Labs, represents 16 years of storage innovation in the media industry, serving our customers needs from ingest to archive and everything in between. We empower creative workflows worldwide to some of the best-known names in media and entertainment.

Eureka Pacific is the exclusive GB Labs representative in Australia, New Zealand and South Asia.

Aardman Animation and CalDigit workflow

VR2

Paul Reeves, Technical Engineer – Aardman Animation:

“We originally bought two CalDigit 3TB VR external hard drives back in 2010 to use with two camera crews who went off shooting live action segments around the world for a production we were working on called ‘Wallace and Gromits World Of Invention’. These drives went to North and South America, Europe, Israel, Kenya, and the far east. They were used to offload all of the camera cards, and then as media drives for two portable edit laptops that were also sent with the crews. All using firewire 800 interface, and set in RAID 1 mode. For failure we bought a spare 1.5TB dive module, but have never needed to use it.”

“After that job they became stock hard drives, and were used as general transfer drives, and then when extra projects came in they were used as specific media drives for those projects.

Over the last few years, a lot of our other brand drives have failed both on their interface boards, and the spinning discs inside, and we have disposed of then, because we have been able to rely on the CalDigits and also moved a lot of general file transfers over to file servers.
The drives have been used now as the DIT drives when I work on our live action parts of shooting our commercials. In 2011 we got a Guinness world record for shooting the largest canvas animation on Pendine beach in South Wales (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fza5QdTfyxs). The drives were used to off load both camera boxes, and then on the return journey I separated out the drives from the enclosures so from the RAID 1 there were four copies of the data in separated vehicles returning to Bristol.”
“Separately last year we also purchased a CalDigit FASTA-6GU3 to add to a PC in our Edit department to enable high speed USB 3.0 and e-SATA drives from external production houses to be connected to, and then quickly transfer our content across to their drives.Now our two VR2s live specifically as fast on-set DIT media drives to transfer original and transcoded footage from our studios to our Edit suites at the end of a shooting day.”

Overcoming Growing Pains with Space

Editology is a 9-time Promax and 4-time NY Emmy award winner for editing and design. As a dynamic and creative boutique post production company it has been highly successful over a 17 year period. Its client list including City Bank, the New York Giants, Google and Nickelodeon is proof of the quality of their output.

A few years ago when data management became a real issue…

“Editology is well established and respected and as a result we keep on growing. But we came to a critical point a few years ago when data management became a real issue, a real hindrance to growth.” Comments CEO Ron Humer.

At the time Editology had multiple HD projects stored on individual Mac Pro workstations. This was a way of working with a serious downside. Sharing projects between team members, maintaining working space on each system and ensuring any level of data security involved slow, manual processes, with hours spent each evening consolidating projects.

“There was no natural solution out there,” says Ron. “SAN storage systems were complex and convoluted. They were OK for organizations with full time technical support that could run metadata servers, administer expensive client licenses and manage a fibre channel installation. But they were simply way too costly for us. So our time was filled with data copying and our family life really suffered.”

It’s lightning fast…  we have stable power available on tap…

A visit to NAB and the subsequent acquisition of GB Labs Space network storage system changed everything for Editology. With the assistance of New Media Hollywood, the company installed a 48TB Ethernet shared storage device giving edit stations access to centralized media projects.
“It’s lightning fast and performs as well as it did during the demo we saw at NAB. When editing jobs arrive, we have stable power available on tap. We can simply pull up an Ethernet cable and the editors can start work. It really feels glorious.” Enthuses Ron.

Editology’s typical workflow centers on Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro and Cinema 4D. The team works either with ProRes HQ or uncompressed files for the ultimate picture quality, with Space supporting multiple users at full speed. “One of the things we also like about Space is that it’s Linux and Windows compatible. It’s comforting to know that any client workstation can just plug in to the data and get working with no loss of performance.”

All our projects concurrently without endless data shifting…

As Editology moved from ad hoc data management to a centralized system, Ron was concerned to future-proof the network and ensure that it would be ready for a second phase which will focus on data security. “GB Labs have expansion units for our original system that just seem to plug in and work from the get go. They also have lower cost nearline appliances that are also Ethernet-based for media archiving and data back-up. We’re in the process of weighing up our options now.”

Corporate, broadcast and event work are all core Editology activities. “Content for a football game or  Syfy Channel movie promos can have a very short deadline; work for  fashion image campaigns like Argyleculture may have longer lead times. Central storage gives us the flexibility to work on all our projects concurrently without endless data shifting. Now we can do our work and still get home in time to see the family.”
Editology’s work is located at vimeo.com/editology. Visit www.editology.com for more details.

Transmitting Love… Live with GBLabs Space

LoveLive loves Space
The Transmitter project forms an important part of the work of the LoveLive team. The video crew needed to upgrade its post production infrastructure to cope with the massive influx of media files and video clips that have to be turned round fast to share with the eager online audience.

“At any one time, the team is working on anything from five to 20 projects.” Remarks Kevin Molloy Head of TV. “Our existing editing workflow badly needed updating to cope with the increased workload and to safeguard our content. One thing we were clear about was that sticking with directly connected storage was creatively very limiting and security-wise was an accident waiting to happen.”
Initially, the team looked at SAN options, but were quickly put off by the cost of licences and lack of scalability. Next up for consideration was an Ethernet-based NAS system, as Molloy explains:
“On paper it’s very attractive. It makes sense to share files over a LAN and we assumed that transferring data to and from archive would be a simpler process. But we didn’t realise quite how true this would turn out to be.”
LoveLive turned to GB Labs’ Space, a scalable and easily expanded NAS storage system which delivers very high concurrent stream counts. Unlike generic NAS devices, it is optimized for media ecosystems and can sustain its performance even with multiple users attached, simultaneously reading and writing 4K, HD and proxy video clips and high bitrate audio files.
The ability to support any format has been essential. LoveLive uses a variety of cameras from DSLRs and ENG camcorders, up-to large sensor 3K and 4K cameras. Mac Pro workstations connect to the tier one storage, running Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, and Avid ProTools. A key advantage for users is that Space integrates easily with third party systems. For LoveLive this means that their EVS multi-channel recorder can capture directly to the system, with editors cutting content even as HD files are still growing. Molloy contends:

“As you can imagine, there’s a lot of file and project management involved, so Space’s common sense approach to data management is very welcome. We purchased a GB Labs LTO Space four-tape central back up system and the archiving and restoring of projects is fast and very straightforward. Transmitter is growing so quickly that we’re not sure what the next stage will be from a technical standpoint – we’re interested in their nearline offering as well as their super-fast SSD online platform. Time will tell what we do next.”

Much of the LoveLive’s work involves filming in the field with multiple cameras. This posed a particular issue, namely, how to turn around content fast when the crew is in a remote location, such as at the Leeds and Latitude festivals. To address the problem, LoveLive again turned to GB Labs, and its portable Midi Space RAID storage system. Based around the same principle as the rack-mounted Space, the desktop version is light enough to be used in a temporary studio or OB van, giving fast, sustained performance to multiple concurrent users. The improved productivity is matched only by the enhanced security offered by Midi Space: data saved to the drive of a laptop is highly vulnerable compared with the protective environment of a RAID system.
LoveLive Music Channel

LoveLive Music Channel

Molloy concludes: “With our huge workload and painfully short turnaround times, we push Space and Midi Space very hard. But we’ve never lost any data, even when we suffered a hard drive failure. And even with a disk out of action, the editors were still able to do their job – it’s a very impressive system.”

Formula E races around the world with GB Labs and Tools on Air

Aurora Media approached GB Labs having won the Formula E inaugural season broadcast contract. The requirement was for a mobile storage platform to centralise video ingest, as well providing an editing and broadcasting facility. The solution would have to be robust and portable, as it would be following the season’s races across four continents.

What was more, the editors would need to edit the coverage as it was imported to enable them to push out the race highlights quickly. As the organisers of Formula E were determined to satisfy television and social media audiences, this meant they would need to produce an engaging highlight show and then broadcast live after the race, whilst still on location.

Existing solutions on the market lacked the portability and level of functionality the crew required. Critically, none could accommodate the customer’s budget requirement. GB Labs took up the challenge with a combination of its new Midi Space 3RU, and industry leading ingest and playout technology from Tools on Air.

The result was a bespoke video editing and broadcast solution housed in a single flight case. This would serve four Adobe Premiere edit suites and allow the editors to immediately work on the footage during capture, thanks to the HD chase editing capabilities of the ingest solution and the simultaneous read/write performance of the Midi Space 3RU.

The single flight case met our post production, media management and live playout needs. Thankfully, it is light enough to be transported with ease and has the power to support multiple simultaneous media editors in the field. We were pleased GB Labs were able to supply us with a unique solution that met both our needs and budget.” 
Mike Scott – Formula E Series Producer

Easy transport to each venue and reliable operation during a broadcast were all-important. Equally, a reliable internal power source was essential, particularly when working in different worldwide locations, often in ill-equipped ad hoc studios. Consequently, back-up batteries were included! The system has now been in operation throughout the 2014/2015 whole season of races. It has operated without a glitch, delivering live and near-live programming to audiences across the globe.

What’s in the box?

GB Labs Midi Space provides 32TB high-speed shared storage, at a fraction of the cost of competing platforms. It is at the heart of the rack and integrates with a variety of third party solutions, including Mac Mini Servers running Tools on Air and Mac Pro editing workstations.

Midi Space 3RU is a shared storage system optimized for media environments. Designed to be easily scaled and expanded, its NAS architecture allows users to attach to the storage using standard Ethernet connectivity and supports multiple OS workgroups. It has the sustained speed to support multiple online editors, graphics designers, sound engineers and playout operators.

Gaming industry slashes dev time with Space SSD

Meet the Space-SSD-Launcher: Ultra High Speed ISO Deployment New central storage for the gaming industry slashes development time and delivers massive ROI.

The Space SSD has quite literally transformed the testing and deployment processes for our Production and Development departments

GB Labs was approached by one of the world’s leading gaming companies who had an issue with ‘game deployment’ that was hindering their development workflow. With the arrival of next gen gaming the motion graphic image builds have jumped from 4GB to 50GB per build. They needed to deliver the new large ISO and game files to PS4’s, Xbox One’s and PC’s, and their shared storage network was simply not fast enough, costing them time and money.

Initial meetings led us to realise that we could build them a tailored system and we agreed to take the requirement on as a special project. The challenge was to deliver the refreshed game build to up to three hundred network connected 1Gb Ethernet desktop devices in around 25 minutes.

The result was a high performance SSD RAID solution, based around our Ultra SSD head unit, designed specifically for image deployment to the three required platforms. A single 2U chassis now handles the file delivery over SMB and HTTP whilst also giving them the ability to hold backdated builds for QC and integrate with their deployment workflow software.

Running at 12000MB/s, Space SSD Launcher sends level build ISOs to 300+ connected users. Its extreme performance paired with a super-charged Chaos Cache means that assets can be dispatched to client workstations at high speed. In game development environments, this fast ISO deployment results in huge productivity gains.

This meant the time taken for the delivery of the game builds was significantly reduced enabling the games company to run more builds and has given them a 500% increase in productivity.

Due to an NDA we are not allowed to name the company. In a statement the Technology Director said:

Using Space SSD we can now distribute as many builds as required each day, usually up to five, to all of our clients. Historically, even with 4Gb FC & 15k SAS we were unable to achieve even one internally published build per day. The SpaceSSD has quite literally transformed the testing and deployment processes for our Production and Development departments

The beauty of the solution we have designed is that it can be scaled to fit the developer’s capacity and speed, whilst fitting into realistic budget requirements.

Benefits
  • Key Feature – Simultaneously distributes game builds and other media to workstations and gaming platforms at extreme speeds
  • Performance – Delivers data to multiple clients at over 12000MB/sec
  • Connectivity – 1Gb, 10Gb and 40Gb Ethernet
  • Capacities – 6TB, 11TB, 14TB, 19TB, 29TB, 38TB
  • Expansion & Scalability – Expand capacities with Space SSD EX up to 614TB

Historically, even with 4Gb FC & 15k SAS we were unable to achieve even one internally published build per day.

Download PDF Case Study

Video Storage for Worship

Kenneth Copeland Ministries selects Space central storage (UK)

As a multi-lingual organisation with 6 offices globally and a highly receptive worldwide audience, communication is at the heart of Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM). With a dedicated Roku channel and producing daily, weekly and monthly on-demand videos, KCM has a powerful voice online. Traditional television broadcast via satellite and local networks plays an equally important role with daily and weekly program delivery to the “God Channel”. Its multimedia reach goes further still: over a million Facebook friends and nearly 170,000 Twitter followers give KCM a significant presence on social media.

The video team owns high value video projects going back several decades while the creative workgroup is constantly at work creating new programming to meet the organization’s busy media schedule. The quality of the productions is extremely high, having made the transition to HD a number of years ago. The team has always invested heavily to deliver its audience the best quality pictures and sound. This standard is now what the viewers expect, whether they’re watching on a 50 inch screen in the living room or using a tablet on their daily commute.

The results, filmed in the ministry’s studio, in the live arena, or on location anywhere in the world, are truly broadcast-quality. Unusually, even the content it streams via YouTube retains a high end look. These results come from years of live production experience, and continual technical development in the video department.
KC Ministries

KC Ministries

The broadcast engineering team has always worked with leading suppliers to invest in and integrate the right equipment. Recent projects have included the fitting of a new HD truck and the roll out of SMPTE-compliant fiber infrastructure in the studio. Over the years, the post production unit has been transformed a number of times. Video editing has undergone several fundamental revolutions, moving from linear to non-linear, from tape to file-based workflows and from individual workstations to sharing HD projects around central storage.It was the recent upgrade of the online storage system that was the team’s biggest concern. Having invested previously in SAN technology, the team was well aware of fiber channel’s shortcomings, especially the cost of client licensing, the performance issues and the high level of support needed.

It was the recent upgrade of the online storage system that was the team’s biggest concern. Having invested previously in SAN technology, the team was well aware of fiber channel’s shortcomings, especially the cost of client licensing, the performance issues and the high level of support needed. The team’s research ultimately pointed to network attached storage (NAS) as an alternative storage technology gaining attention in the industry. Benefiting from standard Ethernet connectivity, license-free clients, support for mixed OS networks and simple capacity scaling, NAS would have clear advantages for the team. Initially, however, the reality appeared very different as the technical experts began to assess the available options.
They discovered that some manufacturers’ marketing claims simply did not match the real world experience. The team was left frustrated by the poor performance, lack of reliability and poor user experience of many of the systems.
When reseller TM Television in Dallas presented GB Labs’ Space system, they were initially doubtful that it could buck the trend. However, their hesitation proved misplaced. Performance and speed, ease of installation and use – Space ticked all the boxes. The team was so impressed it did something unprecedented and placed the order for Space before NAB 2014. After their return home from Vegas is usually when the final decisions are confirmed or a decision to keep researching is made. With Space there was no need to go thru that last process.
The Space NAS, expanded with EX units to 192TB, now resides at the centre of the creative workgroup, serving Mac workstations running the Adobe Creative Suite and Mac & PC-based DAWs loaded with Steinberg Nuendo. The storage has allowed the team to migrate all the data from the ageing and diverse storage systems onto the protected environment of the GB Labs RAID system.

The Space Solution

The workgroup uses a combination of 10Gb Ethernet for HD video content and 1Gb connectivity for sound editing. The storage is integrated with an Elemental Server processing unit as well as the organization’s ingest server.

The result is that the editing to broadcast workflow is now fast, stable and secure. Turnaround times from program recording to on-air transmission or upload to social media are short and Space’s high stream count gives the editors the freedom to be creative in their work, with no frustrating system slow-down, dropped frames or storage downtime. Performance is unmatched for an HDD system, users’ productivity is enhanced and concerns over system stability are consigned to history.
The team notes that it has been one of the smoothest integration experiences of the last 20 years. From the evaluation stage to the install, Space has thrown up no nasty surprises and has worked virtually glitch-free.
In terms of future expansion, KCM has a number of options: as the size of the workgroup increases, Space can be dynamically scaled with the use of further EX units. Inserting additional RAID controllers will deliver even higher stream counts while the new HyperSpace add-on unit offers near-SSD levels of sustained performance.