Today at NAB 2014 Avid announced and were demonstrating ISIS version 4.7 software which is due for release imminently. This release is interesting since it offers several crucial new features (in addition to those added with the introduction of ISIS version 4.6):
The first is that ISIS | 5000 or ISIS | 5500 systems can now be expanded up to a maximum of 12 chassis allowing for a significant increase in overall file system storage capacity and potentially storage bandwidth. I say potentially since the actual configuration of the Storage Groups within the file system will determine the maximum available bandwidth of storage pools available to ISIS clients and it remains to be seen what best practices Avid will recommend or support for large Storage Group configurations.
The second feature of this upgrade is that the performance of the ISIS storage has been further optimized for higher than HD format type work and that up to 4K workflows are now possible. In discussing this with Avid today at their NAB show stand the representative I spoke to was unable to provide much detail on this since the versions he had access to were beta pre-release however he was demonstrating playback of 4K material using Black Magic Design Da Vinci Resolve which was pulling over 700 Megabytes per second (MB/s) from the ISIS system being demonstrated (which consisted of a four chassis Storage Group). In theory three ISIS | 5000 chassis bound into one Storage Group can deliver significantly more than 700 MB/s however the playback of 4K material places unique stresses on storage and so whether three chassis would be the minimum Storage Group sizing recommended by Avid for this format work remains to be seen.
With these kind of storage bandwidth requirements for 4K material playback in realtime, clearly the client-to-storage connection required for these formats will be what Avid refer to as an Ultra High Resolution Client using at least a 10 Gbit connection from the client to the network switch. Avid’s illustration for the demonstrated workflow indicated that two 10 Gbit connections may be necessary to deliver the necessary performance and I suspect that configuration of the network switch may also require some degree of optimization for this type of work.
Talking of Resolve, the third aspect of this release is support for the following new 3rd party solutions for use with 2K and 4K workflows:
- Adobe Premiere Pro
- Apple Final Cut Pro X
- Autodesk Smoke
- Black Magic Design Da Vinci Resolve
At the time of writing (April 7th 2014) Avid had yet to publish Release Notes or the usual Performance Guide documents on their Knowledgebase for ISIS version 4.7. That said this update looks to deliver some useful additions which should prove to be very helpful to ISIS owners looking to adopt higher resolution workflows or who wish to work with any of the four newly qualified 3rd party products listed above.