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8.Gorilla Group

Case Study

Gorilla Group

Rather than restore all of the data for a job, we use an AAF or EDL to do a selective restore for a conform directly from LTO tape. This saves a huge amount of space on our core shared storage systems, and it saves time by making the conform process faster, which ultimately saves us money.
– Rhodri James, Technology Director, Gorilla Group

Gorilla Group, Wales’ largest TV facilities group, provides a wide range of post production services, broadcast vehicles, and studio facilities for broadcast and film clients, such as the BBC, BBC HD, Sky, Channel 4, S4C, CBeebies, CBBC, Disney Junior, Animal Planet, Sony, Nissan, and Quicksilver. The fast growing Cardiff-based company is headquartered in a 20,000 square foot facility, with additional locations in Cardiff and London. design, camera hire, picture editing, sound design, and mixing.

THE CHALLENGE

Gorilla Group needed to centrally manage archiving operations from the company’s Cardiff headquarters and wanted to transition from IT-based backups to LTO with LTFS archiving. Reliably archiving data and making it easily accessible in an open format was critical to the customized media workflows Gorilla Group designs for each client.

“Previously, we were backing up to LTO tape using IT software, but we couldn’t easily access data or exchange tapes and we wanted to simplify the whole process for clients,” said James Rhodri, director of technology, Gorilla Group. “We also wanted our new solution to be intelligent and provide a higher level of data integrity.”

A new LTO LTFS solution was needed to seamlessly integrate into Gorilla Group’s existing post production environment and offer an efficient way to perform selective restores of data in order to make the conform process faster. Gorilla Group required an archiving solution that would:

  • Centrally manage archiving operations in three locations
  • Offer the LTFS open format for LTO tape to make data easily accessible for clients
  • Verify data to ensure the highest level of data integrity
  • Enable selective restores to accelerate the conform process
  • Save core shared storage space and lower storage costs
THE SOLUTION

Three turnkey DNAevolution systems have been in Gorilla Group’s media production pipeline since January 2014, including two N100 systems (Linux servers, each with 24 slot tape libraries), and one M100 system (Mac-based virtual machine with a single LTO tape drive).

“Because of the DNAevolution web-based interface, we can have one person in Cardiff who can effectively manage all of Gorilla Group’s LTO LTFS archiving. It gives us a level of continuity and a more holistic view of our operations,” continued James.

James noted that DNAevolution was designed for creative media workflows offering incomparable value and added, “What appealed to us was that StorageDNA offers scalable solutions, starting with a single tape drive all the way up to large broadcast systems.”

DNAevolution provides the TV facilities group an LTO LTFS archive solution with:

  • 100% open data and future access to content via the LTFS open format, with support for broadcast delivery specifications
  • Automated restores of high-resolution content from multiple LTO tapes powered by Smart Conform, a unique LTO conform engine
  • Fully-integrated archive asset manager with native clip support for over 180 formats and 100% open metadata access via XML
  • Support for all acquisition and editorial formats, and seamless integration with shared storage systems

With DNAevolution’s automatic extraction of camera master metadata, the company uses the archive asset manager to quickly search and find required rushes (dailies) content when needed, speeding up the workflow for time-sensitive jobs. By providing tape checks, DNAevolution ensures the health and accessibility of data.

“DNAevolution is a perfect tool for post production facilities with its use of open formats, such as LTFS; and the MD5 checksums, and checksum reports, give clients the confidence that we’ve been diligent in the handling of their data.”

DNAevolution is now used in the file-based media workflow for all of Gorilla Group’s clients. One project example is Gorilla Group’s recent work with Tidy Productions, which produces a prime time show in the UK for the broadcaster, Sky. When the camera cards come in for this drama, DNAevolution is used to archive all of the data onto LTFS-formatted LTO tape. At the end of the project, the client is provided with one master archive on LTO-6 tape and with it a checksum report, which validates the integrity of the data.

THE RESULT

Implementing DNAevolution has accelerated the company’s archive-restore process resulting in improved workflow efficiencies and significant time savings.

“We’re dealing with more and more data, and we can now free up space much quicker on our core shared storage system and have the confidence to go closer to job deadlines with data restores. DNAevolution allows us to use all of our applications and shared storage more effectively,” continued James.

James and the Gorilla team are extremely happy with the benefits provided by DNAevolution’s Smart Conform, the feature which provides an automated conform from LTO workflow within their Avid® environment. “Rather than restore all of the data for a job, we use an AAF or EDL to do a selective restore for a conform directly from LTO tape. This saves a huge amount of space on our core shared storage systems, and it saves time by making the conform process faster, which ultimately saves us money,” continued James.

By deploying DNAevolution into its media pipeline, Gorilla Group benefits from:

  • Secure and easily accessible digital archives for clients
  • More efficient use of core shared storage systems for cost savings
  • Faster conforms directly from LTO tape replacing time-consuming manual processes
  • Future repurposing and monetization of content enabled by 100% open content

“Most of our clients have moved to file-based acquisition and it’s critical that we can deliver reliable data archiving services to them. DNAevolution gives us that ability and it not only strengthens our business, but our business depends on it,” concluded James.

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