This blog will look at some recent announcements in digital storage related services for the media and entertainment industry from Google and Quantum, as well as the recent acquisition of storage start-up Symply by Global Distribution. Media and entertainment storage is one of the areas I particularly cover.
Google has opened up a Los Angeles cloud region. This region joins four other Google Cloud Platform regions in Oregon, Iowa, South Carolina and Northern Virginia. The LA region targets media and entertainment customers requiring low latency availability to scalable cloud-based computing resources. Media organizations use cloud-based resources to respond to incoming projects with short time lines that exceed their in-house capabilities (often called cloud bursting).
As stated by Tom Taylor, Head of Engineering at The Mill, a global visual effects studio working on short form content like commercials and music videos in addition to larger projects, “A lot of our short form projects pop up unexpectedly, so having extra capacity in region can help us quickly capitalize on these opportunities.” Visual effects rendering using cloud-resources is a particularly popular use of cloud-based services.
Google also announced Google Cloud Filestore, a managed Network Attached Storage (NAS) service. This service works with applications that require a file system interface and a shared file system for data. For projects like video rendering running across many machines with a shared file system, the Google Cloud Filestore allows easier collaboration for these production projects. A VFX simulation and virtual workstation in GCP using Cloud Filestore for sharing is shown below.
Quantum announced that Visual Data Media Services (one of the largest media processing, distribution and localization service companies in the world) choose Quantum StorNext-Powered Xcellis Scale-out NAS to manage its 4K transcoding workflows, high bit-depth film scanning and to support the heavy data rate requirements for high dynamic range (HDR) video mastering. The Quantum solution supports multiple simultaneous 4K and UHD scanning and mastering operations. The announcement says that the advanced data management features in StorNext have enabled the Visual Data team to increase their projection capacity by six times, without an increase in staff.
The VDMS team particularly wanted a storage system to help remastering film content. The release says that remastering older programs in HD and 4K posed a challenge: often with no cut negative to scan, the only way to get old features and TV shows to HD or 4K is to perform a match-back—scanning the original dailies, manually eye matching the images used in the final cut and then conforming the original in the new format. The team wanted a solution that could double capacity and deliver the performance to support multiple 4K and UHD operations at the same time.