Storage Soup

Apr 22 2015   11:16AM GMT

Storage was a star at NAB

Randy Kerns Randy Kerns Profile: Randy Kerns

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Storage

Las Vegas – The storage presence at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show last week continued to grow due to the increasing demand to store files in the media and entertainment market. The increase in camera resolution to 4K and beyond expands the size of captured video data. The trend to retain that data on disk rather than on reels of video tape makes the digital inventory even greater.

To meet this demand, storage vendors have created specialized offerings to optimize use in media and entertainment. These are on display at the NAB show, and the Evaluator Group met with many of them there. Here is a summary of those meetings:

Crossroads

The Crossroads StrongBox gateway is integrated by storage vendor partners into their products for moving data to tape using the Amazon S3 protocol. The system can also replicate data to another StrongBox. Additional capabilities include performance tuning to decide what data needs to remain on primary storage.

DataDirect Networks (DDN)

DDN sells high performance storage for post-production and large capacity scaling object storage for retention of video data At NAB, DDN demonstrated its new MediaScaler system with front end connectivity that includes Fibre Channel and InfiniBand in addition to file and object (S3) connections over Ethernet . The MediaScaler, which can handle multiple data streams, was developed by DDN in collaboration with Red Bull Media. DDN also sells Web Object Scaler (WOS), an object storage system with support for files. WOS is used as a repository for the M&E market.

Dot Hill

Dot Hill has video editing and processing system partners that integrate the vendor’s high performance block storage systems in their offerings. At the NAB conference, Dot Hill announced a new distributor agreement with Quantum, which was already a Dot Hill OEM parnter.

EMC

The EMC Isilon system has been effectively used as a large scaling NAS system in the M&E market. As a market leader in storage, EMC continues to invest in Isilon R&D and has delivered on new features and capabilities. EMC will add capabilities at EMC World next month for Isilon, including features that enhance M&E usage.

HGST

HGST offers the Active Archive System as a packaged solution with HGST 8TB helium-filled disks and the Amplidata object software HGST acquired recently. HGST will continue to support previous OEMs of Amplidata – including Quantum — and will deliver new packaged solutions using HGST storage devices. The current Active Archive System has 4.7PB in a single rack and can scale in multi-rack configuration as an object storage system with an optional file gateway device.

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

HDS has become a major player in the media and entertainment space with HNAS and Hitachi Content Platform (HCP). HNAS has been used for post-production and transcoding and HCP as the media content repository. In many cases with large media companies, HNAS and HCP are used in concert for a complete system for editing, transcoding, and broadcast.

Imation

Imation focuses on safeguarding data throughout the lifecycle with the Secure Data Movement Architecture. Elements in the architecture include the Assureon archiving system and Ironkey encryption lock and key. Additions include administration security and a dual authentication option. Imation has a focused solution to handle data movement in the M&E space and the notable security breaches that have occurred with leaking of videos, Imation has a focused solution.

LTO Consortium

The LTO Consortium, which promotes the standard LTO tape format (drives and media), uses NAB to showcase the LTO roadmap and use cases. This year, the discussion was around the upcoming release of LTO-7, scheduled for later this year. The specifications include 6TB per cartridge and 300MB per second bandwidth.

NetApp

NetApp’s StorageGrid WebScale has long had a presence in healthcare as a large-capacity object storage system. Now NetApp is also targeting the system for M&E with its file interfaces. Part of that strategy is a partnership with Spectra Logic that involves using Spectra’s Black Pearl archiving appliance as a target for data from a StorageGrid WebScale storage system.

Object Matrix

Object Matrix, based in Cardiff, Wales, has an object storage system that includes the vendor’s software running on commodity hardware. The system’s built-in search and metadata capabilities integrate into existing workflows. Tape can serve as a deep archive with Object Matrix. Notably, Object Matrix works with Avid asset management software for broadcasters.

Promise Technology

Promise’s media and entertainment products include removable media interconnect devices, Fibre Channel to Thunderbolt linkage devices, and enterprise storage systems to store file, object, and block (iSCSI) data. The VSky enterprise systems can scale out and up to large capacity for the M&E market as well as video surveillance. A gateway NAS system is also available. The Vess R2600 Pro system is focused on post production editing.

Quantum

Quantum has been aggressively building out its StoreNext file system that has been successful in the M&E space. It recently added the Q-Cloud Archive was that allows StorNext to serve as the front tend for storing information on a public cloud. A primary value for Quantum is that StorNext gives customers a single interface for storage. Quantum this month released the Artico NAS system that acts as a local NAS device and a gateway to cloud storage for large capacity.

Qumulo

Qumulo offers software to provide a scale out file system (Qumulo Scalable File System) that can handle the large number of files required in many market segments. The vendor demonstrated storage of 10 billion files with a minimal hardware configuration at its booth. As with most vendors that offer their software as “software defined storage,” Qumulo sells its solution with hardware. The value message for Qumulo is about storing information about the data stored as part of the system for more effective management and access.

Signiant

Signiant provides software for high performance file movement over long distances. The software is licensed and can be resident or used as software as a service. The M&E market traditionally moves large amounts of video data for editing and other operations, making it a good opportunity for Signiant.

Spectra Logic

The media and entertainment market historically has used digital magnetic tape for interchange and in large libraries as media repositories. Spectra Logic sells tape libraries in various sizes across the M&E market, but used this year’s NAB conference to introduce a new feature for the Black Pearl gateway device. The Black Pearl system allows data to be written to it using the Amazon S3 protocol and then stored on tape in a library. This year Spectra added a prototype offering of the Black Pearl as an S3 target for NetApp’s StorageGrid WebScale.

(Randy Kerns is Senior Strategist at Evaluator Group, an IT analyst firm).

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