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Friedman says Non-Linear Solutions upgraded to a 4Gb/sec QLogic switch, adding that "if we had stayed in offline resolution throughout the production of Beowulf, we might have been OK. But once we started pumping high-resolution images through [the system, coupled] with the demands of six to seven users, it just made sense to upgrade our storage," he notes. "It's too taxing to the system when three editors, a visual effects editor and four assistants all use the system; you want to keep the throughput as optimized as possible."

Tom M. Coughlin, president of Coughlin Associates, estimates that even with the lower resolution uncompressed 2K format video (2,048 x 1,556 pixels), a user would need 12MB of storage per frame and 5TB for a movie. At the newest 4K resolution (4,096 x 3112 pixels), a movie would take 22TB at 3.1GB/sec; at 6K (6,144 x 4,668 pixels), a movie would take 49TB at 7GB/sec (see "Explosive growth in video content," below).

3ality Digital LLC has a different need for high-performance, scalable storage. The Burbank, CA-based company produces stereoscopic 3D content using a 250TB Isilon Systems Inc. IQ cluster. Its in-house post-production team, consisting of more than 90 users, edits raw imagery stored on its Isilon cluster.

"We had a storage area network before installing the Isilon cluster," says Howard Postley,

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COO/CTO at 3ality. "It was problematic and couldn't scale to the level we needed. We needed a system capable of storing petabytes, not simply terabytes, of information."

This was first published in August 2008

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