Caringo Exec: Object Storage Helps Keep Costs Down, Keeps Data Accessible

Challenges that media and entertainment (M&E) companies are increasingly facing today include storing all those constantly growing loads of data that they have on hand and keeping all of it accessible to those who need to use it, according to Adrian Herrera, VP of marketing at Caringo.

In today’s world, digital data tends to not be deleted very often, he said Sept. 7, during the webinar “Object Storage for M&E: Manage Expectation of Free Storage & Accessible Archives.” For example, he noted, how many people delete all the old photos they’ve taken on their smartphones?

“Storage seems to compound,” and that’s a “very big problem” in the M&E space as projects are getting larger, “driven by larger file sizes” including 4K video, he said. There may be 20-30 different versions of a digital file in different formats and “there’s always new codecs” and “better compression methods” being introduced, he said.

“The two main problems” that Caringo is hearing about in the M&E sector are the need to make storage free or at least “nearly free,” and the need to provide “instant access to those assets,” he said, referring to them as M&E IT “great expectations.” Customers, after all, will “just go somewhere else” if a company can’t provide those things, he said.

“The main value that Caringo brings” to its customers is that “we reduce storage” total cost of ownership (TCO) by 75%, he went on to say. In addition, the company’s object storage solutions make all the data always available and it’s endlessly scalable; there’s also “built-in protection” and compliance, he noted.

People tend to not think about the storage of digital files much because it tends to be “mostly invisible” to them and they don’t think about the cost of its footprint, Alex Oldfield, Caringo solutions architect, said during the webinar. They may also need a digital file later, so if nobody tells them to delete it and there’s “no processes or methodologies in place to ensure some kind of regular purging, then the safe thing is just to keep it all,” he said. That’s why there’s so little digital data being deleted by people either for business or personal reasons, he said, adding that his own libraries of digital data were “only going in one direction – and that’s getting bigger.”

Traditional technologies fall short when it comes to storage and access, Oldfield said. On the storage side, challenges with traditional technology include performance, the cost of data protection, and scalability as the amount of data that needs to be stored keeps growing, making “elasticity” crucial, he pointed out.
On the access side, he said: “Metadata and search [is] a big challenge where you have many storage silos and they’re potentially on different platforms; there’s no centralized metadata, so there’s no centralized search.”

“There’s an awful lot that goes into building a storage environment” – especially when it comes to M&E, he said, explaining that object storage was “designed to provide elasticity and massive scalability to eliminate traditional storage silos,” and was also “designed to run on commodity hardware to provide a low-cost point” and be very open. Object storage also uses Web-based protocols, “so that the data can be accessible from just about any network,” he said.

Caringo Swarm, due to its “pure object architecture, builds on those principles and delivers additional efficiencies,” he said. Because Swarm runs from memory and stores metadata with the object as a single data object, “we can use up to 95 percent of every drive in a storage building block for data,” he explained.

Caringo has been an object storage software solution provider for about 12 years and its software, now in its ninth iteration, is “market-hardened,” Herrera, noted at the start of the webinar. There’s been more than 500 deployments of its software solutions to date, including Fox Sports, making it “the most-deployed object storage solution out there,” he added.