Point Break: When to Archive Content On Prem or in the Cloud

Capacity, data centre space, ingress/egress time, staffing & costs. Which break point will lead you to evaluate your data archival strategy?

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on-prem s3 or cloud storage, when to archive content where

Many of us think of the 1991 cult classic film when we hear “Point Break.” In surfing terms, it refers to a specific spot jutting out from a coastal line where a wave breaks as it hits. This crucial breaking point happens in storage as well; it is when you have to decide whether to start archiving content and where to archive it—on premises or in the cloud.
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How Are Storage Requirements for Asset Reuse Evolving?

In today’s world, there are multiple drivers contributing to the evolution of video storage requirements, and one of the biggest is the need to keep assets accessible at all times from remote locations. No longer can you store older assets in a tape archive with no expectation of accessing them. Let’s face it, it is highly likely that you will need to reuse/repurpose files—whether it is for content delivery (e.g., streaming video on demand), to discover new ways to monetize those assets, to support internal projects, or for updates to client projects. Is it practical to take the time to figure out where a file is, and then go track down a tape and load it back onto a system?

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What are the Common Breaking Points for Evaluation?

Capacity, data centre space, ingress and egress time, staff needed for administrative tasks and costs are all factors that may contribute to a break point that forces an organization to evaluate how it is handling data archival. Once that evaluation begins, it often leads to analyzing the existing storage infrastructure, but different methodologies for archiving data, such as on-prem S3 object storage or Cloud Storage.

Capacity of primary (tier 1) storage—like NAS and SAN—often plays a big part in the decision to start evaluating on-prem, S3 object storage and Cloud Storage (“tier” 2 storage). If you are looking to store 100s of TBs of data, the practical choices today are on-prem and in the cloud as NAS is just not affordable for an archive and tape is, frankly, inconvenient and time-consuming. So, let’s discuss the pros and cons of object storage and cloud storage.

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On-Prem S3 Object Storage Pros and Cons

The benefits of using an on-premise, S3-compatible object storage include cost-effectiveness, security, speed and capacity. Of course, the cons are likely to include some up-front capital expenditures (hardware and software), the need for data center or rack space and the cost of IT Administration. However, when you reach about 100TB and you know you want to store it for 3+ years, on-prem object storage actually becomes more economical than using cloud storage.

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Cloud Storage Pros and Cons

There are many reasons why Cloud Storage is an attractive option for organizations: for example, it allows you to start small and pay as you grow with unlimited capacity and it reduces the need for on-site data centre operations. At Caringo, we are big proponents of cloud. And, at the heart of every major cloud service is an object storage platform.

Cloud Storage is a terrific option for many organizations. However, the downside of using a public cloud storage—which is dangerous to overlook—often relates to ingress and egress (e.g., speed and additional fees). And, as your data amount grows, will you be tempted to start deleting older files? Believe me, you don’t want to be “the guy who deleted data to save a few Euros” and then have your organization need that file!

Can I Have the Best of Both Worlds (a Hybrid On-Prem & Cloud Solution)?

For some cases, a hybrid solution that combines on-premises, S3-compatible Object Storage with a public Cloud service is ideal (for example, when you want to tier assets based on policies that address how often it is used and what you want to keep in an active archive on prem versus a cold archive in the Cloud). This scenario is commonly used, particularly in the M&E industry and businesses that are looking to eliminate the use of traditional tape storage.

What Resources are Available to Help Me Determine Where to Archive my Content?

There is no need to be overwhelmed by making a decision about where to archive your content as we have a number of resources available to you that will make it simple. Email us and we will have a storage expert contact you to discuss your specific needs. If you are looking for educational resources, visit our webinar landing page where you will find recordings of past events as well as registration links for upcoming events like 5 Tiers of Storage for New Video Production Workflows: The Sequel (you can watch the original on demand).

Paul Phillips
Paul Phillips

About The Author

Paul Phillips is responsible for Sales & Operations for Caringo in EMEA. Paul has been a founding member of an Intel funded storage start-up and built the Levels Beyond business outside of North America from scratch. Paul and his family live in Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom.


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