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HPA Tech Retreat Blog: the cloud, storage, metadata, more

By Tom Coughlin

Object storage is the key technology behind most cloud storage offerings and there were a number of exhibits at last week’s 2014 HPA Tech Retreat in Indian Wells, California, offering cloud-based storage of M&E content.

Zadara Storage is offering SAN/NAS-as-a-Service solutions with a Virtual Private Storage Array (VPSA). The VPSAs offer iSCSI block or NFS/CIFS file storage. The user keeps the keys that allow access to data-in-flight as well as data-at-rest encrypted data. The company is offering this VPSA service using leading cloud providers or with their Zadara Storage Engines.

Avere was showing their FlashCloud for unlimited capacity scaling in the close and unlimited performance scaling at the Edge. The Avere FXT Edge Filer offers access to private cloud objects, public cloud objects as well as legacy NAS through a WAN. Thus these filers integrate public and private cloud assets as well as legacy NAS into a global namespace (GNS). Offerings such as this enable M&E companies to storage their content where it makes the most sense in terms of availability, performance and cost.

Cache-io had SSD caching products that it was showing to support uncompressed 4K workflows. In particular it was showing an appliance providing 140Gbps in 2RU with 40TB of usable SSD capacity. A professional post facility is using this product to provide all-in-one data and metadata access as shown in the picture at the top of this article.

Avid also recognizes the importance of the cloud in collaborative workflows and is promoting its vision of a common media production services platform running on a variety of cloud and other services that they call Avid Everywhere. As pointed out in a white paper at the HPA Tech Retreat (Avid Everywhere: A Vision for the Future of the Media Industry), “Constant and realtime connectivity now allow for distributed and complex workflow environments to be available everywhere.”

Lightcraft Technology hosted a discussion table during breakfasts talking about their goal of taking data from set to post in a seamless manner that “just works” and saves time and money. Their goal is to automate the capture of metadata as much as possible, including triggering roll/cut and file naming based on the metadata generated by the camera. They want to convince post production vendors to make use of available metadata so that data recorded at one point in the production workflow makes it into post production, and is not either misplaced or stripped off by other tools/processes.

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Daystrom was showing their Q-media Media Foundry (QmF) software defined automation product for linking diverse media applications, digital assets and open standards infrastructure to create a programmable production environment for media workflows.

According to the company literature, QmF lowers costs and increases productivity through extensive use of automation standards, heuristic learning and metadata bonding.

Tom Coughlin, the founder of Coughlin Associates (www.tomcoughlin.com) has over 30 years of magnetic recording engineering and engineering management experience at companies developing flexible tapes and floppy disc storage as well as rigid disks at such companies as Polaroid, Seagate Technology, Maxtor, Micropolis, Nashua Computer Products, Ampex and SyQuest. He can be reached at tom@tomcoughlin.com.

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