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Avid Unveils Shared-Storage Solution: Avid Unity ISIS

Distributed architecture achieves unlimited scalability, resiliency and client connectivity (October 26, 2005)

Editor's note: Read an exclusive interview with Avid Unity ISIS product manager Andy Dale by clicking on these words.

Avid Technology, Inc. unveiled its next-generation shared-storage solution in the Avid Unity family the Avid Unity ISIS media network.  Unlike other storage area network (SAN) devices that rely on centralized intelligence to manage data, the Avid Unity ISIS system introduces an industry first: Infinitely Scalable Intelligent Storage (ISIS) that leverages a distributed-intelligence architecture. This revolutionary design enables 16 individual storage blades housed within a single storage chassis (Avid ISIS Engine) to process media, while simultaneously sharing data and balancing the collective workflow between entire groups of connected storage drives. With its distributed intelligence architecture, the Avid Unity ISIS system has no inherent storage or connectivity limitations and avoids bottlenecks that can occur in storage systems that use centralized intelligence.  The result is a real-time shared workflow that delivers virtually unlimited storage headroom, extraordinary resiliency, and vast client connectivity. 

Each chassis ($106,995) has 16 storage blades and a capacity of 8 TB.

Version 1.0 of Avid Unity ISIS comes equipped with storage capacity of up to 64 terabytes (TB) per system, with the ability to link multiple Avid ISIS Engines to one another; connectivity of up to 100 clients working in real-time over standard Gigabit Ethernet; native compatibility with leading Ethernet switching technologies, such as best-in-class products from Cisco Systems; and the flexibility to hot-swap any storage component even in the midst of data transfer to ensure uninterrupted access to information for all users within a facility.

?Back in 1999, when we first introduced the Avid Unity MediaNetwork, we created a new standard for shared storage in the media production industry.  Now, with Avid Unity ISIS, weve again created an entirely new playing field for real-time, collaborative digital content creation, said David Krall, president and chief executive officer of Avid.  ?Based on our experience serving a wide range of enterprise-class customers, Avid has designed and built a next-generation storage environment that is extraordinarily resilient and efficient, and massively scalable. Avid Unity ISIS is the industrys first media storage system to distribute intelligence across a standard Ethernet infrastructure, balancing workloads by replicating and distributing files among all components in the system and instantly adapting to traffic and load patterns for all connected clients in real-time. This decentralized approach to workflow is truly revolutionary. It delivers the ultimate in storage capacity, reliability, real-time performance, and client connectivity.

Frank Governale, VP of Operations at CBS News, said, ?When we first saw Avid Unity ISIS we knew it would be an ideal storage solution that could more efficiently handle the massive amounts of media that we store, access, and share simultaneously between our major news operations in New York and London every day.  It also fits well into our IT infrastructure, greatly expanding our client count and the amount of data we can share in real time.  We have been transforming our operations and facilities to completely digital environments, and the strides we are making are vital to our success in maintaining world-class excellence in broadcasting.  With Avid Unity ISIS at the hub of our all-digital workflow, we will have a facility like no other and weve seen nothing as scaleable like it on the market. 

The Avid Unity ISIS system is designed to support a wide array of digital media production environments, including broadcast news and network production operations, reality television productions, and education institutions with multi-purpose media labs.  The system sets new industry benchmarks for shared-media production that include: 

? Infinite Storage Scalability and Capacity using a distributed intelligence architecture that eliminates the storage, connectivity, and transfer constraints found in centralized intelligence systems.  Version 1.0 of Avid Unity ISIS will scale from 8 TB to 64 TB, with storage available in 8 TB increments.  As data demands grow, users can connect additional Avid ISIS Engines, with each new engine increasing the aggregate bandwidth and reliability of the entire system.

? Unmatched Client Scalability and Access accommodating up to 100 dual-stream real-time 50 Megabyte-per-second (Mbps) clients, and up to 1,000 user-accounts for media networks in demanding environments that require larger numbers of clients to simultaneously record or play digital video and audio media. Unlike other solutions that are limited to read-only or push-pull sharing, Avid Unity ISIS provides multiple clients with simultaneous read and write access.

? Exceptional Reliability providing intelligent, self-healing drive blades that communicate with one another, able to adapt instantly and redistribute data in the event of a drive failure. All processing takes place in parallel to maintain real-time flow and data resiliency; the more storage that is added to the system, the more quickly it self-heals in the event of an error.  When a failed drive is replaced, data is rebuilt at speeds up to 20 times faster than typical RAID systems. 

? Unrivaled Workflow Flexibility enabling users to modify bandwidth requirements as demands for multiple streams of real-time DV, SD, or mastering-quality Avid DNxHD media grow over time.

? Robust Ethernet Compatibility allowing connectivity with Ciscos best-in-class Catalyst 4948 Series Ethernet switches to deliver unparalleled performance. 

?As an Avid Unity ISIS beta tester, we have been very impressed with the systems ability to handle the storage capacity we have come to need in this competitive marketplace, said Bart-Jan van Genderen founder of Avi-Drome, one of the leading full-service postproduction companies in the Netherlands.  ?With Avid Unity ISIS, managing, sharing, and accessing media becomes virtually limitless.  We intend to build a central-server environment with Avid Unity ISIS by connecting a multitude of client systems to the server.  This will enable us to handle five times more work for our clients than before with fewer people, which translates into more projects and more business. Were also able to supply our clients with a storage capability whereas these services were out of reach until Avid Unity ISIS came around.

Pricing and Availability
Pricing for Avid Unity ISIS shared-media network systems begins at $106,995 USMSRP. The Avid Unity ISIS system is now available through Avids worldwide channel of certified resellers.

Editor's note: Read an exclusive interview with Avid Unity ISIS product manager Andy Dale here.

For more information about the Avid Unity ISIS system, please go to

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Related Keywords:Avid Technology, Inc., shared-storage, Avid Unity, Avid Unity ISIS media network, SAN, storage area network, Infinitely Scalable Intelligent Storage, distributed-intelligence architecture, storage blades, workflow, connected storage drives

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