SVG@NAB Perspectives: Scale Logic CEO Herzan Stresses Scalable Storage for Sports-Video Operations

This week, Scale Logic has offered a series of updates and product launches across its hardware and software products. Besides updates to Genesis Unlimited, the company unveiled Synergy and HyperMDC. On the software side were new releases for HyperFS, Genesis Unlimited, and Genesis IAP, bringing new features as well as integration for Archiware P5 and Amazon S3 protocols. And Scale Logic continues to expand its Media Storage Services, which include post-warranty support for major storage providers and data-migration services for XSAN, Quantum, and EMC/Isilon platforms.

SVG sat down with Scale Logic CEO Bob Herzan to discuss Synergy and HyperMDC, the continued evolution of its HyperFS software, and the exploding demand for storage/archive/MAM infrastructure for individual pro-sports franchises, such as the Minnesota Vikings.

robert-herzanScale Logic’s ecosystem is built around the HyperFS file system and enables a lot of the workflows you create for sports clients. What is HyperFS, and how has it been updated?
We build hardware and software that enable media workflows, and we use HyperFS as the underlying file system that can solve problems for small requirements, medium-size requirements, all the way up into full-blown enterprises. The coolest thing about everything that we do is, the file system itself can meet the requirement of a small college but can also scale right up to MLB and NFL: same software, just different hardware to solve the different requirements at the higher end. The complete Scale Logic workflow takes storage, puts the metadata controllers in there for the file system, allows the collaborative workflow to happen on high-performance clients, and then also allows scale-up mass functionality under the same file system, where you can use that same storage. You’re talking about a high-performance block level but at a file level through 1 GigE or 10 GigE. In our industry, the more content you bring in, the more expensive it is to have that on primary high-performance storage. So having software to be able to migrate that into second-tier or out into tape or out into the cloud is huge.

Key updates at the show about HyperFS will be a lot of OEM/application-provider qualifications and certifications that we’ve got done over the last year, [as well as] increasing some feature sets with growing file-system support and file locking for Windows applications that were being driven by companies like Dalet and Vizrt.

What updates to Genesis Unlimited are being unveiled?
Genesis Unlimited is a product for the smaller venue and one that we are focusing heavily on: the sports market. This is a SAN in a box, so it’s got everything you need to hook up multiple ingest and editing stations to the back of it and have everything all in one appliance. There’s no cost per seat. HyperFS [has an] internal metadata controller. You can choose what you want for your pipes, so you can have 8- or 16-Gbps fiber, 1 GigE or 10 GigE, or a combination of all of that, and present that out to both block- and file-level storage. You start out by just hooking up a few machines to it, and you can grow it by adding more without having to pay individual license costs. To expand on it, you can just add another storage rack.

Scale Logic’s latest solutions are on display at its area (SL2425) in the StudioXperience exhibit.

Scale Logic’s latest solutions are on display at its area (SL2425) in the StudioXperience exhibit.

It also has some unique media-centric features. One in particular is a feature that’s called Quality of Service, which, in its first iteration, allowed you to look at all the clients that were hooked up to the system and choose which ones were real-time clients to give them precedence of the bandwidth performance. That way, you wouldn’t have additional computers coming in and doing file copies and stealing bandwidth. One of the new features that is coming out for NAB is artificial intelligence: instead of having to go in and decide who gets priority and who doesn’t, the system actually learns the bandwidth requirements of the systems using it and then can determine who is real-time and what bandwidth requirements that particular host will need. So that’s a cool feature. There are other appliances out there that do this, but [Genesis Unlimited] is using an enterprise piece of software to do it that’s fully built for entertainment.

Tell us about the products you are launching.
I’m really excited about them both: Synergy and HyperMDC.

First, there’s nothing out in the market right now like Synergy. Everything involved with Genesis Unlimited is included. So you have the RAID 7 engine, internal metadata controller, and HyperFS built into it. Where it differentiates from the Unlimited is, there’s actually an additional server built in that allows you to run applications with your SAN in a box. We’ve already done qualifications with Telestream’s Vantage, Levels Beyond’s Reach Engine, Cantemo, and CatDV. So all of a sudden you’ve got a single appliance running both application and shared storage integrated into one. There is nothing else out there that I’ve ever seen like it, and, for the sports industry, it simplifies the level of integration because we can have everything basically preloaded, ready to drop into a sports facility. Just plug in your workstations and go. It’s perfect for a novice who doesn’t have a lot of IT technical expertise. [They are] able to power up and, with a little help, just plug in the workstations and start working. But, even for those that do have the IT infrastructure already, it’s cutting thousands of dollars in cost by having those two pieces of equipment hand in hand.

On top of that, besides having that full appliance in there, we’ve also got an archive agent that we can lay on top of this as well. That archive agent could be taking our Genesis NX, and you could be syncing the primary storage so you have an exact duplicate; you could be doing a backup to a section of the Genesis NX; or you could just be using it as an archive destination. And that could be onsite or remotely at a different location.

Our overall philosophy with our customers has always been that, in order to secure your data, you should have a three, two, one infrastructure in place, which is three copies of your data on two different technologies and one offsite.

And tell us a bit about HyperMDC?
HyperMDC is more for the mid tier and moving up into the enterprise. HyperFS is tied to a high-availability metadata controller. You’ve got single and dual metadata controllers with a metadata RAID for failover. Most of our competitors in this market are fairly closed in how they work with the customers. But HyperMDC is an open architecture and an open metadata controller that allows us to go into existing customers that might be running a competitive storage solution and a competitive file system, and we can lay HyperMDC right next to that other file system and migrate the metadata file system over to ours, clear the storage, and then repurpose the storage into a brand-new, state-of-the-art file system.

Since it’s open architecture, there is a lot less [complexity] to [a facility’s] doing an upgrade: [they’re] able to utilize existing hardware that they’ve already got in there.

There seems to have been an explosion in pro-sports-franchise installations of large-scale asset-management/storage/archive architectures lately. Have you also seen this trend, and are there any specific examples?
It’s definitely exploding. We have done 12-15 implementations over the past year and a half, and, right now, we are doing Target Center for the Minnesota Timberwolves with a similar infrastructure. There is a lot of activity in the refresh for facilities that were running six- to seven-year-old technology.

A couple months ago, we deployed Genesis Unlimited as primary storage with Genesis NX for both onsite archive and offsite replication for the Minnesota Vikings. Cantemo Portal is the MAM, and Telestream as the ingest station. It’s a pretty cool little state-of-the-art workflow.

In the case of the Vikings, right now, we’ve got everything onsite, but, as soon as the new stadium opens, we’re going to have the NXs put out there, and [the Vikings will] be remoting their archives so they can have dual locations with the data. That NX product also has what’s called Snapshot so that you can have snapshots of the data and go back hours, days, weeks. And then, also, with that archive agent, you could be writing to two different pieces of media: you could be writing to NAS, or you could be writing to a tape.

Anything else you’re highlighting at the show this year?
The other thing that we are highlighting that we want to get more and more people understanding in the sports community is our third-party services and our ability to do third-party services for tier-one equipment. This is focused on EMC Isilon, HDS, IBM, NetApp. We’ve got a global infrastructure in place that does third-party support for those types of equipment and does it at half the price of the original manufacturer. We even have the ability to add on nodes and clusters and put all that under support for them.