Fairfax Media Ramps Up Xsan Environment With Quantum StorNext

Fairfax Media, a media company in Australia and Asia, has moved from an Apple Xserve-based Xsan to a workflow centered on Quantum’s StorNext platform. The upgraded solution has provided Fairfax with the high-performance storage and scalability it needs to meet growing content collaboration demands and ever-shorter production cycles. In addition, the company was able to make the transition seamlessly because of StorNext’s total compatibility with Xsan.

Aging Xserve Spurs Search for New Solution
Fairfax’s production system was based on Xsan metadata controllers running on Xserve hardware for collaboration, Xserve RAID storage and Mac workstations running Final Cut Pro as the primary production tool. However, with Apple no longer supporting Xserve, Fairfax decided it needed to look for a new solution partner that would allow the company to maintain 100% Xsan compatibility for current Xsan workstation clients while providing enterprise server-quality metadata appliances for rapidly growing collaboration.

As the company looked for a viable alternative, high performance and scalability were not the only critical factors. Fairfax wanted a partner with deep storage experience in media and entertainment, a roadmap for improving workflow efficiency and productivity and a long-term commitment to the market. Other major requirements were an open systems approach and assurance that refreshing the current Xsan network would not disrupt the tools and processes Fairfax’s editors were already using.

“We chose Quantum partly for technical reasons — the products were just what we needed — but also because the Quantum team understands the video production environment like no one else we talked to,” says David McMillan, head of production, Metro Video at Fairfax.

Seamless Transition with Immediate Benefits
Working with Computers Now, an experienced integrator, Fairfax chose a complete StorNext high-performance storage system for collaborative file storage and sharing. The transition required no retraining and was achieved with no downtime.

Fairfax immediately began to see the benefits of deploying StorNext with high-performance Quantum disk storage. Multiple editors can share high-resolution content more easily and efficiently. In addition, because StorNext — like Xsan — supports heterogeneous environments, editors have the flexibility to work with their preferred Mac- and Windows-based clients and applications. All of this has enabled the company to increase the number of clips it can publish per week by approximately 40%.

Going forward, StorNext’s scalability will allow Fairfax to accommodate growing demand for its production services. Also, the company is planning to take advantage of StorNext’s uniquely integrated archiving capabilities.

“StorNext AEL Archive libraries are attractive in that they will let us make copies of our content on tape automatically, both to protect it and archive it, while keeping it accessible for rapid re-use,” says McMillan. “This next phase in our StorNext deployment will further speed up our production process and give us a much more economical platform than one built only on disk storage.”

“Fairfax is a great example of a leading media company evolving to meet new content demands and business opportunities,” says Alex Grossman, VP, media and entertainment at Quantum. “Helping customers make this transition is a key focus for Quantum, which is why we offer a range of customized storage systems specifically designed for advanced media workflows, from Xsan refresh to 4K operations to end-to-end content production and management.”