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Icon Health And Fitness Expands Facilis Shared Storage Solution

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Icon Health and Fitness has expanded its Facilis high performance shared storage solution to handle increased demand for a more collaborative editing workflow.

The firm manufactures treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary bicycles, weight machines, and yoga and Pilates equipment. Icon has a wide range of brands including NordicTrack, ProForm, Weider, Weslo, Gold's Gym and FreeMotion fitness. Combining fitness and technology, Icon’s iFit brand includes a video-based coaching platform that works with many of the company’s machines and requires a significant amount of video content to bring personal trainers and varied fitness environments into customers’ homes.

The Icon team initially purchased a 40TB Facilis system back in 2012 when their Synology DiskStation NAS couldn't keep up with the demands of video media and the sheer amount of data required over their 1GB Ethernet connection. As Icon continued to grow, and as the products themselves started to require video content, the company needed a system that could handle the team’s collaborative editing workflow that frequently sees up to 10 editors on individual workstations editing simultaneously.

Last year, Icon purchased a new TerraBlock 24EX with two TX16 expansion chassis for a total of 320TB just to handle the increased content creation demand – including the marketing and social media campaigns - for the popular iFit brand. Most recently, the marketing department purchased a new 192TB 24EX system. All workstations are now connected via 8 Gb Fibre Channel to the storage network for the required performance.

Ryan Humpherys, head of post-production for the Icon Fitness marketing department, said: "We recently hired a post manager for all the iFit content since it is such a growing part of our business. We go all over the world and film trainers coaching from many different locations and environments. The video coach might tell you that he or she is going to increase the incline or change the speed and we program the equipment to respond in perfect sync with the video which makes for a very immersive workout experience."

Initially the editing workstations were Apple Mac Pro workstations, but the team has since switched to robust 48-core Lenovo PC workstations with dual graphic cards to power the full Adobe CC suite. Humpherys also does colour work in DaVinci Resolve which performs very well with the Facilis system.

The team shoots ultra-high-resolution imagery to give them maximum flexibility in post-production without ever compromising on image quality. "We frequently shoot on ARRI Alexa Mini at 4K or on Red cameras at 5 or 6K. We’re able to edit the footage natively, without transcoding or making proxies on the Facilis system, which saves lots of time. With 8GB Fibre Channel connections to each workstation, we get about 500MB/sec on each workstation, it's like having an internal SSD. When we’re pushing around 4 or 6K content, it makes it really seamless to edit, move around the timeline, and copy files. We have multiple editors working at the same time and we’ve never run into a bottleneck," said Humpherys.

With the iFit brand continuing to grow, the organisation has built an additional studio at Icon HQ in Utah. Eventually the plan is to continue to build out the main headquarters facility and at that point the two Facilis storage systems will be combined.
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