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 Stateof the Tape Industry report featuring current trends, use cases and technology innovations for tape storage: http://tapestorage.org
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.
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! firstname.lastname@example.org
With the arrival of Active Archive, much higher data rates, LTFS, RAIT, and RAO capabilities now in place, the tape industry is making significant strides in delivering much faster initial access times and throughput levels. Read more about how tape is accelerating performance here.
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.
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.
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:
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.
By Andy Feather
Sr. Director, Engineering & Technical Services
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc
Ever hear of the Maytag repairman commercials? It was a role played by actor Jesse White (thank you Google). Because Maytag machines were so reliable, he never got any work and was the loneliest guy in town. Sometimes I wonder if our technical support engineers here at our factory in Bedford, MA suffer the same fate thanks to the reliability of today’s tape technology.
But I do have a tech support story I want to share. Not long ago, I got a call from Brookhaven National Labs out in Long Island, N.Y. They reported that an LTO-6 tape was mechanically malfunctioning and could not be accessed by their drives. They asked if we could we take a look at it, fix it and send it back because this was an important tape containing client data.
Our tech support engineers received the tape by express mail within a day of the complaint. The first step was to analyze the cartridge memory chip data, and it was determined that there were no error messages. The production history was reviewed, and there were no indications of any issues at the time that the cartridge was manufactured. Upon physical inspection it became apparent that the leader pin and clip were dislodged. The cartridge was x-rayed in order to determine if the leader pin and clip were still inside the cartridge. The x-ray results (see photo below) revealed that the leader pin and clip were still intact, but stuck inside the cartridge.
The leader pin had become dislodged but this was not caused by a manufacturing defect. Two possible causes were either mishandling of the cartridge, or there was an issue with one of Brookhaven’s drives which caused the leader pin to not be returned correctly into the leader pin spring. The cartridge memory data showed that data was successfully written multiple times before the issue occurred. Brookhaven was advised of the drive serial number needing investigation for possible issues.
The tech support engineers then proceeded to remove the barcode label and unscrew the cartridge in order to access the dislodged leader pin. The leader pin was properly repositioned and clamped. The barcode label was reprinted and reapplied. The cartridge was returned to Brookhaven the next day via express service. All of this was much to Brookhaven’s relief, and the client’s data was restored without much delay.
Brookhaven shared with us that they have written more than 100 PB of data on LTO tape. Regarding LTO-6 alone, they have 21,235 tapes in their environment with a total of 1,644,440 mounts. Only one tape had the problem shared above, and it was fixed in a day.
How can our “Maytag team” help you? We are here to support you on any aspect of tape media operation and performance. Beyond media, we can refer you to the right supporting hardware and software vendors or 3rd party service providers. Just let us know!
The University of Notre Dame, based in South Bend, Indiana is a world class university with students that represent all 50 states and over 100 countries. Rigorous academics, NCAA Division I athletics, and numerous events and activities create an environment in which students are ignited with a passion to learn and to live to their fullest capacity.
Consistently ranked in the Top 25 institutions of higher learning by US News & World Report, Notre Dame has over 10,000 students, 4 colleges, 67 undergraduate programs, more than 50 graduate programs, and is home to the famous Fighting Irish Football team that draws fans from all around the world.
“The mission of the Office of IT is to serve as the trusted IT partner to all the Faculty, Staff and Students” says Mike Anderson, Storage Engineer at the University of Notre Dame. “It can be very difficult to satisfy their increasing demands for storage”. Historically IT was responsible for providing enterprise class storage for students, faculty and staff. This was primarily for user accounts, database and email. Large file storage was discouraged and requests for such storage were often denied. “Sometimes we would get requests from a department to store 100 TB or more” says Mike Anderson. “We simply did not have a solution that could accommodate a large archive at that point”.
“We needed an affordable storage solution that could scale to beyond a petabyte and provide data protection to all archived content” – Mike Anderson, Storage Engineer at the University of Notre Dame
By 2014 it was clear to IT that something had to change. Requests for large file storage was growing and so was the need to archive them. Primary sources of this big data were the Athletics Department that was using more and more cameras to film all their games. Another source was the ever growing University Archives that was making an official effort to digitize and preserve historical data for future use. “We needed an affordable storage solution that could scale to beyond a petabyte and provide data protection to all archived content” said Mike Anderson.
“After evaluating many solutions we decided to go with the Dternity NAS and Media Cloud replication service”. The solution is built to fit into existing environments and deliver the simplicity of networks shares along with the superior economics of tape. Notre Dame’s IT department was able to re-purpose their existing tape library as a scale-out NAS using the Dternity appliance.
The athletics department and the university archives could all be given their own CIFS shares that plugged right into their workflows. The easy scalability quickly meets the ever-growing demand for capacity. Data recovery is automatically provided through replication to the Dternity Media Cloud. The Media Cloud is an offsite storage service that store two additional copies of Notre Dame’s content, giving them a total of 3 copies across two geographic locations.
As a starting configuration, Notre Dame built an archive designed to hold at least 750 TB using the Dternity NAS paired with a Spectra Logic LTO-6 library with replication to the Dternity Media Cloud service for added offsite protection.
To date, the IT team has seen an overall decrease in administrative time associated with backing up and archiving research data. Dternity simplifies data protection and disaster recovery by managing multiple file copies without requiring an additional backup application. There has been immediate cost savings already, and 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. Not to mention the security benefits now that less of the information that is supposed to be in the archive is being stored by users on flash drives and other user solutions. “Capacity and scalability were obviously very important to us, but Dternity provided so much more”, said Anderson. “Our customers are happy that their data is automatically copied offsite, and I never have to worry because our archive is fully protected for decades to come”. “The best thing though is how easily automated Dternity is and that our team for the most part never has to touch tape”.
By Rich Gadomski
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc.
Have you ever noticed the grainy quality of surveillance footage shown on the local news broadcasts? Some unfortunate citizen is getting assaulted after making an ATM withdrawal and you feel like you’re watching a 1930s Charlie Chaplin rerun. The reason for this is that most organizations charged with surveilling public places can’t afford to do so in high resolution and certainly can’t afford to keep the surveillance content for any considerable period of time. Yet wouldn’t it be nice to easily ID the suspect and maybe go back to other video databases to see if there’s a pattern occurring over time?
As a society we want better security and swifter justice. We have the technology to achieve this but we don’t necessarily have the budget. The good news is that a record number of surveillance cameras are shipping year after year. They are also becoming more affordable and resolutions are steadily increasing to include 4K or better.
In fact, demand for video surveillance systems is continuing to explode driven by several factors including increased security threats, legislation, IoT applications, law enforcement applications and increasing affordability of surveillance cameras.
All of this is taking place at a time when society is demanding more transparency into what is happening in our public places and in law enforcement actions. This has resulted in a steady increase in evidentiary content from facility security cameras to body worn cameras, dashboard cameras, interview room audio and video recordings, cell phone data and others. This proliferation of surveillance technology has given rise to the “transparency paradox” where the public demands more recorded evidence which creates the need for more data storage. But we only have limited budgets that can’t handle the increasing data retention burdens.
This is where the concept of an active archive comes into focus providing a solution where organizations can afford to maintain online access to all of their surveillance content in a multi-tiered storage system that leverages the speed of flash and disk with the superior economics of tape. In a typical active archive environment, the file system extends across all storage tiers from primary flash/disk to long term, economy tape storage. Content moves by policy from high cost primary storage to low cost, long term storage. Typically this means LTFS LTO tape featuring the highest capacity, longest archival life, highest reliability and lowest total cost of ownership.
With an active archive in place, organizations can easily and cost effectively maintain more surveillance content at higher resolutions for longer retention periods and can maintain this on-premises to safely control chain of custody.
Expect demand for active archives to solve the “transparency paradox.” It should make the local news more engaging too!
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