Escape Studios builds business with new storage

Digital special effects specialist Escape Studios is using new clustered storage as the foundation for storing and accessing digital content for its training and post-production work.

Escape Studios serves as both Europe's first digital effects and post-production school and as a business and system integration consultancy for media and entertainment companies including BBC, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Electronic Arts and Rockstar Games.

Ben Corbett, Escape's technology manager told IT PRO that, since its establishment five years ago, the company had outgrown its network attached storage (NAS) based infrastructure, which was causing bandwidth bottlenecks and increased management overheads.

"We have quite a bespoke set-up here," he said. "The dual-boot systems with multiple domains, direct attached storage, file servers and hard disks were causing issues and slowing down productivity."

As a result, Escape has deployed IQ clustered storage from Isilon Systems to support its 118 dual-core Boxx 7500s and HP 9400s workstations dual-booting Linux and Windows operating systems and to store digital assets created for advertising, video game and motion picture clients who use Escape's talent pool for commercial projects.

Corbett said that, with the Isilon deployment, Escape found a storage system that minimised software-based management issues.

He said managing the new storage infrastructure is now "ridiculously easy". "After having been able to play with a demo and send one of our team on a couple of training courses, it takes less time to install new storage capacity than it does to install new rails in the [storage disk] racks," he said.

"The speed and throughput it offers is also very good. So much so, that when we hooked up all the machines, turning off the caching and running playback tests, we came no where close to breaking it."

Since its deployment at the beginning of this year, the studio now has 5.7TB of high-demand, fast throughput capacity through the Isilon system.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.