Storage & hardware
Why isn’t this page under sorted under “IT Operations”, you’ve just asked yourself?
Well you don’t need any storage or hardware, worth writing about, for normal IT Ops these days - you just buy your AWS space, off-the-shelve notebooks, maybe a NAS; and that’s it.
When doing serious media work, things might look different, though.
NAS storage has been sort of reborn in the last years: transfer speeds went up steeply, technologies like smart tiering, which used to be reserved for huge enterprise servers, are available for the general public now (though still in higher prices ranges). With flash storage prices dropping, and NAS-OS-systems gradually changing from mere firmware, to virtualization platforms for server apps, you can now use NAS-systems as storage hubs for any company. Even for high bandwidth purposes like collaborative 4K video editing, which used to be the domain of SAN systems, NAS solutions are gaining relevance; though at a different price point, compared to average office storage.
Local storage - either rack mounted or build into the workstation / server - is used a lot in media production: for instance, many cutters prefer Thunderbolt raid enclosures over SMB shares or similar. Block-based storage always poses restrictions in regard to collaborative workflows; interestingly enough though, recently some hardware is being advertised as hybrid NAS / DAS… What this kind of marketing phrases really means though, is that you can simply access the NAS with Ethernet over Thunderbolt.
For larger environments, routing traffic over 10 GbE or similar, has a lot of advantages (like cost-efficiency, compared to a FC-infrastructure); in the end these practical advantages usually outweigh e. g. inefficiencies of the SMB protocol. Local storage is rather needed as fast cache, usually flash-only, in that case.
Video / 3D Workstations
When buying hardware and / or configuring workstations for customers / employers, of course one question is really important: how much bang do you get for the buck (or euro)?
But hey, there's more - from choosing a future-proof combination of GPUs / software, to adapting hardware components if needed. And this doesn't only apply to Windows machines, it's still possible to tune Mac Pros, iMacs etc. to a considerably higher extend than what most people, including seasoned Mac users, expect. Mobile setups with eGPU solutions can offer more flexibility if needed, custom docks can be designed with standard industrial components, etc. - depending on the budget, the sky is the limit.
And who said, tower cases should be about max. 9” wide? If you want 4 GPUs with adequate cooling in your tower, it might look slightly different, in the end. For some more impressions, please also see the Blog section.