Creative Department Benefits from High-Performance Xsan File Sharing

Challenge

File Sharing for a Fast-Paced Creative Department.

The cookware and kitchen accessories company Tramontina has had its U.S. headquarters in Houston since 1986. For the past 25 years, Lotus TechPros has designed and managed the IT for Tramontina’s design department, which is tasked with producing a wide variety of retail packaging and product marketing materials in numerous formats. When Tramontina started looking for a file sharing solution that would provide high performance and redundancy in case of drive failure, they turned to us for an innovative solution.

Solution

Lotus TechPros Implementation of Xsan with Mirrored Fail-Over To address Tramontina’s needs, we designed and implemented Xsan, a redundant and high-performance file sharing environment from Apple. Xsan relies on a high-speed Fibre Channel network running at 32 gigabits per second to avoid slowdowns between the server and individual workstations. Since redundancy was of paramount importance, we implemented two levels of fail-over. First, if one drive in the underlying RAID fails, the system continues to serve data with no downtime. Second, in another building, we installed a duplicate Xsan system that keeps about 60 terabytes of data in sync with the main system.

Lotus TechPros also managed the setup for the Tramontina design team’s iMac Pro workstations, ensuring that they were configured properly to connect to Xsan for the highest possible level of performance. And with [Complete], all necessary support and maintenance tasks are included in Tramontina’s monthly payment, ensuring that the company’s designers don’t have to worry about cost when about asking for help.

Results Increased Productivity & Reliability Xsan solved the technical challenge of providing fast and reliable shared storage for design teams. Notably, Tramontina’s real-world experience has shown the performance of the Xsan storage to be faster even than the internal solid-state drives on the design team’s iMac Pros.

Tramontina management has also expressed appreciation for not having to get approval for the large upfront expense of purchasing new computers and the Xsan storage, all of which is bundled into the monthly [Complete] fee.

Finally, the mirrored fail-over Xsan saved Tramontina’s design department from months of downtime and reduced productivity during a natural disaster. During a massive thunderstorm, the building housing Tramontina’s main offices suffered substantial roof damage and flooding, and the server room housing the primary Xsan had water damage. The building was shut down for months for repair. Within 2 days, however (1 of which was for a cabling vendor to run additional cabling in the new space), Lotus TechPros moved the design department’s iMac Pro workstations to the other building, connected the Macs to the backup Xsan, and brought the department back online with no loss of data. Other departments in the company took much longer to get their systems operational.

“Thanks to the Xsan storage that Lotus TechPros installed, we’re no longer hampered by slow server and network performance when dealing with massive graphic and video files.”

Kevin P., Creative Director, Tramontina Design Services


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