Overcoming Hidden Costs
Our customer manages and distributes video content for its media industry clients. Their goals are to securely and cost-effectively store and manage existing video content for distribution on behalf of their client(s). Media operations often face a unique challenge given the petabyte scale storage capacity required. They are constantly seeking storage solutions where the budget does not rise at the same rate as the volumes of content. Given an existing relationship with a public cloud provider, our customer investigated public cloud storage. It was an obvious option to provide the required scalability.
At first glance, it was an affordable solution. However, public cloud storage comes with a hidden cost – at least when it comes to moving large media files. That cost is related to egress. While ingesting content to the public cloud is free, it is challenging to move that much data over a WAN. However, the financial challenge is in retrieving the content. With egress charges on par with the cost of the storage itself, the overall cost of managing, accessing and retrieving petabytes of media, becomes cost prohibitive. A different option was needed.
As media companies manage and distribute content it is relevant to note that they are moving media assets between locations that are geographically dispersed and that they will need to store and stream content from multiple sites. Key components of an optimal storage solution include:
- Flexibility – to support multiple protocols for applications supporting ingest, encode, transcode and streaming; and accommodate multiple file types, formats and sizes.
- Reliability - to sustain steady read/write performance – especially as the user base grows and even when maintenance operations are being performed.
- Storage Management – to support moving objects between different storage tiers within their dedicated archives.
- Cloud and Service Provider Compatibility – enable workflow integration with public clouds and the functions running in them using the ISPs networks interconnecting them.
- Metadata-Policy Engine – to optimize data availability, performance, geo-distribution, retention and protection.
- Service Management – to manage access rights, security, analytics and devices.
Providing Unlimited Scalability
Object Storage is the storage architecture that provides the on-demand scalability required by media organizations, without budget busting costs. What is object storage? It is sophisticated storage software wherein files are stored as objects with associated metadata and unique identifiers that allow them to be easily accessed on a network. Object storage has evolved in response to the boundary-pushing demands of big data. The volumes of unstructured data associated with images, social media, graphics, audio and video have overwhelmed traditional databases.
IIS proposed an object storage solution because it shines when there is demand for storing massive amounts of data and where the demand to store more data is increasing exponentially. It is an attractive technology solution that capitalizes on managing TCO through the use of COTS servers. By mixing and matching standard high-density servers, capacity can scale linearly while supporting multiple workloads. More importantly, object storage provides differentiation by delivering:
- Scalability to hundreds of petabytes - independent of physical location
- Flexible data storage, access and usage due to use of 100% flat namespace which eliminates traditional hierarchies
- Data Durability achieved through the use of Forward Error Correction (FEC)
- Self-protection and built-in disaster recovery as a result of data distribution across multiple data centers or physical sties
- Global Data Access due to wide area distribution of data and use of global networks
In addition to the scale and flexibility derived from the proposed object storage architecture, IIS also addressed challenges for the data security. The solution includes capabilities for defining role-based access to data, preserving data integrity, enabling data encryption, preserving network security and maintaining security audits. When video content is your business protecting the data, that represents those media assets, is as important as where those assets are stored.
Understanding the Balance
The customer selected IIS Object Storage-as-a-Service due to IIS taking a holistic approach in its recommendations. Through its delivery of architectural workshops, IIS was able to collaborate with its customer to design a solution that met both its technology goals as well as its business objectives. IIS recognized the importance of a viable economic model being as important as the technology solution itself.
Often, on-premise solutions are assumed to be sunk costs taken from the capital budget. However, alternatives exist to use financing options to align monthly costs with the consumption of IT resources. IIS worked with its customer to understand their budget concerns and provide a financial solution that allows them to access storage-as-a-service and optimize cash flow.
When video content is your business protecting the data, that represents those media assets, is as important as where those assets are stored.
Additionally, the total solution from IIS alleviated customer deployment challenges by incorporating global implementation services. By leveraging its state-of-the-art Integration Center, IIS fulfills “last mile” solution delivery through staging and testing of the object storage architecture to optimize on-premise deployment. IIS will continue to deliver value to its customer in the form of managed services for monitoring and first line support. IIS resources are trained to assess support issues and resolve or escalate to the appropriate partner/vendor. Bottom Line, IIS was able to understand its customer priorities and deliver the infinite scalability needed from object storage in a business model that makes sense for its customer.
Storage for today...and tomorrow
Understanding the customer’s unique requirements helped IIS identify the storage solution that could address current demands for capacity, but also fulfill requirements for future growth and global data availability. When media assets are the core of your business, storage solutions must provide a different caliber of scalability while delivering enhanced data protection. IIS is confident that the delivery of a software-defined storage solutions, that provides the platform intelligence and self-healing capabilities to prevent file corruption or errors before they impact productivity, will allow its customer to continue to grow its global footprint.