IBC 2019 Reflections: Object-Matrix CEO Jonathan Morgan on MatrixStore enhancements and the future of object storage

Object-Matrix utilized IBC 2019 to launch the latest version of its media-focused object storage solution, MatrixStore. MatrixStore 4.1 features compatibility with more hardware and operating systems, as well as updates to MatrixStore Vision browser-based search/collaboration tool, web admin, and monitoring. The latest version also includes the company’s recently launched monitoring and analytics tool, Sense, which enables the collection of real-time statistics, real-time monitoring of hardware, and analytics over all storage systems.

SVG sat down with CEO Jonathan Morgan to get an overview of the MatrixStore updates in version 4.1, how the new Sense analytics/monitoring tool has enhanced the platform, the benefits of moving to hybrid-cloud and object storage, and how he has seen the adoption rate for object storage accelerate over the past year.

What are some of the enhancements being introduced in the new version of MatrixStore here at IBC?
Our search and collaboration tool, MatrixStore Vision, has been expanded and we have new features here at the show that [debuted] over the summer. When you put data into MatrixStore, you get the chance to set which metadata fields are most important to you within a workspace — or a vault, as we call it. And then, within Vision, you can filter down on those fields that you find most important. You have dynamic search, you have fuzzy search to find things that sound like what you’re looking for in case of misspellings, and you have advanced search, which allows you to do an arbitrated, filtered-down search of the areas you’re interested in. That’s all brand new here at the show.

We also have a new media player within Vision. So you can do things like partial restore, you can scrub across videos to find the frames you’re looking for, and you can create a temporary expiring link if you wanted to send that video to somebody for preview. So lots of new [features] in Vision.

Earlier this year, you debuted the Sense analytics, monitoring, and statistics tool in MatrixStore. Why do you see it as a valuable tool for users?
Storage vendors used to sell disk and tape and other bits that you put together to make your own storage system. That’s in the past. Now, it’s about how do you manage your storage and how do you get the most out of that storage? And one of the biggest challenges is your data could be on your PC, it could be in [on-prem] storage, or it could be in the cloud. And you need the tools to manage all that. A tool like Sense allows you to pull all the stats and monitoring into a single framework and be able to view and analyze your data across your different storage platforms. We are providing a window to view where your data is, how it’s being used, and how long it’s being used for [in order to] gain the most possible value. So we think it’s a really powerful platform.

It’s also very extendable. You can add in your own panels if you have your own storage, and you can even take the stats that we’re providing with our framework back to other monitoring platforms if you have your own already.

What are the most significant advantages of switching from tape to object-based storage for M&E companies?
By moving away from an LTO world, where your data is basically static, you’re now going into a world where your whole data set is available and searchable. You can run AI algorithms against it and you can find new things within the video that perhaps you didn’t even think you would want to look at. For example, what was the exposure of a brand across a sporting event 20 years ago versus what is the exposure now? You can run those kinds of algorithms across large sets of data because your data is highly available. That is a completely different from world that we used to live in.

Object storage also helps you to future-proof yourself. In a file-based world, you move all your data onto a platform that you are going to replace with another platform a couple of years later. So often, you end up with 10 different silos — some silos you can upgrade, some silos you can’t upgrade. By moving to a software-defined object storage architecture running on a flexible underlying hardware platform, you can grow into the future and not throw away your investment every few years. It’s a true scale-out architecture that allows you to grow into the future.

After a few years of buzz around the potential of all-cloud environments, the M&E industry seems to be settling into a more hybrid cloud/on-prem approach. How does object storage play into this philosophy?
There are a couple of reasons why cloud alone doesn’t work. Of course, one is cost — especially egress fees. Data gravity is a term that means you want to process the data where it lives and where the processes are natively located. So, quite often, that is better done where the people are working in your own controlled environments where you don’t have these unexpected processing costs.

In terms of the way that we actually fit into that model, if you have some objects on-prem and you have other objects in the cloud… it is a hybrid workflow, and the way we fit is a no-brainer. You’re moving your metadata with your objects from platform to platform, you can move it up to the cloud, run some applications, bring the metadata and the objects back again to where you’re going to do your next piece of processing on that asset. So object storage allows you to more easily [achieve] the hybrid model and take advantage of the transportability of data in those hybrid environments.

Have you seen the M&E industry embrace object storage more over the past year compared to years past?
Absolutely. There was a recent study that surveyed several IT organizations asking what their buying patterns were going to be and they were given three choices: NAS, SAN, or object storage. And object storage was the most popular choice out of the three. To me, as someone who has been in this industry for 16 years, that is a phenomenal story because I remember at the beginning there were a lot of skeptics out there. Now, with the world of hybrid [models], expansion of data stores that you need to be able to manage and use and reuse — and the need to monetize — object storage makes a lot of sense. People see and understand the benefits. The great thing for us is we don’t have to spend our time describing object storage basics. We can now focus on the features that our particular product provides to sports, to media, and to the whole world.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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