Dot Hill and its systems integration vendor 101 Data Solutions, had to figure out how to translate the desires coming out of Framestore. This is perhaps best paraphrased as "More, fastish stuff, but not ultimately fast, and not short lifecycle either" into a good fit for the firm's product range. The answer was apparently a Dot Hill AssuredSan 3730, a stack of 3TB drives in an unassuming cabinet, wired up via FibreChannel to the Framestore compute farm.
Framestore's CTO Steve MacPherson was understandably effusive. "Using Dot Hill for our nearline environment not only brought us an order of magnitude increase in capacity for the same footprint as the system it was replacing, but also the unexpected benefits of fantastic performance," he said.
"This allowed us to rethink our position on nearline and has led to a rethink in terms of how we approach tertiary data storage and our archiving process in general."
With a large enough ZFS file store, it's possible to put up with Hollywood indecision and last-minute revisions without having to dig around in a massive tape store or otherwise shunt upcoming projects out of the way.
I like to see simple success stories like these, though I don't like it when people conclude that the success in one field is a guarantee of success in any other. Dot Hill looks upon the Framestore gig as a clear proof of flexibility, an assertion that it can fit in with other pre-existing systems and scale up quietly within its assigned niche. But, I like to point out just how much mental work and management wrangling accompanies these kind of "let's change the rules" exercises in solving a problem.
It's not just a cheque-writing job. These things require careful designing, not just of the technology but of the processes that humans go through to make best use of the technology.
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