Storage, networking and virtual advances are driving a huge impact in the world of media and entertainment. At Brocade customers such as The Jim Henson Company, Jamfilled Entertainment, Vice Media and other media and entertainment companies globally, these technologies are being leveraged in pre- and post- production to greatly improve digital animation, special effects, programming and new ventures.
For The Jim Henson Company, Brocade network technologies are being leveraged to drive new programming and ventures – offering new ways to utilize digital animation. They had to resolve technical challenges associated with terabytes of video footage moving across the network, video editing and rendering. Each day, hours of footage must be downloaded to servers from a disc attached to video cameras. With as many as 5 editors working on a show in unison, this process could take up to eight hours thanks to the need to share large flows of data across the storage network. And while content was being transferred, editors could not edit. Demanding production schedules only added more pressure. This is where the value of Brocade switches, 40 GbE, Brocade VCS fabric simplicity, a dedicated IP Storage network and solid state storage are each playing their various business critical roles.
Innovative, scalable networking, accelerated storage, automation and open platforms like Brocade have enabled this leader in digital animation to break through technology limitations and focus on what they do best; create. For example, in editorial and post-production activities they have reduced download times from eight hours to 30 minutes. A single half-hour television show using traditional animation used to take approximately six months to produce and now projects can be recorded 1 to 2 days before airing on television. By leveraging cutting-edge Brocade networking and EMC Isilon storage our customers have gained higher visual and editorial quality, increased production efficiency and much faster time to market. These technologies remain behind the scenes powering a bandwidth intensive creative process with efficiency and resilience. And we reap the benefits of a visually stunning product.
The significant performance needs of video editing and rendering applications translate to the performance needs of the network on which these applications depend on for low latency, high throughput read/write data access. The features in Brocade VDX that align to these performance needs are:
Support for Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA)
Deep on-chip buffers
Line rate 10/40 GbE for all ports and packet sizes
Quality of Service (QoS)
Simple centralized, provisioning and management
In addition to these, Brocade VCS Ethernet fabrics have a distributed control plane which minimizes flooding in the network, enabling better overall application performance.
These performance and automation features directly and positively affect the performance of media and entertainment solutions and those people that manage them. Those two factors have enabled Brocade customers to achieve some ground-breaking results:
Reduced data downloads from hours to minutes
Increased video production efficiency – enabling multiple editors to work simultaneously
Achieved higher visual and editorial quality
Dramatically improved products’ time to market
Enabled spontaneous creativity with real-time collaborative environments
Built a foundation for high scalability and for simple future expansion
Large media and entertainment organizations typically need to scale performance and throughput to address large editing and rendering workloads very quickly. Just like EMC Isilon’s ability to simply scale the Isilon cluster, the Ethernet fabric easily scales as well.
Scalability: Brocade VCS fabric technology allows the network to scale simply. Just plug a new VDX switch into the existing fabric and it is automatically configured. This automation enables adding more network capacity easily. And adding additional bandwidth between switches requires no configuration at all. You simply connect new cables, frame-based Inter-Switch link (ISL) trunks form and traffic is automatically redistributed among the trunk members, with no impact to applications.
In addition Brocade VCS fabrics employ unique multipathing capabilities in both hardware and software to efficiently use the network for best performance and maximum network utilization, allowing organizations to elastically grow domains with optimal network utilization through efficient, dynamic load balancing at Layers 1–3 for maximum network resilience, bandwidth, and scale.
Manageability: Logical Chassis functionality in Brocade VCS fabrics extend the simplicity of operations by streamlining fabric management and maintenance. Logical Chassis management allows the use of a single “virtual IP address” to perform all configuration fabric-wide. The same IP address is used to upload new software and to auto-provision the cluster. It enables central management from a switch of your choice, while allowing for granular visibility and control. Eliminating repetitive, manual commands reduces opportunities for error and downtime, and the system-wide view facilitates fast, easy troubleshooting. It reduces customers operation spend by simplifying network management. And Brocade VCS Logical Chassis provides a degree of management abstraction that simultaneously simplifies engagement with higher-level orchestration tools while remaining intimately aware of every aspect of the fabric.
Managing large farms of virtual machines is a challenging task. In VMware environments, there is tight integration with vRealize operations and the VCS fabric at the network layer. The Ethernet fabric sends monitoring and syslog information to vRealize. VLAN information is shared and propagated to VMware and the VCS fabric. Also the Brocade VCS fabric propagates network event and status information up to vRealize Log Insight to assist VMware administrators in root cause analysis of negative VMware security and performance issues.
With the help of Brocade and EMC, media and entertainment production companies can leverage the same management, performance and scaling technologies realized by high-performance computing (HPC) and cloud service providers. Production resources will perform better and will be more reliable and cost less, so there’s more time and resources for a studios’ artists, designers, and producers.