Building the (Data) Base
The introduction of a database, which inherently works in client/server mode, however, necessitates increased bandwidth in order to avoid having a serious impact on production data flow, Kita contends. "Gigabit ethernet is arriving at just the right time to complement database technology developments—it will be an accelerant to the mainstream use of database technologies."
An alternative method, which Heidelberg's Kita believes the graphic arts will see in prepress networks in the near future, is to by-pass the main server completely. This is the thinking behind Storage Area Networks (SANs), based on fibre channel networking technology—a major boost to RAID storage. (See RAID report in this issue.)
"Productivity is a double-edged sword—computers help people produce more work faster, especially as hardware and software continually improve. But the flipside of productivity is managing the never-ending trail of digital files produced—an ocean of images, photographs, sound and movie files and more," notes Sioux Fleming, senior product marketing manager at Extensis.
"The time required to effectively organize files for quick retrieval at a later date unavoidably impacts the productivity gained by using faster tools," she says.
This dynamic is especially true of creative departments. A single creative project can include several executions saved in multiple formats. Everything must be saved "just in case" any of the assets need to be reused for future projects, and the entire creative workgroup must adhere to the same organizational scheme for it to work.
The complications of sharing and distributing digital files are not limited to the number of files and amount of employees needing access to the shared content. Technical issues involving sharing files over disparate computing systems —such as Windows and Macintosh platforms, the Inter/intra/extranet or WAN and LAN—further exacerbate the complexity.
A large majority of companies lose, misplace or simply cannot find these corporate assets. Industry reports from GISTICS have shown that up to 30 percent of artwork created could have been repurposed from earlier projects.