CASE STUDY

Boston Red Sox Scores Home Run with Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage

March 30, 2023By David Ball

They say that baseball is a game of inches. Today, it’s also a game of big data. Modern Major League Baseball clubs like the Boston Red Sox collect and analyze petabytes of data to help with everything from enhancing player performance to delivering amazing fan experiences in and out of the ballpark. With more than 50 high-speed cameras throughout Fenway Park, a single game can generate terabytes of data. Add video captured and produced at six additional ballparks from instructional, minor, and major league facilities, and other venues run by Fenway Sports Management (FSM) and that’s a lot of data to deal with. So, while Brian Shield, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for FSM and the Boston Red Sox uses Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to process and analyze much of their data, he turned to Wasabi to cost-effectively store it all.

Drastically lower costs and faster access were a home run

“Historically, we have been limited to not only how much data we could affordably store, but how quickly we could access our files for analytic purposes,” explained Shield. Hyperscaler cloud service models break down when dealing with massive data stores that require both long-term retention and fast access to files. While automated tiering solutions help move infrequently accessed data to lower-cost tiers of service, customers that suddenly need to access their data can be hit with both costly egress fees and higher per-terabyte costs as their content is migrated back to hotter tiers of service. “Hot cloud storage from Wasabi allows us to store all of these assets in an active, readily accessible archive without having to worry about out-of-control cloud expenses,” said Shield.

One tier of hot cloud storage for multiple use cases

Video coaching systems are a critical decision-making tool in MLB baseball operations departments.  To properly prepare for upcoming opponents, teams use extremely high-resolution, multi-angle video content that spans many seasons and requires a vast amount of storage.  “The economics of Wasabi will allow us to expand the range of content that we can consume and analyze to improve effective decision-making,” said Shield.  “We also intend to use Wasabi as a long-term storage solution for raw video content that may have future value for advanced video analytics and machine learning purposes.”

Wasabi will handle everything from video archives and analytics, Microsoft 365, GCP and Azure backups, to surveillance data from cameras and devices throughout the ballpark. Wasabi has turned out to be the proverbial home run that we are using for our backups and data retention needs."

The ability to both store and retrieve data assets at one-fifth the cost of the big three cloud providers got Shield thinking of other ways they could leverage Wasabi. The organization intends to leverage Wasabi for everything from Microsoft 365, video surveillance, and historical and real-time video archives to GCP and Azure backup and recovery.

An active archive of Red Sox video assets

The Boston Red Sox have been around since 1901 and have amassed a mountain of film and video assets. “We have multiple classes of video content,” said Shield. “Historic assets that are irreplaceable, some of which have yet to be fully digitized, and what we consider to be more active content generated more recently. We intend to leverage Wasabi as a cloud-based disaster recovery solution for much of this historically rich material.” Shield also sees Wasabi as a means to enhance video production workflows with faster access to an even larger pool of content. “Having a cost-effective means of converting some of this historical data onto cloud storage and retrieving it whenever needed opens up all sorts of possibilities for our video production team,” explained Shield. The result will be a fully indexed archive that is searchable by our media asset manager, is well-protected, highly accessible, and spans across on-prem and cloud storage environments. This will all be seamless to the people using the system and should dramatically improve access to our data while reducing our overall storage costs.”

Extending video surveillance retention periods

Fan safety and operational efficiency are top-of-mind priorities for Shield.  “We opened a new music hall this fall and have further expansion plans in and around Fenway Park in the years ahead,” explained Shield, “so, surveillance is going to become even more important. Our capabilities of retaining and analyzing surveillance video have been limited in the past, so the ability that Wasabi affords us to continue to learn how we can create a safer environment and continue to grow in the quality of our services and safety standards is very exciting.”

Backing up critical customer and GCP data

In 2020, the ball club migrated all of its sales and marketing data to Salesforce, which integrates bi-directionally with their enterprise data warehouse in Google Cloud. The vast majority of the data the team collects will shortly be stored and backed up in Wasabi.  “We have seen extensive growth in the volume of vital fan-level data used to support rich decision-making,” said Shield.  Given the criticality of this content, GCP backups became yet another Wasabi storage target. “Wasabi will eventually handle everything from baseball video analytic content, GCP, video archives, IoT, and surveillance data from cameras and devices throughout the ballpark,” explained Shield. “Wasabi is turning out to be the proverbial home run that we are using for all of our backups and data retention needs.”

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