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Isilon Systems provides storage for film and media studies

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Isilon Systems has announced the that the Arts University College at Bournemouth, UK, has successfully implemented an Isilon IQ solution to meet high-intensity rendering and editing requirements and prepare for its transition to a high definition digital film environment. The Arts University College is benefiting from the intrinsic high availability offered by the Isilon Scale-out NAS deployment, which can withstand drive failures without the loss of data, while offering easy archiving compatibility to the school's second tier, lower performance storage platforms.

'We first saw Isilon in a well-known production house and we were extremely impressed by the implementation and how it was dealing with a high intensity and challenging environment,' explains Liam Scanlan, reader in the digital environment and previously director of the School of Media at the University. 'We used it as our benchmark when comparing other possible solutions and could find nothing that quite matched it based on our requirements of performance, price and flexibility.' Scanlan, who worked for George Lucas at Industrial Light and Magic for a number of years, understands well the necessity for technology as part of the modern TV and film industry.

'Our render farm (at peak periods) is in use almost 24 hours a day and the nature of our courses means that projects start and stop all year round with inevitable bottlenecks and deadlines,' explains Scanlan, 'The render farm was previously served jobs from a rack of Dell PowerEdge storage arrays, and these have proved very reliable, but when multiple projects are on the go everything would slow significantly due to lack of performance from our storage farm to our compute cluster.'

Following a successful two-week implementation and training schedule carried out by Escape Studios, the new 36TB Isilon Scale-out NAS went live at the University College at the end of 2009. 'The difference was staggering' comments Scanlan, 'We are now able to run multiple projects on the render farm and the Isilon cluster just handles it – we have yet to have a situation where our storage is the bottleneck.'

The Isilon Scale-out NAS uses multiple 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports aggregated into a 10 Gigabit Optical backbone, which serves the various media suites across the campus.