Understanding the Potential of Hyperconverged Storage in M&E

Bringing compute, storage and networking together in a single box.
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In today’s fast-paced, always-on world of sports and news media production, the ability to quickly edit and produce compelling content from multiple sources in real time is critical.

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Although many factors come into play, an organization’s underlying storage architecture has a big impact on whether this can be achieved. It plays a central role in enabling production staff to work as efficiently as possible on vast amounts of visual content—and ultimately get their story out before the competition.

This is where “hyperconvergence” can help. Hyperconverged storage is a relatively new technical innovation that brings compute, storage and networking together in a single box, and is showing significant promise to help media businesses reach the high levels of performance they require.

With everything in one place, media companies can streamline their IT operations and gain a significant amount of agility, enabling them to deploy storage resources when needed to support their particular workflow. This type of architecture also enables media organizations to more intelligently scale expensive storage resources by giving them greater control over how they add performance or capacity to their storage foundation.

But this is just scratching the surface. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that hyperconverged storage has the potential to transform the way media businesses manage and deliver their content.

NEXT-LEVEL EFFICIENCY

If we look back over the last 10 years or so, the one thing that has characterized the development of the media industry is speed. Content in ever-growing file sizes now has to be delivered faster than ever before to satisfy consumer demand and capture the attention of viewers—often on an international scale.

This requires media businesses to take their efficiency to the next level and deploying hyperconvergence is proving to be an effective way to achieve this. This is especially true in small and medium-sized postproduction facilities around the world today, which typically only have one or two IT staff managing all the technical infrastructure.

With such small teams, these IT personnel need to be as operationally efficient as possible. Hyperconverged storage simplifies operations in a way that enables them to work much more effectively. For example, with compute, storage and networking all in one place, IT staff get a single-pane-of-glass view into the system’s performance. This makes it much easier to manage and monitor the entire architecture.

In addition, hyperconvergence ultimately means they have fewer assets to manage because multiple systems come in one box. There are fewer things that can go wrong, fewer things that can be broken and deployment is much quicker since only one box has to be deployed instead of two or three.

The need for fewer networking cables simplifies the connectivity process and enables faster deployment and scaling of hardware resources, while accelerated performance is achieved by removing a layer of external networking between the storage media and the client—thereby giving businesses the tools to do more with less.

From a storage administrator’s perspective, the operational efficiency benefits provided by hyperconverged storage are compelling—putting media organizations in the best position to produce engaging content faster than the competition.

INTERSECTION OF CREATIVITY AND VALUE

Another key consideration is, of course, cost. Whether you’re a post-production house, broadcaster, or sports video producer, modern media organizations are constantly under pressure to deliver more content to viewers for the same or similar prices.

They’re expected to increase content production, while revenue streams essentially stay the same. This presents challenges as costs from the creative side of the business increase and additional storage infrastructure is required to store all this content.

This all places a growing emphasis on becoming as cost efficient as possible—an area where hyperconverged storage shines due to the fact that it condenses storage infrastructure into a smaller datacenter footprint. Not only does this save power and cooling costs, it also reduces hardware costs by combining server nodes, controllers and media onto one chassis instead of requiring separate units.

From a total-cost-of-ownership perspective, hyperconvergence provides significant value. For example, less networking is required as there’s no need for an external network to connect the storage controller to the block storage array—everything is held within one box. What’s more, hyperconverged storage needs fewer processors, which reduces the need for power and delivers even greater cost efficiency for businesses.

Even better news for the media industry is that the benefits of hyperconverged storage are available to everyone—from local TV networks or stations, to the IT departments in medium and large post-production houses. The majority of hyperconverged deployments are NAS-based, which provides a simplified storage infrastructure that meets the performance requirements of postproduction and sports video and supports the industry trend of going all-IP.

This provides greater agility to business operations and offers smaller organizations an entry-level enterprise storage solution that yields cost savings without degrading performance. If that—combined with the operational efficiencies and cost savings on offer—doesn’t convince you of the huge potential of hyperconverged storage for the media industry, nothing will.

Jason Coari is director of product marketing at Quantum.