Future-Proofing Media Management With The Right Storage Infrastructure

With the wide array of growing file sizes, increased video resolution and high-quality visual effects in today’s media and entertainment production workflows, storage requirements for post-production environments have grown accordingly. When the work of an entire organization depends on common infrastructure, the unlimited ability to access content and avoid disruptions is critical for staff productivity and business success.

This new demand also includes increased storage capacity, better network and server performance, and a high degree of parallel access between groups working on ever-higher volumes of recorded media. This need for shared storage for post-production must enable unfettered access to all
of the materials needed for all active projects at any given time. Even access requirements imposed by popular nonlinear editing applications and tools need to be taken into account.

A media storage and file management company called Scale Logic recommends deploying a collaborative post-production infrastructure that goes beyond shared storage to solve the problems of large groups of editors working from the same source materials in nonlinear environments. The challenges of high-demand 4, 6 and 8K workflows can be addressed by using the latest technologies that span the entire content creation chain—from ingest to cloud archive.

Identifying The Trends

The company recently conducted a private survey among its customer base to identify trends and advances in media production workflows. It found that customers were largely migrating away from Storage Area Networks (SAN) and focusing instead on building infrastructure around high-performance Networked Attached Storage (NAS) arrays.

Storage capacity scalability is just as critical, providing the ability to grow a storage pool to accommodate the increasing storage needs of a media organization. Another important growth factor is scale-out, or the ability to give more users access to the storage. Scale Logic’s HyperFS storage system represents a unified storage file system that supports shared SAN/Block and Scale-Out NAS/File data storage, no matter what a company’s needs are. HyperFS was created specifically for working with video and other large media files, making it a solution native to the demands of media-centric enterprises rather than something tweaked to work as well as it can in that environment.

The Genesis HyperMDC storage array is designed for mission critical workflows looking for reduced power consumption without sacrificing performance or reliability.

The Genesis HyperMDC storage array is designed for mission critical workflows looking for reduced power consumption without sacrificing performance or reliability.

The Genesis RX3 is an affordable media-optimized high-performance storage for video editing environments.]

The survey also found that on-premises LTO (Linear Tape Open) was still the most viable option for archiving. Finding a more efficient and cost-effective way to manage their data was their stated highest priority over the next couple of years.

There are plenty of early adopters experimenting with new storage options like Cloud, Object Storage, AI, and Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe). Most users want to maximize a stable platform with the best overall return on investment. However the survey also found that end users are not solely focused on storage. Instead they are focused on solving problems within their own individual workflows, where storage is an important component.

Scale Logic said it also learned that users want more flexibility, including hybrid solutions that combine storage in the cloud and on-premise. Many customers said they felt pressured to refresh storage infrastructures before they’re ready. Therefore, placing a premium on education and consulting, and not forcing a single solution, is the best way to help media professionals scale their needs for future growth while meeting available budget.

Real-World Usage

Scale Logic cited several “real world” customer applications where storage plays a major part.

Apartment Therapy (AT) Media is a digital brand focused on lifestyle, home decor and cooking. When it began working with Scale Logic, AT Media lacked a central storage solution for all of its digital assets. The production team had been working off numerous drives, which they knew wasn’t sustainable. In addition, it had the added difficulty of backup volumes being executed on each production station.

The Genesis RX3 is an affordable media-optimized high-performance storage for video editing environments.

By adding the Scale Logic’s file management HyperMDC and Genesis RX2 solutions, 
the production team was able to store all of its projects and assets on their central, 
eight-seat Adobe Premiere SAN solution. Now everyone on the team has access to the stored assets in case anything needs to be changed once it is delivered. The AT Media team now has the ability to archive all projects and final assets on one appliance and the Scale Logic solution has streamlined the postproduction process and provided peace of mind (with internal backup).

Another customer, Media Loft, is an employee-owned company that produces corporate events worldwide. It needed to capitalize on its customers’ data by archiving, cataloging and storing it long term. The post-production team felt that its existing solution—without a global file system—fell short on capacity, scalability and data integrity. The solution did not meet current standards and was woefully unprepared for the future of high- resolution video, VFX and other emerging and yet to be determined applications.

Scale Logic worked with Media Loft to design a new infrastructure that featured new RAID storage, a co-location backup solution and integration of PAM and HSM as the media asset manager and data mover for the organization. By replacing the existing system with a single (scalable) HyperFS file system and Genesis RX2 RAID storage system, it gave Media Loft seamless data flow and data throughput for a huge amount of high-definition video streams and data file copies. The changeover also saved the company hundreds of hours of data wrangling and other labor-intensive tasks.

So, what can professionals do now to prepare for the future? Here’s a quick checklist that Scale Logic put together for its customers:

- The key to an efficient media management process is working with the right tools and vendors. Ask them questions and make sure they understand your current environment.

- When considering performance, looking at your current infrastructure is a necessary first step in assessing bottlenecks.

- When looking at growing and scaling your environment there are several key factors: adding editors, working with higher resolutions, storage capacity, and current and future archiving strategies.

- One of the most common ways to minimize downtime and lost work is to implement a data protection plan, which will use strategies like second instances of data and failover protocols.

It’s clear that storage is an essential part of a productive, efficient media workflow. It’s not a question of whether media production companies will need to upgrade these workflows to support the future of media, but which companies will stay with legacy technology and be left behind.

For more information, visit: https://www.scalelogicinc.com/managing-media/

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