Caringo Exec: Five ‘Tiers’ of Storage are Needed for New Video Production Workflows

As video production workflows continue to evolve rapidly to satisfy on-demand requirements, production timelines are compressing, while content needs to remain online and accessible for indefinite lengths of time. And this has introduced the need for more “tiers” of storage, according to Adrian Herrera, Caringo VP of marketing.

“What we’re seeing is we’re living in an on-demand world, and that’s really changing the dynamics of how content is created and delivered,” he said Dec. 18 during the webinar “5 Tiers of Storage for New Video Production Workflows.”

In the media and entertainment and digital video production space, what’s crucial is “making sure that all of the different pieces from the cameras all the way down to the archives work in unison and work together well,” he noted.

The webinar provided an overview of the tiers of storage needed for any new video production workflows, covering super-fast storage for editing to economical storage on-premise or in the cloud and everything in between.

It’s not a matter of “which storage tier replaces all other storage tiers; it’s not really an or – we use this storage tier or that storage tier,” Herrera said. Rather, he pointed out: “It’s more of an and — and when to use the right storage tier within the specific content life cycle.”

Agreeing with him, Nicholas Smith, director of media technologies at JB&A Distribution, said during the webinar: “It’s sort of like dominos, right? Because when you set up dominoes, each domino has an effect on the next domino. And that’s the piece that we like to look at. It’s how does implementing this particular storage affect the storage next to it – the workflow that the assets are coming from or going to. They’re all part of a big process and so everything has its place in the domino chain.”

A small production organization might only be able to afford one tier of storage, Smith said. But he added: “The reality of it is that as your system grows, as your workflows grow, you start to look at, ‘well, why am I only putting everything in one basket?’ And you need to start looking at, holistically, the larger workflow that you have, the amount of assets you have, where they’re living, how long they’re living in each tier because you can really start to manipulate the storage to create a better workflow and a more cost-effective workflow.”

At the end of the day, Smith said: “Buying the fastest, biggest tier of storage you can isn’t always cost-effective and doesn’t meet every workflow.”

The five storage tiers for new video production workflows, according to Caringo and JB&A, are: Ultra-Fast Non-Volatile Memory (NVMe), Fast Storage Area Network (SAN)/Network Attached Storage (NAS), NAS, Local Archive and Cloud Archive.

Advantages of NVMe include its extremely fast speed and low latency, Smith said. But “cutting-edge tech equals cutting-edge price tag” because it comes with “pretty massive” network requirements, he noted. Fast SAN/NAS, meanwhile, provide fast, reliable optimized storage for any video workflow, but network upgrades are required, he said. NAS is low-cost and high capacity, but provides no video optimization.

Moving on to the fourth storage tier, Smith said there’s two kinds of on-prem Local Archive: Linear Tape-Open (LTO) Archive and Object Store Archive, and “each of them have their pros and cons.”

Each offers a “low cost of ownership,” with LTO Archive also offering unlimited tape capacity in many cases, while Object Store Archive offers a “more cloud-like experience” and the densest capacity of all arrays, he noted. Tape format lock in is one negative of LTO Archive, requiring the need to move tape over every three years or so to newer tape, which takes a while, he said. Because Object Store Archive is “optimized for throughput,” it also tends to be fairly slow, although it’s faster than LTO, he said.

The fifth storage tier, Cloud Archive requires “zero maintenance,” unlimited capacity and quick startup, Smith said. But it too has negatives: most prominently, long restore times and data fees for archive/restore and high network costs. Costs can be higher than on-prem solutions, he noted.