Imperial War Museum Successfully Achieves Large Scale and High Speed Storage with the Flexibility of Synology’s HD6500

Imperial War Museum


Warm storage solution


Video per week

Not many NAS devices support what we need. Having the option and flexibility to be able to contact Synology with feature requests, knowing that they will be read, researched with a strong chance they will be put into production is fantastic and reassuring. We also fed back to them about issues with active directory and permissions; this was resolved very quickly so we praise their tech support and development teams.

Rob Tyler, IT DAMS Manager, Imperial War Museum

Requiring a modern solution to accommodate larger video capacities and enhance access to their growing library.

As part of their preservation project, Imperial War Museum are part way through a multi-decade project to bring the taped films of the last 100 years to future audiences. They have thousands of film reels each upwards of 10 minutes, which need to be captured into their digital library, at greater and greater resolutions.

Having recently changed to 4K raw recording, with no compression, Imperial War Museum were faced with massive data growth, saturating their existing storage.

They needed a more modern solution to allow a faster ingestion of footage throughout their infrastructure enabling larger video capacities to be transferred faster, and to provide a greater buffer to their growing Digital Tape Library.

A third concern was the time and effort to retrieve the footage from their tape library for requests from users including documentary film-makers, students and MoD personnel.

Synology Solution Streamlines Imperial War Museum's Digitisation Workflow

Synology has been the mainstay of Imperial War Museums storage infrastructure for over 15 years so Synology was the obvious choice when deploying their next generation of digitisation workflow; already having discovered the ultra-fast transfer rates, ease of use, and reliability offered by the Synology solutions.

Already, back in 2014, Imperial War Museum contacted Synology support to discuss future possibilities regarding larger volume support. At the time, Imperial War Museum was looking to go beyond the 108TB single volume of usable capacity which had previously been limited by 3rd party software, and so the feature was requested for 200TB volumes on the Synology NAS. After rigorous testing on both the hardware and the software, Synology's development team were able to grant this feature request in the DSM 5.1 release, enabling Imperial War Museum to entrust their data on Synology NAS for future deployments.

With the change to 4K resolution, Imperial War Museum have found they are now generating 15-20TB of footage each week, which takes time to be written to their cold tape library. As such, Imperial War Museum looked to utilise Synology's All Flash Array FS2017 and, more recently, Synology's performance flagship FS6400 for ultra-fast writes from their ingest station, whilst holding lots of footage waiting to be posted onto their tape library for longer-term storage.

Having built up a 1.8 Petabyte archive of footage on their tape library, Imperial War Museum have discovered that retrieving a specific clip is a lengthy process; needing the request to come through via email, where they then look through their tape index, load the tape into the machine, read the files off onto their local computer before distributing back to the requestor. To remove this tedious retrieval process, Imperial War Museum now employ the Synology HD6500 Petabyte Scale Solution as warm storage allowing access times to be brought down from days to near-instant access directly through their website. With this transition to the latest-generation hardware, Imperial War Museum can be safe in knowing that their solution has set them up for 5PB worth of data growth, reassuring them they have enough film in their pipeline to keep them going until 2050.

Of course, having lots of systems spread over hundreds of acres across multiple sites, managing and keeping track of all these systems can be very difficult. As such, Imperial War Museum utilise Active Insight, Synology's cloud-based monitoring tool allowing customers to monitor all their systems for both performance and capacity, running many of their systems at 90%+ regularly when onloading and offloading footage between their systems.



A topology of how multiple Synology NAS are being used together

Large scale and high speed storage with easy management

With the continued use of Synology Systems, Imperial War Museum has prepared for their future storage needs:
  • Large-scale storage, with Petabytes of data being produced, Imperial War Museum's HD6500 can grow with them.
  • High-speed storage and networking allows the maximum throughput of their ingestion workflow.
  • Easy management and monitoring of all their systems from each site with Active Insight.

A server rack with Synology NAS systems

The Customer

The Imperial War Museums are a leading museum in the UK, showcasing conflict and its effect on people's lives. Since being founded in 1917, Imperial War Museum have built up the largest collection of aircraft in Europe, and are unique in their coverage of conflicts, particularly those involving Britain and the Commonwealth, from the First World War to the present day.

With over 5 million visitors each year to their 5 sites around the UK; London, Trafford, Greater Manchester, Churchill War Rooms in Whitehall, HMS Belfast moored on the Thames in London, and the largest being situated in Duxford, just outside Cambridge; they seek to provide for, and to encourage, the study and understanding of the history of modern war and 'wartime experience' and are proud to be regarded as essential sights of London, Cambridgeshire, and Greater Manchester.

United Kingdom

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