Chimney Group, the renowned Swedish creative agency with ten offices across the globe, has benefited from a faster and more consolidated storage infrastructure with the help of a bespoke PixStor system from Pixit Media.
Chimney Group produces over 6000 projects every year including feature films, commercials, music, promos and television content across more than 60 countries, with recent and notable credits including Her and One Floor Below. Founded in 1995, Chimney Group has seen rapid expansion in both output and creative process over the last couple of decades, now employing over 300 people across ten studios globally.
“When we started twenty years ago Chimney Group covered solely post-production whereas we now embrace the whole creative procedure,” noted Niklas Aldergren, CTO at Chimney in Stockholm.
Recently Chimney Group decided to merge its existing storage infrastructure that had evolved over the last twenty years, comprising of many islands of storage and file systems that made collaboration difficult.
Chimney Group embarked on the project with the intention of solving several issues; the need for additional speed and performance, as well as a push internally for consolidated storage to increase capacity and the need to facilitate file sharing between staff. Due to the amplitude of users of the system at Chimney Group, a storage solution was required that would simplify the large infrastructure.
“It was paramount that we had one integrated central repository that was both fast and efficient but also allowed for easy expansion in the future,” continued Aldergren. “We had a tight budget, so we needed a cost efficient solution that would also address the performance orientated challenges we were facing. Historically the storage industry has been all about selling over-priced hardware, and the market seemed to be dominated by that.
“What attracted us to Pixit Media is that they were selling us the software platform and the technical knowledge rather than an expensive hardware solution. The transparent value of Pixit Media’s service lies within their in-depth technical knowledge rather than pretending there’s some special hardware. They were able to demonstrate how their solution could provide quantifiable and predictable performance for a range of clients, all based on the commodity hardware of our choice and backed up with superior support.”
Working together with the Chimney Group team, Pixit Media ensured that all users would benefit from a global namespace by installing a two node PixStor system with over 880 TB worth of storage, both speeding up workflow and delivering four to five GB per second network bandwidth.
Integrating with the existing system, users have noted the significant performance increase with little or no data movement. With this new infrastructure in place, Chimney Group was able to scale performance and capacity whilst maintaining central control. Aldergren said, “It’s very easy to use from an end-user perspective, we’ve had no problems integrating into our existing workflow. There’s a lot of potential to grow the system further as increasingly more departments adapt to the new system.”
Noting that from a technical perspective the solution has now been fully integrated into the studios, Aldergren was keen to highlight some of the practical benefits of the system. “We can easily scale as we go now, with total flexibility in terms of client access method. Within a single system we can either have a heap of 1Gb clients, mixed with 10Gb connected users or 40Gb for ultimate performance – we can just pick and choose what is attractive for each workflow.
“One of the main benefits of working with the Pixit Media team is the instant easy access to deep technical knowledge. If we need a hand, everyone is keen to jump onto a call to discuss and help in a transparent manner. Having instant access to the right people, who actually built the system, is invaluable.”
Aldergren concluded: “Pixit Media really went above and beyond for us at Chimney Group, providing the best cost performance for our needs and continuing with intuitive support with an inherent understanding of the underlying applications.”