Media Companies in 2016 find themselves “in the middle of things”:
- a “peak TV” environment in which cable channels are bursting with high-quality scripted episodic programming
- an on-demand subscriber environment that has revolutionized the way consumers find and watch entertainment
- immersive environments which have changed the grammar of visual storytelling
“We can’t really even call it television anymore…”
When I took this gig as CTO, Media & Entertainment for EMC, one thing that intrigued me about the role was how EMC thought differently about the media industry: they focused on helping media companies create and deliver great stories. We do this by leveraging the evolving concepts from traditional enterprise IT such as software-defined storage and converged infrastructure to provide adaptable carrier-grade solutions and a future-proof infrastructure to their media customers. This year is no different as we’re introducing a host of new features to our flagship Isilon product—features that expand a media organization’s reach from “Edge to Core to Cloud.” (I’ll talk about how this relates to media organizations in a sec…)
“The software-defined media facility”
Broadcasters, advertiser- and subscriber-supported OTT providers, content creators, aggregators and the entire ecosystem of partners and suppliers are really in the “Entertainment Services Delivery” market. Technology infrastructures like software-defined storage and software-defined networking will allow broadcasters to make changes to their workflows programmatically. This is the “new normal” – of adding or migrating new services in days rather than months.
As our media customers have responded to this re-definition of their business, we’ve introduced new features that let them do things they’ve never done before. For example, last year we introduced the concept of a “Media Lake”—essentially a single, high-performance shared resource that let media organizations consolidate their data into a central repository. Rather than copying your data to some other silo, transforming it and copying it back – the idea is to leave your data in one place and execute the value-creation operations (whether it’s encoding, archiving, creative editorial, analytics or what have you) while you leave the data in place – it saves you time, enables collaboration and reduces the possibility of error.
This year we’ve doubled our investment in the idea of a media data lake—announcing “Media Lake 2.0,” which gives our media customers new capabilities that allow productions to extend to “edge” (smaller or remote) locations, optimize their core media operations, and leverage public/private/hybrid clouds.
The new Isilon software upgrades and products being introduced include:
OneFS 8.0—improves availability failover reliability for Isilon storage clusters. OneFS 8.0 includes multiple features, but the ones that are critical for Media & Entertainment include non-disruptive operating system upgrades, upgrade rollback, and non-disruptive operations. In addition, OneFS 8.0 incorporates support for SMB3.0 Continuous Availability for increased reliability and availability for Windows clients.
One of our long-standing partners and premier media industry vendor, Imagine Communications, recently tested OneFS 8.0 in their lab and at one of their customers’ sites. As a global leader in video and advertising solutions—nearly half of the world’s video channels traverse through more than three million Imagine Communications products deployed across 185 countries.
That’s why we look to Imagine to give us feedback on our solutions as they definitely know how to stress new technology. For OneFS 8.0 they were specifically interested in the non-disruptive upgrades and the improvements in SMB 3.0.
In testing, Imagine found the scale-out and failover from EMC Isilon makes it one of the “best” NAS solutions they’ve tested. The continuous availability options (the ability to upgrade or update on-the-fly) and improvements in the SMB protocol gave them functionality and bandwidth “they couldn’t get with other NAS products.”
IsilonSD Edge—provides a software-defined storage solution that allows media companies to quickly and seamlessly gain access to production and talent wherever great stories are created and captured. In addition, as a software-defined storage solution, IsilonSD Edge runs on commodity hardware in a virtual environment—substantially reducing costs and increasing agility. IsilonSD Edge extends the Media Data Lake across geographies, allowing “follow-the-sun” content creation and delivery from remote and branch facilities. Media data lake synchronization with remote assets reduces inefficiencies and accelerates production times by sharing critical production media assets.
EMC Isilon CloudPools—enables Isilon media customers to seamlessly archive or tier assets from their Isilon cluster to an in-house (private) cloud based on EMC ECS, or a choice of public cloud providers, or a combination of both. This gives a media organization the flexibility and simplicity to dynamically expand beyond their current capacity and archive storage into any cloud-based solution. With CloudPools, data that is transmitted to the cloud is encrypted for security purposes and compressed to optimize the network bandwidth usage.
The industry continues to change at a dramatic pace, and we realize our customers need to not only adapt and transform but also profit from their efforts. That’s why we continue to challenge the status quo for our media customers. Whether it’s jointly developing end-to-end workflows solutions with great industry partners like Imagine Communications, or upgrading the Isilon platform with innovative features like the CloudPools and IsilonSD Edge, our goal is to give our customers a foundation for future-proofing their business and workflow needs.