Cut! A Quick Take on the Storage Challenges in Media & Entertainment

With the Academy Awards coming up this weekend, I can’t help but think about how much the motion picture industry has changed over the last 10 years, especially from a production and technology perspective. The transition to digital film making has had a transformational impact on the industry. The onslaught of HD digital cameras and digital technology in the post production workflow has not only overtaken the motion picture industry, but it has also transformed the video production and broadcast segments.

The transformation to an all-digital workflow, from content creation, with seamless blending of live action footage and computer-generated imagery, to content delivery and finally to digital archives is now nearly complete. For example, try to find a new analog camera on display at the upcoming National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in April in Las Vegas. They will be hard to find. 

Shooting with HD and newer UltraHD digital format cameras means huge digital files, creating a new set of storage problems. Most media workflow architects and archivists will tell you that current digital storage solutions are struggling to keep up. Consider this:


    • Some of the latest HD cameras produce up to 85TB of data throughout a 24 hour shoot; and these “dailies” need to be backed up, essentially doubling the amount of storage
    • The 3D movie Avatar used over one Petabyte of storage; industry experts predict that future feature-length digital motion pictures will consume an Exabyte of storage from initial capture to final cut

    So, where will all this data be stored? On efficient and economic digital tape, of course. At Oracle, we recently announced two new storage technologies—the StorageTek T10000D tape drive and Linear Tape File System--that are being embraced by the Media & Entertainment industry. Our StorageTek T10000D tape technology is the highest capacity storage technology available today. At 8.5TB per cartridge, it is more than 2x the capacity of today’s 4TB disk drives. And due to its unique scalability, discrete cost and power/cooling advantages, tape storage (at scale, re: petabyte[s]), carries a total cost of ownership (TCO) that is 26x lower than conventional disk storage.  

    In addition, the T10000D supports the Linear Tape File System (LTFS) format, which enables users to easily access files on tape just like a thumb drive or a NAS device. LTFS is popular across the film, video and broadcasting segments. In fact, the StorageTek T10000D with LTFS recently won Best Professional Media and Entertainment Class Archive Storage at the 2014 Storage Visions Conference. I know it’s a mouthful, but there you have it!   

    While you may be surprised that tape is in high demand in the Media & Entertainment industry, this is not an isolated case. Indeed, industry influencers and the media have pronounced a resurgence of tape (follow the links below):

    So, when you watch the Oscars, think of the many Petabytes of digital content to be archived and preserved for posterity—and how Oracle StorageTek tape solutions are addressing the Media & Entertainment industry’s storage challenges.

    To learn more about how digital tape storage is helping the Media & Entertainment industry to overcome challenges arising from the transition to an all digital business visit the Oracle booth (SL 13909) at NAB in Las Vegas, April 7-10.


    Chris Ilg (chris.ilg@oracle.com) is a Senior Principal Product Marketing Director for storage at Oracle. He has 27 years' experience in the information technology industry, across the storage, channel and services segments.
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