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Rorke's StudioNet-FC SAN Solution Gains Acceptance Among Mac-Based Studios

(July 26, 2001)
Rorke Data, Inc announced that the company's new StudioNet-FC, a high bandwidth Fibre-Channel workgroup solution, has been installed at three additional high-profile studios. With these installations, StudioNet is becoming well-received among content-related businesses using Apple Macintosh computers, particularly those running networks of Final Cut Pro workstations.

The new StudioNet-FC users are Trailer Park, Aspect Ratio, and the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Each of the new users is located in Los Angeles and uses the system for its ability to provide high-speed transfer and playback of media while providing access to a fully-shared environment.

StudioNet-FC is a full-duplex serial communications interface for networks in high-performance audio and video environments. Facilitating efficient data management, StudioNet-FC allows several editors or workstation operators to share what is commonly called a "Media Pool," a centralized storage volume that allows all networked users access to the files. Each system can capture DV, M-JPEG, compressed MPEG-2 (from 5 to 50 Mbit/sec) or uncompressed Standard Definition digital video files directly to the Rorke JBOD or RAID through the FC network, while simultaneously accessing files for playback.

Phil Gerschwin of Aspect Ratio said StudioNet's compatibility with a particular editing application was extremely important to his company's decision-making process. "Rorke Data has proven to me that they have the experience and commitment to handle a Final Cut Pro network," said Gerschwin. "Unlike their competitors, Rorke immediately said they could create a Final Cut Pro network and make it work the first time out. Rorke's prices are right, and they were able to have me up and running within ten days of my order."

Advertising production firm Trailer Park installed its StudioNet system to address the problem of having hundreds of gigabytes of data sitting on each workstation's hard drive and then having to move it back and forth between machines. The system solved the problem by having all data stored in one location for editors to easily access and modify.

Charlie Austin, Technology Lead, Trailer Park, said StudioNet was responsible for huge time savings at the Hollywood, Calif. company. "Before working with Rorke and installing their SAN solution," said Austin, "we had been buying tons of extra drives. Basically, we didn't have any choice but to keep buying them, and now we don't have to do that anymore, although the system is scaleable, so it would be very easy to drop in one more drive if we had to. But everything's changed. Now, if you have to go into another room, you just throw the project onto the array and walk out. Everything's a lot faster now, and we also don't have the redundancy of three people working on a project who each have to keep it resident on their machines. They can all have it all up there at once from the network. We're saving a significant amount of time in digitizing, too, as we don't have more than one person digitizing the same material -- once it's done, it's done."

Joe Rorke, VP Marketing, Rorke Data, noted that the company has recently installed some huge SAN systems for educational institutions that have resulted in multiple benefits. "Our installation for the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television in Los Angeles is a good example of why a SAN solution can make a big difference in overall productivity, whether on the commercial or educational levels," said Rorke. "UCLA has a 25-seat Fibre-Channel network with 3.2 TB -- 12 seats for a classroom/lab, and the balance for edit suites. Previously, UCLA had to deal with "sneaker net," as each of the students carried around a damage-susceptible drive, making it difficult to manage the storage from the administrator's viewpoint. With SAN, the administrator can simply log into the network and assign students and faculty the storage they need. They can also back-up their students' sessions and restore files while the work continues, greatly increasing the efficiency of the editing sessions and expanding overall production capacity by as much as 35-40%."

Offering rates up to 200 MB/second, StudioNet-FC eliminates all SCSI and reliability problems, including SCSI termination, SCSI IDs, unwieldy cables, and inappropriate cable lengths. By means of Multiple Rorke Data AVR-9000/FC Switches, the system provides users with a solution that is upgradeable from a single host storage channel to a multiple host storage network of up to 126 IDs per arbitrated loop. Highly adaptable to the unique applications and workflows needed for a particular environment, StudioNet-FC supports the Macintosh, NT, SGI and Sun Microsystems platforms; can be configured with either file or volume management software; and is scaleable with all RAID levels, including Fibre Channel JBOD, Fibre-to-SCSI RAID 3, Fibre-to-Fibre Raid 3 storage and RAID 5.

See Rorke Data's StudioNet-FC SAN solution configured with Apple's Final Cut Pro edit stations at IBC (International Broadcasting Convention) 2001, Rorke booth/stand # 2.229, RAI Congress Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Sept. 14 - 18, 2001.

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