The Vanity is a boutique VFX house with a growing team of amazing visual effects artists, colourists, and motion designers in downtown Toronto.  They are known for their creative commercials and moving stories for some of the top North American brands.  With a busy team of artists handling an ever increasing amount of content, The Vanity was looking for reliable and fast storage with no risk of downtime.  They decided to expand their storage with a CineStor NAS, powered by ZFS. We asked Naveen Srivastava, VFX supervisor and one of the owners at The Vanity, how the system has worked out for them so far.

What made you consider the CineStor NAS?

The biggest factor that made us choose the CineStor NAS over its competitors is that we knew we were working with a great reseller in CineSys that knows our business.  With so many solutions available to us, the choices were overwhelming.  We needed some expert insight.

What type of storage challenges did you face?

I think our challenges were similar to other companies our size.  We are constantly getting larger and larger files to work with.  As our business grows, more artists need faster access to shared storage.  Because we are constantly pushing the clock on deadlines to try to deliver the best product possible, there really is no room for downtime.  We need speed as well as reliability.

Vanity CineStor NAS

Were there any special requirements?

In terms of requirements I think we wanted to get ‘good bang for the buck’ for sure.  We wanted something good and reliable, but we didn’t necessarily want to invest in an expensive SAN.  We are a small to medium sized VFX company and we don’t have any full time IT engineers.  We need solutions that require very little maintenance.

The NAS is connected to your entire facility, including VFX artists, CG artists, colourists and production staff. How is everyone accessing and saving media?

We wanted to make sure that we could all read and write data where we needed to.  Some artists are reading in footage directly into their Linux based Flames, others are pushing their colour renders from Baselight or Resolve, while production staff and producers are gatekeeping all of the media coming in and out of the facility.

What services did CineSys provide?

The people at CineSys were very generous with their time.  They provided hours of consultation up front to help us dig into our storage needs and try to find the ‘best-fit’ solution for us.  After spec, they let us know what sorts of infrastructure connections we might need to add to our existing network architecture in order to get the best results from the new system.  Once the NAS was ready, they came on site and spent quite a bit of time ensuring that it was optimized for our network environment.

We have absolutely no complaints so far. The system is extremely fast and we've had zero downtime. What more could anyone ask for? We’re thrilled with the expanded capacity in storage. It seems like every new project shoots at higher and higher resolutions, which means more data. No one’s ever wished they’d bought smaller disks. The sheer size of the NAS makes us feel comfortable looking ahead.

Naveen SrivastavaVFX Supervisor / Owner, The Vanity

Any fun projects on the horizon for The Vanity?

We’ve got some great stuff coming up over the next little while.  Our colourists, cg artists, and Flame artists are taking bookings well in advance these days.  As content consumption expands across more and more platforms, advertisers are finding opportunities to insert their brand where their customers are. We are fortunate to say that a number of the top brands in North America trust and put their faith in our hands.  We are taking on new challenges every day with our expanding team.  The future appears to be quite bright.

Company: The Vanity
Location: Toronto, Canada
Name: Naveen Srivastava, VFX Supervisor / Owner

About the CineStor NAS

The CineStor NAS Z-Series is a Linux based network storage solution built on the power of ZFS. The powerful NAS OS provides SMB and NFS file sharing, as well as the ability to present iSCSI targets. Data integrity protection High Availability, Remote Disaster Recovery, Cloud integration, and Snapshot functionality are a few features that make the new CineStor NAS Z-Series an excellent disk based near-line backup and archive solution for traditional media workflows. Data acceleration and high performance allow it to easily handle larger render farms for VFX and 3D modeling. Using the ZFS pooled storage model offers unlimited scalability and expansion during production, along with unlimited file and volume sizes.

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