DDP is short for Dynamic Drive Pool, a shared storage solution. The DDP lineup contains a series of products manufactured by Ardis, a Dutch company based in Arnhem.
All DDP systems include a chassis containing multiple hard drives that are accessed over a traditional Ethernet network. It is a shared storage solution that allows multiple workstation, across various operating systems, to address files regardless of its size. So, whether you are working with audio, multi-layered 4k video files or even hi-def render applications, this is the perfect solution to cater for a seamless workflow.
An intuitive browser-based Control Panel allows the creation of ‘foldervolumes’ that mount as local drives on a computer’s desktop. A plethora of storage and network options mean you never need to experience bandwidth issues. A DDP chassis can contain a hybrid of traditional hard drives and SSDs. SSDs can be utilised for both storage use, as well as cachin
SSD caching is a common process for optimizing performance. Its most popular form is known as ‘On Demand’ caching. This involves copying the most frequently accessed files to SSDs, allowing work to be conducted from that location. This method means the least used files are omitted from SSD caching.
Although you can elect to use this method with a DDP system, Ardis has gone a step further by introducing ‘Pinned Caching’. This option means you are in control of what precisely is cached and when. For example, when a very high transfer rate video such as a DPX Uncompressed sequence needs to be played, and/or when lots of rendering and transcoding processes are called upon, Pinned Caching can be selected for ultimate performance. These processes require lots of seek time on the regular HDDs, but because SSD drives do not require a seek time, this operation is executed flawlessly - no matter how many clients are connected or how many files need to be rendered or transcoded.
The optimization of performance is key to the DDP. Sometimes it may not be enough to add drives to achieve this goal. Instead, the DDP integrates Load Balancing across its storage. For example, a 16 Disk system could be configured as two separate RAID volumes, instead of a single volume. That way, access times between the clients and DDP are optimized. With Load Balancing, the more disks and RAID groups you add, the faster the storage.
DDP comes with support for all Broadcast and Media and Entertainment workflows and applications. Supported applications and vendors include:
Avid Pro Tools
Avid Media Composer
Apple Final Cut
At the heart of every DDP system is the proprietary AVFS – Ardis Virtual File System. This is a single file system which can manage combinations of hard and solid state disks.
- DDP is Ethernet SAN, therefore the metadata and data can be kept separate. So data can be transported over Ethernet at wire speed not hindered by metadata.
- Desktops have parallel access to groups of hard and solid state disks, called Data Locations. Therefore the performance is the sum of the performance of each Data Location.
- File based DDP SSD caching in the DDP eliminates the seek time effect of spindles. Caching eliminates the performance difference between small and large files in a hybrid DDP.
Using the flexibility of the DDP and AVFS depending on the type of storage chosen the DDP can generate a bandwidth on a Linux desktop of more then 15GB/s (with NVME storage and RDMA protocol). But even with standard DDP storage and standard iSCSI with 25, 40 or 100 GbE cards more then 2,5 GB/s per desktop performance can be obtained.
Ardis Technologies supports the DDP products free of charge for two years against hardware and software failures. Support can be extended with another 5 years. DDP hardware consists of standard of the shelf components, is well tested and then approved by Ardis. The company developed the DDP software in house for M & E. Any hardware or software failure is the sole responsibility of Ardis Technologies and can therefore be solved without delay.
The DDP software runs on Linux Debian 10.x distribution. DDP can use HTTPS plus in addition two factor authentication for secure DDP access via web browser. For auditing the DDP collects session events such as who reads, writes, renames, erases or uses which file at which time. Such audit file can be generated and monitored instantly. When SSD and or hard disk pack(s) with encryption option are installed in the DDP the data on these packs and Data Locations can be encrypted.
The DDP uses a single file system with a single directory/folder structure. Media is stored separately in Data Locations. There can be many Data Locations. Because desktops access these in parallel increasing the number of Data Locations increases both capacity and bandwidth. DDPs or third party storage arrays holding Data Locations can be added without interruption.
The basic building blocks are DDP base systems. They come with on board dual 10GbE/RJ45 ports and DDP software installed including Archiware P5 for backup, archive, synchronise and cloud access. Such base system can be filled with HD and SSD packs of various capacities. Network and other cards can be selected to fill up the PCIe slots. When a partly populated DDP is purchased the empty carriers later on can be filled with HD and SSD packs.
The best performance is obtained with an SSD pack as cache. But spindles provide the highest capacity for the best price. So on such hybrid DDP active files are in the cache and in the event that a file is no longer in the cache it is automatically taken from the spindles. For an explanation how this works on a DDP go to the Products page and select HyPerDDP12D.
Users and applications connected to a HA DDP solution can continue with ingesting, editing, colouring, streaming and so on when a failover occurs. A failover can occur suddenly because of a problem or it can be planned because maintenance is needed. In critical play out situations in addition to the HA solution a setup with an SSD cache and HD packs works best. For critical ingest situations in addition to the HA solution it is advised to have at least raid 6 protection and have a spare HD Data Location.
DDP in Education
As a modular based system, the DDP offer many opportunities to intergrate with an existing network infrastructure. Options include:
- Ethernet cards up to 200Gb/s
- Fibre cards
Capacity and bandwidth requirements are carefully assessed while producing the appropriate DDP solution. Under consideration would be the applications used and its required resolutions.
The DDP’s built-in workflow management allows administrators to create users and groups linked to specific volumes. For example, a group could be a Course name for a particular year. Permissions could then be set for the associated users to only access volumes relating to their course. Further, upon a student’s login, this would automatically mount onto theri desktop their associate volume. The DDP also has the ability to automatically create user names, groups and volumes (with size quotas) en masse using an optional, customized script that can be linked to an Active Directory protocol. This time-saving feature can prove invaluable at the start of term, as it can simultaneously remove extraneous users, groups and volumes.