LucidLink: Cloud NAS For Video Teams

Our partners at LucidLink have been turning Video Post and Production heads with their simple-to-use cloud NAS solution, LucidLink Filespaces.  LucidLink solves the problem of distance and latency in cloud environments by reducing the volume of traffic between creative applications and remote storage. By boosting responsiveness, LucidLink enables file data to be delivered more efficiently than traditional file delivery solutions and streamed on-demand. Performance is further optimized by sophisticated data prefetching based on a proprietary, adaptive algorithm; parallel TCP streams; local write-back caching, and in-line compression. Simply put, LucidLink doesn’t really change an editor’s workflow –  no matter where they’re located. The editor continues collaborating as if they’re editing on a local storage network- even though their mounted cloud storage is delivering over the internet. Richie Murray, Media Workflow and Cloud Technologist at LucidLink recently joined an episode of Inputs/Outputs to provide an overview and demonstrate LucidLink’s approach to making post production collaboration from anywhere a reality. Before we get into it, if you are interested in seeing LucidLink in action, please contact Key Code Media. We’d be happy to provide a demonstration, pricing information, or design a turnkey production workflow around the LucidLink system.  

What is LucidLink?

LucidLink Filespaces is a new generation, advanced, general-purpose distributed file system architected for the cloud that uses any off or on-premise object storage as a back-end repository. It leverages the outstanding properties of modern object storage systems such as durability, elasticity, and scalability as a foundation to offer an infinitely scalable, elastic, and durable file service.  Only the small bits of data that comprise the part of a file is being read and written to are streamed between the client and the object store, not the entire file, Thus, LucidLink enables cloud storage to be used similar to the way local storage is used. For security, LucidLink uses the strongest AES-256 in GCM mode, a form of authenticated encryption. Using authenticated encryption has the added benefit that any malicious tampering or data integrity issues such as bit rot on the server side will be immediately detected upon access. This offers creative users a high degree of peace of mind that any accessed data is indeed genuine. All the locally cached data and metadata on the client devices themselves are stored encrypted on the local disk. Simply disconnecting from the Filespace prevents an attacker with physical access to the device from gaining access to the LucidLink Filespace. To sum it up, LucidLink allows users to collaborate on any project (regardless of NLE), using a mixture of public, private, and hybrid solutions. The media can be streamed up to 100x faster than consumer products, with encryption security at rest and while in transit.  

LucidLink for Post-Production: Cloud Hybrid Made Easy

Lucidlink Filespaces is a single product with a robust amount of features and tools within it. We’ll attempt to break down the main components below.
  • LucidLink Client – This is the software client that is downloaded to and installed on each workstation. The LucidLink Client is available on macOS, Windows, or Linux.
  • LucidLink Filespace – This is the core engine behind LucidLink’s workflow. During setup, you’ll choose your Filespace plan (Basic, Team, Enterprise, Custom), choose the nearest Cloud storage host location, and name your Filespace. Once a Filespace is created, it can be accessed through the LucidLink Client on your workstation just like any folder on your local hard drive.
  • LucidLink Control Panel – In the Control Panel, you have a variety of settings including local settings, User Management, Groups Management, Share Preferences, and Snapshots.
    • User Settings – The key setting we immediately tweaked was local cache, so we could download entire projects locally to our desktop. There are other settings like bandwidth up/down caps, compression, and mount point.
    • Lucidlink User Management – This allows you to add collaborators to your shared folder. You can give people on your team read, or read/write access to the entire Filespace or select access to specific subfolders.
    • LucidLink Teams – You can create Team access and read/write settings that then can be administered to a group of users on that team.
    • Share Management – This allows you to change read/write access settings for entire Filespaces or subfolders.
    • Snapshots – These snapshots are immutable and allow users to restore prior versions of either individual files or revert the entire Filespace to an earlier point. Great for when you need to revert to an old file or if a ransom attack attempts to take down your media.

What We Like About LucidLink:

  1. Great For Collaboration – LucidLink unique block-level technology allows creators to start viewing and editing media files- even when the media might be only partially uploaded to the cloud Filespace.
  2. NLE Independent – LucidLink is compatible with all major Non-Linear Editors – Avid Media Composer, Adobe Creative Cloud, FCPX, Davinci Resolve, and more. It’s also operation system independent working on Mac, PC, and Linux. The best collaborative use case we’ve seen uses both Adobe Productions For Premiere Pro and LucidLink to provide bin-locking functionality across users accessing media hosted entirely in the cloud. A true ‘Eureka‘ moment for hybrid teams.
  3. Pinning – Adding a pin to folders, media, and projects will cache these assets locally and ensure the first read of a video frame is from their local disk rather than the cloud. This ensures that editors can access locally even if their internet quality is poor, or if their bandwidth isn’t large enough to support the bitrate of the video files being used. With pinning, the single source of truth is in the Filespace 100% of the time.
  4. Immutable Snapshots – Snapshots protect teams from catastrophic failure, making sure you can return to previous versions of files or projects.
  5. User Access Control – NAS-like administrative tools allow you to partisan storage spaces, throttle bandwidth, and control users or teams’ read/write capabilities.
  6. Security – Everything in Lucidlink is using AES-256 encryption- making it secure for highly sensitive projects.  Just remember to continue to use common sense best practices when creating and storing a password. For your security, there is no password recovery system.

How would you design a LucidLink Camera to Cloud Workflow?

LucidLink is just one part of the puzzle for a complete collaborative hybrid workflow. Post-production teams will still need to consider whether to go Mac vs. PC, which NLE to use for either online, offline, and creative editorial.  Those are decisions every creative team faces.  It can be accessed from anywhere. Luckily, LucidLink just appears on a host as a local drive. Post-production facilities can continue to use their favorite near-set camera ingest tools like Content Agent or Telestream Vantage.  Files are streamed from these tools through LucidLink’s client to the cloud, and are even available to stream even before the upload is completed!   Common on-prem shared storage like Avid NEXIS or SNS EVO can be used in conjunction to manage media that still needs to be accessed locally or uploaded via LucidLink for your remote users. Cloud storage providers like Amazon S3,  Microsoft Azure Blob Storage, and Google Cloud Platform Object Storage can be utilized.  Asset and Storage Management tools like CatDV, Frame IO, and Sharebrowser can also access the files and metadata, just as they would with a local drive. Delivery tools like Aspera will also work.  Your files are the same, just HOW they can be accessed is different. If you have any questions on how LucidLink can be leveraged in your production and post- production team’s workflows don’t hesitate to reach out to the Key Code Media team. Our engineers are ready to answer questions and assist in finding the right solution.

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