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Efficient Storage as a Competitive Advantage in M&E

M&E organizations feel the pressures of customers and viewers expecting “free storage” and “immediate access." Is object storage the answer?


Every type of M&E organization is feeling the pressures of dealing with customers and viewers expecting “free storage” and “immediate access,” but these issues are particularly challenging in the post production space. We hear from post production houses time and again that to maintain their customers, they need to store content at no charge (or for a nominal fee) and that they are increasingly being asked for immediate delivery of digital assets. So, can you manage the expectation of free storage when your margins are already compressed? Can you provide search and immediate access? Can you actually turn storage into a competitive advantage? The answer is a resounding yes (to all 3).

First let’s take a quick look at what we see being used today. The solution we see most often is a combination of NAS (like Isilon, StorNext or some form of shared storage) and tape for archive. This has worked for years. The benefit is that both storage technologies are already present in the data center which means a low learning curve for staff. Need more? Just buy more. The issue with this approach is that file sizes, retention times and access request times have now made this approach obsolete and economically unsustainable. You either can’t afford enough NAS or you will lose deals to other post houses that can deliver content immediately—negating the cost savings you would get from tape. This has led a few post houses to take a good hard look at cloud storage; however, security is still a major concern. So how do organizations like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others provide cloud storage? At the heart of each service and every major cloud is object storage.

Object storage enables you to combine storage, protection and access while moving to a commodity cost curve, extending the useful life of hardware and reducing data center footprint. Historically, the challenge has been needing to develop to a proprietary API or modifying existing workflows and applications. But, there have been significant advancements in supporting standard protocols like CIFS/SMB, NFS. Almost all major software vendors in the M&E space now support the S3 API. This means that you can now leverage object storage, the same technology that enables the largest clouds, secure in your data center, and often with no changes to your existing workflows or processes. Here are a few of the unique hardware, operational and workflow efficiencies that Caringo Swarm delivers:

Hardware efficiencies

  • 95% drive utilization for your assets –> Swarm runs from RAM
  • 100% drive bay utilization for drives –> Customizable metadata is stored with the object
  • Any mix of hardware –> Eliminate vendor lock-in and continue to upgrade to efficient hardware

Operational efficiencies

  • Buy only the hardware you need –> scale by the chassis or drive
  • Add performance or capacity in 90 seconds –> load balancing is handled on the fly
  • Maximize existing resources –> 1 sys admin can manage over 20+ PBs
  • RAID 6 durability at only 40% overhead –> specify protection based on asset value
  • Self-healing –> run hardware until it fails and remove it when you want, Swarm will repair itself

Workflow efficiencies

  • Cross platform collaboration and access –> Write/Read/Edit files via HTTP, S3 or NFS
  • Find the assets you are looking for –> custom metadata with integrated search
  • Responsive for producers and viewers –> parallel upload and range read access
  • Ensure integrity –> proactive self-healing, check/fix and patented upgradeable hashes

By using an object storage solution like Caringo Swarm, you will be able to transform storage from a cost center to a competitive advantage and employ the same operational advantages that the largest cloud service providers use to retain customers and offer additional services. Want to learn more? Visit our Media & Entertainment page, stop by our booth at IBC 2017 or contact us.

Adrian Herrera
Adrian Herrera

About The Author

Adrian "AJ" Herrera has over 20 years of experience bringing innovative storage, cloud and media software and services to market. With an MBA from San Diego State University and a BS in Information Systems from Chapman University, AJ serves as Caringo's VP of Marketing.

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