Legacy Storage Hardware Holds the Key to Media Archiving Future

graphic depicting video and audio files

Posted on Thursday, August 20, 2015

Information may be the lifeblood of an organization, but many companies have realized that holding information about their information is just as important. This realization is perhaps best exemplified by the media and entertainment industry, whose vast stores of very large media files are the stuff of data warehouse administrators’ nightmares.

The double datastore problem

The relatively low cost of tape means that many content owners choose to leave their files in that format. For archived, infrequently accessed files, the time delay in queuing up and accessing those files is deemed acceptable. But in the ideal set-up, all content, active or archived, would be available on disk to speed up access times.

Far more important in this scenario is being able to access information about the contents of the archived data relatively quickly and easily. To help address this challenge, many companies are now turning to object based file systems to help them create and search metadata so that producers are able to identify the required archive footage quickly and easily.

It is worth noting that although object file systems have been slower for data access, the additional layers of metadata available in an archiving capacity offset concerns about speed.

Older hardware helps make the switch

End of Service Life (EoSL) hardware has an important role to play in making the transition to object based file systems. For archive data, the emphasis is on reliably easy access, rather than raw speed; an ideal use case for ‘old’ hardware.

Existing EoSL hardware can be repurposed to either store the archive media library, the object file system metadata, or both. Taking this approach helps to overcome common arguments about the cost of investing in a brand new archive media system. And as the media archive continues to grow, existing hardware can be fully populated or upgraded at far lower cost than to purchase a new system with additional capacity.

In effect, existing post-warranty systems provide the robust and resilient file archiving and access platform for media and entertainment businesses to build on.

Not just a media and entertainment industry issue

The issue of metadata means that any business handling large archives of large files may need to re-evaluate the use of object based file systems. And the use of EoSL hardware provides a helpful bridge to unlocking further value from corporate datastores without significant investment in replacement systems.