The media industry in the 21st century is fully committed to digitalisation: films are shot digitally and often enhanced with virtual reality elements. Now post-production is following suit. Enriched metadata accelerates distributed access to films as well as video sequences and enables automated processes. To ensure smooth workflows, managing data as objects is ideal, making object storage solutions the optimal choice.
Anyone who works in IT and deals with technical equipment in the media industry is already aware; films are video streams and therefore data. Thus, data should be considered as IT in all phases of its lifecycle. To digitalise and further automate workflows and processes in post-production, it is vital to continuously enrich video streams with large amounts of metadata to attach sublines with additional technical and content related information. Using these unique identifiers (UID), individual sequences or sound recordings for a particular scene can be quickly filtered out of the heterogeneous data pool. Metadata also the foundation for AI-driven automated processes such as noise reduction.
To enable post-production teams to compile as much information as possible into a film, regardless of the file format, it makes sense to manage the data as objects and store them buckets. This approach makes collaboration much easier because usually multiple teams across multiple locations are using a variety of devices to complete a film. For example, to coordinate sound processes and colour spaces, all team members need to closely cooperate while also requiring quick and often simultaneous access to the same data. Therefore, virtualisation and cloud technologies are a logical choice.
How modern workflows impact storage architectures
Modern work requires storage systems to capture and store both large and heterogeneous sets of data whilst making them quickly available for analytics, further processing, post-processing, and distribution. Additionally, all valuable content must be properly managed, preserved and protected. Massive scalability, fast access, as well as high levels of data security and durability are also very important requirements for modern storage systems in the media industry.
Object-based software-defined storage (SDS) with linear scalable storage pools enables post-production teams to access data using a wide range of end-user devices. It also allows flexible growth in conjunction with the flood of additional metadata. Since team members often edit high-resolution video streams, high-performance systems with solid state drives (SSDs) and optimal network connections are recommended whereas hard disk drives (HDDs) are sufficient for back-up and archiving.
An object storage solution protects data at the hardware and software levels through erasure coding, breaking data into fragments which are stored across different nodes along with encoded redundant information. To recover the data, the system only needs a subset of the redundant data sets, which reduces both recovery times and lossless coding.
Why integrated security is uber important
When several people use the internet to access data, appropriate security measures such as role-based user access, multi-level authentication, firewall protection and more are an absolute must. After all, neither film sequences nor spoilers should be leaked because of data protection issues before premiere. The storage solution comprising of hardware and software must therefore make the implementation of high data protection standards as easy and user-friendly as possible.
How to immunify against ransomware attacks
In addition to high data protection standards as described above, a modern storage solution must also defend against data encryption by ransomware. Making your storage immutable is one of the best options to immunify against ransomware attacks. Immutable storage means that stored data objects become unchangeable for a predefined period of time. Hackers can neither encrypt nor delete or manipulate this data throughout the entire duration of the retention period. Even administrators with privileged access rights cannot make any changes. With immutable storage media companies will always be able to roll back and recover a clean copy of their data or backups in case of a disaster or a ransomware attack.
How we build modern storage solutions for post-production
We at RNT know well that one size doesn’t fit all and that each sector has its own requirements. That’s why we’ve created two modern storage solution bundles for the media industry. The object storage solution is ideal for shared access and enriched metadata usage in film and video post-production. The second option is recommended for heterogeneous environments where extremely low latencies and high performance are required, i.e. for both live and on-demand streaming.
Object storage solutions
The first recommendation is based on our Software-Defined-Storage platform Sasquatch® SDS HyperStore® Cluster powered by Cloudian®. This platform provides the industry’s highest S3 compatibility and is therefore ideally suited for an enterprise grade object storage solution. Users can enrich metadata to have a powerful, Google-like search functionality at their fingertips. Even more importantly, all our solutions come with Cloudian S3 Object-Lock for immutable storage to immunify data and backups against ransomware attacks. Cloudian’s S3 Object Lock solution was named Product of the Year at NAB 2020. For smaller data volumes Hyperstore is deployed on Yowie® Storage Appliances (from 30 TByte) and if you need a lot of storage, it’s also available on our BigFoot® Storage System, that is designed for the highest storage and computing capacities and combines high density with lots of computing power. Only hand-picked high-quality components are inside, and BigFoot is always built to meet the individual storage requirements of each customer. Inside a 4U chassis are up to 48 hard disks plus eight SATA SSDs and four NVMe SSDs. To double the IOPS throughput choose disks with MACH.2 technology which allow parallel access to two hard disk areas due to the brand new multi-actuator technology. Additionally, add one or even more controllers and CPUs to your BigFoot as needed.
A solution for heterogeneous storage environments
If you are dealing with file, object or block storage and are looking for an ideal solution for heterogeneous storge environments we recommend our unified storage solution Sasquatch® SDS Datacenter File System powered by Quobyte®. This SDS solution supports S3, Linux, NFS, Windows and Apache Hadoop enabling smooth collaboration between Windows, Mac and Linux. It is designed for compute-intensive processes with large amounts of data, offering unprecedented high I/O data throughput with a consistent latency of less than one millisecond. In addition, thanks to prefetching, Sasquatch powered by Quobyte achieves jitter-free playback of 4K streams, even with multiple video streams running simultaneously. This makes it an ideal solution for streaming services.
Why we believe in personalised storage solutions
Any company that wants to process and manage video streams more efficiently in the future needs a high-performance storage environment that is specifically designed for either object or unified storage. In any case, it must provide simple to deploy yet comprehensive security measures to protect data against ransomware and other malicious attacks. As mentioned before, every use case is different and therefore implies different requirements for storage capacities and its distribution, performance, latency, scalability, and more. We therefore look at your current and future requirements and then build a personalised solution that grows with your business.
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