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3 Archive Challenges All Broadcasters Face


One Broadcaster. Multiple Vendors.

During our 17 years working with broadcasters such as the BBC, ITN, NBC, TV Globo and France Televisions, we have identified 3 key storage challenges they all face as we head into a period where access to content from anywhere at any time is paramount for businesses to survive, let alone thrive.

Content and metadata jails

Broadcasters across the world have over the years built up an impressive array of workflows and technology stacks from a myriad of vendors to solve a myriad of business challenges.

Nearly all of those workflows require access to some form of storage be that portable, production, nearline or archive.

To date, many of those workflows are isolated islands with their own storage pools making sharing content across teams or workflows very difficult. Most broadcasters have some form of Avid technology in their estate and many of those have Avid Media Central PAM or MAM to manage their mostly Avid based content. But, those organisations are also highly likely to rely on other industry leading platforms from the likes of Vizrt, Adobe, Grass Valley, etc to achieve their strategic goals.

Historically content archived to LTO using any of these platforms is either not portable or dark media and thus not easily accessible to the others making the ability to truly exploit the value of archive content a very real challenge . Metadata is also not shared freely throughout the supply chain making sharing and finding content even more challenging.

Sure there are some intermediary or glue-like solutions out there to push and pull content between platforms but is it often inefficient and costly as more bespoke services and solutions are required to achieve what should be a reasonably straightforward goal.

Having many silos of storage is also expensive to manage, expensive to support, and not the optimal use of operational resources.

Implementing a hybrid cloud storage platform that ensures access to assets from all workflows, from anywhere at anytime reduces operational cost, empowers creativity and makes content producers far more efficient when it comes to finding and using archive content.

2. LTO is not business continuity and not suitable for on demand archives.

The stark reality is that many broadcasters are not sufficiently prepared for local, regional or global outages as they rely on LTO to implement their business continuity strategies. But, as people are quickly finding out, LTO is fine for Disaster Recovery but it is not the platform to ensure businesses can quickly continue operating and provide instant access to content should the worst occur.

Sending operational staff, in personal protective equipment, into cities, towns or buildings that are locked down for access just to put a tape into a library so that content can be accessed by waiting producers? That is not business continuity.

The push for broadcasters to modernise their BCP (Business Continuity Plans) provision has recently been pushed up the priority list as they scramble to ensure staff can access archive content from anywhere. The migration from LTO to private, hybrid or public cloud storage is starting and for that they need to be working with object storage companies that understand their workflows and challenges.

You cannot AI a tape!

It is well documented that if you need to access content from an archive frequently or to perform analysis on the data you own then LTO is not the optimal solution. In the broadcast industry where news and sports producers need instant access to decades of archive content, the only platform that offers full unfettered access with little or no operational resource to support needs to be based on a media centric object storage platform.

3. Cloud is just part of the solution

Broadcasters pushing archive content to public cloud as a belt and braces copy is fine. Good practice even, if local regulations do not enforce data sovereignty regulations that is. Using it as the sole source for an active archive is not such a great idea. As cloud mania kicks off with gusto it is important to remember that cloud is not just public cloud.

A number of leading globally recognised media and sports organisations are implementing local, private or hybrid cloud storage platforms that ensure they benefit from the technology that underpins public cloud in a way that suits their budgetary, digital content governance and data access needs.

We can't deny that public cloud storage can be fantastic to satisfy some deep archive strategic goals, but, there are things to look out for, as gleaned from customer feedback, if you are on your way to starting the public cloud migration journey.

Unpredictable costs, and performance, when even the predictable costs can be challenging

Look out for proprietary formats or paying excessively to get your own data back at a speed that your business requires it. Siri, define ransomware

Metadata. It's not theirs, it's yours! Make sure you can access it at all stages of the supply chain

Media workflows work best on a platform designed for media workflows. Generic IT platforms are good for applications that just need bit buckets. Media workflows require much more

A good strategy to pursue would be to implement a hybrid* cloud storage strategy that incorporates the best of private and public cloud storage. Putting all your eggs into one big LTO or cloud basket may restrict your ability to do business in the long run.

*According to the IABM 33% of companies prefer hybrid cloud based deployments

Where Object Matrix Fits

Object Matrix is only focused on the media industry and has been tightly integrated into Avid workflows since 2009. Be that MediaCentral PAM (Interplay!) or MAM, we have broadcasters across the globe relying on our award winning object storage solutions in ingest, parking,
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