Test setup with specialists from the industry
A tested server with Western Digital® Ultrastar® series NVMe™ disks.
Especially in a profession like video post-production, which produces vast amounts of raw data, an NVMe™ bolide quickly awakens desires - especially among media designers, cutters and editors. Therefore, sales manager Bernd Widmaier confidently turned to Tobias Feterowski, head of service and support at dve advanced systems GmbH.
The Starline partners from Aschheim in Upper Bavaria were to independently test our hand-forged top model as proven experts in this field.
Mr. Feterowski was not slow to respond, after all, their film, video and broadcast clientele requires extremely fast workflow solutions to handle the massive amounts of data in a timely manner for VFX, grading and video storage.
NVMe™-server for post-production
A previously delivered all-flash server served as a benchmark, which also still corresponded to the state of the art, but was less opulently equipped. With its 36 SATA SSDs, it's more at home in the backup area than as a work machine.
In addition, its interfaces were slower, with two 10 GbE upgrades. So be it. In the end, the technicians needed a comparison model.
Excursus: Data rates
Media workstations require an extremely large amount of bandwidth for editing HD, 4K or even 8K video data in the original color depth (4:2:2, 4:4:4), because they ultimately edit the raw versions - so-called RAW files. The data is therefore stored without data reduction and compression of any codecs, so that no image errors that could result from this are inherited in later processing steps.
A 4K camera that delivers 24 full frames per minute, for example, requires more than 12 gigabytes of memory per minute of film. Such a video therefore requires at least 1.6 Gbit/s net data rate in order to be processed in real time. Another aspect is the number of workstations to be supplied: With each additional workstation, the data rate that the server has to process is multiplied.
Server prototype proves itself in use
The NVMe™ candidate, meanwhile, was able to offer everything that was good and fast, and of course still is: a 24-core from AMD, half a terabyte of DDR4 RAM, 100 GbE cards from Mellanox and the eight NVMe™ SSDs from the Ultrastar® DC SN640 series from Western Digital® mentioned above.
The Red Hat-based Linux distribution CentOS (Community Enterprise Operating System) was selected as the operating system. In order to be able to evaluate the practical use, the grading and editing software DaVinci Resolve was installed.
A few days and various tests later, the answer was clear: the NVMe™ server, powered by Western Digital® SSDs, delivered a whopping 4 gigabytes per second of useful data rate, beating out the standard server. It would thus theoretically be able to supply up to 20 workstations simultaneously with 4K raw data in real time.
Even when writing, the test server achieved a transfer rate that conventional servers only reach when reading: With 2.5 GB/s via SAMBA/NFS, 12 workstations could still store their edited 4K movie snippets in parallel.
Servers equipped with NVMe™ power revive the old wisdom: Good is good, but better carries it. In the end, the blazing fast Ultrastar® DC SN640s from Western Digital® can deliver their data about six times faster than conventional SATA SSDs.
So in an industry with exorbitantly high demands on read/write operations, the fast drives save a lot of time and consequently money.
Our strengths in service
Benefit from the storage veterans
Starline assists from the planning stage through to the implementation of the system.
We are committed only to you - the customer - and therefore always offer the best solution for you.
Our product managers and technicians are constantly searching for sophisticated server and storage products.
dve advanced systems GmbH specializes in technical solutions for film, video and broadcast postproduction. The company's portfolio includes in particular workflow solutions for VFX, grading and storage infrastructures.
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Sales manager and expert in vertical markets and in Mac, video storage and media streaming.