05 Dec 2019

The Need for Shared Storage

Applications for fast, shared storage aren’t limited to broadcast applications. In fact, it could be argued that the natural home of such storage is in any market where creative thinkers – including producers – are constantly pushing boundaries, not only in terms of their imaginative output, but in the technology required to realise their ideas.

And this is where the “shared” part of the storage equation comes into play. The pace of change and the requirements (some, rightly call them “expectations”) placed upon creatives is both blessing and curse. A blessing because of the ever-expanding need for creative expression. A curse because it can be so painful to experiment with the idea required to get there… unless there is adequate space to create, collaborate on, and back those ideas up.

This is particularly true when media is involved. Footage generated by large in-house creative teams of writers, designers, and directors requires parallel advances in technology to meet client expectations in terms of capturing, processing, and delivering ever-higher resolutions - and running out of storage to do that can rapidly become a major issue.

Providing SPACE in the City

Like many major metropolitan areas that are home to brand name hubs of advertising, marketing, and television excellence, London has hundreds of such companies and facilities of every size. However, regardless of head count, storage requirements can often vary by very little. It all depends on the size of the job – or jobs – at hand. And with the rapidly increasing number of outlets for content on multiple platforms, even the smallest jobs can quickly grow to sizes that strain the performance capabilities a system, and therefore constrain productivity.

These days, although it is still a fundamental driver, performance on its own is not the only in decision-making factor. It’s also about how the storage solution needs to interact will all aspects of a production process. Not just the creative side, but the admin and sales sides, too. This is where our expansive toolsets set us apart once more.

External IT companies and even internal IT departments can test the water with relatively small storage systems that support a few edit suites, but any requirement to expand, or take on large projects, can quickly render such efforts pointless. And getting tasks like VFX or online work done externally is expensive, so many are taking a hard look at what makes sense to bring in-house... and how to do it.

This is usually where the reputation of GB Labs and its broad range of storage systems come into play. The number of GB Labs storage systems offer not only means that an ideal solution for practically any requirement can be quickly found, but often a substantial range of additional solutions and benefits that had not previously been considered emerge in the decision-making process owing to the in-built benefits of GB Labs storage tools and applications.

For example, the new CORE.4 operating system is gaining a great deal of interest for those considering GB Labs as a supplier, primarily because of, but not limited to, its in-built intelligence, which can govern and regulate read/write requests simultaneously as well as make autonomous decisions on how and where to read, or place data.

And the new Mosaic Automatic Asset Organiser, which can scour all inbuilt metadata and integrate AI tagging without having to manually enter any metadata has already been independently hailed as “an excellent idea that makes working lives far more efficient”.

Another example of the efficiency that can be achieved is GB Labs’ HyperSpace, which includes GB Labs’ In-Flight Data Acceleration technology (IDA²), which elegantly meshes the relationship between spinning disks and solid-state drives in a way that ensures the optimum performance of both. Like many of its offerings, HyperSpace is unique to GB Labs and cannot found in competitive systems.

In short, the products and services GB Labs offers track very closely with what people want to achieve as a business and continue to prove themselves as major selling points.

Overcoming obstacles, with support

One issue that often has to be addressed when considering a new storage system are drives. Like all drives, existing drives are not indestructible. They have to be serviced, maintained and, eventually, replaced before irreparable damage can take place. This is where many technology providers fail.

However, GB Labs support engineers are available at the mere hint of a problem to ensure nothing goes go wrong - long before anything potentially could. In fact, it is the quality of support that often cements a decision to introduce or expand with GB Labs technology.

The future

As media resolutions increase to 4K and even 8K, so do file sizes. In a few short years it has become not uncommon to process far more than 4TB a day, so workflow structures and storage management requirements can become, as we’ve said, very different, very quickly. given the exponential increases in the size of data files.

But there’s an answer when you get to that crossroad.

Because GB Labs is already there, with plenty of SPACE, leading the way.

By Duncan Beattie, Chief Product Officer, GB Labs