Leading Advertising And Creative Agency Streamlines And Secures Workflow With StorNext

Growing Demand for Media Content Outpaces Aging Storage Systems

Until recently, video editors in TBWA Australia’s offices were still using servers with direct-attach disk storage, working on disks until they were full and then storing them on-site. There was rarely time for a backup—or offsite disaster recovery (DR) protection. “We never lost any data, I’m happy to say,” explains Jaymz Hingert, regional IT manager at TBWA Australia, “but we had long delays in getting it back sometimes.”

To reuse assets, editors had to find the right disk and files, and then restore them back onto the local disk. Explains Hingert, “Not only was it slow, but it put a huge burden on both the editors and the IT team. The editors had to manually manage the files and their location—the IT team had to keep bringing resources in, managing the disk, and making sure that data was there. There was way too much time spent by everybody—hours of overhead every week.” The system also made it difficult for editors to collaborate since they shared files by moving disks between servers.

The Search for a Better Workflow Solution

Finally, the team decided to bring in CompNow, an experienced integrator, to help them look for a better workflow alternative. They also talked to the company’s larger offices about a better approach. “The recommendation of both groups was Quantum StorNext,” recalls Hingert, “but we weren’t sure if it would work for a smaller office, one with one to four editors—we thought of it as something designed for a larger operation.”

But the decision was clear. “Our main problems were data protection, productivity, and reducing the huge overhead that the old system required,” says Hingert. “None of the other products we looked at could do all that—every one of them would have meant lots of manual intervention. And we discovered that StorNext Pro Foundation, which was designed for smaller offices, would fit our budget once we looked at all the capabilities it offered.”

StorNext Pro Solution Provides End-to-End Collaboration

TBWA Australia’s new Quantum StorNext Pro Foundation system provides a SAN fabric, 48TB of high performance disk, an Xcellis Workflow Director, StorNext 5 software, an LTO archive, and Q-Cloud cloud storage. It’s an integrated solution with end-to-end workflow—including collaboration, data protection, and archiving.

The new system gives editors shared, collaborative access to files. “I think StorNext Pro has just about completely eliminated editors having to move data around manually,” says Hingert. “It’s a much better workflow, and it makes them much more efficient—they get more work done in less time, mostly because they just work on content instead of having to manage all the storage.”

Fully Automated Protection and Archive

As soon as a file is saved on disk, StorNext creates a copy on tape, serving first as a backup, and later as an archive—keeping work available while minimizing the need for disk.

“Having all the data backed up automatically is a great relief for us,” says Hingert. “There are times when we have assets on that system that represent hundreds of thousands of dollars for TBWA and our customers.” Reusing existing assets is also fast and easy. “StorNext lets the editors see everything through the same file system—both material on disk and the content that’s in the archive,” explains Hingert. “So they can see old projects quickly and get to data immediately. It’s made a huge difference in productivity.”

DR Protection Using Quantum Q-Cloud

“Whenever we make a copy on tape, we also set a policy to have StorNext create a second copy in Q-Cloud,” explains Hingert. “We use the tape for normal recovery and archive access, but Q-Cloud provides indefinite, automated DR protection. If the building burns down tomorrow, we’ve got a copy of everything—current projects and old material—safely on Q-Cloud.

“There were two huge advantages from StorNext. We all sleep much better knowing that all the data is safe both on tape and in the cloud. And we had an immense gain in productivity from the automation—all the steps we used to have to do manually are now taken care of automatically, saving us hundreds of hours a year in overhead.”