Workflow Storage Superior for Post, New Study Claims

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Sat, 04/18/2015 - 19:33 -- Nick Dager

A newly released report by industry analyst Coughlin Associates affirms the superior business value that workflow storage delivers over general-purpose IT storage for broadcast and post-production operations.

Commissioned by Quantum Corp., the report highlights the increasing demands these operations face and identifies three key areas in which intelligent, media-aware storage and content management plays a central role in driving creative and economic ROI.

Quantum and the author of the report, Tom Coughlin, discussed the report's findings during a press conference at the National Association of Broadcasters convention, which wrapped up this week in Las Vegas. They were joined by two of the company's customers, MTI Film and UFC.

The media and entertainment market is undergoing dynamic change at both a technical and business level — from the move to higher video resolutions and capture frame rates to the increased pressure to create more content more quickly and repurpose existing assets. All of this makes the storage infrastructure supporting media production and delivery more critical to a company's bottom line. As a result, the question of whether to rely on general-purpose IT storage or more specialized workflow storage has taken on greater importance.

In this market, workflow storage refers to storage optimized for media operations and applications with integrated intelligence that provides application- and media-aware management of content. According to the Coughlin report, media workflow-optimized storage differs from general-purpose storage "because the demands of moving and streaming large high-resolution media files are quite different from the demands of storing and accessing databases, documents and content created by other common business functions."

In its report, Coughlin Associates identifies three key determinants of overall business value in a media production environment in which the choice of storage can have a clear impact:

Process Value — the benefit of having processes and applications work more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Creative Value — the benefit of being able to create more or higher quality content.

Content Lifecycle Value — the benefit of being able to control and manage content assets throughout their lifecycle efficiently and profitably, including for re-monetization.

As a demonstration of the greater creative value that workflow storage enables, the Coughlin report uses a 4K editing example. With workflow storage, "delivery of video frames to the underlying applications will be deterministic, predictable and 100 percent accurate," meaning "this type of storage won't result in dropped frames." General-purpose storage, however, "cannot guarantee accurate video frame delivery, which results in dropped frames … causing glitches in video playback, leading to repeated playback and thus delays leading to slower creative work."

According to the report, "creating an easily navigable, readily retrievable library of content makes the owned content far more valuable, and much more attractive to prospective customers and content licensors, thereby increasing the annuity revenue of managed content … Workflow-optimized storage of content helps you make sure that you can find assets and that the right assets are where they need to be … [while] content owners with a generic storage infrastructure risk missing revenue opportunities due to the inability to locate and retrieve desired content."

Quantum is a long-standing leader in media workflow-optimized storage. Its StorNext 5 platform is the only scale-out storage solution that can provide both the highest-performance and lowest-cost storage in a single managed environment. StorNext 5 combines the industry's fastest streaming file system and policy-based, end-to-end management for automatically moving content across online storage, extended online storage, tape archive and the cloud, thereby achieving the optimal balance of accessibility and cost based on a user's needs. StorNext 5 also provides the foundation for Quantum's StorNext Pro™ Solutions — systems specially designed to address such challenges as managing 4K content and enhancing legacy Xsan environments.

• To read the Coughlin Associates report: 
• For Quantum's NAB press kit: 
• For more information on StorNext Pro Solutions: 
• Read about StorNext 5: