The challenge

Toast needed to make sure its video editing process is a seamless experience which meets customers' high expectation. Toast's previous solutions, Samba, fell short in handling real-time playback of frame-based workflows, causing production delays.

The solution

They replaced Samba SMB with Fusion File Share by Tuxera™, our high-performance SMB server solution, to address the bottleneck in its production process.

The results:

  • Enhanced real-time playback workflow efficiency
  • Improved data accessibility
  • Faster project completion
  • Toast is a full-service post-production house based in Helsinki, handling everything from commercials to feature films. As media and file types evolve, Toast meets the growing demands and complexities head-on, working side-by-side with clients.

    “We work with a wide variety of media, which presents a challenge: Managing work groups is complex due to the multiple users, software suites, and workstations involved. We need everything networked and accessible to everyone at the same time,” explains Veikko Ruuskanen, CEO of Toast Post Production Oy.

    To make their video editing process seamless and continue meeting customers’ high expectations, Toast decided to implement Fusion File Share by Tuxera™.

    Samba couldn’t handle frame-based workflows and real-time playback

    Toast stores raw material in shared storage accessible through its high-speed 40 GB production network. The studio features three color grading suites, along with editing and VFX workstations, all using this shared storage. Under tight deadlines, Toast often uses multiple suites simultaneously.

    The file sizes Toast handles vary greatly. Large QuickTime files can be a few hundred gigabytes each and are simpler to manage. However, frame-based workflows store each frame separately, with images ranging from 10 to 60 MB. Playing back 25 to 60 frames per second creates a substantial throughput demand.

    Before using Fusion, Toast’s workstations relied on NVMe disks or cache storage to render and cache files locally when they were too heavy to process directly from the network share. Toast aimed to eliminate this additional step in the workflow: the goal was to playback everything directly from the file shares and use a shared location for storing caches, renders, and gallery data.
    Although Samba—the open-source software Toast previously used—could handle large file-based workflows, it had limitations with frame-based workflows. This was especially problematic for special effects sequences where editors need frequent access to individual frames.

    Tuxera’s software opens up a bottleneck

    Veikko discovered Fusion after searching for solutions in online forums, and the initial test and demonstration were straightforward. But at the time, Veikko had no idea what Fusion was capable of.

    “With the Fusion File Share software, we found that we could instantly manage real-time transfers of the most demanding file types. The change was immediate,” says Veikko.

    Veikko also appreciates the Tuxera team’s support when troubleshooting issues. “They’ve been incredibly helpful and cooperative. They truly know their stuff.”

    While Toast is still fine-tuning the system, the removal of the SMB protocol bottleneck means they can now focus entirely on creativity without any waiting or hassle.

    “With the Fusion File Share software, we found that we could instantly manage real-time transfers of the most demanding file types. The change was immediate.”

    “The main reason we use Fusion is to push our network infrastructure to perform at its maximum level, and not be held back by the SMB protocol. And now we’re achieving that, we’re pushing the system as far as we can,” says Veikko.

    Top benefits of Fusion File Share by Tuxera

    Veikko shares the biggest benefits Toast has experienced since switching to Fusion:

    Improved customer experience

    With Fusion, it’s now easier for Toast’s in-house artists to keep clients happy without worrying about storage hiccups or file types. For example, artists can play back footage directly for clients instead of rendering play outs before clients arrive.
    “From our clients’ perspective, things work the same, but faster. We didn’t need to implement new workflows or educate people on new ways of working,” says Veikko.

    “No matter the material or the task, everyone can access files at line speeds and just focus on their work.”

    While the SMB network speed previously capped at 1,500 to 1,600 MB per second, Toast now achieves 5 GB per second line speed on its 40 GB network.

    “No matter the material or the task, everyone can access files at line speeds and just focus on their work,” Veikko summarizes.

    Security made simple

    Veikko highly values Tuxera’s secure data management. “Everything is now backed up on a safe disk system and automatically archived, so there are no files scattered across separate disks. This simplicity ensures security.”

    With a consistent workflow across all projects, Toast is now less prone to human error, and no longer needs to use different tools for various tasks.

    “I don’t wish to play with the reliability of my storage,” says Veikko. “We need to assure our clients and production companies that when footage is in our hands, it’s safe. Regardless of speed, safety is the top priority, especially when working with major labels.”

    The Fusion features that have the biggest impact on Toast’s work include:
    RDMA (SMB Direct): This allows Toast to increase throughput and prevent CPU bottlenecks.
    SMB Multichannel: This maintains the high data exchange and frames-per-second playback Toast needs.
    Scale-out clustering keeps concurrent file sharing fast and free of interruptions.
    Low latency speeds up content production across the team.

    Exploring new possibilities with the SMB protocol upgrade

    With the SMB protocol bottleneck removed, Toast is now exploring new ways to simplify its workflows.

    “Now that the protocol transfer speed is no longer a limitation, we can use our imagination and design the background storage pool to suit our exact needs. We’re considering separating metadata on the backend storage and upgrading some SSD pools to NVMe pools for even better performance,” says Veikko.

    Although Toast now runs Fusion on its main storage pool, the studio plans to explore using it on its other two storage pools. They’d also like to try out Fusion’s custom clustering option.

    Veikko shares his advice for other post-production studios seeking workflow improvements: “In the production industry, you need to know what you’re buying. So be playful, and dig deeper. Maybe join a few storage work groups. When you learn more about storage servers, you can ask the right questions about what you need and demand more.”

    Just one simple change can unlock the full potential of your content storage and network bandwidth. Learn more about how Fusion File Share by Tuxera™ gives you the rapid performance, scalability, and rock steady reliability you need to run your most demanding applications.

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