Max-T’s Sledgehammer NAS and HD!O

Sledgehammer is a new network attached storage (NAS) system that provides a very fast shared storage resource for any facility. Clients simply mount the Sledgehammer and access its contents over an ethernet network. The newest release, Sledgehammer HD!O also incorporates SD/HD video I/O and playback capabilities.

NAS has slowly been making inroads into post production over the past few years as performance levels have risen to the point of being cost effective. A NAS system is basically a multi-protocol file server that plugs into a facility LAN. It allows users (or servers) running any operating system (e.g. UNIX, Linux, Max OS 9, Mac OS X, Windows) to access its contents without adding any new software to the user systems.
Digital Content Creation with Max-T's Sledgehammer
The difference that Sledgehammer provides versus other solutions on the market is speed. A Sledgehammer system will sustain between 125-240 MB/s of throughput off of or onto a network. This means that Sledgehammer can simultaneously service entire departments within a facility, including render clusters. Data no longer needs to be copied around to the seats or clusters that need it. Everyone simply uses the data across the network and renders their results back. And since Sledgehammer is RAID 5 protected, data is safe from disk failures.
Sledgehammer 300 with 8 arraysSledgehammer is a resolution independent solution that offers high throughput whether you’re doing video or film work. Sledgehammer scales from 2 TB in capacity to 32 TB, and storage can be added while the system remains live. The latest product release, Sledgehammer HD!O, also incorporates video I/O (at any resolution) and playback. From a web-based managementment interface (called MAXmin), a user can:
1. Capture material in real-time to the Sledgehammer drives as data files in YUV, TGA, TIFF, SGI, and other formats. EDLs are supported.
2. Play back material from Sledgehammer to a broadcast monitor. This allows Sledgehammer HD!O to act as a virtual DDR, whereby sequences that have been rendered to the system (YUV, TGA, TIF, SGI, etc.) can be immediately previewed with no format conversion on the user side. We’re currently working on playing back 2K 10-bit log Cineon files at (slightly cropped) HD resolution (using a LUT) for real-time preview and approval at 24 fps.
3. Output material back to tape.

Sledgehammer HD!O allows a facility to centralize all its video I/O in a single location, and to make the material available on a network as soon as it’s captured. Since Sledgehammer HD!O is also the render server, material can also be previewed in one real-time shot (with no flip-book type limitations like download time or duration), and then layed out to tape immediately for delivery to whomever needs it. All this happens while working in your preferred file format, with no user side conversions required.

Sledgehammer uses only commodity components. The NAS head head is a Dell. Video I/O is provided via an integrated DVS HDStation card. And storage from multiple vendors is supported. There are no license transfer fees, so once faster hardware comes along, the software license can be moved at no charge.
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