We all have been feeling the challenging times the Post Production industry is going through these days. As the Writers’ strike is in full effect the industry is slowly coming to a halt. The major studios are preparing for a slowdown and the world is feeling the side effects. Other industries related to M&E such as Technology, Marketing, Fashion, Makeup are severely impacted. Families are being affected; we hope that all parties come to an agreement so the free world will move on. Meanwhile, what can we do as Technology Professionals in these times? I found myself some free time and decided to upgrade our lab (see diagram and rack pic attached).
This is a fantastic opportunity for technological upgrades. Hardware and Software Vendors are feeling the burn and are willing to negotiate more about their products. Maintenance work that could not be performed during production can be done, like major network upgrades, storage, firewall, desktop, and OS upgrades are good tasks to push around this time. The idea is that if you perform these upgrades now you are strategically positioning your workflow to accommodate for the work that will come in when the strike is over. In this case I will use a history lesson from few years ago when a similar strike slowed the industry, but the flood gates were open after a few months and Post Prodcution companies could not keep up with hires and purchases to get production back on track. One must be patient these days; preparation for what is to come is the key. For the Technology professionals it is good to get back to studies and upgrade your credentials. Technology is evolving at a rapid rate, and we also must stay up to date. I, myself, have been keeping busy in the lab. I have two storage servers at about 300TB each, one for production running ZFS and another on FreeNAS. A few new things to consider are sharing protocols such as pNFS and NCONNECT to boost performance for finishing 4K and Stereo workflow. VFX and Editorial can use SMB and NFS. I have been experimenting with Archieware Presstore installed on Freenas and using the multithreaded sync to get a line rate while transferring media for the internet. Also, Freenas is offering VM deployment which is cool. Some people deployed docker containers and integrate more apps. There are plenty of new features to explore and use in production as you see it. We also deployed two vCenter eSXI servers running a few VMs in vMotion and failover configuration for Active Directory, Accounting, Filemaker, Asset Managment or any related services., for datastore we use the NFS shared out from the NAS. A Mediashuttle server for syncing media internationally, all nodes connected to Arista switch over 100GbE and behind a Fortinet perimeter firewall. This is usually one of the most common setups for a small to medium size production company. This architecture can cover any type of workflow, Editorial, VFX, Finishing on Mac OS to PC based, Remote or On-Premises.
DM me for more detailed specs and performance.
Full Rack picture below https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-do-challenging-times-me-industry-ergi-thanasko/?published=t