IBC: storage, archiving, asset management

Posted By Tom Coughlin on September 14, 2012 08:19 am | Permalink
AMSTERDAM - Video capture, production, distribution and archiving require significant investments in equipment and software.  As a consequence significant media industry events include a lot of digital storage and stored content management booths on the exhibit floor and some sessions focusing on storage, archiving and asset management topics.  This piece looks at some of the many products and services on display at the 2013 IBC in Amsterdam.

There were storage offerings a plenty and with a great many interfaces including direct connect as well as network connections.  Among the products shown, Marquis was offering project parking for archiving, distributing and restoring Avid projects.  Dynamic Drive Pool (DDP) showcased their Ethernet SAN products for file-based workflows. Promise Technology was showing their latest Thunderbolt products. These systems could be seen at many other booths in the IBC exhibit area. Atto was another company whose PCIe, Thunderbolt and HBA products were in wide use at the IBC.  HGST (a division of Western Digital) was also showing its Thunderbolt and other storage products and many storage arrays at the IBC were using HGST HDDs.

Active Storage was demonstrating their Mmedia systems, offering an integrated media creation storage platform for storing and managing content from ingest to archive. The mRAID offers scalable and easy to use mass storage and including an environmental processor to control the system environment and out-of-band communication. Their mVault scalable media archive offers Petabytes of near-line content storage.

LaCie (soon to be part of Seagate Technology) was showcasing Thunderbolt external SSD drives (two of these could be used in a RAID-0 configuration to provide up to 1 GBps data rates).   Likewise CalDigit was showing SSD as well as HDD external storage products.  Samsung and Toshiba were showing storage and memory components at the IBC.  There were European storage product distributors such as Stordis showing products by many vendors at the show.  In addition to iSCSI and Fibre Channel SAN products, Studio Network Solutions also offered XTarget software to turn any Mac with attached storage into an iSCSI SAN.

GB Labs debuted their Space network storage systems, offering various sized storage configurations for SSD, HDD and tape NAS storage.  Accusys was showing their ExaSAN PCIe disk arrays.  Their products include an interesting PCIe SAN switch technology that provide external PCIe SAN connectivity, facilitating up to 60Gbps data rates.  Object Matrix had their MatrixStore cost effective and feature rich nearline storage for file-based workflows.  Apace showcased its portfolio of media management, workflow and clustered storage system products for the media industry.  Facilis showed their shared storage for post  with both Fibre Channel and Ethernet connectivity.  SGI was at the show with its Modular open storage NAS offering.  XOR Media is the former hardware part of SeaChange, and they were showing their storage systems geared for advanced content delivery.

EMC Isilon was demonstrating its scale-out storage solutions that have been popular for many media and entertainment library systems.  Thelatest products offer up to 15PB with 100GBps data rates. Avere was showing their FXT Edge Filers providing high performance and cloud storage for some M&E applications by caching active data on their FXT clusters at the edge near the user to eliminate WAN latency issues.  JMR was showing their desktop PCIe SATA/SATA RAID storage products for use with video workstations. Tiger Technology was showcasing clustered storage and SAN appliances.  Rorke (part of Avnet) was showing its Fibre Channel SAN products as well as NAS and archiving products.  HDS had a significant presence showing their high performance storage systems geared for the M&E market.

Aframe is offering video production in the cloud and collaborative workflows between video editors in multiple remote locations.  TATA Communications from India is offering media communication services enabling collaborative workflows as well. Scality advertised a Sync-N-Share software, which looked like it also could be used for cloud-based collaborative projects. DataDirect Networks also presented its Cloud Storage  (Object Storage) products for distributed media workflows.

There were a variety of external recording devices on display for direct camera storage or for rapid transfer from camera flash card formats to external HDDs.  These included products from Nexto DI and Gemini 4:4:4.  Mediaproxy unveiled an uypdated logserver with 80-100 TB of RAID storage.  Aspera introduced its FASP 3 high-speed content transport technology enabling cloud object support, file sharing and content distribution with various delivery options and support for Microsoft Windows Azure and providing full resolution media sharing between remote Avid editing stations.

Xendata demonstrated its LTO Video Archive products using LTO-5 tape while For-A was showing their LTO realtime archiving and production solutions.  StorageDNA was offering LTO-5 LTFS file-based workflow products.  Cache-A likewise was showing LTO storage products.  Quantum had a large display showing their upgrades to the StorNext DAM platform and its support in its HDD and tape based products.  SGL was showing its content archive and storage management solutions.  Spectra Logic had examples of its large LTO storage libraries at its booth. Front Porch Digital was showing its asset management and cloud archiving solutions.  Quotium Technologies is a European company with software that can do pro-active monitoring large digital archives.

There are new and important initiatives afoot in Europe. The EBU is working on creating standards for the long-term storage and preservation of file-based media assets. NHK was showing their Super Hi-Vision 8K X 4K video from the 2012 Summer Olympics, which will drive a pixel count (and likely storage and bandwidth requirement) that is 16 times that of today's HDTV. Other groups are pushing multiple camera content capture to create free-viewpoint video imaging - perhaps part of the technology needed to make a working holodeck. In my last blog, I discussed very high frame rate demonstrations at the 2012 IBC (1,000 fps or higher and resolution up to 4K) but even many modern 4K professional cameras run as high as 120 fps. The DVB technology group was demonstrating next generation content delivery technology and MPEG DASH and HVEC compression should help with adaptive streaming through the internet as well as better compression algorithms for high resolution content. IBM was showing its archive solutions at the show and folks from the LTO consortium indicated that the first LTO 6 format products would be released in 2013. 

Whew, that is a lot of companies, and I am sure that I didn't get all of them - too many companies in multiple halls and too little time.  Nevertheless it should be clear that the media and entertainment industry is driving a lot of digital storage and storage management innovation.  As the frame rate, resolution and number of cameras increase the innovation required in content compression, storage capacity and storage bandwidth will continue to grow - bit overflow indeed!

Tom Coughlin runs Coughlin Associates,  www.tomcoughlin.com