RAIDIX for Grading Studios. Operating with Uncompressed 4К Video Streams

14.02.2018

This whitepaper covers the use of the RAIDIX storage technology in video grading. The media industry sets forward stringent performance requirements in terms of data storage. This fact goes hand-in-hand with general industry trends: evolving video formats, frame frequencies and new professional equipment. Along with grading and postproduction specifics, studios should factor in general tech requirements, such as easy integration into existing infrastructures, scalability by volume and performance, ease of use, storage density, etc.

Addressing the M&E needs, the RAIDIX engineers come up with a solution that enables shared access to data from multiple workstations and maintains sustainable high speed when processing multiple uncompressed 4K video streams.

In this article, you’ll find a description of typical grading tasks, performance metrics and the business impact of using RAIDIX.

 

Introduction

In video postproduction, the critical data storage factors include storage volume, performance, availability, and price. Apparently, throughput requirements expand in line with growing frame frequency. A 60-minute video file may reach the size of approx. 15TB:

  • Full HD (1920×1080) ~ 200MB/s — 720GB/hour video
  • 4K (4096×3072) ~ 1.5GB/s — 5.4TB/hour video
  • 8K (8192×4320) ~ 4GB/s — 14.4TB/hour video

Video editing and grading require real-time data reading and writing, as well as operating with streams of uncompressed video. Data storage latencies may lead to frame loss, which may result in repeated processes and double work.

A key objective of a grading studio is to process video within a minimal timeframe. In technical terms, this implies high throughput and fault-tolerance throughout the entire video production cycle.

 

Challenges and the Solution

Grading studios pose specific functional and commercial requirements. A selected data storage system is to reveal optimal price-to-performance ratio, compatibility with commodity-off-the-shelf equipment, and seamless scalability with minimal hardware overhead.

Focused on processing colossal volumes of data, grading studios are looking for:

  • High performance with sequential workloads
  • Support for high-definition video formats (HD/2K/4K)
  • Workload prioritization on the application level
  • High level of QoS.

Another crucial task in this field is support for resource-intensive grading applications, such as Digital Vision Nucoda, DaVinci Resolve, etc.

The classic RAIDIX-based solution for this scenario encompasses a NAS or SAN system with large storage capacity, JBOD scalability options, Fibre Channel 16Gbit connectivity, high performance and support for 2К/4К video.

A data storage system powered by RAIDIX builds on commodity hardware components (drives, interface controllers, memory, processors, etc.) and demonstrates high reliability and velocity showings along with moderate storage costs.

Full data integrity without a single frame dropped is ensured by RAIDIX’s patented algorithms, RAID 6 with double parity and RAID 7.3 with triple parity. RAID 7.3, for instance, guarantees system continuity and sustainable performance even in case up to three drives fail.

Also, an administrator of the RAIDIX system has an opportunity to install professional software directly onto the storage node, thus saving hardware resources.

 

Solution Components

Here’s a sample setup for a grading studio:

Professional Hardware

  • Digital Vision Nucoda
  • Digital Vision Precision Panel
  • All DVO Option
  • RedRocket-X
  • 18ft Harkness Matte Preview Screen
  • DCI projector Barco DP2K-12C
  • Xpand 3D cinema option
  • Hardware Waveform Scope.

Storage and Network Equipment

  • RAID 6 or RAID 7.3 real-time 4K storage
  • 16GB Fibre Channel SAN Network
  • Average data volume up to 1PB depending on the number of ongoing projects
  • Connectivity: up to 10 clients
  • Tiger MetaSAN clustered file system.

 

Technical Metrics

The system allows the end customer to simultaneously operate with 4K content from up to 10 workstations. The overall maximum performance of the system measures at 12GB/s.

 

Business Impact

The RAIDIX solution commits to the highest speed and fault-tolerance requirements, and enables simultaneous video data processing from multiple workstations with minimal latencies and performance slumps.

RAIDIX’s compatibility with commodity hardware allows the user to optimize RAID arrays for specific studio tasks and dramatically decrease TCO.

RAIDIX-powered storage manages to cut the average grading time by 2–4 times by efficiently paralleling data streams. Implementation of the solution results into higher data availability (at 99,999 and higher), quick deployment and flexible scalability of the infrastructure.

The implementation of a RAIDIX-based data storage system in Media & Entertainment ensures the following customer benefits:

  • An average of 300 days of non-stop recording in the online mode — before maintenance
  • Support for multi-camera editing modes
  • Transparent system monitoring.