Thursday, June 11, 2015

Activating an Active Archive with MAM

By David Miller

The flood of information into modern organizations will not ebb any time soon. Connected workers and connected devices link staff and customers 24/7. Smart phones and tablets make producing, sharing, and consuming rich content easier than ever. Professional camera formats have increased in resolution from SD to HD to 4K and beyond.

In the absence of a better method, networks, storage, and processors will be tied up transferring and transforming this content from office to office, country to country, between organizations and their audiences. The obvious challenge for any organization trying to stay afloat is optimize storage and infrastructure to control costs.  

The end game for cost control is to have content with the fewest number of copies stored in the repository, along with the greatest long term security and lowest ongoing operating costs:  an LTO active archive system. Depending on the economies of scale for a centralized archive, it may be cheaper to have localized archive pools near the locations where the content is generated and commonly used. 

The challenge? Linking the archives together and providing universal access.

The obvious challenges to maximizing the use of archived storage is the ease of use of the localized/desktop system, the demanding nature of non-linear video editing systems and users, and similar system for rapid access to large video files with low latency, and the difficulty or inefficiency/laziness for moving current content to the archive. Localized primary storage is the default for the infrastructure and mindset of most users, so any active archive must have intuitive access to the content in order to be successful. Proprietary storage systems for collaborative video editing are very expensive, but editors and IT staff are loathe to archive content for fear of taking media for other current productions offline. Finally, time challenged staff are unlikely to move content from primary storage to archive without easy tools and systems to do so.
Enter the management system. 

Storing proxy copies with rapid and universal access from a simple interface (a la You Tube) with simple archive and restore functionalities allows organizations to maximize the benefit of their active archive.

 A desktop browser interface and/or tablet interface allows users immediate access with minimal IT support. They can maximize productivity if they can search and re-task all of the content in the centralized archive.
  1. If the system can track all of the media in editing projects, then all of the elements in finished products can be archived while those elements still in use in other productions can be maintained in the editing storage.
  2. Simple archive and restore tools for individual digital assets or entire groups will allow users to quickly and efficiently archive content. Automated processes can move long unused content into the archive while maintaining access for preview, collaboration and restore functionalities if needed.
  3. Simple archive and restore tools for individual digital assets or entire groups will allow users to quickly and efficiently archive content. Automated processes can move long unused content into the archive while maintaining access for preview, collaboration and restore functionalities if needed.
Further advantages can be accrued if the federated search and browse can allow access and control over archived content in multiple locations. Content can be archived near where it is produced or where it is most likely to be needed in the future. This saves time and money for moving content to the centralized archive and then moving it back to a different location when needed.

Nimble access to content is the key to enjoying the benefits of an active archive system.

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