Planning is essential when looking to include the benefits of thin-provisioning, where different scales will apply to each particular application. For example, in craft editing that occurs on a regular schedule, it’s possible to predict and allocate storage based upon routine workloads from the workgroup.
However, in a pure project environment, more care must be given to how much is allocated, for what period and under which circumstances. For the latter case, this is where an integrated asset management and workflow manager component makes good sense.
While not necessarily applicable to media-centric workflows, yet more applicable to research or statistical analysis, filling a thinly provisioned array with rapidly accumulating data or consolidating data negates the benefits of this technology mainly because pre-allocation of that data space is impractical.
There are other data reduction techniques that support efficient storage management; however, for media applications, these technologies are not as practical as the forms of provisioning just outlined. Data deduplication is the task of removing duplicate files from a system and using pointers to reference the single instance of that unaltered file. Most media application managers found in professional NLEs and MAMs handle this process internally. When a third-party storage pool is in use, there might be merit to having data deduplication storage management available.
Compression is the other technology typically used to increase storage space. In this context, compression refers to “data compression” and not the media industry’s understanding of “video compression.” Fortunately, or unfortunately depending upon your perspective, most media files are already in a compressed “video state;” so taking advantage of data compression techniques will not make any serious difference in the space availability of video or moving media storage systems.
In most case, the users of digital editing and media asset management systems already enjoy the benefits of storage management afforded them by virtue of the actual platforms or applications that support their NLEs or MAMs. For those without a MAM and that use a variety of storage arrays and systems for all their media applications, the topics presented here have merit and may be worthy of further exploration.
The bottom line is that effective management of the storage pool requires long-term planning and short-term awareness in order to avoid the traps of over-provisioning a storage system.
Karl Paulsen (CPBE) is a SMPTE Fellow and chief technology officer at Diversified Systems. Read more about these and other storage topics in his book “Moving Media Storage Technologies.” Contact Karl at firstname.lastname@example.org.