Media and Entertainment Storage Buying Guide


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Next-gen broadcasting will be all about giving the viewer control and making them feel involved in the product. So said Sam Grocott, VP Product Management and Marketing, EMC Isilon, adding, “Audiences want to be more than just spectators. They want to be engaged and control what they consume—and they want it anywhere, anytime, and on any device.”

But providing this type of control means creating storage systems with the flexibility to support everyone from editors in the studio to marketers mining audience demographics to users picking and choosing their streaming content.

Here are four storage systems that aim to fulfill such needs.

EMC Isilon

According to Grocott, the media and entertainment (M&E) industry is one of EMC Isilon’s largest markets, with over 400 broadcasters using Isilon.

The Isilon OneFS allows a single volume of up to 20 PB, with additional scale out being possible via accelerator nodes. Users can increase capacity by adding NL nodes, or they can increase performance and capacity by adding S or X Series nodes. Storage tiering automatically moves files which have not been accessed within a certain period of time to a lower tier.

Isilon works with most media servers, including Harris and Miranda ITX, as well as play out servers, such as Sienna Play to Air, MXFserver and others. For big data analytics purposes, Isilon is certified for the Hadoop Data File System (HDFS), which can be used to help broadcasters aggregate and analyze consumer behavior data.

HP MS 2040 Storage

Britt Terry, worldwide product marketing manager for HP Storage, believes that too many broadcasters are buying their storage based on meeting the needs of one specific type of usage, rather than taking an holistic look at storage.

“Being able to host content on the right platform, at the right price and being able to deliver that content to downstream users while meeting the latency and performance requirements is a tricky balance,” said Terry. “Broadcasting companies need to step back and look at the bigger picture.”

For broadcasters, Terry recommended HP MSA 2040 Storage arrays, which start at an MSRP just over $11,000 for dual controller 8 GB FC configurations. They can use HDs or SSDs, and the MSA 2040 Converged SAN Controller uses a new controller architecture with 4 GB cache per controller and four ports of 8/16 Gb FC. 1GbE or 10GbE iSCSI will be available later this year. The array holds up to 199 Small Form Factor (SFF) or 96 Large Form Factor (LFF) hard drives and offers local snapshot/copy services, as well as remote snapshot. For those choosing SSDs, the array comes with integrated “wear gauge” or SSD “lifecycle monitoring” which alerts users before errors occur.

“Although serving media assets and hosting an analytics engine require specific performance requirements, they are not quite the same workload from a primary storage perspective,” said Terry. “If one array is hosting both types of workloads, that array needs to be able to support both workloads simultaneously.”

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