What do you think of when you hear the words "media and entertainment" (M & E)? Chances are, images of the latest blockbuster movie or mega-sporting event flash through the 3D high-def screen in your mind, accompanied by a blaring full surround soundtrack. Last week's NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Show 2015 in Las Vegas encapsulates that vision. 4K/6K cameras, green screens, drones, video editing, broadcast distribution – NAB is all about the technology used to create, capture, transfer, manipulate, and bring that media to you.
Perhaps the most important, but not as glamorous, technology used in M&E, is data storage. In a nutshell, all media is now data, and that data continues to grow exponentially. It's no wonder that some of the most recognizable names in data storage - such as EMC, NetApp, HP, and Oracle - were prominent exhibitors at NAB. Vendors for high performance enterprise, scale out data center, and cloud storage solutions were plentiful.
With the explosion of Ultra High Definition 4K, 6K, and now 8K video, more and more storage is needed for those formats. Some factoids from an infographic in NetApp's booth summarized this trend well:
Uncompressed 4K frames (similar to Ultra HD) are roughly 40MB. That's about 1GB per second. A typical two-hour movies yields 20 hours of source content, adding up to more than 50TB of data.
3D films consume 2x as much data as 2D because they essentially contain two copies of the movie – one for each eye.
Forecasts predict the entertainment industry's total annual data production will reach 87,000 PB by 2017 , a 4x increase in just five years
All of this adds up to more storage needed, from the camera to the monitor to the broadcast station.
M&E compute and storage needs are quickly becoming to resemble those of the enterprise data center as well. Not only is more storage needed, it needs to be networked, and it needs to be fast. Keeping up with all of that data through such intensive applications as video rendering, video editing, and multi-stream processing/distribution also becomes a colossal task.
The need for fast storage is critical in such applications, and Enterprise grade HDDs and SSDs enable those storage solutions. Toshiba was proud to work with Promise Technology to display and demo Toshiba's Enterprise HDDs and SSDs in a Promise Technology storage system for video production. Toshiba's Enterprise SAS SSD was also proudly on display in AIC's booth.
Perhaps a fitting twist on NAB's tagline of "Where Content Comes to Life" is that data storage is "Where Content Lives". From HD drone videos posted to YouTube, to the latest 3D superhero movie, the bottom line is more M&E content demands more storage.