Founded in 1998, Studio Network Solutions celebrates its five-year anniversary with the launch of SANmp™, an extension of the company's successful A/V SAN and A/V SAN PRO Storage Area Networking (SAN) systems for the audio, broadcast and video post communities.
Today, facilities from the largest studios to smaller project rooms are looking at multiple-CPU installations, not only to maximize the efficiency of the entire system via shared tasking over several processors, but also as a means of running different platform-specific programs, such as Merging Pyramix and Sonic Foundry Vegas Video on the PC, or Final Cut Pro and MOTU Digital Performer on Macintosh machines. Even with multiplatform applications — such as Digidesign's Pro Tools or Steinberg's Nuendo — there are advantages to operating a shared PC/Mac system. For example, in my studio I have a Mac-based Pro Tools rig (handling most recording functions) alongside an AMC/Win2000 machine with Cubase for sequencing, hosting virtual instruments and VST plug-ins, and Sonic Foundry Acid Pro for looping.
In my single-user system, data-management requirements aren't complex. However, when multiple workstation users on several platforms need simultaneous, network-based, high-density file access, the situation can become at best quirky or difficult. The situation worsens considerably when numerous operating systems are figured in, such as combining Windows XP and/or 2000 with Mac OS 9 and OS X workstations. Switching an entire facility over to a sole OS and platform set is not viable in most cases, but one innovative answer to this dilemma comes from Studio Network Solutions' SANmp.
Studio Network Solutions originally developed its A/V SAN and A/V SAN PRO networking systems specifically for the size-intensive file requirements of high-resolution digital audio and video storage/access. SANmp (the name comes from Storage Area Network, multiplatform) lets users configure, manage, share and access SAN resources, create RAID sets and set access privileges at the user level. With SANmp, users can upgrade to the latest operating systems or add Windows workstations to Mac environments; Mac and Windows versions of SANmp share a common user interface for ease of use on either platform. As the application itself does not require a server or Ethernet connection, SANmp implementation and maintenance is straightforward.
“There is such a wide array of professional audio and video software available,” says Eric Newbauer, Studio Network Solutions' director of operations. “Facilities are finding that it's nearly impossible to commit to a single OS version or platform. At best, it is difficult to reliably make the myriad hardware and multiple operating systems work together, particularly when it comes to storage systems. With SANmp and our A/V SAN and A/V SAN PRO, we have provided a truly multiplatform solution that isn't proprietary to a specific DAW, NLE or operating system.”
SANmp's standard feature set includes: HFS, HFS+, NTFS and FAT32 support; multiterabyte storage capability; multiple shared volumes per disk; RAID support; multilevel password protection; and mounting/unmounting of shared volumes. Administration can be performed from any workstation in the system, and operational parameters and status are instantly available at a glance: Informational panels display active users, shared volumes (and their current status), along with available storage space and more.
In order to deliver the performance necessary to take full advantage of data-intensive applications like Pro Tools and Avid, Studio Network Solutions has focused on Fibre Channel technology, which offers data transfers over wire or fiber-optic cables at rates in the gigabit/second range — fast enough to handle even the most demanding production chores. In addition to file sharing, SNS networks may be used for centralized backup, storage, maintenance and archiving services. “Engineers have enough to deal with while in session. Let us take the storage and networking problems out of the studio,” comments Gary Holladay, the company's chief systems designer.
Studio Network Solutions will feature SANmp at this month's NAB show in Las Vegas in booth SL2636. SANmp is slated to begin shipping in the second quarter of 2003 and is available with new A/V SAN and A/V SAN PRO systems; existing users should contact the company regarding updates and upgrades.
For more information, contact Studio Network Solutions, 1986 Innerbelt Business Center Dr., St. Louis, MO 63114; 877/537-2094; fax 314/733-0537; www.studionetworksolutions.com.