The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in Las Vegas this week drew a large number of storage vendors vying for the growing media and entertainment storage market. I’ve attended this conference the last five years, and seen more storage vendors every year. The storage vendors who go to NAB include those well-known in the IT space plus others that specifically focus on media and entertainment.
The target audience is different in the media and entertainment space than in general IT. The backgrounds of the people looking to store media content are different from those in traditional IT and their needs are also different. Their titles do not translate directly to mainstream IT, and they use unique terminology that requires knowledge of their business to really understand.
This poses a challenge for storage vendors. To meet their needs, the vendors must understand these differences and speak their customers’ languages.
They need to understand that the applications that store and retrieve information are also different. The workflow in media and entertainment dictate the type of applications that will be used at various times during production and delivery. Another critical consideration is the need for data interchange. This role is still handled by removable media in many cases.
The media and entertainment market requires large amounts of data that is growing exponentially, driven by improved camera resolution driving higher capacity being produced. Special purpose systems are used to modify (edit) data and multiple operations and people are used in the workflows. Data requirements change during the workflow process. Storage systems must support high performance for post-production, large numbers of streams for broadcast, and high integrity with large capacity for archiving.
Characteristics such as point-in-time copies that are crucial in traditional IT have only nominal value in media and entertainment. Vendors need to promote the right set of features to reach these companies. Without the correct focus, opportunities are missed and the vendor demonstrates a lack of understanding of the customer needs.
(Randy Kerns is Senior Strategist at Evaluator Group, an IT analyst firm).