Using Avid NEXIS as IPDirector Nearline

I previously haven’t heard of Avid NEXIS being used as IPDirector Nearline storage. On one of the productions we have still tried to get it to work and have partially succeeded.

NEXIS is a bespoke network storage solution designed by Avid. Windows machines can access it only if NEXIS Client Manager software is installed locally and authenticated against the storage.

One of the modes of presenting the storage to Windows is ‘letterless mapping’:

This way the storage will appear not as a mapped network drive, but via UNC path:

Since we now have a UNC path, why not add it to IPDirector’s Remote Installer and see what happens?

Sadly, not much happens! The storage management mode is ‘Restricted Management’ and the resource state is ‘Not Managed’:

But why, IPDirector, why? Logs tell us that the SyncroDB service is trying to get an IP address from the hostname we supplied to Remote Installer (\\NEXIS\) but fails to resolve it. In fact, we can’t resolve that hostname via Windows itself either: when we try to ping NEXIS nothing happens.

This is due to the way NEXIS Client Manager presents itself to the OS. At least we can ping the storage’s IPD address. Can we somehow make the NEXIS hostname resolvable? Of course we can. Let’s edit the hosts file:

Let’s try to ping NEXIS now… success!

Let’s see if IPDirector is happy now.. it is!

And we can, of course, see our clips in the Database Explorer. Is there a catch? Of course there is: NEXIS doesn’t send IPDirector File System Watcher notifications, so changes within the folders are not automatically reflected – you won’t see your new clips appear in DB explorer, etc. You will have to keep clicking ‘Search for New Files and Folders’ in DB explorer tree to see the new items that you have sent to the storage.

In our case, however, in the absence of a dedicated Nearline in a low-budget production this little Nearline addition was quite useful, as operators now had the opportunity to clip up material from the storage and send it to various targets via XTAccess transfer agents.

In any case, use only the kind of network storage that your software manufacturer recommends. Vendors can’t possibly test all usage scenarios (there’s too many hardware and storage platforms): if what you are trying to do hasn’t been tested and validated – there is not much they can do to help!