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Workgroup Collaboration

Workgroup Collaboration

As stated at the introduction to this appendix, round-trip production can range from a single user working with multiple applications on the same computer, all the way up to a large group of editors and engineers accessing vast amounts of data in a shared storage environment. Any facility with two or more artists creating content under the same roof is perfect for workgroup collaboration of this sort because productivity increases exponentially when multiple users can access the very same media. No time wasted copying files; less chance of errors from revision-naming conventions. Investments in hardware can be recouped sooner when the storage is centralized, simply because the storage can be dynamically allocated wherever it is needed most.

A storage area network, or SAN, is designed for exactly this type of collaboration. A SAN is a network whose primary function is to link multiple storage systems to multiple desktop workstations. Typical SANs today operate on 2-gigabit-per-second fiber channel cabling connected through one or more multi-port fiber channel switches. One of the best features of a properly designed SAN is that the storage volume can be scaled dynamically as the production workload increases, without users' ever having to take the network offline or reboot administrative systems. Xsan is in this class. It is what's referred to as an enterprise-class (that is, large-facilities-that-can't-afford-the-slightest-bit-of-downtime), high-performance SAN file system. It runs on Mac OS X and is compatible with systems running on a selection of qualified non-Apple SAN client seats.


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