Crawford Media Services has installed Quantum Corporation’s Lattus object storage to build a content repository that supports mass migration of its clients' legacy content to digital formats and provides ongoing media storage and management.
"When you are dealing with large archives of media files at preservation quality, you start creating a data footprint and a performance demand that outstrip the capabilities of typical IT departments," said Steve Davis, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Crawford Media. "Our challenge was to develop a digital archive that would become more robust as it grew in size, rather than more fragile. We explored solutions that would allow us to keep large data sets cost-effectively in perpetuity without degradation, and to survive the costs of media and technology refreshes over time. After extensive research and testing, it became clear that object storage with erasure code — and specifically, Lattus — was the ideal choice."
Designed to hold an initial 1.2 petabytes of archived assets as well as content ingested during new projects, the system gives Crawford Media a sophisticated storage infrastructure that cost-effectively accommodates ongoing expansion of the company's services and customer base.
At Crawford Media, the mass digitization of clients' content involves the generation of thousands of media files, all at the high bit rates and large file sizes suitable for production. As its business continued to grow, the resilience limitations of its existing archive architecture became ever more obvious.
The integration of Lattus with Crawford's existing archive approach was the final step in the development of the company's second-generation managed archive, Amber. Named after the prized substance that preserves prehistoric specimens even today, Amber provides a level of immunity to system failure and data corruption not previously achievable. Like its namesake, Amber is extremely effective for long-term preservation of digital data. Crawford's second-generation archive offers peace of mind for organizations concerned with long-term security and access for their content.
According to Davis, a key factor in his selection of Lattus was the level of robustness, availability and immunity to failure it provided, which he saw as "impossible to achieve with simple replication." Lattus' self-healing and self-migration capabilities preserve the integrity of media files, and it offers seamless, infinite incremental scaling with no downtime.
"One nice thing about the Lattus approach, in particular, is that the growth increments are very manageable and very flexible," Davis explained. "You don't have to conform to a certain hard drive form factor or size to expand the system. The system simply uses capacity as you add it, becoming more robust as it gets bigger."
"The advantages of erasure code for an archive are overwhelming," Davis continued. "Unparalleled data integrity, immunity to entropy, a smaller data footprint than replication, high immunity to system failure, automatic rebalancing of data, and media refresh as the archive grows. With Lattus, Amber offers our clients the extremely high levels of data durability and data integrity they need in their digital media archives."
Along with Lattus, Crawford Media deployed Quantum's Artico archive appliance, which incorporates Quantum's StorNext data management to move content to and from Lattus automatically while maintaining full access to the files. In addition, StorNext enables the company to write to tape for its clients.
In short, Quantum's integrated, multi-tier storage solution enables Crawford Media to capitalize more easily and cost-effectively on new revenue-generation opportunities.
"When storage-as-a-service is your business, you need an underlying infrastructure that enables you to onboard new clients and new data as aggressively as possible," said Davis. "With Quantum's strong technology and support, we enjoy confidence in the overall archive and its integrity over the long term. That's peace of mind we'd never get by assembling components ourselves. The reliability of the system keeps our cost points stable, which in turn gives us the freedom to offer better services at a competitive price."