The client’s in-house video editing department was in the midst of an extensive upgrade project, replacing aging Mac platforms with new PC-based workstations designed to handle multi-layered 4K workflows. The systems were configured to serve a multi-user workgroup environment, where asset sharing and collaboration are the norm. Each editing station must fulfill a dual role; firstly, providing direct access to high-speed storage for the primary user, and secondly, simultaneously hosting one or more remote users accessing the same storage device. The client determined that a transfer target of 6GB/s would satisfy these requirements, and keep the hardware viable for several years.

SAN vs. NVMe

Initially, the client attempted to tackle the project using conventional hardware, such as SAN based solutions. Though capable of meeting the performance requirement of the project, a SAN solution was less than ideal due to their unique work environment. The large physical hardware-footprint and one-size fits all approach to storage applications, proved impractical, oversized and too costly to justify implementation.
The small footprint and high performance potential of an NVMe based solution was an attractive alternative. However the majority of commercially available NVMe storage is geared towards consumer applications, which fell short of both the performance and capacity requirements.

Key Features
  • Dedicated PCIe 3.0 x16 bus bandwidth
  • Dedicated PCIe 3.0 x4 bandwidth for each U.2 Port
  • Delivers Sustained Transfer performance in excess of 10GB/s
  • Compact HBA design and available with M.2 (SSD7101A-1) or U.2 (SSD7120) form factors for easy integration into industry any standard tower or rackmount chassis
  • Available with NVMe boot capability (SSD7110)
  • Hybrid NVMe + SAS/SATA RAID Capability (SSD7110)

The Solution: HighPoint PCIe 3.0 x16 NVMe RAID Controllers

HighPoint SSD7100 series NVMe RAID controllers directly support up to 4 U.2 or M.2 NVMe SSD’s, feature integrated, industry-proven RAID technology, and are capable of delivering performance in excess of 10GB/s thanks to dedicated PCIe 3.0 x16 architecture. The compact form factor enables them to be easily integrated into nearly any PC-based workstation or server platform. The small footprint and massive performance envelope enticed the client to give the series a closer look.
The replacement editing platform had to be capable of seamlessly editing multiple layers of raw and intermediately compressed 4K Ultra HD video. The 6GB/s target transfer bandwidth would allow the storage configurations hosted by each workstation to be shared amongst multiple systems and users simultaneously over a local 20GbE network connection, without risk of performance loss.
The client selected the SSD7120 for qualification, due to its compact dimensions and U.2 support; the 2.5” U.2 SSD form factor was easily integrated into their new platform. The card was tested in punishing, real-world work scenarios, to document application performance for the local and remote users, benchmark maximum sustained bandwidth, and determine the long-term endurance of the storage system.
HighPoint’s NVMe technology proved to be the ideal solution; each individual NVMe RAID controller was able to deliver a sustained transfer performance of 11GB/s when paired with four SSD’s configured in a RAID 0 array; nearly double their requirement of 6GB/s. This allowed each individual workstation to not only edit raw multi-stream 4K footage, but simultaneously share assets with other workstations over their local 20Gbe network, without fear of performance loss. In addition, the RAID controller and hosted NVMe storage remained viable after repeated high-stress testing, with no signs of performance degradation or reliability concerns.

HighPoint SSD7100 Series PCIe 3.0 x16 NVMe RAID Controllers

HighPoint SSD7100 Series NVMe RAID controllers are designed for high-end Workstation & Server Applications that require sustained transfer performance exceeding 10GB/s in a compact package that can be easily integrated into commercially available tower and rackmount chassis. SSD7100 Series controllers are fully independent NVMe RAID solutions; any system that has a PCIe 3.0 x16 slot with direct access to the CPU can fully exploit the prodigious performance capabilities of modern NVMe storage.

The SSD7101A-1 supports the M.2 form factor and is capable of directly hosting up to four NVMe’s SSD’s within the controller’s aluminum casing. This design is ideal for compact workstation platforms that do not have internal drive bays.

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The SSD7120’s four U.2 ports enable the controller to be easily integrated into a wide range of 2.5” tower and rackmount chassis in today’s marketplace, and simplify upgrade and maintenance procedures.

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Customers that need to tackle multi-task workflows, or require an all-in-one storage solution can opt for the SSD7110. The SSD7110 is the industry’s most versatile NVMe RAID controller, and can directly support up to 3 M.2 NVMe SSD’s and up to 16 SAS/SATA hard drives. In addition, the SSD7110 features NVMe booting capability – customers can configure each M.2 SSD to operate as an independent boot disk, or create configure a bootable RAID volume: RAID 0 for maximum performance and rapid boot capability or RAID 1 for security.

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