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Data Storage

Whitehead Cracks the Code on Cost-Effective Storage

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Whitehead Cracks the Code on Cost-Effective Storage

Whitehead Institute is a world-renowned non-profit research institution dedicated to improving human health through basic biomedical research. By cultivating a deeply collaborative culture and enabling the pursuit of bold, creative inquiry, Whitehead fosters paradigm-shifting scientific achievement. For more than 30 years, Whitehead faculty have delivered breakthroughs that have transformed our understanding of biology and accelerated development of therapies for such diseases as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, and certain cancers.

The Challenge

The Whitehead Institute, based in Cambridge, Mass., takes on some of the most complex and important medical and scientific challenges ever presented to mankind. In the 33 years since its founding, it has become one of the world’s leading molecular biology and genetics research institutes, employing multiple National Medal of Science winners. In fact, the Whitehead Institute was a key contributor to the 13-year Human Genome Project, a groundbreaking study that unlocked an entirely new understanding of how humans react to viruses, bacteria and drug therapy.

Research at the Whitehead Institute generates an enormous amount of data. Genomic sequences and microscopy images alone can add up to multiple terabytes a week. Information is further extracted from the raw data using a computing cluster that leads to the creation of processed data files. This all translates into a unique set of challenges for the Institute’s IT team. Like the scientists they support, the IT team has had to address their challenges with innovative and experimental approaches.

“The scientists do everything from basic cellular process research to cancer and other diseases research,” said Paul McCabe, Senior Unix Systems Administrator and Data Center Specialist. “It varies widely, but the common denominator is that our research generates a huge amount of very valuable data.”

Due to the historical implications of their research, scientists at the Whitehead Institute constantly have to look back at previously collected data to forge ahead with their work.

“We tend to process data pretty heavily, and we have long-term data retention requirements,” said McCabe. “We not only store the data while it’s being actively processed by our researchers, but we also need to archive that data long after research papers are published in case the data behind the papers are ever challenged.”

As the Institute’s operations have become more dynamic and strenuous in nature, the legacy systems in place have had trouble keeping up with the increased workload and demand.

“Our organization had become a 24-hour endeavor, which was a challenge that was becoming more and more difficult to manage,” explained McCabe. “We were backing up for eight hours a day, duplicating for eight hours a day, and archiving the remaining eight hours. The equipment was being pushed to its limits, and if anything went wrong… we were simply out of hours.”

The Solution

As a result, McCabe and the IT team began researching high capacity data archiving alternatives that could meet their scalability, reliability and simplicity needs. At an IT tradeshow, the team was introduced to the Fujifilm Dternity, a data archiving system that combines the simplicity of disk and the economics of tape into a highly scalable, easy-to-manage solution.

“We also liked the way Fujifilm structures its licensing model in large bands, rather than the ‘by the terabyte’ model offered by other vendors. Overall, it matched very well with our requirements.”

Currently, the Whitehead Institute IT team is storing 171 TB of unique data on the Dternity NAS, with room to grow to more than 400 TB.

The Benefits

To date, the IT team has seen an overall decrease in administrative time associated with backing up and archiving research data due to the system’s ease of use and scalability. There has been some cost savings already, but as the amount of data in the Dternity grows, the cost savings grows with it. It is significantly cheaper to keep archive data on tape as opposed to disk. “Capacity and scalability were obviously very important to us, but Dternity provided so much more,” said McCabe. “Our backup team is thrilled with how easy the system is to manage and how it frees them up to focus on other tasks, but I would say the most noticeable benefit is the overall peace-of-mind the Dternity provides us. We’re dealing with critical data, and I never have to worry because it is fully protected, backed up and available when needed.”

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The Active Archive Is Integral to Your Data Storage Game Plan 

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Organizations are quickly learning the value of analyzing vast amounts of previously untapped archival data. Industry studies suggest that only about 20% of all digital data is ever accessed or used again after it is stored, underscoring the archival challenge. The need to effectively store, search for and retrieve enormous volumes of archival content is fueling new advancements in archive solutions.

This Active Archive Alliance report describes the state of the archive market and the role that the active archive plays. View the full report here.

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Tape Air Gap Provides Defense Against Cybercrime

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According to Juniper Research, cybercrime is expected to become a $2.1 trillion problem by 2019. Using tape-based, offline storage creates an “air gap” that can prevent hackers from accessing your data. In this video, Fred Moore, president of Horison Information Strategies, explains the benefits of tape storage for data security. 

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Tape Storage Council Releases Annual Report on State of Tape Industry

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Tape isn’t just raising the bar, it is the bar. According to a new Tape Storage Council report, in the last 10 years, LTO tape has increased capacity 1,400%, performance 200%, and reliability 9,900%. In addition to tape’s continual capacity improvements, tape is improving access time and data rate (throughput) with active archive, RAIT, and RAO, and offers the storage industry’s fastest data rates.

Tape is serving multiple roles for the enormous hyper scale, Internet and cloud data centers as tape capacity can easily scale without adding more drives. Check out the new 2018 State of the Tape Industry report featuring current trends, use cases and technology innovations for tape storage: http://tapestorage.org

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Helping MLB Network Simplify Their Massive Content Archive

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Storytelling is a central facet of society that may have changed formats over the years but will never become obsolete. In today’s digital world, broadcasters and television networks focus on creating relatable stories to connect with their audiences, and they can’t do that without a wealth of readily available content.

MLB Network is the source for baseball stories of all kinds, from live games to studio shows and feature programming. Launched on January 1st, 2009, MLB Network is growing fast, reaching more than 70 million households today, delivering the best of America’s national pastime, all the time.

The Challenge: Digital Content Storage and Management

“MLB Network’s goal is to bring baseball to our audience every night with the highest levels of production quality, focus and enthusiasm throughout the year,” said Tab Butler, Director of Post Production and Media Management at MLB Network. “To accomplish this, we need constant access to our archives and current live game content. We need all information from every game securely stored and easily accessible.”

With multiple recordings of every game, along with multiple audio sources, and pregame, post-game and isolated camera feeds, it is not uncommon for MLB Network to record more than 3,000 hours of content per week. That content is then categorized and cataloged for future use, using the Emmy Award-nominated media asset management DIAMOND System. When the baseball season comes to a close, MLB Network continues to deliver baseball news 24/7, with special programming about a team, player or other happenings in the sport. These individual projects require systematic archival that supports precise selection and instant access of specific files. The challenge is how to empower diverse departments to directly access their projects, without heavy IT support.

MLB Network Deployed StrongBox for Project-Based Workflow

As an early adopter, MLB Network deployed a custom-developed StrongBox to manage archived projects in late 2011. StrongBox is a vendor-neutral, fully portable data vault for long-term file retention. Functioning as standard network-attached storage (NAS), StrongBox employs Linear Tape File System (LTFS) media as the principal storage medium to save money and empower a file-system view of all archived content. An internal disk cache enables rapid file access. With drag-and-drop functionality, StrongBox makes accessing archived projects easy for MLB Network, delivering content on-demand to multiple, simultaneous users. Since MLB network is a 24/7 operation, the production staff uses a SAN-based Final Cut Pro (FCP) platform to develop programming that is updated throughout the season with the latest information. When these projects are ready for archival, the video, audio and revision files, along with their metadata, are stored in StrongBox. Having the ability to recall an archived show, and repackage it with current information, utilizing tape as the storage medium, reduces the storage costs for the archived content. “StrongBox has been natural for streamlining this type of project-based storage. Instead of keeping projects on spinning disk, we’re able to offload to StrongBox,” explained Butler. One of Butler’s key initiatives is finding ways to better automate the media management environment, allowing different departments to manage their own archival data instead of relying on his Media Management team to store and retrieve files. With StrongBox, editors have direct access to archived projects in real-time, without having to depend on a Media Management operator to retrieve files.

High-Capacity, Low-Cost LTFS Tape for Proxy

Butler said that for the 2009 baseball season, 25 terabytes of spinning disk storage was required for the video proxy data, and for the 2010 baseball season, 32 terabytes was required. Although this proxy information requires long-term storage, it is accessed very infrequently. Thus, the operational costs for keeping this much data on spinning disk become extremely expensive. Even though it is long-tail content, it cannot be taken offline.

Through the custom-built, DIAMOND System, MLB Network logs and categorizes HD recording by viewing the video using proxy video files, which are recorded in real time. The bulk of recorded HD Video content is stored within an LTO library, and is searched and accessed using DIAMOND and the Grass Valley Aurora systems. Thus, Butler is investigating ways to use tape to further drive down the costs of his long-tail proxy content which is currently on spinning disk.

“If I look down my future roadmap, my proxy environment is going to continue to grow year over year for the lifetime of the archive,” explained Butler. “Getting the proxy on LTO-5 media is much more cost-efficient for long-tail content.” With the introduction of LTFS, tape can be partitioned and indexed on a file level. This brings significant opportunity for media and broadcast companies. For MLB Network, LTFS brings the capability to efficiently maintain an accessible archive at the file level, while eliminating the heat generation, cooling requirements, spinning drives and other operational costs associated with disk storage.

“StrongBox is a very unique product, with flexibility that makes it functional in multiple use-cases for MLB Network,” Butler continued. Currently, the MLB Network video archive consists of 10 to 12 petabytes of stored HD content, and 275 terabytes of proxy content. A migration of that much data would be a significant undertaking. With the ability to scale up to 35 petabytes, StrongBox delivers low-cost, high-capacity storage with high-performance access that could provide a cornerstone in the foundation for MLB Network’s biggest business asset – its programming.

The Bottom Line

MLB Network delivers exciting, engaging baseball stories 24/7, 365 days a year. With a massive content archive that will only continue to grow, Tab Butler knows that LTFS tape is a cost-efficient and scalable way to manage MLB Network’s digital records. While editors constantly juggle multiple projects with demanding deadlines, StrongBox facilitates a project-based workflow, integrating with the editing environment to allow end users more direct access to their archived content. Ultimately, StrongBox helps MLB Network spend more time creating and delivering award-winning baseball stories and less time worrying about how to manage data.


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We’re here to help you save energy, money, and the environment

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David Marglous
Inside Sales Representative
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc

For over 50 years Fujifilm has been driving big impacts for customers and communities. One of our primary corporate goals is to enhance the quality of life for people worldwide, ranging from sustainable forestry to leveraging biodegradable resources. Whether you are a dealer ordering for a customer or a customer requesting Fujifilm media, we are here to help businesses save energy, money, and the environment.

At our Bedford, Massachusetts manufacturing facility we have installed 1,870 solar panels to promote renewable energy, eliminating 1,446 tons of CO2 emissions to date. Also, Fujifilm has moved to DPET plastic for P-cases and Library packs which requires 65% less energy to produce and has the lowest carbon footprint in the market. We understand that we too have a role in preserving our forests which is why we only use shipping pallets that are accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC C112029). Additionally, we are proud to be using Soy Ink which is biodegradable and renewable.

Just the other day I received a call from a long-time customer who was struggling with limited space and disposal issues. Determined to find an easier solution the customer asked: “what do we do with all the unneeded P-cases and insert cards?” To my delight, I replied “have you tried our library packs that hold 20 LTO cartridges or 50 corrugated pack cartons that hold ten 5-pack bricks of LTO without P-cases? This would eliminate your stress and reduce waste!”

How can you too become more socially responsible?

Next time you order, instead of placing your regular order for 100 LTO-7’s consider ordering five library packs or two 50 packs (as always, barcoding is entirely free). Not only will the new packaging reduce library load time by 75% but it will also eliminate 80% of waste when compared to the standard P-case.

For those of you looking to reduce waste and be more environmentally responsible, consider library packs and 50 packs next time you order media from Fujifilm. To learn more about our commitment to social responsibility, visit our sustainability website.

Need help making the best decision for your situation? Reach out directly to me!  dmarglous@fujifilm.com

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Save Over $1 Million by Migrating from LTO-5 to LTO-7

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Kevin Benitez
Product Marketing Manager
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc.

We know your data is important, but let’s face it, data growth is rising exponentially, and there is no turning back. No matter the industry, the daily creation of data is mindboggling, whether it’s emails, videos, IoT, blockchain or something new, it doesn’t matter because for every keystroke typed there is a new set of data created, computed, and stored forever. On the bright side, if you are using LTO-5 tape for backup/archive, now is the perfect time to migrate to LTO-7 since it could save your IT department $1,276,280 over the next five years.

There are significant benefits to migrating from LTO-5 to LTO-7. If the impressive transfer rate of 300 MB / sec or enormous 6 TB capacity of LTO-7 hasn’t won you over, surely the cost savings will. IT budgets are only growing at an average of 7% annually. Meanwhile, the average data growth is between 35% and 65%, compounding yearly! In order for IT departments to meet future budget requirements, they need to unlock the economic value of LTO-7.

A recent cost-benefit analysis conducted by Brad Johns Consulting discovered that migrating from LTO-5 to LTO-7 consistently generated greater TCO savings across all storage capacities if the customer’s data was growing at all.

Brad Johns’ study investigated TCO over a five-year period for LTO-5 and LTO-7 for three different capacities 500TB, 2500TB, 5000TB and annual growth rates ranging from 10% to 50%. IT departments with the annual growth rate of 40% can expect savings from $135,308 to $1,276,280 over the next five years by switching to LTO-7.

Savings Chart

Methodology

  • Only new media and drives were purchased.
  • The LTO-5 configurations were configured with a minimum of two tape drives and 100 tape cartridges per drive.
  • The number of LTO-7 drives in the new configuration provided at least the same aggregate data rate as the LTO-5 base configuration (also with a two-drive minimum).

Overall the math shows migrating from LTO-5 to LTO-7 can significantly reduce cost, especially if a business has the ability to install LTO-7 drives in existing libraries rather than requiring a new library.

Not only do LTO-5 customers have a significant financial incentive to migrate to LTO-7, but they have additional technical benefits. The LTO-7 tape drives can read LTO-5 media as well as reading and writing on LTO-6 media. If LTO technology, in general is a concern, you can be confident that LTO is here to stay, and future proofing is already in development with Generation 12 and beyond. Bottom line, LTO-7 definitely has a place in your archive for long-term preservation management, especially if you are currently using LTO-5.

Have questions or need help making the decision?

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What is an Active Archive?

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In this video, Fred Moore, president of Horison Information Strategies explains the benefits of an active archive including improving tape performance, providing random access to tape data, and eliminating mount time. Watch the video here for more information:

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Tape is Undeniably The Most Reliable Storage Solution Available – Period!

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By Ken Kajikawa,
OEM Technical Support Manager
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc.

Did you know 96,000 petabytes (PB) of total compressed tape capacity shipped in 2016? To put that into perspective, that’s over 326,000 years of 24/7 Full HD video! But why do so many companies depend on tape if primary backup can be faster to disk or cheaper in the short-term to the cloud?

For starters, mid-size and enterprise companies produce reams of digital data that they must retain for long periods of time and tape provides more reliability than disk—at a significantly lower total cost of ownership. For most companies, data is their most prized possession, and LTO tape provides reliable, offline protection against on-line data corruption. For mid-sized to enterprise companies, by diversifying their storage practice, they can depend on their data from tape always being there when they need it.

Don’t listen to the hype from fancy providers; LTO tape is actually the most reliable solution available, with bit error rates that best those of disk. The bit error rate (BER) predicts the percentage of faulty bits per total number of written bits. Tape’s reliability is an impressive 100 times more reliable than Flash SSD, 1,000 times more reliable than Fibre Channel & SAS HDD, and an outstanding 10,000 more reliable than enterprise SATA disks (Source: Supplier Data, Horison, Inc.).

Our friends at LTO.org helped put this into perspective: for LTO-7 tape, that would be 1 error event in every 200,000 LTO-7 cartridges (1.25 exabytes) compared to 1 error event in every 20 enterprises 6 TB SATA disks (125 TB). Clearly, LTO Ultrium tape is designed to deliver outstanding reliability.

Additionally, an ESG audit found that the new Error Detection/Correction Code in LTO-7 Ultrium tape technology was so advanced that customers would be more likely to be struck by lightning or killed by a shark than hit an uncorrectable error when saving data to tape. Below are some fun probabilities:

  • Getting hit by lightning; the odds are one in a million.
  • Getting killed by a shark; the odds are one in 11.5 million.
  • Winning a multi-million dollar lottery; the odds are 1 in 259 million.
  • Getting an uncorrectable error using LTO-7 media; the odds are one in 10 quintillion

Not only is LTO tape reliable, but it is also durable enough to withstand the test of time. LTO Tape provides users with a shelf-life of over 30 years—unlike disk that has a shelf-life of 3-5 years. Additionally, advancements in technologies like Barium Ferrite ensure longer archival life with no loss of magnetic signal.

We all know data volumes are growing explosively while IT budgets are remaining stagnant; the most effective solution to this problem is a low-cost, highly reliable and high capacity tape storage system. There is no doubt some of your backup/achieved data will need to reside on disk, but with astounding reliability and its cost advantaged most of your backup/archive data should reside on tape.

 

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