“B usiness opportunities are like buses, there is always another one coming.” This is a favorite quote of mine, largely because of the truth that it speaks; specifically, that it takes much more than an opportunity or idea to ultimately have its inherent benefits or value come to fruition. Thinking about existing capability, understanding the business transformation required, and then properly executing these changes are all critical steps to achieving success.
Earlier this year, one of the most well-respected international media preparation and distribution companies, Visual Data Media Services, found themselves in this exact situation. As a world-leader with an innovative approach to restoring film archives, the company was presented with a potentially lucrative project to remaster a large portfolio of content into 4K/UHD digital assets. And although the process of doing such work was well within the company’s area of expertise, the technology that would provide the data storage foundation for getting it done would need a massive overhaul.
Given the workflow requirements of their past projects, the company had decided that an all-IP storage architecture was most suitable due to the level of performance needed and budget available. However, the necessity of working with large amounts of uncompressed 4K files would certainly cause a bottleneck in productivity if they continued to use their existing NAS infrastructure. And most importantly, this loss of productivity would impact the responsiveness of the business and deadlines they could meet. Something needed to change.
To address the problem, Visual Data decided to upgrade their NAS infrastructure in late 2017, as well as incorporate AI capability to further enhance productivity. They started with an evaluation, looking at products from at least ten vendors, to determine which product performed best under test conditions. Upon completion of their evaluation, Visual Data selected Quantum’s Xcellis Scale-out NAS, powered by the StorNext high-performance file system, as their solution. (Press Release)
One of the most important aspects was meeting the enhanced performance requirements of a 4K workflow, yet continuing to do so in an all-IP environment. Steve Spear, Visual Data’s Senior VP of Operations, stated specifically, “On the performance side, our tests showed that the Quantum system did everything that we needed and more; we could run 4K scanning, UHD transcoding and 4K playback all simultaneously, and everything worked perfectly without a single dropped frame.”
And as high-resolution content is associated with larger amounts of data, capacity was another core consideration that factored into the decision. The new NAS needed to scale to accommodate growth while at the same time ensuring the customer wouldn’t have to go through another major upgrade that might interrupt production.
Finally, as Visual Data considers itself to be a modern, agile and lean business operation, keeping IT overhead down and selecting the most cost-effective solutions was paramount. In this instance, Steve said, “Quantum’s cost-per-TB beat everybody, and the system’s flexibility will help us keep costs low going forward.”
It’s a truly interesting story of a firm making all the right technical decisions to capitalize on a new business opportunity, and then executing flawlessly. To read more about Visual Data Media Services and how Quantum’s Xcellis Scale-out NAS solution helped them tackle the 4K workflow challenge, visit our web page.