The Right Storage for TV Media Archiving

One of the most interesting meetings I recently attended was hosted by the EBU (European Broadcast Union).  The topics revolved around how studios should store and archive their TV creations for decades, if not centuries.  The meeting was very interesting because there are 3 things that set these Media folks apart from most archiving customers.

First of all, most people and IT organizations that archive content do not take a properly long term view of their data. They instead look for an archiving solution that will last up to 15-20 years.

The second interesting point is that broadcasters face a plethora of formats (video, audio, codes, tapes…) that have been rapidly changing. Therefore, they know that no one format will last forever, but they need formats and media that will last as long as possible in order to reduce the number of format migrations.

The last is that broadcasters think in terms of costs that we don’t usually see. For example, a gentleman from the Swedish Radio recognizes that costs go beyond the simple $ per GB equation. The highest cost will come from scalability and migration management, i.e. moving from one video format or storage format to another type, then migrating again from that storage format to another one.

All that converges to the fact that broadcasters are considering Cloud storage (although a lot of them are not ready to go there yet) and are currently using multiple technologies of disk storage. One thing they don’t see a future without, is long-term tape storage. Tape is seen as an easy storage media that can be quickly duplicated; tape is reliable and required migrations are minimized especially when the stored data has been written in an open format such as TAR, PAX or LTFS.