An Introduction to Avid | NEXIS (Part 3)

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An Introduction to Avid | NEXIS (Part 3)

This is part 3 of a larger article intending to introduce the reader to Avid’s NEXIS shared storage system. Read part 2 here.

In the Parts 1 and 2 of this article I discussed some of the key aspects of NEXIS that differentiates  Avid | NEXIS from its predecessors. In this article I will discuss some of the aspects of each component in the NEXIS product line up.

Avid NEXIS is available in two distinct product family branches:

The first is NEXIS | Pro which might be seen as the entry level product option. It is intended to be used by smaller facilities who perhaps have been using locally attached media drives and wish to benefit from using shared storage to improve the collaborative capability of the organisation or workgroup. The NEXIS Pro Engine is a 2 Rack Unit (2RU) enclosure which contains 12 hard drive units. 10 of these hard drives are traditional SAS attached spinning disks and form the Media Pack onto which media data will be written and stored. The other 2 drives are very high specification Solid State Drives on which the system metadata is stored. The NEXIS Pro Engine uses 2 Terabyte (TB) media drives delivering 20 TBs of raw storage capacity per Engine and up to four Engines can be incorporated into a single NEXIS Pro file system for a maximum raw storage capacity of 80 TBs per system. In addition to the drives, each NEXIS Pro Engine contains 2 Power Supply and Cooling modules and one Controller module which forms the CPU based intelligence for the Engine and uses a 10 Gb/s Ethernet connection to an external Ethernet Switch in order to connect NEXIS clients. NEXIS Pro supports the connection of up to 30 users with 24 users actively mounting storage volumes and accessing the storage.

The second NEXIS family branch is referred to as NEXIS | Enterprise in which there are currently four “E” series Engine options. Please find here a brief listing of the basic specifications of each NEXIS E Series model:

NEXIS | E2:

  • 2 RU 12 drive slot enclosure
  • 10 Media Drives (1 Media Pack) consisting of 2 TB or 6 TB 7200 RPM SAS Drives.
  • 2 System Drives consisting of 400 GB High Performance SSD Drives
  • Fitted with the NEXIS Type 10 Controller module, offering SFP+ connections to The Ethernet Switch running at 10 Gb/s speed.
  • Optional controller module can be fitted for redundancy
  • Fitted with dual 764 watt Power Supply/Cooling Modules (system can run on one module)

NEXIS | E4:

  • 4 RU 24 drive slot enclosure
  • Up to 20 Media Drives (one or two Media Packs) consisting of 2 TB or 6 TB 7200 RPM SAS Drives and up two spare media drives
  • 2 System Drives consisting of  120 GB High Performance SSD Drives
  • Fitted with the NEXIS Type 20 Controller module, offering SFP+ connections to the Ethernet Switch running at 10 Gb/s speed
  • Optional controller module can be fitted for redundancy
  • Fitted with four 580 Watt Power Supply/Cooling Modules (system can run on two modules)

NEXIS | E5:

  • 5 RU 84 drive slot enclosure (two 42 drive drawer assemblies)
  • Up to 80 Media Drives (four to eight Media Packs) consisting of 2 TB or 6 TB 7200 RPM SAS Drives and up to 2 spare drives
  • 2 System Drives consisting of 800 GB High Performance SSD Drives
  • Fitted with the NEXIS Type 80 Controller module, offering QSFP+ connections to the Ethernet Switch running at 40 Gb/s speed.
  • Optional controller module can be fitted for redundancy
  • Fitted with two 2200 Watt Power Supply Modules (system can run on one module) and five fan modules.

NEXIS System Director Appliance (SDA):

  • 2 RU enclosure
  • 2 System Drives consisting of  400 GB High Performance SSD Drives
  • Fitted with the NEXIS Type 20 Controller module, offering SFP+ connections to The Ethernet Switch running at 10 Gb/s speed
  • Fitted with two 764 Watt Power Supply/Cooling Modules (system can run on one module)

The Enterprise side of the NEXIS family builds on the capabilities of NEXIS Pro and is aimed perhaps at facilities looking to expand beyond the capabilities of an existing shared storage system or at a new facility looking to provide an initial capability but which will grow as the facility business grows. NEXIS E series Engines are designed to offer a variety of solutions for building small to very large capacity storage systems. The beauty of each option is that the facility can start out with a very modest system and grow it over time as needs grow. This includes both capacity growth in terms of the obvious things like storage capacity and storage bandwidth capacity, but also in terms of redundancy growth. For example as a smaller two Engine system can be set up perhaps for a Pilot show. As the show becomes commissioned and becomes more popular, deadlines to deliver material may accelerate at which point tolerance for downtime reduces. NEXIS allows the facility to add both more storage Engines, redundant controllers and redundant network paths, after the initial system set up and in addition to the built in redundancy features, to protect the system from failure.

The scalability of Avid NEXIS has been very carefully considered so that facilities from small post production organisations with perhaps tens of storage clients, all the way to the most demanding 24/7 broadcast operations with hundreds of connected storage clients can find a combination of NEXIS products which suite their technical and budget requirements. It also allows for a real spectrum of realtime Media Production Workflows to be undertaken – all the way from small Indie productions using perhaps GoPro footage, to high-end drama production and cinematic release productions at UHD and 4K image resolution, to large scale News and Broadcast production.

The next part of this article will take a deeper dive into more technical features of NEXIS E-Series Engines. Please see part 4 of this article to continue reading.

By | 2017-02-06T11:24:23+00:00 December 8th, 2016|Categories: Avid, NEXIS, Products, Training|Tags: , , , , , , , |2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Joel Gilbert December 20, 2016 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Great write up Neal, Thanks!

  2. Neal December 21, 2016 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    Thanks Joel – hopefully part 4 will be up soon!

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