Rapid expansion brings growing pains and challenges to any collaborative organization’s work- flow. But at OX Creative, pain and challenges that accompany speedy growth are things the team has thrived on.
During the past few years, the suburban Chicago creative boutique has gone from a freelance business to a full-fledged team of filmmakers and designers that has helped generate more than $1 billion in pledged funds and whose work has even been recognized by the President of the United States. As for easing those growing pains that arrived during its journey to becoming a premier creative agency, OX Creative found a solution at MacSales.com that could grow right along with the company – OWC’s unified storage solution: Jupiter Callisto.
Cleaning Up a ‘Mess’ of Drives
OX Creative director and editor Corry Wiens has witnessed first-hand many of the challenges that the agency has faced over the years, including the near-loss of crucial data and a workflow that became a black hole for time and resources as the team grew.
“It got really messy, really fast,” Wiens recalls of the company’s previous workflow.
Each day, team members would store their projects locally on their own external hard drives. In order to share and collaborate, they would have to bring their drive to another workstation and either copy it or work off of the portable drive in an inefficient process that ate up valuable hours.
“We were trying to pull all of our files together and make sure that we didn’t have copies of all the files, but also that we weren’t missing any files. It was just a huge headache. I couldn’t even tell you how much time it took,” Wiens said.
A combination of this tedious workflow and nearly losing crucial data from a freak power outage, motivated the team to find a more robust and permanent solution.
The search for an affordable, scalable storage system ultimately led to Jupiter Callisto. OX Creative initially considered deploying Callisto as a secure archival storage solution but soon learned it was capable of so much more.Center of the Workflow
Beyond offering secure archiving capabilities with its RAID options, massive capacity potential and advanced ZFS storage architecture, OWC Jupiter Callisto brought a new world of possibilities to OX Creative.
“Once we found Callisto and started to dream about what it would be like to have that around our office, we realized there were much better uses for it,” Wiens said.
Having a central, unified storage system brought about a new level of collaboration, which is critical in ever- changing creative environments that require an agile workflow.
“The accessibility of the data is huge. Having it available to everyone on the team at the same time is really a game changer for us,” Wiens said. “Now that the footage and projects are all available to everyone at the same time, it’s super easy to collaborate on projects and sync them back together once you’re done.”
The OX Creative team has seven workstations connected to Callisto with plenty of room for growth. Even as new video editors and designers are added to the collaboration efforts, performance has remained rock solid.
“Our four edit stations go off 10Gb/s Ethernet and the designers go off 1Gb,” Wiens said. “Most of the projects we edit, we’re working with one or two 4K cameras, and we’ll normally have two or three computers working with the 4K footage at the same time and we haven’t had any performance issues from Callisto. It even held up great with the 8K footage we recently worked with.”
OX Creative also takes advantage of the data protection offered by Callisto with ZFS RAID, which offers superior data redundancy. The RAID capabilities add a layer of security that gives peace of mind without sacrificing elite performance all while remaining simple to manage. “Having the redundancy [of RAID-Z] gives you peace of mind,“ he added. “Especially after coming off [the external drives] that failed on us. We lost a lot of footage. Fortunately we had backups. But having redundant drives is important.”
Callisto’s ZFS storage architecture provides the option for agencies like OX Creative to take advantage of single or double RAID-Z levels and even the more advanced triple parity level — something hardware RAID and most other file system and software-based RAIDs lack.
Return on Investment
Callisto has brought big change to OX Creative’s workflow, but part of the draw is its unique ability to grow alongside the creative boutique. OWC Jupiter’s mini-SAS expansion supports additional OWC Jupiter Kore storage racks for multiple petabytes of managed storage from a single Callisto box. This potential, and the ability to consolidate his team’s workflow, has made it a worthwhile investment for OX Creative founder and creative director Jesse Oxford.
“In the year that we’ve had the Callisto, it has essentially paid for itself in time saved searching for and consolidating files amongst several workstations,” said Oxford.
And Callisto will stay in the center of his team’s workflow for the long haul.
“It’s hard to predict what the future will look like in the film and design world, but it feels good knowing that we have a system in place that can handle whatever we need,” Wiens said.