It’s a cruel irony that at a time when there are more ways to monetize content than ever before, keeping digital assets accessible to production teams is only becoming more challenging. Much of it is related to providing enough storage capacity, starting right at capture. Live events now shoot with more cameras, cameras are less likely to be shut off between takes, and higher-resolution formats are filling up ingest systems faster than you can say 8K 120fps.
The heavy storage consumption continues through the workflow with transcoders spitting out more distribution formats for more connected devices, while content owners create more second-screen content for both live and on-demand markets. The result: Content owners are straining to keep rapidly growing digital assets accessible to their content creators as well as consumers. Digital libraries are growing exponentially to the petabyte level and beyond.
The all-too-common strategy is to store as much content on high-performance storage as budgets allow, and then move older content to offline tape archives as storage fills. In many facilities, unused raw footage is simply deleted after the project is complete. These are risky strategies given the new avenues for monetizing content, such as content reuse to shorten production time in new works and distribution on new platforms. Content needs to be readily available to production teams to be effective; otherwise, it’s a waste of storage space to save content that’s unlikely to ever be used.
With the right storage architecture, content owners can capitalize on enormous revenue opportunities without requiring budgets that scale at the same rate as the content. Content owners need a storage solution that provides disk-speed access from multiple locations, highly protects content from data loss, scales indefinitely and stays within slim budgets. That’s where object storage comes in.
Hitting the limits of RAID
Most disk storage systems available today are built with RAID. RAID uses checksums or mirroring to protect data and spreads the data and checksums across a group of disks referred to as a RAID array. Using the multi-terabyte disk drives now available, it’s possible to manage data sets on a single, consistent logical RAID array of four to 12 drives with a total usable capacity of about 30TB.
The growth of data, though, has outpaced the technology of disk drives. Petabyte-sized data sets either require use of disk arrays larger than 12 disks, which increases risk of data loss from hardware failure, or they require dividing data across multiple RAID arrays, which increases the cost and complexity of managing data consistency and integrity across the multiple units.