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Hierarchical storage management solutions... ...bringing increased efficiencies and cost savings to file-based workflows by Reed Haslam, NVerzion M ost professionals in today’s broadcast and media industries can remember a time when the videotape format was ubiquitous. It was the defacto recording, storage, and playback medium for many years, and fragments of the medium still exist today. What clearly contributed to the success of tape is its compact package, which makes it easy to transport, copy, and store. Additionally, tape storage capacity is infinitely expandable — if a broadcaster runs out of storage, all it needs to do is just buy more tape. While tape has served the industry well over the years, digital storage technology has matured into video server platforms, offering all the benefits of tape along with improved performance, a longer shelf life, and a better price. Video servers for on-air playout offer a similar advantage; material can be loaded onto a hard drive for playout, with editing and instant playout operations. However, broadcasters still face issues with managing video material (e.g. programs and commercial spots) that is not used on a regular basis. In most cases, it is not efficient or cost-effective for a broadcaster to keep all of its material loaded on the server. Although hard drive pricing has flattened, online RAID storage is not economical for long-term storage. This, in itself, presents a new set of challenges for media asset management and underscores the need to preserve the integrity of assets, including the metadata information. The Solution: A File-Based Hierarchical Storage Management System The best way to address these issues is by implementing a file-based workflow based on a complete set of solutions for acquisition, prep, playout, and file management. Leveraging a file-based workflow, broadcasters can maximize operational efficiencies and cost savings. What broadcasters need is a comprehensive network attached storage (NAS) solution for nearline storage as well as a full archive backend for secure open data preservation on a linear tape-open (LTO) format. Typically referred to as hierarchical storage management, this type of solution utilizes the latest LTFS (Linear Tape File System) file format and can be deployed onsite or in the cloud. The cloud is useful for both archive and backup purposes, enabling broadcasters to preserve data in the most cost-effective manner possible. The cloud offers broadcasters without a disaster recovery plan a chance to store long-term assets, or content that they anticipate using sometime in the future, offsite. By retaining the services of a cloud provider, broadcasters can ensure the integrity of assets while eliminating the costly maintenance fees associated with onsite storage. No workflow is complete without a deep archive to preserve and protect the most valuable video assets. Whether onsite or hosted on the cloud, advanced archive solutions can deliver the best of both worlds, offering the latest in open archive technology and state-of-the-art LTO-6 tape. LTO-6 has a massive native 62 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 80 AUGUST 2013 cartridge capacity of 2.5TB and high- speed uncompressed transfer rate of 160MB/s. Employing an archive solution that uses the latest LTFS data format, broadcasters can optimize readability and portability. Local and hosted archive solutions can scale from hundreds of terabytes to many petabytes in capacity to satisfy the smallest of broadcast stations all the way to the largest network. An important piece of the archive puzzle is BXF (the Broadcast eXchange Format), a communications standard that supports three types of data: schedule and as-run information, content metadata, and content delivery instructions. BXF is critical for archiving because it provides broadcasters with unified communications method for exchanging information. Without descriptive metadata, broadcasters would not be able to recognize archived assets efficiently. As digital assets increase, BXF brings order to what would otherwise be a very chaotic environment. Conclusion Tying all of these technologies together is the automation system. Leveraging the automation system, broadcasters can manage the entire workflow — from acquisition to prep, playout, and file management. As broadcasters increasingly handle a growing number of digital assets, a hierarchical storage management system will enable them to efficiently and cost-effectively preserve the integrity of these files, including important descriptive metadata.