Revealing the secret behind award-winning DDP storage
Earlier this year, Ardis Technologies was declared the winner in the storage category of the IABM Design and Innovation Awards.
The company's win was based on its Dynamic Drive Pool (DDP), an Ethernet-based SAN (storage area network) shared storage that offers "unparallelled performance", is easy to use and offers a new Workflow Manager module that provides not merely shared storage, but also a "real solution" for even the most complex video and audio workflows, according to Elvin Jasarevic, chief sales and marketing officer at Ardis Technologies.
Jasarevic added: "From within the DDP software, you can create lists of users or groups of users [with the Workflow Manager module]. However, permissions can also be assigned on a desktop level. From here, you can then assign users and groups to folder hierarchies within drives.
"The folder permissions assignable are read/write, drop box, read-only and read/write with no delete. Crucially, Workflow Manager functions equally well in a heterogeneous Windows, Mac and Linux environment."
The Workflow Manager was also developed for audio and video with the non-IT user in mind, and which eliminates the need for complex Open Directory or Active Directory servers and the technical overheads that accompanies these systems.
DDP V3, which was introduced at IBC2014, also fully supports LDAP and AD/OD services. With this new functionality, DDP V3 enables enhanced workflow additions for applications such as Pro Tools, Final Cut Pro, FCPX, Media Composer, Premiere, Prunus, Edius, Firlight, Vegas, Softron, Tools On Air, and Fork.
Mention SAN, and the first thing that may well come to mind is speed. And DDP is even faster than fibre channel systems, proclaimed Jasarevic: "DDP can use MCS (multiple connections per sessions), its own technology, to pair multiple 1GbE or 10GbE lines. Also, as AVFS drivers are installed, DDP controls desktops with bandwidth limit to provide QoS. However, in large organisations, not everyone needs fast access and sometimes administrators like to use NAS (networkattached storage) without installing any software to client machines."
With the new AVFS2NAS module from DDP, users can now use DDP volumes as NAS without any software installation. Additionally, users can be created, permissions assigned and the Workflow Manager module utilised for folder access rights, meaning that DDP works equally well as SAN and/or NAS.
In a shared storage environment, there are usually multiple volumes, which are connected to different workstations, which may be variously known as drives, LUNS, media spaces and workspaces.
This connectivity to multiple workstations, explained Jasarevic, is because not every user should have access to all the media files at the same volume. He added: "The disadvantage of this method is that if you want to give the same media to another user, you will need to move files/media between the volumes.
And this means you will start copying the data that takes up extra space, extra time and which reduces your overall storage bandwidth. Also, if you work with MAM (media asset management) or backup solutions, it is much more difficult to manage these processes across multiple volumes."
To overcome this issue, DDP now offers Folder Volumes, which are basically folders/directories within the same DDP Volume, and when connected to a PC, Mac or Linux workstation, are seen at a root level. This means that the user can have one DDP Volume (one Namespace) and any number of roots.
Jasarevic elaborated: "The advantage of this is: no more copying, no extra bandwidth usage, and the administrator for MAM or backup applications needs to manage only one DDP Volume. Because all Folder Volumes are part of the same DDP Volume, users enjoy the full capacity of DDP.
"Capacity per user can be managed by quotas. For example, if one user is close to exceeding his quota of, say, 2TB — even during the ingest, the administrator of the DDP system can extend that quota on the fly."
For backup, every DDP system is equipped with a pre-installed Archiware P5 software suite, while the licence for P5 Backup software is included with the DDP hardware.
With every installation, users gain immediate professional-grade backup to LTO tape, which can be easily stored off-site for the highest security requirement and disaster recovery.
P5 Backup licence, on the other hand, allows for backup to LTP tapes using a single-tape drive, although the licence may be extended for use with tape libraries, synchronisation or archive modules. An unlimited number of tapes can be written, and P5 Backup keeps track of all tapes and files written, while the P5 Backup catalogue can be searched and browsed using a Web browser.
A DDP system can be ordered with an SAS card installed, which will be required to connect the LTP tape drive to a DDP system. Data can then be transferred between the DDP system and LTP with a speed of up to 160MB/s.
Additionally, P5 Archive for migrating media offline can be activated simply by extending the licence, with no further installation necessary, while the P5 Synchronise software suite is also available as an extention for cloning DDP volumes for data availability.
Functions such as the Workflow Manager, Folder Volumes with Quota, AVFS2NAS and Archiware P5 backup can now be accessed via a Web-based GUI.
Jasarevic concluded: "Built-in notifications appear on the left panel for events such as drive failure, volume check and progress of backups. Uniquely, DDP has a builtin algorithm that can analyse and recognise the type of video stream, allowing the operator to see how many streams of each video type are currently running."
"The advantage of this is: no more copying, no extra bandwidth usage, and the administrator for MAM or backup applications needs to manage only one DDP Volume. Because all Folder Volumes are part of the same DDP Volume, users enjoy the full capacity of DDP."