Media & Entertainment Leans into Active Archive Storage

Thu Jul 28 2022By Ben Bonadies

Digital transformation has changed the way we work, but no industry has been as thoroughly reorchestrated as media and entertainment. The continued growth of higher resolution frame rates, sophisticated CGI, and increased array of color gamuts place a massive burden on production storage requirements. At the same time, the voracious appetite for content in today’s multichannel streaming and live broadcast world is forcing creators to save every frame for potential future projects. These and other trends have M&E operations rethinking both their primary and archival storage strategies. One outcome of this convergence is the rise of the active archive.

Changing landscape places new demands on M&E storage

According to Research & Market’s Global Media and Entertainment Storage Market 2021-2025 report, the Media and Entertainment industry is poised to grow by $10.4 Billion between 2021-2025. That’s a lot of content. With this avalanche of data, content creators are continually challenged to find new ways to effectively store–and access–all of their content. Since Covid-19 changed the landscape for media operations, companies face heightened pressure to remotely access their creative the moment a file needs to be updated or repurposed. Relying on traditional tape for archiving what was once considered “cold” data no longer meets the instant-access demands of modern media production and distribution. Meanwhile, the rise of virtual teams and remote collaboration–an existing trend that was accelerated by the pandemic–adds additional demands on data storage solution requirements.

To solve for the increased need for storage capacity and data accessibility, many in the media and entertainment industry are turning to active archiving solutions.

What is an Active Archive?

An active archive, as the name suggests, resides somewhere between primary storage (active data) and long-term archives (inactive data).

  • Active Data – Live data that is frequently accessed, requiring stringent read/write performance. This is the world of high-speed, on-premises SSDs.

  • Traditional Archive – Infrequently accessed data, requiring low-cost/high-capacity storage media. Historically, inactive data is archived to tape (LTO) and stored offsite. More recently, organizations have leveraged the various cold storage offerings from the public cloud providers.

  • Active Archive – Data that is retained in long-term storage yet also needs to be readily accessible at a moment's notice. This tier of storage requires higher performing low-cost/high-capacity storage and is typically the realm of spinning disks, either on-premises or in the cloud.

Options for deploying active video archives

Traditional methods for media archiving can scarcely be called “active.” LTO tape libraries offer little in terms of instant access, often taking hours to retrieve requested footage –and that’s if your tape is actually connected to your content management system (CMS.) Remote tape storage services like the ones offered by Iron Mountain physically cart your tapes deep underground. Good luck getting those back any time soon.

On-premise storage devices offer more immediate access at the cost of scale. These devices exist in a constant state of running out of storage space and requiring costly regular maintenance and management. There’s little solace in the cloud, too. Hyperscaler cloud storage providers generally do not offer active archive solutions. Data stored in a hyperscaler archive storage tier would routinely meet fees for egress and ingress, thereby blocking the component of an active archive where data is able to easily move back and forth.

Hot cloud storage for cost-effective active archives

Options for active archive in traditional tape and cloud storage sectors are scarce if any. One solution would be to deploy a conduit between open system applications to intelligently move data to the most convenient solution for an end user across multiple storage units, including cloud, tape, and disk. Yet, the question is posed – what if one storage solution could do the job of all three?

Next-generation hot cloud storage solutions, which deliver a single tier of low-cost, high-performance service, can serve as nearline storage, an active archive, and long-term cold storage simultaneously. With Wasabi, the following features and capabilities are inherent:

  1. Data Accessibility – To ease the burdens of large storage amounts, fast-moving projects, and an increase in remote workflow production, hot cloud storage provides ‘always hot’ data for instant accessibility.

  2. Data Reliability – Workflow disruptions and potential threats or accidents threaten entire operations. To ensure continuity, Wasabi operates with 11 nines of data durability.

  3. Data Security – No one is immune to cybersecurity and ransomware threats. Protect your data with immutability at the bucket or object level.

  4. Storage Cost – Storage should be cost-effective to scale and store large amounts of data conveniently. Hot cloud storage performs without multiple storage tiers or fees for egress and costs up to 1/5th the price of first-generation cloud providers.

  5. Storage Scalability – As technology advances and industry demands shift, building an infrastructure to scale will remain a point of interest for most all storage solutions. The features and price point of hot cloud storage enable end users to scale infrastructure at their desired pace.

Hot cloud storage use cases in M&E

Media and Entertainment companies around the world use Wasabi as an active archive as well as to facilitate remote production or virtual collaboration. Here are a few examples:

Legendary Pictures found data scalability with Wasabi when they offloaded expensive on-premises storage while still retaining rapid access to their files. Alongside establishing a remote collaboration solution with Wasabi, they also migrated content from other cloud storage providers whose fees for egress and API requests proved to be too costly.

PCEN Media uses Wasabi to archive videos that can be easily accessed through APIs. Wasabi also stores PCEN’s video-on-demand (VOD) content moved over for playout as needed. For data resiliency, PCEN Media uses Wasabi’s free S3 Object Lock data protection feature.

Stephen Skeel, Co-Founder of 7 Wonders Cinema, found data accessibility with Wasabi to come in handy in a pinch. “We were working on a new project when our client suddenly asked for a scene from an earlier video project. Retrieving the scene was no problem. Wasabi is so fast, it’s like an active archive.”

Active archive’s tandem ability to store data that is readily available and preserved in a solution built to scale, all while maintaining the inexpensive cost of archive storage, is an effective response to the bubbling pressure for digital transformation in Media and Entertainment.

Want to learn more? Read how Media & Entertainment Turns to the Wasabi Cloud to Transform Business

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