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Cisco@NAB: On the Beauty of Object-Based Storage for Media

- April 26, 2017 - 0 Comments

Maybe this has happened to you, in a large or small scale: You captured some cool A/V from an event. (Small scale, maybe it’s your niece’s high school graduation; large scale, maybe it’s a segment for a movie.) It’s time now to edit it. You have lots of ideas, and editing tools. You’ve been burned before by not saving changes as you go along, and you know the importance of saving a separate incidence of each major technique you apply.

Things are going so great! Until your local machine starts warning you — almost out of space. So you shift your work to some form of public cloud, just to keep your local buffers clear and processors working at full muster. At some point, and especially if you’re doing industrial-grade editing, you’re probably going to outgrow your public cloud, too. Two things will happen: Either it’ll get too expensive, or the latency and performance, specific to video, won’t be agile enough for the media workflows you’re trying to establish.

This is where the beauty of object-based storage comes in — scalable, networked storage, designed for heavy manipulation.

Media companies are already looking at object-based storage as a way to manage the growth of their content creations, with greater flexibility and cost performance. Why, because consumers consistently show an insatiable appetite for content, and producers are struggling with the rising costs of CDN storage and distribution for their ever-growing content libraries.

Analytic proof: Both IDC and Gartner Group expect that more than 80% of all storage will be both unstructured and stored in cloud data centers; our Global Cloud Index similarly indicates that 64% of cloud data center traffic will consist of video and storage, by 2020.

Our solution, which we’re advancing at NAB this year, is housed within our UCS line of servers, used in 85% of Fortune 500 companies, and which have broken over 100 world records for sheer performance. In particular, I’m talking about our new Cisco UCS S-Series, where the “S” stands for “storage-optimized.” Unlike traditional, file-based storage systems — which, don’t get me wrong, are great for storing structured data, in files, with specific info like location, file-type, size and data — object-based storage is infinitely more scalable for the growth of unstructured data.

That means using metadata to define the attributes of the object being stored — which can be changed and indexed, on the fly. It means container-based storage, independent of application and file type, and far more effective for videos and images. It’s web-native, with operations and access handled via REST-based APIs.

Data sheet-wise, the S3260 storage server is optimized data intensive workloads — in that it’s stuffed with up to 600 Terabytes of raw data storage capacity, in a compact 4RU form factor, with policy-based management, seamless resource provisioning, and a killer TCO, compared to traditional, 2RU storage units. By that I mean 34% lower capex, 80% lower ongoing management (scale to petabytes in minutes!), 70% less cabling, 60% less space, and 59% lower power consumption.

But wait — there’s more! The S-Series Storage Servers are just better for media storage because digital video use cases are deeply compute-intensive. That means it’s important to unlock the value of data, and use it in real-time — as a sort of data fabric, covering compute and storage.

And, in keeping with the collaborative nature of all beneficial progress, it’s not just us singing this tune. We’re grateful to be partnered with software defined storage partners like IBM Cloud Object Storage, Red Hat Ceph, Scality and SwiftStack, on specific broadcast and IT use cases — like moving film archives to active storage, which consequently makes it easier to manage and move large volumes. And offering remote production workflows (think stadiums, outside broadcast events) and distributed disaster recovery.

(Speaking of SwiftStack — check out Joe Arnold, founder and chief product officer, who will be delivering the Cisco Daily Keynote on Wednesday (April 26) at 11am. It’s titled “New Choices for Media Storage,” and happens at the Connected Media IP Theater. We are thrilled to sponsor such a fine thing!)

Last not least: our storage for media offering is available “as a service.” We’ve expanded our financing models, covering traditional purchase models, as well as leasing and — this part is new — a subscription service for utility based pricing that starts at a low $15/TB/month. It’s secure (data privacy-controlled), efficient (pay as you go), and flexible (on your schedule/terms), and less costly than competitive alternatives without the compromises, like, oh, say, AWS.

That’s the high level overview for how Cisco Unified Computing is the right system for keeping up with data growth in the broadcast/media sector — with the right storage solution partners, and a solid set of financing options. Let’s talk! We’re in booth SU8502CM.

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