Storage Tiers

Every media producer needs to store information. Successful asset management requires a clear understanding of the value data plays. The starting point is to consider how often the data is likely to be accessed.

To help formulate the strategy, we can break storage down into two main categories: Data which needs to be accessed on a daily basis (online storage) and data which needs to be kept for occasional use (offline or archive).

A tiered storage system keeps the most frequently-accessed data on high-speed, generally higher-cost storage devices and migrates aging and/or backup data to slower, generally lower-cost devices.

An integrated media asset management (MAM) system can monitor file activity and migrate files to backup/archival storage media following pre-defined business rules.

The characteristics of a centralized and integrated archive and MAM system include:

• High-performance shared storage that offers easy capacity expansion
• Transparent viewing of proxy file content on desktops
• Ability for authorized users to browse, delete, and restore archived materials

Online Storage
Online storage is immediately available for ingest and playback and provides instant access to information across the network. When you store your NLE projects on shared storage, multiple editors will be able to work in the same projects simultaneously. That means they can safely open up each other’s bins and sequences and edit as a team with one editor building on the work of another.

While unlimited editors can get read-only access to bins and other metadata files, a shared storage solution with the requisite protocols makes sure only one editor at a time gets write access. Nor should collaboration stop at the NLE when you can have a system that can scale to bring hundreds of non-editors into the production chain.

Offline or Archive Storage
Media companies are well aware of the importance of having a backup of their data to guard against loss, corruption, or other disastrous consequence. An offline or backup approach also eases the pressure on the online server and network. Since archived data becomes less relevant with fewer accesses over time, it doesn’t make economic sense to continue using expensive storage technology for data that is infrequently used. The most cost-effective and reliable form of offline storage is LTO tape, but this should be treated as part of the same centralized architecture, not in isolation.

Offline archive should be an integrated solution for straightforward backup of media and projects from shared storage systems. It could, for example, create any number of 'Tape Pools' (groups of tapes): one for your entire organization, one for each customer or project, or separate pools for on-site and off-site. It should be able to easily copy or migrate media and related files from online to offline storage, verify backed-up data, and receive notifications when transfers are completed.