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Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Jeev Trika, Karyn Jeffery, Scott Allen

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Creative Design, Production and Visual Effects Company Logan Chooses the Alacritech ANX 1500

Alacritech, the pioneer in NFS storage acceleration, today announced that Logan has deployed Alacritech's ANX 1500 Network File System (NFS) acceleration appliance to deliver productivity increases and dramatic performance acceleration. By coupling the ANX 1500 with file servers running CentOS, Logan was able to avoid purchasing excessive and expensive network-attached storage (NAS) infrastructure, costing nearly 50% more in capital. Furthermore, the ANX 1500 purchased, functioning as a performance layer, can support additional NAS systems, when they are brought on line.

Using Alacritech’s ANX 1500, Logan was able to achieve dramatic performance gains. Prior to Alacritech, artists could only use 10 of the company’s 45 render nodes at a time without overloading the storage and even with that, renders took as long as two minutes and 38 seconds per frame. After installing the ANX, all 45 render nodes could concurrently render jobs without experiencing a serious degradation in response times. In fact, overall render time dropped to just 38 seconds per frame. A big bonus realized was that the load on the filer was reduced by 14/15ths because of the ANX’s ability service client NFS requests. The ANX 1500 is the first and only storage product to accelerate the performance of an existing storage network without requiring an organization to replace its infrastructure or surrender ownership of data.

Reliability was also becoming an issue as large demands on the server during heavy render periods caused it to lock up that required rebooting the server. Brian Krusic, a network consultant at Logan, was faced with the challenge of finding a solution that was reliable, scalable, and extremely cost effective. Before selecting Alacritech, Brian considered installing an industry standard BlueArc NAS solution. But BlueArc would have been a much more costly installation requiring additional AC, power, and more physical space. Instead, Brian decided to make use of inexpensive but reliable commodity file servers running CentOS (a free operating system based on Red Hat Linux) coupled with the ANX 1500 to both cache and accelerate data movement.

“We were blown away by the performance gains we saw at the low price point”, said Brian. “Not only did the render times drop dramatically, but the fact that artists could access data while all 45 render nodes were rendering was fantastic. It was a major turnaround and has really increased the productivity of our artists.”

“The Logan use case is particularly interesting in that Brian was able to apply the same level of creativity that his industry is known for to his storage infrastructure,” said Doug Rainbolt, Vice President of Marketing of Alacritech. “By using the ANX 1500 to maximize their existing NAS system performance, they were able to boost NFS reads and metadata operations into overdrive, giving cycles back to NAS so that it can do more. They did this at a much lower cost than what he would have spent in capital and power required of a more expensive NAS solution.”

A final benefit of using the Alacritech NFS Appliance is that, because it is a non-intrusive way to inexpensively boost performance, it saves Logan the time and cost of data migration.

“Alternate solutions would have required a highly manual effort to move files between servers, a time consuming process,” said Brian. “With what we’ve done, the process is so much simpler, and for a small company such as ours, that is a big deal.”

About Logan

Logan is a New York and Los Angeles based creative design, production and visual effects company. With a talented group of VFX supervisors, directors, creative directors, photographers, etc., they have created such productions as Zombie Land, Avengers and Gymkhana. Logan can be found at www.logan.tv.

About Alacritech

Founded in 1997 by network storage pioneer Larry Boucher and group of respected storage executives, Alacritech sets new records for the delivery of increasing amounts of enterprise cloud, video and other rich application data. The company’s first NFS Acceleration appliance, the ANX 1500, mitigates Network Attached Storage (NAS) sprawl and dramatically improves the performance of NFS infrastructures, and does so without requiring the replacement of existing ecosystems or the surrender of ownership of mission-critical data. The ANX 1500 pays for itself faster than any other storage infrastructure solution and provides by far the lowest cost per operations per second (OPS). The company holds 54 patents and has received $34 million in funding from Benchmark Capital, Berkeley International Capital Corporation, Munder Capital Management, Needham Capital Partners, and Quantum Technology Ventures. Alacritech can be found at www.alacritech.com, on Twitter: @Alacritech and Facebook at www.facebook.com/Alacritech.

Twitter: @Alacritech

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/alacritech

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