MAY 10, 2022

Optimizing Storage for In-House Media Production, Part 1: The IT Team

A video producer works with media storage in the office.

Nestled within companies' marketing toolbox for reaching and connecting with customers sits video—and it's quickly becoming king. As a result, corporate IT and technology departments are increasingly finding themselves optimizing storage for video production and management, all the while attempting to avoid sacrificing the needs of the media production team.

At times, these two groups may feel they have conflicting priorities. Looking closely at their requirements, though, can reveal a path toward win-win solutions.

In this three-part series, we'll start in the world of the IT/technologist before visiting the production/creative side of the house in our next installment. Our final piece will walk through how to balance the needs of both sides and land on a media storage solution that works across the board.

Why Video Marketing Should Be a Priority

For those in IT/technologist roles at companies with an in-house media production team, the pressure to support systems specific to video production can feel like yet another task on an already loaded plate—as well as yet another cost to squeeze into an already stretched budget. How important is it to support what feels like bells and whistles over day-to-day functionality?

Wyzowl's recent Video Marketing Statistics 2021 report offers valuable insights into this discussion. The key takeaway? Video is becoming more important over time, not less.

To show just a slice of the most telling statistics from the report:

  • 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool—up from 61% in 2016.
  • 84% of people say that they've been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand's video.
  • 86% of video marketers say video has increased traffic to their website.
  • 78% of video marketers say video has directly helped increase sales.
  • People are twice as likely to share video content with their friends than any other type of content, including social media posts, blog posts, and product pages.

These figures highlight how important video is to a strong marketing plan. Video also has an internal role improving internal trainings, product launches, corporate meetings, and town halls. It isn't just for entertainment—video is a key element of many business plans, and it will continue to be as the industry moves further into the digital media realm.

All Storage Is the Same, Right? Not Exactly

As teams consider the needs of video production, it can be easy to assume the answer is simply to add more space on the company's existing data servers. Video is data—and most IT staff are well versed in storing data. However, video data is very different from most corporate data. When dealing with something like a corporate database, the transfer of data is fairly simple: a query is sent to the database, and the results of that query are sent back.

Video works very differently. While working with video—for example, in film and TV post-production—data is constantly streaming back and forth as video is played or scrubbed. This requires a storage system built specifically with media in mind, such as Avid NEXIS.

During an IBC365 webinar on storage for creative teams, Kevin Usher, director & senior evangelist video, post & storage solutions at Avid, put it this way: "These are solutions for media workflows. They're not for email; they're not for generic IT-based file sharing, that kind of thing. These are real-time, high-resolution, collaborative shared storage solutions that will scale in both capacity and performance from a handful to hundreds of users."

Optimizing storage for video involves more than just counting gigabytes. The type of hard drives matters—your choice has to provide the disk I/O speeds needed to stream video back and forth between the storage and the user. In the IBC365 webinar, Neal Bilow, managing partner at Chromata Solutions, spoke about the considerations for determining sufficient storage needs.

"When making calculations for your needs, calculate total storage needed, including room for overhead on the disks, so they are never completely full," he said. "Also calculate what your needs will be for playback and file transfer speeds, especially for multiple users accessing high-resolution footage simultaneously."

Bilow also addressed the issue of redundancy. This aspect of media storage has ramifications for both the short and long term: Are there policies in place for how long the media has to be retained? Is it easily retrievable from another source? Are there archival needs for the media and related projects?

Moving to the Cloud?

One of the next big questions is whether it makes sense to implement a cloud storage solution. The pandemic put new urgency behind the need for workable cloud solutions. As Raul Alba, Avid's director of solutions marketing, told IBC, cloud migration can lead to several cost savings and efficiencies: "In the most recent meetings, just weeks ago, every single customer we talked to has included clouds in its plans. Not all customers we talked to are at the same stage, though. Some just want to be sure that any vendor they choose to work with has a road map to go to the cloud, while others already want to start migrating to the cloud as soon as possible.'"

It's virtually impossible to implement new solutions without feeling the cost. In the end, though, it's all about return on investment (ROI). As Alba pointed out, "The reasons why customers are moving—or considering moving—to the cloud are mostly related to flexibility in their operations, lower total cost of ownership when all factors (real estate, electricity, AC, and maintenance) are considered, and the predictability of the financial cost of operations, tied to an Op-Ex financial model."

Don't Forget About Media Management

Like almost any kind of data, how video is accessed helps determine how efficiently it can be used. A media production team can create large volumes of media in the support of their work. Being able to find the right piece of media at any given time has the potential to make or break a project, especially when deadlines are looming. As just a budget line item, adding the expense of a media management system may seem like a luxury cost—but it's another area to consider the overall ROI.

The implementation of a media management system can improve collaboration, decrease the time it takes to complete tasks, and help teams to deliver higher-quality projects. These systems are the most effective way to manage secure access to vital media assets; streamlining that process can save time and costs for the technology and media teams alike. This is a decision worth making with both the IT/technology team and the media production team at the table, so they can jointly ensure that the systems in place can actually be used effectively.

Although executing on media storage and management decisions can seem like an additional burden for the IT/technology team, with careful planning, it can actually solve problems and streamline the use of resources. In the next installment of our article series, we'll look in more detail at the creative side of the equation.

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