Imagine you had only one place to look for your completed projects, assets and files – a Single Source of Truth, as it were. Where there is a catalogue that lists all files, displays thumbnails and plays proxy clips. Where each asset has metadata and descriptions, helping you find the correct file. Everyone in the company has access to this catalogue using their browser. Everyone can browse and preview media. Everyone can use searches and even combined searches over the entire metadata, be it imported or entered manually. Plus, all your files are safely stored on the best media for long-term preservation. Wouldn’t that be the dream?
It’s actually pretty easy to make that dream come true. What you need is an Archive - your "Single Source of Truth“. Once implemented and filled with all completed assets and projects, it becomes your company’s file memory and the go-to point to look for anything ever produced.
Not only are archived assets available at any time, but they are also searchable, findable, and re-usable at short notice. Returning customers can easily be supplied with files from years ago. New productions can profit from and re-use existing material without even leaving the office. The benefit: more efficient production for faster, better results. Any query over a combination of criteria immediately points to the matching files (“What do we have from location X in 4K or more?”). Monetisation and licensing suddenly become realistic opportunities.
Depending on the storage strategy, archive storage can be local disks, LTO tape or cloud storage. Since most completed productions are accessed infrequently, LTO tape is the most attractive storage medium. Starting at around 10USD per TB, it offers an unbeatable price point, and, with a shelf life of 30 years, its lifespan is unparalleled. When your demand for storage space grows, all you need to do is buy more tapes. Maximum security is achieved by archiving to two tape sets, where one is stored off-site. This not only keeps your assets safe from damage, but also gives you that all-important air gap (a physical divide between network and storage media) to protect against ransomware, malware and hacking.
Since archiving means that files migrate to long-term storage, they can (and should) be deleted from production storage. This keeps the production storage at a reasonable size and the file count more or less constant, making it easier to navigate and use in production. Over time, the investment in LTO tape for archiving is much lower than constantly growing production storage. Investing in an archive pays off – financially, and by making the workflow more efficient.
But remember: Metadata is the key to the archive. Finding files after months or years is only possible when a solid metadata schema (a detailed and well thought-out structure of metadata fields, keyword catalogues and logging standards) is in place. The metadata must match what people are actually looking for. So it’s crucial that the whole team puts their heads together and that thought process leads to building an individual, agreed-upon metadata schema. Once it is established (and followed), combined searches can narrow down to very specific criteria and deliver just the right files.
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