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Facilis TerraBlock empowers collaborative working at drp

Award winning agency reaps the benefits of shared storage technology

DRP Group Case Study ImageWith production facilities in London, the Midlands and the North of England, including a 4.2 acre production studio, UK-based drp is a truly integrated communications agency and production house that has won many awards and leads its field. The drp team connects people with messages, products and brands, and whether it is creative communication campaigns, live events, exhibitions, digital solutions, video or print – they always provide the right medium, for the right results.

With three decades of experience at the leading edge of the communications industry, drp’s 170-strong team believes 'anything’s possible', and are experts in their fields, with a true passion for what they do and who they service.

This passion for advancement can be seen in every aspect of the company’s operations including its technical facility infrastructure. Within its data storage architecture, the new generation of shared storage devices are appealing due to the way they enable teams throughout drp to work collaboratively. It was for this reason that the company has selected Facilis Technology as its preferred storage partner. Earlier this year, two Facilis TerraBlock 24EX/16 64TB expandable shared storage units were installed – one in its Midlands production facility and the other in its London offices.

The equipment was specified and supplied by Facilis channel partner, ERA, and became fully operational around March 2015. “ERA were very helpful in terms of providing pre-purchase support and also took the time to meet us and visit our facilities to understand exactly what our business involves and to ensure they were providing the right solution for us,” explained Jonathan Hyde, Video Technical Manager, at drp.

TerraBlock empowers collaborative creativity
“The TerraBlock units are replacing our Avid Unity storage solution which we had used for many years. We were attracted to the TerraBlock as it offered a significant upgrade in terms of storage capacity, much higher available bandwidth than other competitors, and a workflow which allows multiple clients to operate and support 4K – which we will be moving to shortly,” he continued.

“TerraBlock provides our team with the ability to share all media seamlessly. It allows us to work in a flexible way and go beyond our previous setup by rolling this functionality out to other members of the video team – including producers, researchers and production assistants – which was not previously possible due to licensing and a lack of Ethernet connectivity to the previous shared storage,” Hyde explains.

“We are looking to improve efficiency within the suites – even with the cost of an edit seat reducing over recent years. By allowing producers and directors access to ‘offline’ suites to review rushes and perform basic edits prior to an editor being involved, this will enable us to streamline our post production operation,” he explained.

 Ease of integration helps drp face up to challenge of 4K production
Working closely with ERA and Facilis, Daniel Barnbrook, Senior Support Specialist at drp and his team were pleasantly surprised by the ease with which the TerraBlock systems integrated within its existing workflow. “It was easy to integrate the TerraBlock,” said Daniel. “The installation was handled by Facilis in both facilities and we had no issues with copying the data from our existing systems to the new one. Due to the speed of the copying operation our entire current online data was copied in less than 36 hours.”

Another key consideration for drp was TerraBlock’s ability to support 4K production workflows – once again, they have been impressed with the capabilities that Facilis offers. “We have started to acquire 4K footage and we will shortly be looking to use that in our everyday workflow – with the TerraBlock at the heart of that operation,” stated Hyde. “One of our major considerations when looking for a new shared storage was how it would handle a full 4K workflow – and how much bandwidth we would have available.”

So, at the end of a busy few months, which have seen drp move its storage system over to a powerful and cost-effective expandable shared storage architecture the drp team are very happy with the results. When asked if there was one new feature of the storage system that excites him most Jonathan replied, “I think allowing us to run multiple NLEs on both Fiber and Ethernet with enough bandwidth to support additional grading and audio post facilities is probably the thing which has and will continue to help us to develop from where we were.”

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