xsan dlc banner

Everybody knows the next release of the the Mac operating system will be called El Capitan. But how many people have heard of the DLC that comes with it? What is it, what does it do and how will it affect editors?

The world of shared storage in video editing is very different to standalone Macs with Thunderbolt or USB 3 drives attached. Single users might think nothing of upgrading their operating systems as soon as the update badge appears on the App Store, but you can't just do that when you have a large amount of data on a SAN connected to multiple workstations.

So there is a lot to do when upgrading and a lot of the processes are hard to reverse if things go wrong. You also cannot run a 10.9 client on a 10.10 SAN and vice a versa, the SAN and clients all have to be upgraded together. Difficult jobs, but it looks like things are changing.

A good example of this is the difference between Xsan running on Mavericks and Xsan running on Yosemite. With Xsan V4 (10.10), the admin features have been simplified and although it seems as if control has been taken away from the administrator, the changes have been made to make life easier. 

So rather than Xsan taking the well worn Apple path of being quietly forgotten, it is being actively developed and one of the results of this is the new Distributed LAN Client that is a part of OS X El Capitan.

xsan dlc 01

The invitation from Apple on the developer website 


A Distributed LAN Client or DLC allows computers to connect to Xsan shared storage with an ethernet connection. Up until now, if you were running an Xsan shared storage facility, the only way you could connect clients to the data was by Fibre Channel. This is expensive, even more so if you have to buy the the converter boxes for Fibre Channel to Thunderbolt to get new Mac Pros or iMacs connected. You could of course share out a machine's connection via AFP or SMB, but you will face all the problems of using your link through another computer.

DLC will allow everybody with an GigE connection (two for the metadata?) to see the assets on the Xsan shared storage. Although high bandwidth work like ingesting or editing is still recommended to be connected with Fibre, ethernet clients will be able to browse and view quite happily. Speeds should be as fast as the IP infrastructure. 

xsan dlc 02

A shared storage example featuring Apple's DLC from Quantum.

The news has already got third party manufactures interested as the GigE connections will have to be connected together to the SAN. Quantum recently issued this Press Release which details DLC running with StorNext hardware. Apple's Xsan is based on the StorNext File System.

So the news got us thinking. In an effort to reduce price and simplify installation, will Apple look to put 10GigE on Mac Pros? Maybe the new USB-C connector will allow connection to shared storage in the future. Or will the fact that there is so much cheap ethernet networking out there it will become the best way to connect? We don't know, but the DLC in in El Capitan is another step forward to desktop shared storage solutions.



Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


Log in to comment