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BW Productions Selects SymplyPRO LTO

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Greg Johnson, Creative Director at BW Productions, first ran in to limitations in his data management around 10-years ago when buying new hard disk drives for projects became cumbersome and problematic.

Returning to hard drives sitting on the shelf brought about various issues such as connectivity, reliability, and data integrity problems. In the realisation that hard drives aren’t meant to stay on the shelf for more than a few years, and after some research, Greg discovered LTO (Linear Tape Open) technology. In its sixth generation at the time (LTO-6), Greg moved to using LTO data tape cartridges to securely store massive amounts of data for the lowest price point available.

Having been using LTO-6 for around 6-8 years, Greg looked to move to a newer generation of LTO and chose an LTO-8 device. Unfortunately for Greg, the product they chose was not reliable and the manufacturer who supplied the drive were not supportive in remedying issues Greg and the team at BW Productions were experiencing with their new hardware. After sending their device back and forth to the manufacturer their issues were still not resolved and very quickly their servers were becoming overloaded, and they were drowning in data management issues.

"Reliability is so crucial for everything that we’re doing within our workflow. So, when we have any single piece of equipment go down, it leaves a large ripple effect throughout our entire organisation," explained Brent Uberty, Managing Director and Founder of BW Productions. "It was clear that their current LTO backup solution wasn’t cutting it for them anymore, and they needed to switch to a more reliable system that wouldn’t give them any issues. After doing some research, BW Productions found Symply's LTO offerings and felt confident that this would be the right choice for them.

"As soon as we received the Symply LTO, we put it to work and it worked flawlessly," exclaimed Greg Johnson. "Quickly, we got caught up with all of our backlogged data and we were churning out tapes all night, all day, and it was great." Having chosen the latest LTO-9 tape drive technology in a SymplyPRO 1RU system with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, BW Productions were now able to backup a tremendous amount of data at extremely fast speeds.

BW Productions shoot around 350 projects a year, and that translates to around six to eight terabytes of data per week. When they originally purchased the 1RU SymplyPRO unit, they chose a single LTO-9 half-height drive because that met all their current data demands. Shortly after though, BW Productions landed a large project where they had to backup dailies for a major streaming platform. "Once we landed that contract," said Brent, "it was so easy for us to upgrade and add another drive to our unit to give us dual writing capabilities." Right now, BW Productions are churning through about four to ten terabytes a day with dual copies being made simultaneously through their two LTO-9 drives in their SymplyPRO 1RU system, with verification being handled through YoYotta software for macOS.

"Since installing our SymplyPRO LTO system we have had zero issues. And our system runs almost 24/7 with the sheer amount of data that we’re going through," added Brent. "I can't say that about any other LTO system that we’ve used in the past." Brent feels that a lot of this comes from the build quality of the hardware and Symply's attention to detail in developing a platform from the ground up. "Reliability, usability, and upgradeability are all really important things to us when we’re looking at expanding our equipment. Symply provided the right needs from an equipment perspective, and we’ve been so happy with it overall."

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