Avid ISIS 1000 - Review

So we’ve all heard about it, but at long last the Avid ISIS|1000 turns up (in demo mode) in New Zealand at the office!
The Avid ISIS|1000 is the latest cost effective addition to the range of ISIS storage products. With 16TB of usable storage, 3 million files and folder count, support for 24 editing clients attached via a switch and the ability to be expanded with 3 additional chassis, this looks to be a very interesting proposal.

What’s in the box?
The first point of interest is that this is a turnkey solution (well, almost) with the system shipping in a preconfigured 2U chassis. Even more interesting is the fact that it is based on a Seagate (formally DELL) HB-1235. The other very interesting point is that for the first time Avid ISIS appears to be running on Linux! No windows OS in sight.

The ISIS Engine is made up of 12 disks, with 2 disks being SSD drives (RAID1) for the OS and the remaining 10 being 2TB eSATA media drives. The media drives as a whole are referred to as Media Packs, and are managed in some RAID format (not mentioned in any documentation but Avid own RAID design with two parity drives) by the Storage Controller.

Connect up the power cables turn on the PSUs and wait. No On/OFF button here just some POST and up she comes. A little noisy though I have to say for such a small unit, but then this is usually the way with units like this.

Setting it Up
Setting up the system and the first thing you find is that there is no OS set up needed, but rather a laptop on a specified port, and internet connection for loading the license and registering. It’s also worth noting that this is running ISIS 5.0 software and not its bigger brothers versions of 4.7.x. That said when you look at the system configuration and new OS you can understand why.

Set-up is via a web page through the Storage Controller

Management of the system is almost identical to that of the other ISIS systems, but as there is no OS interaction this means that the Control Panels from the earlier models have, in effect, been moved onto the Web Management interface or may well be hidden inside the BMC (Baseboard Management System) software which is accessed through another dedicated IP address.

The Manager has a new clean, grey interface with a few unfamiliar items such as the Media Packs and the Storage Controller. That said the build process is still very familiar to you if you have ever tinkered with an ISIS before. 

v5 software, but a familiar interface - Click the image for a better view!
Once registered and the software installed, the first thing to do is build the file system. Once you have file system then you bind the media pack(s) into the file system. If you have more than a single Engine then the other should appear in the Media Packs list. From here on out the process is the same as any other ISIS system building users, groups and workspaces.

The 10 disks in the Media Pack give you 300MBs of throughput  (4 engines giving you 1200Mbs) However owing to the new RAID system used by Avid the ISIS|1000 now uses a 512KB block size (2MB blocks used on the ISIS|5500) making for  which makes for a more efficient storage for small audio files (like renders) and Project information.

The ISIS|1000 (unlike the 7500 and 5500) does not support any directly attached clients. Currently, the documentation says that either the DELL 2024 or 3024 is supported, I'm also led to believe that the NETGEAR XS712T is also supported but its not mentioned in the setup guide. I am sure the list will expand, but a 10Gb connection is needed to go between the Engine and the switch, no 1Gb connections here! Both DELL switches support both 1Gb, 2Gb, 10Gb and 20Gb client connections, remembering that you also need a 10Gb connection back to the Engine from the switch!

DELL 2024P switch
ISIS Client connection software looks identical and can be downloaded from the ISIS Management page as usual. There are Mac and Windows installers as standard, but not sure if Linux boxes are supported yet?

Currently the ISIS 1000 does not support Interplay but then I think people wishing to run Interplay would be looking to the likes of the ISIS 5k and ISIS 7k if they were investing in Interplay. But as Avid bring out there cut down virtual Interplays I’m sure we will see this change.

What do we think
The ISIS 1000 looks to be a great box, and I am sure it will be of interest to a number of people with an expected price of around £12000-£15000 for a complete system I’m sure smaller Indy Post Houses and Education will be very interested. (would be nice if the LDAP tool went and the system supported AD integration through the Web interface, always a request from the education market) I look forward to seeing this in the field and seeing how it really performs when pushed. 

Thanks to Atomise to letting me have a look over the system.


  1. This is a wicked write up of really useful information - short, to the point. Just what I need! We bought our first ISIS a couple of weeks back - the ISIS|1000 w/ Dell N2024 and we've been having some issues.

    We used to use EditShare, so we've been running some comparisons. If we import clips to either server the storage used in the same. However, if you Link > Transcode the ISIS|1000 uses up 10MB more space PER FILE (30MB for 1 vid, 2 audio). And if you consolidate to the ISIS - either from EditShare or from one ISIS Workspace to another - it adds 10MB per file again! This means moving across about 50GB of music from EditShare to ISIS used up 200GB!

    My first thought was block size, which led me to your very useful blog. You've stated 512KB, which is pretty standard and efficient. There goes the theory. Back to Google I go!


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