TURNING STORAGE INTO A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE By ADRIAN HERRERA, VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING, CARINGO The proliferation of broadband, cloud and mobile devices has permanently changed the access pat- terns of everybody in the new digital economy. Now, storage and the assets stored are expected to be available anywhere and from any device. Oh…and no one wants to pay for it. This is becoming a particularly challenging issue in the Media and Entertainment (M&E) space because of exponentially increasing file sizes, rap- idly changing consumer viewing patterns (long- tail, VOD, cord cutting, binge watching, etc.) and the resulting expectation of content producers for assets to remain online and instantly available in perpetuity. M&E organizations that can satisfy these requests get to keep their customers and viewers. Those who can’t will ultimately lose their customers and viewers. So how do you turn the expectation of “free” storage and “instant” access from a significant risk to your business into a competitive advantage? The answer—as in many problems driven by paradigm shifts—is in the underlying infrastructure. The non-sexy storage layer. 66 • Broadcast Beat Magazine • www.broadcastbeat.com The late Frank Zappa once said, “Change is not only necessary, it’s inevitable.” As such, disrup- tive technologies like object storage will become commonplace in the M&E industry in the future. Currently, the efficiencies of object storage are not being utilized because workflows, processes and applications were designed for incumbent technologies like NAS and tape. This, however, is changing. To understand why it’s changing, we need to understand why NAS and tape are no longer via- ble as the only storage technologies in the M&E data center. NAS is really too expensive and too difficult to maintain. Even when it is given away for free, on-going backup costs, maintenance costs, data center footprint and limits in scale will ultimately inhibit your ability to provide long-term storage for large digital asset libraries. This reality turned many in the M&E industry to tape, primar- ily as an extremely low-cost form of archival stor- age. But costs aside, not being able to categorize, search and instantly deliver content now puts those using tape at a competitive disadvantage.