IVE Group

IO Integration delivers unique synchronised DAM solution for IVE Group

IVE Group is the most diversified print and marketing communications business in Australia. Having started life as a family-owned print production business in the early 1920s, it now boasts annual revenues in excess of AUS$600 million and is home to more than 1,500 employees.
Although headquartered in Homebush, News South Wales, IVE has a number of studios and satellite sites across Australia. Its customers include large banking and financial services companies, including Westpac and AMP, as well as globally renowned consumer brands such as McDonalds and L’Oreal.

The Challenge

IVE Group needed to be sure all clients and production teams were working on the most current versions

IVE Group relies upon the daily use of Xinet, a digital asset management (DAM) system that allows it to share assets and files with clients for review and approval. With Xinet housed on a server in IVE’s Homebush headquarters — which is naturally also the company’s main media hub — users across all other sites were accessing the server via a wide area network (WAN) VPN internet connection and then directly mounting Xinet to their workstations via Apple File Protocol (AFP).

However, this presented considerable problems in terms of latency. Because many users were accessing a mounted version of the Xinet DAM over the WAN — coupled with the fact that internet speeds across many sites were slow — it was taking a lot longer than normal to complete even simple tasks.

This problem was amplified when considering the huge file sizes that IVE works with on a daily basis. Designers were often having to wait upwards of 20 minutes for a large InDesign file to save, and with several terabytes of data assigned to each of IVE’s clients, this naturally resulted in significant productivity losses. What’s more, the company had recently taken on a new high-profile client whose assets were almost as large as all other clients combined. This simply wouldn’t have been possible with its existing DAM system, and so it required a significant evolution of this solution to ensure the new client deal was not in jeopardy.

IVE sought a new solution that would allow it to continue using the Xinet DAM across all company sites, but with more speed and efficiency. The company already had a working relationship with IO Integration after it initially provided the company with the Xinet DAM, and so it contacted the IO Integration team to formulate a plan.

The Solution

A Centralized Hub solution with DAM synchronization

Based on the requirements set out by IVE, IO Integration needed to devise something unique to the project. Stef Klein, APAC Regional Director, said: “This was the first time we had worked with a customer on solving this particular issue, and so it required a new and innovative solution that not only met IVE’s needs, but could seamlessly integrate into its complex workflow.”

After thoroughly analysing IVE’s infrastructure and identifying the existing issues, IO Integration was able to devise a bespoke solution.

The final solution involved the continued use of the Xinet DAM as a centralised platform, but with the addition of a local file server at each IVE site across the country. The local file servers on each site are then accessed by users in the same way they would have previously accessed the Homebush Xinet server, and any changes or edits made to files are synced back dynamically to this main server in a network optimised way. This means users no longer have to rely on mounting Xinet via the WAN, and can instead enjoy simple connectivity by interacting with the local file server over a local area network (LAN).

Any changes made by IVE employees to files are logged on the local file servers by a programme called Lsyncd, an open source package that uses two proven Unix concepts, Rsync and Inotify, to synchronise files and alert the main Xinet DAM of any file activity. By aggregating several events and waiting for a certain delay before triggering the synchronisation, Lsyncd works alongside the main centralised DAM in an efficient manner.

IVE and IO Integration worked together closely on planning and finalising the solution, and by December 2016 it was fully implemented and live.

“From a user perspective, they’re simply accessing a different server to what they were used to that is now local to them, and it does not rely on an internet connection. Importantly, the solution allows the files to be synchronised across the WAN which can happen at any time — often out of hours — which works really well for us and helps us achieve our business goals.”

- Vince Rocca, Prepress Specialist, IVE Group -

The Result

Dramatic increase in speed and production

As the findings (above) show, IVE is now able to manage significantly more data than they previously could have, with less internet bandwidth requirement between the studios and the central DAM.

The synchronisation solution has also helped to simplify users’ workflows. “From a user perspective, they’re simply accessing a different server to what they were used to that is now local to them, and so it does not rely on an internet connection,” said Rocca. “Importantly, the solution allows the files to be synchronised across the WAN which can happen at any time — often out of hours — which works really well for us and helps us achieve our business goals.”

Although in this particular scenario the infrastructure is based around the Xinet DAM, the versatility of such a solution means that it could work with any product that IVE required to be accessible across all its sites.

Because the implemented solution is unique, IVE naturally came across a few teething problems in the first few weeks of the system going live, but it was impressed by the service and advice provided by IO Integration. “Being able to keep in regular contact with someone from IO in Australia was really beneficial — just to have someone available at any time to talk to or have explain how a particular part of the system works has been hugely useful,” said Rocca. “It also helped to strengthen the working relationship between us and them, which naturally also helped things get done more quickly.”

IO Integration’s Klein said: “This was certainly one of the more challenging projects that IO Integration has been involved with, but also one of the most rewarding. IVE has settled into the new solution really well, and the real-time synchronisation solution is allowing them to maximise both productivity and efficiency while keeping all clients satisfied.”

Stephane Klein
Technical Solution Sales
IO Integration

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“This was certainly one of the more challenging projects that IO Integration has been involved with, but also one of the most rewarding. IVE has settled into the new solution really well, and the real-time synchronisation solution is allowing them to maximise both productivity and efficiency while keeping all clients satisfied.”

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