How Adobe and Isilon OneFS Deliver Rock Solid Collaboration for Post-Production

Good collaboration leads to better work. Giving artists the tools to collaborate is one of the ways of making the post-production workflow more manageable and predictable. This has been the Isilon story from the start and is highlighted in Dell’s recent work with Adobe and the new Productions workflow in Adobe® Premiere® Pro.

Stories Best Shared Over a Cold Beverage

Not all storage solutions for media production are the same and not all media applications address shared storage in the same way. Ask any SysAdmin or Broadcast Engineer for stories about media solutions working together (or not working together) and there are hours of stories to be shared over a cold beverage. Because of the need for interoperability, a big part of what we do is test and gather a lot of field data on solutions our customers are using to make sure everything works together. Understanding which under-the-covers API calls media applications use and how to efficiently leverage network shared storage across macOS and Windows is a nontrivial topic for another blog post. At the core of this, carefully testing and refining a joint solution is why our partnership with Adobe has delivered great results for both Premiere Pro and Isilon users alike.

Collaboration Delivering Results

Two requirements for any collaborative workflow are software that can enable a seamless experience and a high performance, rock-solid shared storage system. Building on our close partnership, we recently had the opportunity to test the new Productions feature of Premiere on an Isilon storage cluster and Dell Precision workstation in one of the editing suites at the Adobe office in Santa Monica.

Once the Isilon cluster was up and running, a regular cadence of communication was established between the Adobe team doing the testing and Dell media solutions architecture. When issues came up, we worked together to figure out what was happening and get the setup right.

Concurrently to the Productions testing, Isilon OneFS performance engineering and Premiere software development were also in communication.  In fact, this resulted in an engineering visit to the Isilon media lab in Seattle.

This, really, is the best sort of collaboration between partners. Both sides have a genuine desire to come together to build a best of breed collaborative experience.

Technical Weeds

Getting into the technical weeds a little bit, the Isilon cluster in Santa Monica was connected via multiple 40GbE links to a core switch, but Adobe only had 10GbE to their desktops. 10GbE ethernet has a theoretical maximum throughput of 1250MB/s, with real world performance of 1000MB/s being more typical. This is totally fine for compressed codecs but 4K uncompressed image sequences are regularly going to exceed this throughput: 53MB/frame * 30 FPS = 1590MB/s! LACP bonding of ethernet links provides redundancy but no extra throughout.

Enter SMB3 multichannel… Windows can aggregate throughput of multiple ethernet links from a workstation to network storage.  Of course, the network storage device must support SMB3 multichannel for this to work. It goes without saying that OneFS has supported SMB3 multichannel for years (way back to OneFS 7.1.1).  It just works, really, really well.

One of the fun things at Adobe was demonstrating this capability on a Dell Precision workstation connected via 2x 10GbE links back to the core switch. Premiere Pro was able to easily play back material that would have exceeded the capability of a single 10GbE link, no new infrastructure required!

Ok, back to Productions…

Now that Productions in Premiere Pro has been launched, we can confidently say the new feature set function flawlessly on Isilon shared storage. This is true of all the operating systems Premiere Pro supports, Windows, macOS, or a mixture of the two. See the links at the bottom of this blog post for the updated Isilon OneFS and Premiere Pro best practices whitepaper. For most users, no additional configuration on Isilon needs to be performed. If advanced users have changed some of the default file system change notification settings, guidance has been provided.

The partnership between Dell and Adobe ensure our mutual customers can have rock solid predictable collaborative workflows. This is just the latest example of why our media team here at Dell values our deep ties with the team at Adobe.

To find out more about our Dell Media solutions, webinars and tools visit our M&E resource page.

Adobe Premiere Pro and Isilon OneFS Best Practices Whitepaper

SMB Best Practices Whitepaper (with more information SMB3 Multichannel)

About the Author: Greg Shiff

Gregory Shiff, Advisory Solution Architect for Media and & Entertainment, has spent his career at the confluence of media and technology with roles at various integration, storage, and software companies. At Dell Technologies, he focuses on content creation workflows as they relate to high performance storage and related technologies. In previous roles, Gregory worked with a range of visual FX, editorial, and finishing houses to design storage systems that manage performance and archive. Gregory was also the Director of Technical Sales at the media asset management company Levels Beyond, building content management systems for major broadcasters’ throughout North America. In all of his roles, Gregory has solved business and technology challenges to allow creatives to focus on making great content.