Where does storage go from here?
Jonathan Morgan, CEO of Object Matrix, examines potential storage strategies for a media- and content-heavy future, and introduces the concept of Content Governance as a more meaningful description for the industry
The media industry, with its unanimous loads of content that requires protection and archived storage that can be easily accessed with minimal intervention, is having to rapidly expand its media asset libraries to accommodate the multitude of media platforms and delivery opportunities in the world of multiscreen, OTT and VOD. So, how can media companies utilise the potential of applicable storage to cement their place in a content based world?
Emerging from the cloud
Cloud migration has filtered into almost every sector of the industry as a means to increase flexibility. The benefits of the cloud cannot be denied, and yet it is hard to consider it as a fix-all solution for many of the problems that the industry is currently facing, especially when considering the add up costs that can develop with some of the mounting content libraries we are witnessing from providers. There is a lack of understanding as to how expensive cloud storage can become with rapid expansion, and that is without considering multiple companies for safety precautions.
Admittedly, a legitimate use case for the cloud could be the necessity to distribute data across the world, and some workflows will see implementation of cloud storage as a successful option. However, surely the cloud would be more applicable when delivered by third-party, specialist companies who can offer video archives on-premises and on the cloud?
This removes the commitment to the cloud and reduces the potential long-term costs. The emergence of hybrid workflows is bringing about a focus on the complete governance of content, and can offer a balance and compromise between monetisation and security, and the ability to move assets easily.
The devil you know
LTO tape storage has lived on for decades, and for some who live by a ‘better the devil you know’ philosophy, it is a preferable option. For some, i.e. those with dormant archives who may not require easy access to content for monetisation and to maximise value, LTO storage can be tempting with its low costs. With the rapid growth of media libraries, and an ever-more cost focused mind-set taking hold, it is easy to understand this temptation.
But is this mindset diminishing? We are hard-pressed in the current media environment to find companies that aren’t looking to utilise the value of their content by making workflow automated and seamless, and with the improvement in disk storage, and the development of new content governance platforms, the antiquated LTO tape might just become a thing of the past for broadcasters and content producers looking to join the fray and take advantage of the content-hungry consumer appetite we are currently experiencing.
It is undeniable that the most popular storage format is the Hard Disk Drive (HDD), even in spite of the growth rate of HDD becoming sluggish. Positive changes are taking place though as Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) drives are being rolled out. It is likely that this will reignite the improvement of HDD, and generate some much needed growth. Users should note the affordability and life span of HDD in comparison to SSD.
Since 2006 HDDs have been based on Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) however, we are witnessing what looks likely to be a big jump in PMR technology, with promises of 16TB. HDD remains a strong player in storage, and a firm favourite among users, as it has been for a long time.
The future of storage?
The face of ‘storage’ itself – or as I prefer to think of it, ‘content governance’ – is changing right along with every other vertical, as the development of technology is revolutionising workflows and the way we house storage. Alongside this we are experiencing a surge of data that needs formatting and tagging for storage.
We talk a lot about the need to gain easy streamlined access to content so that storage can be ‘appropriate’ to user needs; imagine the possibilities that AI-integrated storage could produce. It is important to maintain a level of savvy though, when being dazzled by the bright lights of AI-integrated storage platforms. As an end-user, the benefits must be applicable, not just for the sake of having a flashy content housing that may not actually meet your needs.
Considerations must be made for the desired outcome of content governance. Many providers require streamlined workflows and automated processes that can filter through the endless hours of video and audio now being archived.
However, the explosion of content and the focus on reducing costs necessitates a re-evaluation of storage needs for some, even while tape storage is making the monetisation of content increasingly difficult. Meanwhile, users can continue to trust in the well established backbone of HDD storage infrastructure to provide a reliable platform, even with the rapid growth of content.
About Object Matrix
Object Matrix is an award winning UK based software company that pioneered Digital Content Governance (DCG), object storage and the modernisation of digital video workflows. Our media focused private and hybrid cloud solutions are tightly integrated into file based and IP workflows and bring economic and operational benefit to all of our customers. Our flagship product, MatrixStore, is used by the world’s largest organisations that create and distribute video content, including NBC, TV Globo, MSG-N, the BBC & BT.