Business of Learning: Nitro powers UC Irvine

Business of Learning: Nitro powers UC Irvine
Located in Orange County, the University of California, Irvine, (UCI) is a major research university that offers a total of 222 degree programs for more than 36,000 students to choose from.
The UCI Paul Merage School of Business thrives on engaging and training students in the understanding and application of technologies in today’s digitally driven world, and those on the horizon. Located in the heart of the business community of Orange County, CA, the ninth largest economy in the world, the Merage School cultivates relationships with large and multi-national organizations and provides innovative education based on cutting edge research.
The setting
The recent completion of the school’s state-of-the-art, 78,000-square-foot Charles Schwab Trading and Technology Lab - a new, dynamic trading floor and technology facility - mimics a live securities-trading floor with real-world tools and technology such as interactive trade stations, including TV monitors that stream global financial news and tickertape.
With the world of education rapidly moving to digital and simulated learning models, the building includes a 300-seat auditorium; 70 and 90-seat case study classrooms; a multi-purpose classroom; an executive conference room; and 20 group study breakout rooms. These facilities enable students to learn how to best serve their future clients by integrating technology and best practice workflows, all of which require data acquisition, storage, and rapid retrieval for educational and academic productions being created from a number of edit suites.
The problem 
University managers and faculty members soon became aware that their existing storage system for film editing on – at the time, five edit stations - was woefully inadequate to cope with either the capacity or data rate. They realised that they would soon need additional speed and performance, particularly in light of the accelerating move to 4K production.
The Merage School knew that those rapidly growing demands on the existing storage system meant that they had to find a new, collaborative solution. One that could not only provide the performance and capacity they required, but could handle multiple types of workflows. As well as be readily expandable, the system would need to grow with the ongoing requirements of training pupils in the media editing and production  process, plus many other real-world media and data usage applications for years to come.
This is important because, for example, the majority of the rapidly growing amount of 4K content being ingested is arriving from smart phones and drones rather than video cameras. With that kind of portability and popularity, it was easy to see a massive traffic jam for the existing system looming straight ahead.
The solution
Following consultation with GB Labs’ Hollywood-based solution provider, RFX Inc, the school opted for GB Labs’ FastNAS F-16 Nitro, which would upgrade their performance from their existing 1Gb to 10Gb for existing users; and by utilizing a 16-port 10Gb Smart Managed Switch, would easily enable the school to bring more edit stations online.
That would track with the anticipated growth of respective business school department’s need to record and repurpose lectures, symposiums, training videos and similar high-value content.
The benefits - financial and more
It’s no secret that many production companies, for example, opt for single-drive systems because they are relatively cheap and cheerful, only to soon discover that it’s a false economy and they simply can’t cope with the demands placed on them.
The FastNAS F-16 Nitro, on the other hand, is a new concept in shared storage that isn’t built solely for high end post-production and broadcast facilities. It is an ideal, and highly affordable, storage platform for any organization that needs a high-performance NAS with the added benefit of a unique hybrid disk technology powered by GB Labs’ CORE.4 OS Lite.
FastNAS F-16 Nitro’s blistering performance is thanks in part to GB Labs’ revolutionary Nitro hybrid boost NVMe technology and proprietary Velocity RAID Engine, which together provide up to 3000MB/s throughput. Nitro delivers dramatic improvements to collaborative media workflows with a very near to pure SSD experience, but at far less cost.
Moreover, the inclusion of GB Labs’ new Mosaic automatic asset organizer, was highly attractive to those at the school who were evaluating GB Labs’ offering, and soon sealed the deal.
Mosaic is an industry-first combination of AI and intelligent storage that is a vastly enriched way to automatically track, organise, and find media assets. Mosaic does that by scouring all in-built metadata and integrating it with a professional AI tagging system, therefore eliminating wasteful manual tagging. Mosaic’s content search results are a much closer match to the search terms, which saves substantial amounts of time and money.
“GB Labs gave us the best value for the type of system we were looking for, with an equally sound solution for expansion. The GB Labs FastNAS F-16 Nitrohas provided the capacity, speed and expansion options we were looking for, and did it all within our budget.
"In the time we have had it, FastNAS F-16 Nitrohas proven to be very reliable; and the transfer speed has helped streamline our post-production workflow as well as enable multiple editors to collaborate on the same project."
Geraint Bell
Digital Learning Department Multimedia Producer
Nitro is especially advantageous for the business school because it serves as their non-volatile memory express (NVMe) layer, which, because it is so fast, enables them to not only do multiple streams of 4K, but buffer any complicated workflows that might – and often do - get thrown into the workflow mix. That additional performance boost provides yet another level of comfort for stable and secure storage and data management growth that is much advanced over spinning disks.
This is all due to a GB Labs performance algorithm that is unique in the industry.
Additionally, what The Paul Merage School of Business did not expect, is that they wouldn’t have to endure the disruption of transitioning from their old system to the new one. They could in fact keep the existing system and continue using it on a near-line basis while the new FastNAS F-16 Nitro system was installed and commissioned. Both systems run alongside each other today.
Stacked for the future
The ability to dynamically expand its FastNAS storage system without first having to offload data proved to be so useful that the school soon doubled its capacity by investing in FastNAS F-16 EX, an easy and cost-effective expansion option that enables the school to expand storage while keeping existing data safe, secure, and in place.
The ability of FastNAS F-16 Nitro and Mosaic operating on the CORE.4 OS Lite to help leverage what was already in use is a huge advantage. GB Labs is the only company that provides organizations like UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business with the tools and technologies that can migrate its existing server system to work with its new one, thereby continuing to make the most of past and present investments.
And that’s just good business.
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Originally published by GB Labs.