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Avid reveals ISIS

Avid’s next generation Unity product, Infinitely Scalable Intelligent Storage (ISIS) groups 16 individual blade servers within a single storage chassis. A blade server is a computer-on-a-card. Avid uses this distributed intelligence to process media while sharing data and balancing the collective workflow between all the connected storage drives. There are no inherent storage or connectivity limitations with ISIS although version 1.0 comes equipped with 64 terabytes per system.

Multiple ISIS Engines (the 16 blade chassis) can be linked together and managed collectively rather than from a centralized controller, as is involved in older Unity designs or Apple’s Xsan. Any ISIS blade can be hot swapped, even in the middle of data transfer.

With ISIS, up to 100 clients can be working real time on a standard Gigabit Ethernet connection with standard Ethernet switches (although you’d be well served to go with Avid’s recommendations). The Gigabit Ethernet will be the limiting factor with an inverse relationship between the size of the video and the number of clients that can be successfully supported. ISIS supports up to DNxHD at 145 Mbit/sec.

ISIS is clearly targeted at the large network, satellite or cable plant with a starting price just over US$106,000 for a 16 blade, ISIS Engine with 64 TB of storage, and not a direct competitor with some other Avid Unity solutions or competing products. Avid notes that ISIS is targeted to "broadcast news and network production operations, reality television productions, and education institutions with multi-purpose media labs".

Primary benefits are:

  • Infinitely Scalable Storage and Capacity using the distributed Intelligence systems: ISIS systems can scale from 8 to 64 TB in 8 TB increments and additional ISIS Engines can be added to aggregate bandwidth and reliability of the whole system;
  • Client Scalability and Access with up to 100 dual-stream real-time 50 Mbit/sec, simultaneous read/write clients and up to 1000 user accounts for big media networks;
  • Reliability from the intelligent, self-healing blade drives that communicate with each other to adapt and redistribute data when a drive fails; all processing happens in parallel so there’s never data loss or interruption to users;
  • Workflow flexibility enabling users to manage bandwidth requirements for multiple streams of real-time DV , SD , or mastering-quality Avid DNxHD™ media.
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