Analyst Report Validates Value of Media-Workflow Storage vs. General-Purpose Storage

Quantum (Booth SL8416) has announced that a newly released report by industry analyst Coughlin Associates affirms the business value that workflow storage delivers over general-purpose IT storage for broadcast and postproduction operations.

Commissioned by Quantum, the report highlights the increasing demands these operations face and identifies three key areas in which intelligent, media-aware storage and content management plays a central role in driving creative and economic ROI. Quantum and the author of the report, Tom Coughlin, discussed the report’s findings at an NAB 2015 press conference, joined by two of the company’s customers, MTI Film and UFC.

The media and entertainment market is undergoing dynamic change at both a technical and a business level — from the move to higher video resolutions and capture frame rates to the increased pressure to create more content more quickly and repurpose existing assets. All this makes the storage infrastructure supporting media production and delivery more critical to a company’s bottom line. As a result, the question of whether to rely on general-purpose IT storage or more specialized workflow storage has taken on greater importance.

In this market, workflow storage refers to storage optimized for media operations and applications with integrated intelligence that provides application- and media-aware management of content. According to the Coughlin report, media-workflow–optimized storage differs from general-purpose storage “because the demands of moving and streaming large high-resolution media files are quite different from the demands of storing and accessing databases, documents, and content created by other common business functions.”

In its report, Coughlin Associates identifies three key determinants of overall business value in a media-production environment in which the choice of storage can have a clear impact:

  • Process value — the benefit of having processes and applications work more efficiently and cost-effectively
  • Creative value — the benefit of being able to create more content or higher-quality content.
  • Content-lifecycle value — the benefit of being able to control and manage content assets throughout their lifecycle efficiently and profitably, including re-monetization.

As a demonstration of the greater creative value that workflow storage enables, the Coughlin report uses a 4K-editing example. With workflow storage, “delivery of video frames to the underlying applications will be deterministic, predictable, and 100% accurate,” meaning “this type of storage won’t result in dropped frames.” General-purpose storage, however, “cannot guarantee accurate video-frame delivery, which results in dropped frames … causing glitches in video playback, leading to repeated playback and thus delays leading to slower creative work.”

Quantum’s StorNext 5 platform provides both the highest-performance and lowest-cost storage in a single managed environment. It combines the industry’s fastest streaming file system and policy-based, end-to-end management for automatically moving content across online storage, extended online storage, tape archive, and the cloud, balancing accessibility and cost based on a user’s needs. StorNext 5 also provides the foundation for Quantum’s StorNext Pro Solutions, systems specially designed to address such challenges as managing 4K content and enhancing legacy Xsan environments.

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