What does EMC’s Rio Olympics Deal tell us about Enterprise Storage...

Olympics & EMC logos

Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2016

To much fanfare, EMC has been named the official data storage partner for the 2016 Olympics taking place in Rio this August. Over the next few months, EMC will be deploying two 560 terabyte Isilon NL 400 clusters at the media center in the Olympic village.

Working with NBC, the NL 400 clusters will be connected to the broadcaster’s existing infrastructure to form a 3 petabyte global data lake, storing all the footage captured throughout the games. This will allow the broadcaster to deliver high resolution images and uncompressed files for live broadcast and online streamlining across the world. 

However the choice of onsite storage for NBC’s broadcasts raises important questions for enterprise data storage. Particularly when the IT industry is currently obsessed with using Cloud services for large data projects.

The need for speed

Real time editing and playback of HD video is incredibly resource intensive, but for a global television event, demand is going to be unprecedented. Lag at any point of the capture or playback process is unacceptable.

So although Cloud services like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS) have more than enough capacity to store NBC’s footage, there will always be a lag caused by uploading and downloading data to an offsite datacentre.

Capturing footage onsite in the first instance is by far the best way to reduce lag.

The need for infrastructure control

With an existing EMC-based data lake in place at their Stamford headquarters, NBC has decided to simply extend its reach to Brazil. This approach allows them to retain complete control of their infrastructure – and their video assets.

Despite the relative ease with which NBC could interface their data lake with the Cloud, it would appear that they feel their interests are best served by keeping complete control of their infrastructure. 

The need for familiarity

The EMC – NBC partnership has already been proven in the past. As well as using their equipment at head office, NBC used EMC storage equipment in Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics, proving the value of an onsite datacentre.

With less than four months until the Games open, it makes sense for NBC to choose technologies that they are already familiar with to speed up deployment.

Bucking trends to deliver the optimum viewer experience

Although industry analysts endlessly promote Cloud services, NBC’s experience simply reinforces the universal truth that one size does not fit all. And for any business considering a Big Data implementation it makes sense to carefully assess whether on-site data storage will actually deliver greater benefits – regardless of the perceived overheads.

For more help and advice on data storage, or third party support for your EMC equipment, please get in touch.