Monday, 30 July 2018

Setting up a Small Creative Studio

Setting up a Small Creative Studio
In our CTO’s blog on storage in startups, Lee talks about how creative businesses have their founding in many guises. But whatever reason you have for starting your own company you’ll need a local network in order to do your work.

For the sake of example, let’s say you and two friends have decided to establish a brand new studio. You’ve got your business plan, investment, and your first clients, but how should you setup your studio technology in order to deliver that work?

The Essentials

To start with you’ll need your workstations (preferably three, since there’s three of you). You can buy workstations from us at Escape Technology. You’ll also need a switch - we’d suggest the Netgear JGS524v2 or any other 24 port, 1Gb switch - a router and some form of storage such as a NAS (network attached storage) device - let’s go for a Synology four bay with 2TB hard drives in each. 

You’ll also need some extension cables and plenty of network cables.

Internet

Depending on your chosen ISP (Internet Service Provider) and the type of office you want set up you’ll be given a router. Most ISPs will set this up for you, others will need you to do it. In either case the process is nice and simple. Plug it in, turn it on, and follow the instructions in your welcome pack.

You can manage your router by finding out its IP address (usually printed on the back of the router) and logging in via a web browser using your default credentials (also provided by your ISP). Default router IPs are usually either 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1.

Once you’ve found these details and logged in the first thing you should do is change the default password (which is usually ‘password’, ‘user’ or ‘admin’) to something more secure change this every month if you’d like to add an extra level of security. You’ll need to plug one of computers into a network port to access the admin page.

Switch

Switches are devices that manage the flow of data through your network. They can be fully managed and very complicated, or unmanaged and quite simple. Which one you choose will depend on the complexity of your IT infrastructure and what you’re trying to do. For a small startup we’ve gone with an unmanaged switch to keep things nice and simple.

Connect your router to to any port (we’d normally put it in the first one) and then plug in your switch and turn it on. Then connect your NAS to the next port and your workstations after that. Flashing lights mean they’re connected but they’ll need an IP address as well in order to speak to the other devices on the network, which your router will provide. 

Workstations

Without workstations your business won’t get off the ground. Each machine will contain a processor, graphics card, RAM, and some form of storage such as an HDD, SSD, or NVMe drive. The configuration of each workstation will depend entirely on what you’re using it for. For now, let’s work under the assumption that you’ve already chosen and purchased the best workstations for the job. From us, of course.

Plug them all in, connect their corresponding monitors, and arrange in the fashion of your choosing. You can even turn them on if you want.

NAS (Network Attached Storage)

Your NAS (we’re using a Synology as an example) is where you’ll keep the bulk of your data. It will be used for backing up, storing project files, and sharing data. It will also require some configuration to work as a network storage device such as setting up a RAID array, users, permissions, and naming the server.  Every device is slightly different, but generally you’ll need to download the dedicated software provided by the vendor and following an automatic process. If you’re given the option we’d suggest going for RAID 5 for the ideal balance between storage capacity, speed, and redundancy. 

Tying it all together

Once you’ve plugged in all your devices and connected them to your switch you can turn them all on and get ready for configuration. 

Now all you need to do is install your software, fire up your email, and get cracking on that first job.

If you’d like any more detailed advice about setting up your first studio, our sales and engineering specialists are always on hand. Contact us for more information.