Photographer’s Tip: Much like a DSLR camera is a system of lenses, accessories, bodies and doodads, the backend computer systems used to review, process and present the photos should be thought of as part of the larger technology eco-system supporting your goals. The computers you use to process your photos should focus on performance so that you can work in a timely manner, scalability so you can easily grow your storage and processing needs and most importantly, data security – backup, backup, backup. Make sure you have a secondary backup at a minimum, a third, non-active (we’re talking hard drive that’s backed up once a month and otherwise kept in a locked drawer away from the computer) and perhaps even investing into cloud storage options like those offered by Google, Carbonite or Apple. Cameras, lenses and computers are machines that can break, get lost, stolen or fail. The photos, videos and work we invest into using these tools are once in a lifetime opportunities however and risking it all by just hosting it on one single computer without a backup is asking for a heart attack moment. Storage is cheap, invest in multiple solutions to ensure multiple points of fall back – risking a camera getting a shot is one thing, risking the photos of your first born or wedding because you didn’t want to pick up another hard drive is just stupid.
NERD ALERT! Technology moves at a blinding pace which I think most people have come to accept as part of modern life. An aspect which is harder to grasp is the increasing frequency we are required to upgrade. Partly planned obsolescence (looking at you Apple), partly bleeding edge geek (damn you Android 4.0!) but mostly due to ever skyrocketing needs for increased storage, processing power and sharing capabilities. UNITY One was delivered to us in March of 2011 bringing exceptional firepower and efficiency for its design. Offering the latest Intel architecture and built to focus on delivering a consistently fast workstation experience, UNITY One has served us well. Heading into the holiday season and in preparation for some new camera gear, it’s time to scale the system in preparation for the coming workload.
Some 2011 photography stats so far;
- 47055 images shot so far
- almost 20 hours of time lapse work completed
- 4.9 TB of storage space used
Some nerd toys we are currently testing and making room for;
- Canon EOS 1D X Full Frame High Speed DSLR
- Canon C300 HD Video Camera
In order to address the increasing workload and new gadget demands as well as make sure the UNITY Server managing all the data doesn’t go boom, we head into the holidays with a two stage upgrade.
UNITY One Visual Workstation gets 3 main upgrades, the latest Intel Sandy Bridge chip clocking in at 5.2GHz, an expansion of the main RAID array to a pair of 480GB Patriot Wildfire Solid State drives for speed and data redundancy and finally, a new limited edition chassis supplied by our technology partners at Corsair for a little added visual flair.
The UNITY Server on the other hand gets a complete overhaul. Since first taking delivery in 2008, the UNITY server has been powered by the now ancient Intel Core 2 Duo, this server has given its due service and delivered rock solid reliability in the last 3 years while managing almost 40 Terabytes of data (yes, I really do have over 500 blu-rays on my media server). The new server sports dual Intel 8-core processors with 24GB of RAM and now powering a dual 60TB storage array giving lots of processing power for concurrent file service, media streaming and data protection.
UNITY One is the visual workstation where I sit to edit, process and publish the photography and video work that is showcased on this site. It’s built to be the biggest and baddest computer system at the time of specification and has consistently delivered the best performance in its class while delivering reliability, scalability and most importantly, a quiet computing experience. The UNITY visual workstation is part of a much larger eco-system that serves my home and office. All media including pictures, movies, music, office and personal data are archived on the UNITY Server and can be broadcast for playback & review onto multiple UNITY Media stations throughout the home and office. This complete technology eco-system has redefined the way media is produced, controlled and viewed. From review & production, or hosting a gallery session to sitting back & watching a movie, the multiple UNITY installations allow instantaneous access to media even when away from home base.
We are now ready for ever increasing image processing demands as well as balancing out the R&R requirements of sitting back to watch the latest movies. UNITY continues to prove its scalability and reliability as we head into 2012 and couldn’t be happier. A special thanks to Intel, Corsair and AMD in their continued support with our design & development needs.
UNITY is a custom built, solutions oriented digital processing and delivery system offering the very best visual computing experience.
For more information on the system we are sporting or for ordering information, feel free to contact me.
UNITY Server 2012 Edition. Ok, maybe I went overkill…
My Workstation Desktop across dual Samsung Professional 24″ Monitors