Today many businesses are evaluating their overall IT picture and considering storage changes and upgrades. Creative industries in particular have special needs for data storage in order to manage massive volumes of information that are painstakingly created over many hours of labor.
Why Storage Is Important to Creative Businesses
Businesses in the creative industry have several pain points. Although businesses of all types have storage issues to deal with, creative organizations often manage multimedia files — audio, video, large vector drawings, multiple versions of raw photos and so on — that have larger than average individual file sizes. Additionally, videos are usually large and sequential files. Raw data, such as photographs (uncompressed digital images of what the camera lens sensor captures) is also incompressible. This puts added stress on storage devices.
Often, keeping each version or revision of these files local to the machine is also important during the creative and development process, so fast local storage with plenty of capacity to hold these larger files is somewhat uniquely important to the creative industry. Other types of businesses, on the other hand, typically deal with documents and spreadsheets that are not as large, and those files can also generally be safely stored on a file server or at another location, making the capacity of local storage less of an issue.
Despite this need, storage has been a bottleneck in creative organizations for some time now. It boils down to the following:
◾Smaller agencies often don’t have massive amounts of centralized capacity, and designers, animators, video processing engineers and artists often need vast amounts of storage available in their local machines — not stored over a slow or unreliable network connection.
◾They need tremendous amounts of backups because being able to access any one of several previous versions can be an essential capability during the creative process.
◾For archival purposes, creative businesses need to be able to store old audio and video in pristine clarity and trust that those assets will be readable and usable well into the future; they need an extra layer of dependability and redundancy when it comes to long-term creative asset storage.
Capacity vs. Performance
To get the capacity they need for large multimedia files, creative businesses were traditionally often forced to use traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). These legacy storage devices use spinning media on magnetic platters to store large amounts of data. Although they’re inexpensive on a per-gigabyte basis, their performance is slower by orders of magnitude than the faster storage available on solid state drives (SSDs) now. Those early SSDs, however, did not keep up with the capacities available on traditional HDDs; for creative businesses, the need for headroom outweighed the desire for performance.
In today’s market, however, SSDs are available in capacities rivaling traditional spinning media, and their performance is faster than the legacy drives these organizations are accustomed to using. No longer are creative businesses forced to sacrifice performance and reliability in order to address capacity concerns.
Storage Purchasing Points
One should keep the following points in mind when considering purchasing storage for creative studios:
Multimedia shops require fast access to copious amounts of local storage for high-definition and 4K-resolution video production, full fidelity image and video processing, and more so that quality is not impaired. The choice for creative shops should always allow for lossless storage in full quality in order to maximize options in the future.
Rather than keep a hodgepodge set of finished projects across the local storage component of employee machines, creative businesses need to standardize a centralized storage solution where all material can be kept and shared. This makes team collaboration much easier, with a single version of the truth stored in a central place, but easily accessible both in the office and remotely over an internet connection.
Creative businesses need storage solutions that can add capacity as necessary to meet client needs, as well as archival demands for older projects that may have components that can be reused in the future. They need to be able to scale this capacity across their entire business, including in the back end, and including the centralized storage place. Adding storage should be a matter of plugging in new drives or running a cable to a new storage box, without the hassle of administering a storage area network (SAN).
Saving data from disasters, accidental deletions, power failures, corruption and other maladies is also of critical importance, especially with large files where even a couple of bits going bad can mean hours of high-quality video footage is destroyed. By saving data in a centralized place, a creative organization can establish a “set and forget” backup strategy that happens automatically, without worry, to ensure business continuity no matter the circumstances.
Published by Jonathan Hassell
Jonathan Hassell is an award-winning writer specializing in enterprise information technology, including administration, security, and mobile. His work has appeared in Computerworld, CIO.com, Network World, and dozens of other publications.
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