The TED media team is no stranger to dealing with large amounts of data. The bulk of the data is the HD video recorded of the sessions from multiple angles at 1080p. Not only is all this data created in a week, it has to be organized so that it’s immediately usable during the event as well as after. You know how there’s often a video from a great talk at TED posted the next day? That happens because the data workflow has been honed to allow the data to come in from all the cameras and, in very short order, be available for an editor to sit down with Final Cut and work with it overnight to produce a polished TEDTalk.
It’s like being able to chew gum and run while typing a message on your iPhone and hold a conversation with a friend while crossing a busy intersection. I’m always in awe when I see the entire team in action.
For TED2012, there’s a pretty big change in the media room. Instead of dozens of MacPros and piles of SATA drives like there have been in the last eight TED events I’ve been part of, the room is full of iMacs and Thunderbolt drives. Lots of Thunderbolt drives.
In the lower right photograph, there are twelve 12TB Pegasus R6 arrays. That’s 144TB total. It’s a tenth of a freaking petabyte of usable space. For good measure, there are a few more Pegasus arrays, including one that’s dedicated to photography—including the data I’ll be contributing. There are also a large number of LaCie Little Big Disks—like the one I bought the other day—running around to handle various bits of the workflow.
It’s impressive. In fact, it’s the biggest deployment of Thunderbolt-based storage that I’ve seen. And, it’s going to get worked out extremely well over the next ten days.
Update (2012/03/04): I’ve posted the post-event report telling how it all went.