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Mexican production studio storage needs supported by Quantum

Quantum's StorNext File System supports new Mexican production studio looking to grow their business worldwide with an expandable NVMe storage setup and ongoing tape backups.

The new flagship post-production studio of EFD International was able to jump-start its collaboration abilities and storage backup process with Quantum's StorNext File System, allowing the company to create a complete file sharing and duplication network in just four months.

EFD International is a video production equipment rental company with 20 years of experience and offices in Mexico, Colombia, Spain, Germany and the U.S. The company has contributed to many Latin American films and TV shows, as well as some American productions including Bachelor in Paradise and the 2015 James Bond movie Spectre.

Roy Santoyo, director of post-production and COO at EFD, joined the company late last year with a simple directive from his bosses: Set up a modern production studio others will want to emulate and use.

"To get everything connected was, and still is, a big challenge," Santoyo said. "To build up a studio takes a long time, and [we] wanted to be ready in four months."

Modern production houses need to handle significant read and write workloads from rendering programs such as Maya. Santoyo noted that it's not uncommon for many Latin American production studios to work with storage technology from 10 years ago.

Santoyo and EFD, however, found Quantum's StorNext File System the best bang for their buck to both maintain current production standards and future proof for their storage needs.

The core we built is looking forward to being the fastest and biggest studio in Mexico.
Roy SantoyoDirector of post-production and COO, EFD International

"The core we built is looking forward to being the fastest and biggest studio in Mexico," he said. "We have different environments like Windows, Mac and Linux, and they work perfectly within the same space."

StorNext is Quantum's scale-out file storage data management platform and provides complete lifecycle management for files, including metadata and tagging requirements, along with access to said files regardless of their location. StorNext is sold as stand-alone software, an offering released last year, or bundled with Quantum's own Xcellis storage arrays.

Santoyo said Quantum stood out among other storage vendors due to the company's knowledgeable responses to his questions during the buying process. Quantum also mapped how his studio can grow and maintain the speed of its storage in the future.

"That was my first question for them: 'How can we improve, and how can we be prepared for the future?'" he said. "The Quantum guys sent a lot of documentation and understood the basic stuff, which is a lot."

EFD's setup with StorNext allows the studio to manage nine editing rooms, 15 visual effects workstations and a handful of color grading rooms without any compromises to file accessibility and speed.

The team saves frequently accessed workloads and files onto NVMe drives in Xcellis arrays while backing up older data to tape archives. These arrays also make multiple backups for the working files, a feature demanded by Santoyo based on painful past experiences.

"The biggest nightmare is not being able to deliver on time," he said.

Santoyo said he's looking to eventually expand EFD's capabilities to audio post-production needs and manage almost 7 PB of data within three years.

"I'm really impressed with the solution because it's very stable and user-friendly," Santoyo said. "We're growing with Quantum; it's a really good product."

Quantum is no stranger to handling enterprise file workloads and is a frequent vendor for media and entertainment business, especially with its tape storage division.

"There's way fewer players offering tape [storage] in the market today," said Andrew Smith, a research manager at IDC. "For the most part, Quantum might be supplying many of those partners, too."

Although EFD focused its setup on localized production and file storage, StorNext does offer support for S3 cloud object storage or localized object storage as well. Tape will remain a popular option for media backup, but Quantum and other storage management companies will continue to improve their offerings for backup in hybrid or public clouds.

Randy Kerns, a senior analyst at Evaluator Group, said media companies will need to prepare for storage needs from employees across the globe as remote work continues to become more prevalent.

"The area I've seen a lot of movement is in global collaboration, especially valuable in editing and post-production," Kerns said. "Products like Ctera and Nasuni are in consideration by many in this industry. This enables highly valuable acceleration of collaboration across a wide range of globally dispersed specialists."

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