Small Tree Communications
on Wednesday took the wraps off “Blaze,” a new remote file sharing system designed specifically for Macs. The developers — known for their high-speed networking solutions for the Mac — hope that Blaze will appeal to digital video professionals working with HD video and others who have a need to maximize the bandwidth potential of their Gigabit Ethernet or faster networks.
Blaze enables users to store the huge data files used in HD video projects on a file server rather than storing them locally. The file transfer speeds that Blaze offers are similar to the performance of a local hard disk, according to Small Tree Communications.
To that end, Small Tree, which is in San Francisco this week showing Blaze to select developers at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), has already been able to demonstrate transfer speeds that max out a Gigabit Ethernet link. “Our hope is that Blaze can drive data off the full rate you would from an Xraid server,” Small Tree Communications president Corky Seeber told MacCentral.
Blaze works in place of AFP or existing protocols, according to Seeber. “You just install our software and launch it,” he said. “It’s been designed from the ground up so it doesn’t have the legacy issues you have in other protocols.”
Once it’s running, Blaze is transparent to the user and to the client application: It appears as if users are accessing files on a local hard drive.
Blaze is currently at its Alpha development milestone, and Small Tree Communications hopes to ship the product in the third calendar quarter of 2005. For now, it works in Mac OS X v10.3, though Small Tree Communications expects to have a Tiger version working shortly.
Seeber told MacCentral that Small Tree Communications plans to “follow an XSAN model” for licensing Blaze, referring to Apple’s storage area networking technology. By comparison, Apple offers Xsan for US$999 per node.