DNAfabric And How StorageDNA
Enables Remote Workflows In The Times of COVID-19
By Alexandros Galanos, Product Support Specialist, Polar Graphics
The COVID-19 crisis has caused profound changes in our societies, from how we go about our daily lives to how we work. With corporate shutdowns, furloughed staff, and remote working, the post production industry has been hit harder than many. This is because of the particular needs of post-production work, such as access to post production systems and physical proximity in traditional collaboration between members of a creative team. As with every crisis, new solutions emerge to address these problems. In post-production these solutions utilise existing technologies and capabilities, which were being used to a limited degree before but much more now, and have been rapidly developed further to address the needs of the "new normal" in video post-production. These solutions can be divided roughly into three categories;
♦ Remote access software
♦ Virtualization of working environments and applications
♦ The cloud
StorageDNA has a long experience in data management technologies infused with media "intelligence". Their product DNAevolution focused on LTO archiving systems and provided the ability for creatives to archive and restore only the relevant files of a project (Avid or Adobe), or the files associated with an AAF or ALE file, rather than whole workspaces, in addition to archiving at folder or volume level and being able to restore individual files if needed. Their data movement product DNAsync enabled remote data synchronization of remote servers. Their software recognises media files and can extract metadata, which speeds up searches and restores, takes advantage of the "intelligence" which powers the Avid and Adobe workflows.
All this experience and knowledge has culminated in their latest product, DNAfabric, which is the Swiss pocket knife of data-management in today's world. Many companies provide subsets of DNAfabric's functionality but they are limited to a specific workflow or task. DNAfabric, on the other hand, supports all types of data storage and data transfers between any destination (local and remote), multi-site syncs, recovering valuable storage space via stublink tiering, and disaster recovery replication across disk storage, cloud and WAN. It provides two main sets of services: ‘Mobility’ and ‘Visibility’.
Through the DNAfabric interface an organisation can index, monitor, and manage all their storage locations (disk, tape, camera cards, cloud), local and remote. Visibility services are powered by a powerful analytics engine and offer the capability to monitor how much space specific projects, departments, or particular users are using. You can also monitor the existence of duplicates for deletion or SLAs and disaster recovery purposes as well as, customisable graphs, metrics and much more. This is more suitable for larger and corporate organisations with large data sets.
DNAfabric transfers data across disk, cloud, and WAN, including some very interesting and powerful hybrid cloud workflows, one of which is ‘Remote Shared Workspaces for Creative Workflows’ which we are going to expand on below.
DNAfabric can easily move data from local online storage to cloud and from cloud to remote locations and from the outset included the features and technology to facilitate remote edit collaboration. On top of this the SDNA team have worked hard over the last few months to infuse their coding magic and knowledge of Avid workflows further into Fabric and enable Remote Shared Workspaces for Avid.
Remote Shared Workspaces
The Remote Shared Workspaces workflow simulates a local network environment to a large degree, with project sharing and bin locking features independent of the application. Due to the technicalities of the workflow, being remote, there are of course some differences. The model is based on uploads/downloads between a small cloud cache , the main storage at a post-production facility and remote users.
How It Works
A user or administrator at the main facility can configure a project and the relevant media to be shared via DNAfabric remote shared workspaces. The project and media folders are synced to the cloud cache first and then to the local storage of remote editors.
♦ Remote editors can then do their edits and changes, and these are automatically uploaded to the cache and downloaded to the main server and the other remote users.
♦ Shared workspaces support locked-for-write bins and project files. As remote users' files are synced across all other remote locations, they are read-locked, enabling other creatives to review without overwriting.
♦ In terms of collaboration a remote editor can only open, but not modify, the locked bin of another remote user. They could though, for example duplicate a sequence, copy it to their own bin and then add their changes and edits, which in turn are synced back to all other locations for the rest of the team to preview and following the steps mentioned above to add their own changes.
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The range of hybrid cloud workflows that StorageDNA offer doesn't end there though. DNAfabric is an extremely versatile tool which also can be used in conjunction with Adobe Premier and Avid Media Composer Cloud Editorial Projects. In these scenarios DNAfabric powers the following processes:
♦ Delivery of low-res media from central on-prem storage to a low cost object store in an edit ready cloud.
♦ When media is needed, DNAfabric syncs the necessary media from the low-priced object store to the cloud file system assigned as storage for the remote cloud edit VMs, minimising costs in the meantime.
♦ Adobe Team Projects or Media Composer can be used at the central location to access finished sequences and bins, re-link and export hi-res media.
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A last note about DNAfabric is that it automatically employs WAN acceleration in the form of multi-part uploads and multi-threaded streaming to maximise upload and download speeds, which in turn provide a seamless working experience for creatives using remote shared workspaces, or other users using fabric for data transfers.
For further information on these workflows contact the Polar Bears;
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: +44 (0)20 8868 2479