Hyper-convergence: the future of media data storage By Paul Cameron, Global Managing Director at pixitmedia
Hyper-converged infrastructure software -defined technology removes such limitations associated with hardware appliances. Read more...
Paul enjoyed over twenty years with IBM, where he led sales and client teams to drive growth and deliver success, helping his clients store, manage, and protect their most valuable asset: data. He was named as a member of the Board of Directors and helped IBM reseller Tectrade expand into the USA. Paul joined pixitmedia to lead the company's vision and global strategies. Today Paul is driving the business to push boundaries and facilitate seamless collaboration to enable the power of ideas for customers.
Traditionally, studios and broadcasters have relied on on-premise hardware to store their media data. The problem is, the majority of data appliance vendors don't offer cloud-based solutions; and that makes good sense, after all any data that is moved from on-premise systems to the cloud represents lost business. Instead, these vendors tend to lock clients into long-lasting contracts, applying extra charges for maintenance or to move data when the contract period ends.
As you can imagine, this limits how flexible media and entertainment companies are as they evolve as a business and different requirements arise, such as workloads delivered from the cloud, which is precisely the scenario that many studios are working in today. Once locked into one of these contracts, the only way for upscaling storage needs is by adding more capacity to the existing appliances.
Hyper-converged infrastructures that leverage software-defined technology removes such limitations associated with hardware appliances. It gives studios the opportunity to choose which vendors to work with, when, and if needed. Consequently, this brings down prices for companies and empowers them with ultimate control over their data.
Better user experience for remote or hybrid workflows
Even with the roadmap out of lockdown coming to an end, many studios will keep running remote or hybrid workstations that need some sort of connectivity to the office. Having one integrated system guarantees that workflows like these can be automated and made more efficient. But this level of operation is only truly made possible by having in place a software-defined solution within the storage layer. Hyper-converged infrastructure removes the complexity and overhead of data movement by automatically tiering within the same namespace across cloud, file system, tape and on-premise devices into the 'right cost' resource, according to value and usage as your work teams and business needs demand.
A solution that reduces costs
As previously mentioned, studios often need to buy another tray, blade or disk from their appliance vendor to grow the capacity of their storage strategy. In that case, the party in control of the price of that solution won't naturally be studios themselves. A hyper-converged infrastructure, in turn, gives studios the freedom to choose where to grow their capabilities - may it be on-premise or in the cloud. They can spend on whatever is the biggest, fastest, best solution in the market at that point. Playing a 'free market' means there is competition amongst hardware vendors to own the biggest market share, consequently reducing prices. Now, if a company is restrained by a vendor, there is no competition; they set the price, and the ongoing costs of managing that system.
That's not to say that on-premise hardware is a thing of the past, as cloud really isn't the solution for all data challenges. There are huge costs associated with cloud usage - costs not always accounted for beforehand. This can be particularly challenging when planning project budgets and bidding for work. Studios need to take a considered approach to how they design their storage infrastructure, and hyper-convergence may be the answer.
Companies that offer software-defined solutions to data management should have a consultative approach with their clients, recommending the best technology on which the software will sit, whether that's hardware appliance or cloud. But ultimately, the customer can choose at any point which vendors they want to buy from. That might be based on new offerings that have come out which give better performance or cost, or even new entrants in the marketplace. It could be a number of different things. Regardless, the software works as the technology able to link all workflows and applications, moving data between on-premise and the cloud intelligently. On a side note, software that offers an open API or is written in common coding languages such as Python makes it a lot easier for studios and broadcasters to have the solution integrated within their existing system..
Hyper-convergence is here to stay
Anyone could tell you that technology moves quickly. Hyper-converged infrastructure offers studios scalability and the flexibility to be agile, creating streamlined deployment workloads, optimised infrastructure performance, and the option to move costs. It simply gives media enterprises a choice. So, don't get locked into platforms that don't give you the flexibility to make your own choices in the future. Stay agile. One thing is for certain, hyper-convergence is here to stay.