NAB 2013: The TitaniumZ-5 from Small Tree

Need portable network storage for up to 6 editors?

Not everyone in post-production has the need for shared storage and probably even less of those need portable shared storage but if you’re one of those that do look no further than the TitaniumZ–5 from Small Tree. It’s got some impressive specs and an eye-catching, yet useful form factor. It looks like it would be the perfect fit for certain editing situations.

It was hard to miss the Small Tree both as the bright green colors made their NAB booth easy to spot. The TitaniumZ–5 was also hard to miss as the silver and green box sat front and center with the big suitcase-like handle right on top. That handle means it’s designed for portability and at under 25 pounds it’s not going to be too hard to move it from place to place.

That thing just looks portable.

There’s 5 drives in the box so it can be stripped into RAID–5 configurations so you can lose a drive without losing all the data. There’s 4 gigabit Ethernet ports so four clients can hook up at once. There’s also a PCI-Express slot where another card could be added such as a 2-port 10-gig Ethernet card or another GbE card so you could have 6 total gig-E connections. All the tech specs are on the Z–5’s webpage.

When you see a handle like that it can only mean one thing: portability.

Performance

Here’s the specs of the TitaniumZ–5 right off Small Tree’s data sheet:

  • Up to 15 TB of “usable capacity”
  • Supports 2TB, 3TB and 4TB disks
  • Up to 6 GbE connections
  • Up to 2 10GbE connections
  • Supports Mac, Windows, Linux and Unix as well as most any post-production application you might want to use
  • ZFS, AFP, SMB (CIFS), NFS and iSCSI protocol support (whatever all of that means)

But what most editors might want to know is what kind of real-world editing performance can you expect: 9 streams of ProRes 422 up to 5 streams of ProRes 4444. I doubt that means 6 people connected at once could all do 5 streams of ProRes 4×4 at the same time but at least that gives us an idea.

Design

The display on the front display all the relevant data to monitor the TitaniumZ–5 while you work.

A full array of ports are on the back and might differ depending on what cards you have inside.

The interior of the unit isn’t packed new as tightly as I would have thought.

Real-world use

I heard a great story from Walter Biscardi, who was working the booth and is a longtime Small Tree user, about an offsite edit he was doing in a hotel with the TitaniumZ–5. He was working away when his client decided she wanted to review footage. Instead of pausing the edit to review footage in the NLE, or taking time and system resources to encode viewing clips or copy media, Walter plugged the client’s laptop right into the TitaniumZ–5 and she was able to open up and view clips right off the TitaniumZ–5 in Quicktime Player. He said that she was quite impressed.

If you don’t like green then you may not like the sides of the TitaniumZ–5 but you sure will like the performance.

Pricing for the TitaniumZ–5 begins at around $7,500 so it’s not something everyone will run out and buy tomorrow but if you have the need for this unique storage option then the TitaniumZ–5 might be the answer.


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Scott Simmons

Scott Simmons was born in rural West Tennessee and didn’t really realize that movies and tv had to be made by actual people until he went to college. After getting degrees in both Television Production and Graphic Design he was in one of the early graduating classes at the Watkins Film School in Nashville, Tennessee. During that time at Watkins he discovered editing. While most of his classmates in film school wanted to be directors, Scott saw real career opportunities in post production and took a job as an assistant editor after completing film school. In 1999, Scott took the leap into freelancing and in 2007 accepted a position as an editor at Filmworkers – Nashville. In 2005 Scott created The Editblog a website dedicated to all things editing and post-production which is now housed here at PVC. Someday he hopes to edit on a beach with a touch screen device, a wireless hard drive and a Red Stripe.

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