Imaging Specialist Uses SATA For High-Speed Image Recording
Boulder Imaging, Inc. provides systems for real-time advanced image capture, storage, and processing to customers with challenging applications. Organizations such as advanced engineering firms and military testing programs rely on Boulder for mission critical imaging solutions. Those solutions include high-resolution medical imaging, high-speed error-free machine vision, and real-time tracking of test range missile guidance systems. AMCC’s 3ware SATA (serial ATA) RAID (redundant array of independent disks) controllers enable Boulder to securely store extreme resolutions with high capture rates using high-performance, cost-efficient, and reliable SATA network storage.
Carlos Jorquera, president and senior systems engineer for Boulder Imaging, acknowledges it is a challenge to keep up with the increasingly massive data transfers involved. Boulder’s customers require high reliability and sure knowledge that when something is photographed, the images will be there later, intact and free from any artifacts. For example, one Boulder customer records explosions and then reviews each frame to analyze the mechanics. A system designed for another customer recorded an X-ray movie of a person riding a bicycle, tracking the person’s pain level to individual frames at specific points in time.
“Reliable, high-capacity, and high-performance network storage is the backbone of our imaging infrastructure,” says Jorquera. “We deal with huge amounts of data in unusual circumstances — from a single camera feeding unimaginably huge flows of pixels, to a dozen high-resolution cameras simultaneously capturing a single high-speed event. We rely on 3ware RAID controllers to help us capture and permanently record all that data.
“For a long time, we’ve battled the problem of capturing these huge data flows, which sometimes need to be recorded for hours or days at a stretch,” continues Jorquera. “We tried approaches from RAID-enabled ATA to small computer system interface (SCSI), and then we found the AMCC 3ware boards. From the very start, we’ve been impressed with how well they performed.”
Boulder estimates a savings of 10% per system (or about $1,200) in its low- to mid-range systems, compared with using SCSI. In its high-end systems, Boulder saves about 25% per system (or about $13,000). These figures do not take into account that, in order to achieve the required capacity, it would take twice as many SCSI disks as SATA disks, thus increasing further the savings of high-performance SATA RAID over SCSI.