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Arkivum launches hosted content archive

Arkivum will introduce its data archiving service to the broadcast and entertainment market at IBC2011. The Arkivum system is built on research undertaken at the University of Southampton IT Innovation Center. The British university has been hosting several projects in the A/V sector including Avatar-m, a project researching the planning and management of large-scale, sustainable and integrated digital archives. The project was a collaboration of academics, a major broadcaster and storage vendors.

One of the problems with digital archives that was indentified was data integrity. A perusal of a hard drive specification will reveal typical unrecoverable read errors per bits read as 10^-14. It may be small, but a two-hour uncompressed video file is around 10^13 bits. Errors can and will occur as files are copied from disk to disk, and in compressed video files, a bit error could cause large errors in a frame or GOP.

Error correction and RAID mitigate against problems but are not complete solutions, as research at the CERN nuclear research establishment has shown. Researchers found 1 bit in 10^9 permanently corrupted within six months, a different figure from manufacturers' claims, although that is for a complete storage system, not a single drive.

The Avatar-m project looked at the many issues of building long-term archives for audiovisual content, and it is this research on which Arkivum is based.

The archive service from Arkivum relies on LTO/LTFS data tape technology and open standards to deliver fast and efficient online access. The system uses a gateway appliance that sits on the client's network exposing the archive as a single file system. The searching and retrieval of data can be achieved quickly and easily, simply by finding the right folder and dragging it back, although in practice the client may use a DAM to manage the detail of content location and retrieval from the archive.

Arkivum estimates that users will realize online access in less than five minutes. The Arkivum data archiving service is highly power efficient, dramatically reducing clients' power consumption and offering a carbon footprint estimated at one-tenth of a typical in-house solution.
Arkivum's CTO Matthew Addis will participate in IBC's conference discussion entitled Archive Technology — Retaining, Restoring and Repurposing the Repository, Sept. 11, 2011.