Final Cut Server: Using Amazon S3 for Archival

Final Cut Server allows you to archive the primary representation (or the original file) for assets that are cataloged.  When you do so, the proxy clips (low resolution versions) of your assets still live on the Final Cut Server.  However, the primary representation, once moved to your archive device can then be archived off to another form of media.

There are a variety of strategies to manage archived media. The one I will describe here is using the Amazon S3 storage service at a cost of approximately $.12 to $.15 per gigabyte. As a conduit to and from Amazon S3 we will use the Jungle Disk application, which uses the Amazon S3 API to provide a mount point to Mac OS X.  Before you get started, first create an Amazon account (or enable Amazon Web Services for your existing Amazon account).  Once you have enabled Web Services, click on the link that will be emailed to you that allows you to create an Access Identifier. Also keep in mind that file sizes cannot be larger than 5GB per file.

To get started, download Jungle Disk from http://www.jungledisk.com. Once downloaded, run the installer. At the welcome screen click on Next.  At the Jungle Disk Account Information screen enter the Access Identifier and the Secret Key for your user account.

Next, tell Jungle Disk to use the storage from Amazon as a Network Drive. Here, I gave this drive a name of FCSBackup.

Next, create a new bucket (or use one you have already created).

To create a new bucket, click on Next. At the Bucket Setup screen provide a name for your bucket of storage within S3.  I called my bucket fcsvrbackup.  Here you can use standard or high encryption. Speeds will be reduced with high encryption but the data will be more secure. Click Next when you are satisfied with your settings and then click on Finish to complete the installation.

Next, for speed we’re going to do a little quick tuning.  Open the Jungle Disk Configuration application and then click on Network Drive for the fcsvrbackup bucket.  Then increase the maximum cache size and check the box for Upload files in the background for faster performance.

Next, open /Volumes and verify that you see your fcsbackup (or whatever you decided to name the volume).  Alternately you can use the Bucket menu from within JungleDisk Monitor to click on Show Network Drive in Finder.  Once you have verified that your mount is there, test copying data to the folder to verify that you have full write access. Once you are finished, open the Final Cut Server System Preference pane. Then click on the plus icon (+) to bring up your Device Setup Assistant.

Here, click on the Local Device type and click on Continue.  

Next, open a Finder screen and open /Volumes/ (Command-Shift-G).

Now drag the FCSBackup over to the location field in the Device Setup Assistant and provide a name for your Final Cut Server to refer to your Device as (I used Amazon Backup here). Now click Continue.

Next, check the box for Enable as an Archive Device and click on the Continue button. At the next screen, click Finish.

Now go to your trusty Final Cut Server client application and control click (or right click if you’re so inclined) on an asset. Here, you will click on the Archive item in the dialog box.

Now, if you go to the FCSBackup volume you should see the file you decided to archive. These will be stored in a folder that corresponds to the device ID that Final Cut Server has for your “device”. Only the primary representation has been moved at this time, so your proxy media for these files is still in your proxy bundle. Now, click on the asset within the Final Cut Server client application and then perform a get info (Command I). You will now see the relative path to your device that the file is in. You can now unmount the FCSBackup drive and you will still be able to access the file. Once you have uploaded some files, tap into Amazon and check out how much they’ve charged you…

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