NAB: The largest data event

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In late April over 100,000 people attended the National Association of Broadcasters 2017 NAB Show. A comprehensive event with a massive exhibit space, it covers everything from content, to cameras, to software for editing and user distribution. It is a show buzzing with talk of video quality jumps from 4K to 8K, targeted content and how to monetize the shifts from “appointment” TV to video on demand (VOD) and over-the-top (OTT) Internet viewing.

One indisputable trend is this: content equals data, data is becoming increasingly unstructured (video, photos, music) and all data is growing exponentially. Video files keep getting larger to deliver high definition (HD) and virtual reality (VR) immersive experiences. And media needs to be managed better for mobile, computer, television, regional and language formats to enhance user and fan experiences to keep media players competitive. In short, staying relevant today means delivering the right content to the right user on the right device at the right time.

Historically, media companies have been huge consumers of IBM Linear Tape File System (LTFS) technology for lower-cost management and the easiest retrieval. With workloads evolving and users and viewers becoming more demanding, the need to support content delivery and active archiving has media companies adopting IBM Cloud Object Storage in large numbers. Industry giants and innovators alike such as KDDI, Shutterfly and major Cloud DVR providers have taken advantage of IBM’s industry-leading scalability, flexibility and simplicity while leveraging significant cloud economics.

No wonder Frost & Sullivan is projecting that the media industry will increase their use of cloud storage at a rate of 30X by 2022.   Click here to see our YouTube video on the data explosion in M&E.  Learn more about the market’s take on IBM Cloud Object Storage by clicking here.

Everywhere we looked at the 2017 NAB Show, storage options were on display, tailored to a particular phase of the content creation and distribution process. For example, moving data between sites can be done by shipping hard drives, or accelerated over networks using IBM’s Aspera High-Speed File Transfer software. Editing has become very sophisticated with software that handles the tasks of matching camera values so multiple shots from different sources can be blended seamlessly. Fast composite and frame-by-frame editing can be accelerated by IBM FlashSystem. Render farms are larger than ever and IBM Spectrum Scale delivers the leading software-defined storage solution with advanced local caching and parallel data access to eliminate bottlenecks.

One of the key buzzwords at 2017 NAB was “workflow.” Many of the steps in the creative process can be automated, which creates a new challenge for storage. The large file sizes make data movement overhead significant. Some companies, like Prana Studios, choose a high-performance cloud service. Others are looking for on-premises storage that can deliver performance, flexibility and cost savings as it grows. IBM Elastic Storage Server delivers.

IBM ESS is IBM Spectrum Scale-delivered as a solution with advanced erasure coding, IBM Spectrum Scale RAID, to make efficient use of spinning disk and flash alike. The newly introduced ESS GL6S sets a new standard for density and performance with up to 5PB of raw data in an enclosure, uses SSDs for fast metadata access and delivers 34GB/s in networked storage. Because it is software-defined, data policies and workflows can be built into the storage to flash, tape, or cloud storage tiers with automated data movement to save time and money.

For more information on ESS click here, or you can go here to get a more detailed description of this modern software-defined storage system.

Portfolio Manager, Spectrum Scale

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