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The Benefits of Active Archives for Media Content

By Laura Shepard

The continued growth of higher resolution formats and the evolution of the Internet and online distribution of media content, is changing the storage needs of content creators and their workflows. Higher resolution, increased frame rates and more channels of audio are making production storage burst at its seams. In addition, many assets that previously would have been discarded - or put into deep, inaccessible, long term, inexpensive archives - are now being demanded by our increasingly connected, news hungry, media-centric world.

At the same time, archive owners are increasingly being challenged to keep their archives viable, usable and manageable, as these higher resolutions increase project storage capacities. Archives are growing faster every day. Decisions need to be made about long term data preservation technologies that may be difficult to transition from, as technology evolves.

Another challenge for the media and entertainment industry is that many companies are becoming more geographically distributed and their workflows are encompassing users from around the city, country or even the world. These workflows, allow for a continuous 24 hours of production between locations. Collaborative workflows are difficult to support with standard storage and archiving solutions. Tracking and synchronizing content and versioning is difficult to implement, clunky to use, and often requires the users to wait for content. The truth is most archive owners would choose to keep every asset on a disk-based solution, if they could only afford to do so.

Highly responsive, active archive solutions are needed to relieve the demand on expensive tier-one storage and to bring these assets online, without breaking the bank. Active archiving facilitates collaboration and massive storage needs of media and entertainment companies.

An active archive based on object storage provides high access speeds, low latency location-awareness with optional replication and caching that make it an ideal solution for online content delivery.  It can scale to hundreds of billions of objects seamlessly, in a single name space. The integrated solution also delivers short-term storage with backup capacity and long-term archiving capabilities that supports the preservation of data with its associated user metadata.

Archives are undergoing a radical transformation, fueled by rapidly growing file sizes and new access requirements. An active archive enables users to archive content sooner reducing the cost of tier-one storage and creating new opportunities to monetize content. In addition, active archives increase data access and speed, at a substantially lower price point than traditional RAID disk-based solutions (and not much more than tape).