Omneon: Products > Omneon MediaGrid

By: Omneon  09-12-2011
Keywords: Storage, Storage Systems, Disk Drive

Continuous Scalability

The MediaGrid scale-out architecture enables facilities to start small and scale to large capacities while the system remains online eliminating forklift upgrades or complex data migrations. By aggregating the capacity and performance of individual storage nodes called ContentServers and ContentStores, all connected over a standard Ethernet network infrastructure, MediaGrid's built in clustered file systems creates a single pool of network accessible file storage and its capacity can scale from a few terabytes to multiple petabytes. An entry-level system starts with a single ContentServer, providing 16 or 32 TB of raw capacity and all the components needed to be in production, right out of the box. Simply add ContentStores and ContentServers to the system to scale both bandwidth and capacity in parallel.


MediaGrid is designed to deliver high bandwidth to multiple clients needing fast access to material for production or processing activities. MediaGrid enables clients to communicate directly in parallel with individual ContentServers instead of forcing serial access through NAS heads limiting available bandwidth. Even with scale-out NAS products, aggregate bandwidth is limited by the point-to-point access of NAS protocols like CIFS and by the speed of the backend communications network. MediaGrid eliminates such bottlenecks by allowing clients to pull content directly from multiple ContentServers. Built-in load balancing ensures that content is evenly distributed throughout the system to avoid any bottlenecks.

Reliability and Availability

MediaGrid offers two schemes for protecting against disk drive failures: RAID or Replication. The software RAID implementation is tightly integrated into the File System delivering high performance and fast RAID rebuilds. Alternatively, users looking for a higher level of file protection may choose to trade usable storage capacity to store multiple copies of files. This Replication approach not only protects data from drive failures, but also protects data access from entire storage node failures. ContentServers with RAID support have dual active-active controllers and redundant data paths to protect against any storage node failures.

Ease of Use and Management

The MediaGrid was designed to live in today's demanding production environments. It simplifies operation and management, using a highly distributed and virtualized file system to present a single global namespace to all clients. Unlike generic storage systems that require frequent upgrades and maintenance, administrators never have to reconfigure the file system when new storage capacity and bandwidth is needed; they simply add new ContentServers or ContentStores and the new capacity and bandwidth is automatically incorporated within minutes. Omneon system configuration and management tools provide intuitive GUIs for administrators to use when setting policies and monitoring system performance, including directory- and user-based quotas, replication factors, RAID level, access control policies and more. Consolidating content from multiple, individual production systems eliminates islands of storage that would otherwise have to be networked, managed and maintained separately, thus lowering capital and administrative costs. Facility-wide storage utilization is improved and all workgroups benefit from capacity and bandwidth growth.

Content Optimized

While many storage vendors sell into the broadcast and production markets, most consider broadcast just one of several vertical segments that they hope their general-purpose storage platform can support. Harmonic is focused entirely on media workflows and offers a media storage solution that is integrated with leading media applications. Omneon MediaGrid helps facilities improve their productivity by minimizing file transfers and multiple revisions, and its high performance allows for processing the content directly on the storage, allowing more projects to be done with the minimal resources and reducing errors and re-work.

  • Omneon MediaGrid is tested with leading production editing applications like Final Cut Pro®, Avid® Media Composer®, and Adobe® Premiere® Pro CS5, to ensure optimal performance.
  • Omneon has optimized its Spectrum media server product lines for use in production workflows, including support for editing while content is being ingested into a Spectrum server and transferred simultaneously to MediaGrid or playing out content on a Spectrum server while the file is actively being transferred from a MediaGrid system. Achieving this advanced level of functionality requires intimate knowledge of video file formats—a skill that few other storage vendors can claim.
  • Omneon publishes APIs that over 100 broadcast and production application partners utilize for interfacing with Omneon storage platforms. These applications can execute sophisticated operations, such as wrapping clips from bare video essence, adding essence files to existing clips, tagging essence tracks with language tags and retrieving partial clips based on timecode.

System Architecture

Omneon MediaGrid is based on a distributed design that effectively eliminates bottlenecks by allocating workload across different components of the system. By separating major functions of a storage system into distinct components, MediaGrid is able to deliver levels of performance, resiliency and manageability that far surpass traditional storage systems. MediaGrid is based on the following hardware components:

  • ContentDirector – Server that stores, manages and serves all file system metadata and presents a single global namespace to users and application. It is deployed in a clustered pair for high availability.
  • ContentServer – Storage node containing storage capacity, network access and processing power to serve data. It comes in two flavors. A 3U version called ContentServer 3000 that supports RAID (RAID6 and RAID4) for data protection and dual controllers for system protection and a 2U version called ContentServer 2124 that supports replication for both data and system protection. Scaling out is achieved by adding ContentServers to the system.
  • ContentStore – Expansion storage nodes that can be connected to ContentServer 3000 to expand both capacity and bandwidth. Up to 5 ContentStores can be connected to a ContentServer.
  • ContentBridge – an optional NAS gateway that allows clients or applications to access MediaGrid via AFP, FTP, CIFS or NFS. It comes in two flavors. ContentBridge with 2x1Gbe connections and High Bandwidth ContentBridge with 1x10Gbe connection.

MediaGrid is based on the following software components:

  • File System Driver – a software agent installed on clients to allow parallel access to the file data distributed across ContentServers, unlike the point-to-point serial access provide by NAS protocols. It is available on all modern operating systems and in both 32 and 64 bit versions.
  • System Manager – Omneon SystemManager is the management console for all Omneon hardware platforms and application servers, including MediaGrid. This includes setup, configuration, monitoring, upgrades and ongoing management.
  • Content Manager – ContentManager is an easy-to-use Windows-based application for setting, reviewing and changing attributes on files, directories and user permissions within MediaGrid. Administrators can set file or directory level "replication factors" for data protection and to increase client-access bandwidth to content. User and group permissions are established by creating Access Control Lists (ACLs) that can be applied both to human users and automated systems.

MediaGrid BasePacks

Omneon makes it easy to configure a MediaGrid to meet specific requirements and then add only the components needed to scale the system as storage and bandwidth needs increase. The smallest functional system can be started with a base set of core components, collectively referred to as a BasePack. These BasePacks are available in different capacities to support a range of system starting points. BasePacks represent completely functional systems and can be used as is or expanded with additional components.

BasePack Components

  • Three ContentServer 2124 or one ContentServer 3000
  • Two ContentDirectors
  • One SystemManager CD
  • One ContentManager CD
  • Unlimited File System Driver licenses

Keywords: Disk Drive, Storage, Storage Systems

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