The Fusion ioFX is a high-performance, high throughput, and high capacity flash memory product that is specifically tuned to accelerate the applications that compositors, editors, painters, and content creators use. The ioFX allows single users to work faster and more efficiently, with the same task output as a full studio.
Compositing and Tracking
Typically, compositors can only view real-time sequences of a few seconds in length because real-time play runs from a mere 8 to 32GB of RAM in most compositors’ workstations. The ioFX extends this cache with up to 1.6TB of high-performance flash per PCI Express slot. A single ioFX allows compositors to work in uncompressed 2K resolution in real-time. With two devices, compositors can also work in real-time, but in uncompressed 4K resolution.
Throughput limitations often require editors to work with half-resolution proxies before final processing. The ioFX delivers 1.4 GB/s bandwidth per device, allowing editors to work more interactively and in full resolution, thus eliminating wasteful proxy iterations. In addition, editors with large capacity requirements can get rid of large external disk drive arrays that are costly, noisy, generate lots of heat, and are subject to stability issues and failures (always, it seems, at the most critical times). The ioFX delivers better performance and stability so artists can focus on their work.
The ioFX greatly benefits artists who work on large files that frequently overflow the available system memory. It provides a super-fast “scratch” disk, or flash-based temporary processing space, for image editing or “Photoshop work.” Photographers manipulating images, matte painting artists, or artists working on digital images intended for print or publicity will find they can focus on their work instead of on the wait. Whether you are sorting through thousands of photos or painting new backgrounds for the next big blockbuster, ioMemory makes it happen significantly faster.
Playback and Review
Playback is an essential part of every production pipeline, and is usually done on an editing station or custom, specialized system. Because playback requires storing significant amounts of data, these systems usually include a large local RAID array, upon which content must be arranged sequentially to improve playback speeds. Stereoscopic playback adds even more stress because it requires a second stream to be simultaneously projected, doubling system throughput requirements. Moreover, because stereoscopic effects are best viewed when an image is in motion (not on a still frame), live playback becomes essential. An artist’s workstation equipped with an ioFX becomes a high-powered playback and compositing system. Playback can begin while data is loading, eliminating prep time before review sessions. Content flagged for fixes at the beginning of the session can be worked on and recopied to the ioFX before the session ends, enabling “same session” updates with the director.
On-set Digital Imaging or DIT Work
File based workflows are now the standard for most film and television productions today. The job of the DIT requires the fastest possible turn-around of RAW assets from all kinds of cameras—converting, transcoding and encoding a myriad of file formats to distribute to production and post-production staff. The ioFX is a perfect companion to the DIT workstation. Encoding and transcoding can happen between 30% faster than some RAIDed SSD solutions, and up to 300% faster than single SSDs on SATA. On-set playback of 4K footage is now possible using a laptop with Thunderbolt and an ioFX in a Thunderbolt expansion chassis, with current Thunderbolt solutions delivering above 900MB/s.
Video Encoding and Transcoding
Video content is produced in many different formats for a variety of viewing mechanisms, from QuickTime videos to Adobe Flash and Blu-Ray. The conversion of source data into these different formats and resolutions is an expensive, time-consuming part of the broadcast pipeline that requires a lot of space-eating capacity. Whether you are a content creator who wants to in-source or streamline encoding and transcoding, or a service provider looking to be more competitive and profitable, Fusion-io products decrease conversion processing times at a fraction of the cost and space of disk-based systems.
3D Content Creation
Many architectural, design, engineering, and manufacturing firms deal with huge and unwieldy files that are slow to load and save. In many cases, just opening these files overflows available RAM, resulting in an application crash. When dealing with large 3D models, such as manufacturing data sets, the speed of these functions directly impacts time to market. The ioFX’s low latency enables multiple data streams to load simultaneously, slashing save and load times. The ioFX can also serve as a “scratch,” or temporary file location, extending the amount of memory available to applications that support disk caching. Applications like Mari (a scalable, resolution-independent 3D paint package) from The Foundry save massive amounts of information with every stroke when working at very high resolutions for feature film content. The resulting application slowness can interrupt the creative process. The ioFX accelerates saves and loads, and brushstroke creation and deletion to empower the artist, who can then focus on the creative process.
Since proxies distort depth perception, they cannot be used in stereoscopic workflows. Consequently, stereoscopic production requires two uncompressed data streams, which dramatically increases the bandwidth requirements of the workstation. The ioFX offers 1.4GB/s of linearly scaling bandwidth per device, so artists can handle uncompressed S3D work in real-time.
Many of today’s GPUs have a parallel computing architecture that dramatically increases computing performance. This gives artists thousands of cores per GPU and multiple GPUs per workstation. The problem is that only a small percentage of these cores are utilized because slow disk I/O stalls data before it gets to the cores. The ioFX eliminates this I/O bottleneck so GPUs work at peak performance, greatly accelerating image-processing tasks like encoding and decoding. Furthermore, an ioFX can also accelerate render time in certain cases.
Asset management databases regularly run jobs that track massive amounts of data, revisions, and notes in the pipeline. Most studio managers are well acquainted with the challenge of keeping artists productive instead of waiting for tasks or files to load from storage to the workstations. Using ioMemory to host database metadata eliminates these slowdowns, ensuring both business and creative employees stay productive.
The ioFX can accelerate many data wrangling tasks, including the following:
Data Acquisition. The ioFX captures data at extremely high speed, making it an ideal storage media for high-speed and high-resolution camera data, as well as for data transcoding and encoding, and review and metadata tagging.
Data Replication. Data can be mirrored between two devices for redundancy.