FUJIFILM INSIGHTS BLOG

Data Storage

YES Network Says “Yes” to Migrating to a Virtual Environment

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Since its launch in March 2002, the YES Network has been the number 1 rated regional sports network in the USA. From its inception, YES has striven for the highest-quality picture and sound and to be at the leading-edge of broadcast technology. To this end, YES was constructed as an all-digital facility.

To manage its growing library, the network launched a digital archive project. Initially, the plan was to find a way to convert HD content into a file format that could be stored in a system so that producers and directors could easily find and retrieve selected plays to be integrated into classic game and other shoulder programmes. Avid had provided the YES editing systems from the outset, and the original five Avid editing systems were connected to an Avid Omega JBOD array for storage.

This paper provides a deep dive into the pros and cons of local, cloud, solid-state and linear tape-open storage solutions. It opens with YES Network Director of Engineering and Technology John McKenna’s account of the YES Network’s digital transformation, and is followed by YES Network Engineering Department Project Manager of Broadcast Systems Jason Marshall’s summary of modular to virtual technology migration. This paper details ratios on high-performance broadcast data systems, as well as power consumption and solution trade-offs. This paper aims to gain the reader’s confidence in virtualising a media asset system as well as converting linear systems to packet-based media technologies including transcoding, Active Archive and future SMPTE 2110 solutions.

Read the full paper here: Migrating to a Virtual Environment

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Used / Recertified / Reconditioned Tape – Is It Worth the Risk?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Ken Kajikawa 

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” I’m not sure who first coined that old adage, but it certainly applies to used data tape regardless of whether it’s called “recertified” or “reconditioned.” Let’s review some of the facts.

Recertified? Is there such a thing as legitimately recertified tape? The answer is no and here’s why. The equipment and procedures to fully certify and control the quality of tape performance are available only to licensed manufacturers. No one else has it–so used tape can’t be “re certified” by third parties.  Fujifilm does not recertify tape.  Fujifilm only provides new/unused product to the marketplace.

Reconditioned? Okay, how about reconditioned tape? A tape cartridge cannot be reconditioned either. Once a tape is scratched, creased,  edge damaged, degraded–it can’t be restored to its original factory-new condition. Additionally, a recertifier’s equipment and practices such as data erasure could damage the tape.

Data Erasure? Do the so-called recertifiers actually erase the data from the previous owner? Not exactly. Typically a table of contents overwrite is all that is performed, if anything. To actually overwrite the data on a common LTO data tape would take hours and degaussing is not a quick fix as it would destroy the servo tracks and render the tape useless. A few years back, Fujifilm had acquired 50 “recertified” LTO data tapes from recertified tape resellers. It was determined through expert analysis that 48 out of 50 tapes still contained original user data including highly confidential customer data.

So my advice here is: don’t be a buyer or seller of used tape!

Still considering used tape? Read on for more details about some of the potential hazards! 

  • Storage Environment: Tape must be properly stored and cared for in controlled environments (preferably cool, dry conditions for archive storage 16°C to 25°C and 20% to 50% relative humidity). Used tapes may have been stored for extended periods under poor environmental controls. Tape media degradation and damage are all possibilities that will not be readily apparent to the end user.
  • Care and Handling: Tape must be properly handled. Poor transportation and handling practices, (dropped tapes) could result in internal damage, poor tape pack alignment, and/or tape edge damage.
  • Proper Tape Operating Environment During Prior Usage: Airborne contaminants or dust can get wound into the tape-pack and damage the tape. In addition, excessive heat at the tape head interface can damage tape. This can be a result of drives that were running above maximum operating temperature specification due to integration of inside units lacking sufficient ventilation. Or, a combination of ambient room temperature being too hot and the drive being inside a unit or rack with marginal allowance for thermal transfer (not enough cooling capability under higher ambient temperature conditions).
  • Drive Maintenance: A previous user’s improperly maintained or malfunctioning tape drive could have damaged the tape, or the mechanical functionality of the cartridge.
  • Risk of Damage to Existing Drives and Tapes: Many tapes share the same drives in a typical usage environment. Debris left behind by used tape that is scratched or otherwise physically damaged will certainly contaminate good tapes that follow on those same drives.

Fujifilm always recommends against used/recertified media because the customer can never be assured of the quality, performance, and reliability in several key areas as discussed above.

If you are taking the time and resources to back up your data, why risk your data to a cartridge with unknown history?

Fujifilm high capacity data cartridges are consistently manufactured to the highest specifications and standards and fully supported and backed by a Lifetime Warranty against manufactures defects.

 

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The Cost Viability of Tape for Data Protection and Archive

Reading Time: < 1 minute

The most efficient data protection utilizes proper archiving, and with the data growth rate almost doubling, tape storage is growing from an archiving standpoint. In this Fujifilm Summit video, Dr. James Cates, SVP of Archive Development at Oracle, discusses the advantages of tape for archiving. Watch it here:

 

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How Does Google Do Backups?

Reading Time: < 1 minute

In this Fujifilm Summit video, Raymond Blum, Staff Site Reliability Engineer at Google, explains how Google handles its backups and the importance of diversity when it comes to storage. Watch it here:

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How Do You Get Renewables to Power Data Centers?

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By diversifying your renewable energy mix, you can achieve energy efficiency gains even with data centers which typically carry large power loads.  In this Fujifilm video, Craig Lewis, Executive Director of Clean Coalition talks about how tape storage allows us to do more work with more data storage using a lot less energy.  Watch it here:

 

 

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How to Store a Zettabyte

Reading Time: < 1 minute

According to Aaron Ogus, partner development manager for Microsoft Azure Storage, storing a zettabyte of storage will be financially feasible in 2020. Data growth will always exceed expectations, and tape has a more credible road map and one that is easier to get to with not as much investment. Learn more in this video blog:

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Taking Advantage of LTO-7 “Type M”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Rich Gadomski
Vice President of Marketing
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc

Sometimes change can lead to confusion, or at least to a lot of questions. Take changes in the tax laws for example. I won’t get into details, but suffice it to say I feel sorry for tax preparers come 2019!

In the realm of tape storage, we too have had some changes to the traditional roll-out of next-generation LTO tape drives and media. But rather than focus on confusing change, let’s focus on the luxury of having options. That’s exactly what we have in the option offered with the introduction of LTO-8 drives that can use standard LTO-8, LTO-7, or… LTO-7 Type M tape cartridges.

For the first time in the history of LTO technology dating back to 2000, users can now write to the previous generation tape cartridge at a higher density than previously allowed. Specifically, LTO gen 8 drive users can choose the option to write 9.0 TB native at 300 MB per second on a new/unused LTO-7 tape that previously maxed out at 6.0 TB native on LTO-7 drives. Assuming 2.5:1 data compression, 22.5 TB can be stored on a LTO-7 Type M cartridge with transfer speeds up to 750 MB per second. That’s a lot of capacity… and really fast!

Beyond extra capacity, LTO-7 Type M is a good option economically speaking, since there is no price difference between standard LTO-7 media already in the market and LTO-7 Type M media. This means LTO-7 Type M is 33% less on a cost per TB basis than LTO-7 and 45% less than LTO-8 media at current internet reseller prices.

Taking advantage of the LTO-7 Type M option is easy. First, make sure your tape library is equipped with LTO-8 drives and is upgraded to initialize LTO-7 Type M media for 9.0 TB capacity. If necessary, contact your library vendor to confirm this detail or to enable it. For your library to distinguish standard LTO-7 from Type M, you need to use “M8” designated barcode labels as opposed to “L7” designated barcode labels. To verify, you will see the characters“M8” printed to the right of the volser number on the barcode label where you would normally see “L7”.

Finally, like a good drug commercial, there are a few disclaimers to be aware of, but in this case the side-effects don’t sound worse than the disease known as: exponential data growth coupled with shrinking budgets. So here we go:

  • LTO-7 Type M can’t be initialized in standalone LTO-8 drives, library system required. But once initialized by the library, the Type M tape can be used in a standalone LTO-8 drive (read/write)
  • Once initialized for 9.0 TB, the Type M cartridge will not be compatible with LTO-7 drives
  • Type M cartidges will not be read/write compatible with LTO-9 drives

It’s always nice to have the luxury of options especially if that means be able to handle a lot more data at a super attractive price!

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The Impact of GDPR on Your Data Management Strategy

Reading Time: 2 minutes

By Floyd Christofferson,
SVP of Products at Strongbox Data

It is no illusion that every time you turn around it seems there is another report of a high-profile hack of sensitive personal data, impacting hundreds of millions of people all over the world. The recent Equifax hack released personal financial data of over 143 million consumers, but that was not an isolated incident. In 2016 and 2017 so far there have been at least 26 major hacks around the world that have released personal data of more than 700 million people. These include hacks of telecommunication companies, financial institutions, government agencies, universities, shopping sites, and much more.

The hacks are not a new problem. But in a global economy with often conflicting political and economic priorities at stake, there has been no comprehensive approach to ensuring people have the right to protect and delete if they want, all of their personal data.

The European Union’s new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) went into effect in May 2018. Although GDPR is designed to protect European citizens, the rules and penalties apply to any company from any country who does business in Europe. And the penalties are significant, with companies at risk of being fined up to 4% of their global annual gross revenues or €20 million (whichever is greater) for failing to comply with strict right-to-be-forgotten and privacy protections for customer data.

As a result, there is a growing panic among businesses as they try to figure out how to solve this problem in time, and how to do so with existing data management and storage resources that are not designed for this task. And the concern is not only in Europe. Companies in the US and around the world who have customers in Europe are also scrambling to ensure they are in full compliance by the deadline. But according to Gartner, by the end of 2018 over 50% of companies affected by the GDPR worldwide will not be in full compliance with its requirements.

In this paper we offer an overview of the key provisions of GDPR that impact storage and data management for both structured and unstructured data. In subsequent technical briefs, we will go into more detail about specific technical solutions to help ensure your data environment is in compliance, even with your existing storage and data infrastructure.

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Media & Entertainment’s Secret to Reducing Storage Costs

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

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

Over the past decade, the Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry has experienced a considerable increase in the amount of data generated due to the transition from traditional media workflows to fully digital environments. Today, the retention and accessibility of digital assets and video are incredibly vital to maintaining a competitive advantage. Fujifilm understands M&E companies’ digital storage challenges; that’s why companies like MLB, The LA Kings Ice Hockey Team, Chainsaw Edit, and others have turned to Fujifilm tape to ensure the integrity of their video assets while drastically reducing long-term storage costs.

Today, tape storage is used in modern infrastructure to deliver high storage capacities with low cost of ownership compared to other storage solutions.

Modern M&E companies continue incorporating data tape storage into their environments to combat costs. Nowadays storage requirements are on a different scale from where M&E companies first started, and data will continue to increase exponentially as the industry moves from HD to 4K, and soon to 8K recording. Today, a single digital 4K camera can record up to 1.5 TB for every hour of filming. Before this, companies like the LA Kings only recorded 200 GB in an entire year. Most IT budgets in the industry are not growing enough to support today’s data deluge—of which data storage can consume 70%.

“Tape storage in general is the lowest cost storage of any type of storage,” says Storage Economics expert Brad Johns

The cost of using LTO-7 tape is as low as $0.01/GB which can be 7 times less expensive than disk storage over a ten year period.* Additionally, tape doesn’t use any energy when it’s not being used, on the other hand, disk systems use 76 times more electrical power than a similarly configured tape system.* “Tape storage in general is the lowest cost storage of any type of storage,” says Brad Johns, founder of Brad Johns Consulting LLC, a storage consulting firm.

Why are leading M&E companies turning to tape?

  • Extremely cost-effective
  • Highly reliable
  • Portable to use at remote locations
  • Scalable to extremely large capacities
  • Open standards to allow the interchange of files

LTO tape is an ideal solution for M&E companies. LTO is an open format designed for interoperability and together with LTFS, provides easy data access and management—perfect for easy file share, high performance, and improved workflow.

How are M&E companies are using tape today?

NewBay Media has compiled how LTO technology and LTFS manage every stage of content creation/ management:

  1. Production. LTO technology with LTFS protects original content with on-site backup copy, reduces camera media inventory costs, and enables the interchange of content between production sites and post-production.
  2. Post-Production. LTO technology with LTFS offers a low-cost storage solution for work-in-progress, scales to meet large capacities, provides a standard means of interchange across the post-production ecosystem, and gives users the ability to offload less active content from expensive, high-performance flash or disks.
  3. Distribution. LTO technology with LTFS supports the transfer of large amounts of digital content at low cost and serves as the de-facto standard for submission of content—to studios and between business partners.
  4. Archiving. LTO technology with LTFS is ideal for long-term storage due to its durability, reliability, and low cost of operation. It scales to meet very large capacity requirements and supports rapid restoration for the repurposing of content.

Tape’s low-cost acquisition price per gigabyte and TCO advantage compared with other storage mediums make tape the most cost-effective technology for long-term data retention. Today, M& E companies can compare the total cost of ownership of data retention using TCO calculators created by Brad Johns Consulting, https://page.dternity.net/TCO.html, and the LTO consortium, https://www.lto.org/resources/.

More M&E companies are seeing the advantages of LTO tape, which can store massive amounts of data and combat ever-increasing storage costs across production, post-production, distribution, or archiving.

*Source: ESG report “Analyzing the Economic Value of LTO Tape for Long-Term Data Retention.”

*Source: The Clipper Group “Continuing the Search for the Right Mix of Long-Term Storage Infrastructure —A TCO Analysis of Disk and Tape Solutions.”

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What Exactly is Barium Ferrite?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By: Ken Kajikawa

The marketplace is full of examples of unique manufacturing ingredients that make products special. McDonald’s has its special sauce. Kentucky Fried Chicken has its secret recipe. Bush’s Beans has a talking dog that won’t disclose how they make their baked beans. Well, at Fujifilm, we too have our secret sauce, it’s called Barium Ferrite and we’re happy to share our story.

What makes Fujifilm Ultrium LTO-6 and LTO-7 different from past generations of Fujifilm LTO media? The answer is Barium Ferrite, or for you chemistry geeks out there BaFe. Okay, so you are probably asking what does this mean for me? The answer lies in Barium Ferrite magnetic particles. These particles enable higher data density and superior performance. Barium Ferrite allows for LTO-6 and LTO-7 media (and future generations) to have the following extraordinary benefits:

1)   Higher Capacity:A HIGHER SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO ENABLES

USE OF SMALLER PARTICLES RESULTING IN HIGHER CAPACITY

Fujifilm successfully developed a type of BaFe particulate tape with a signal-to-noise ratio that is four decibels higher than that of a commercially available LTO-5 tape at a very high linear density and with a thermal stability sufficient for long-term archiving over at least 30 years. This high recording performance and thermal stability were achieved by using a tape with a smooth surface and highly oriented fine magnetic particles made possible by our Nanocubic coating technology.

Metal Particles (MP Tape) require a protective passivation coating to prevent oxidation.  The passivation layer also limits the reduction of particle size that can be achieved.  BaFe particles are oxides so a passivation layer isn’t needed.  Smaller particles with better stability can be achieved with BaFe.

2)   Longer Archival Life: BARIUM FERRITE IS A CHEMICALLY STABLE

MATERIAL WITH NO MAGNETIC PROPERTY LOSS

Data is growing at an exponential rate and will continue growing for the foreseeable future. You need to manage and store this data without worrying about whether or not it is secure and you will be able to retrieve it at some point in the future. Using media based on Barium Ferrite assures that your data is stored on the most technologically advanced high density media available today.

Fujifilm believes that advanced BaFe particulate tape shows promise for use in future generations of magnetic particulate tape. We expect tape storage systems using BaFe particle media to continue to provide sufficient storage capacity at a low TCO for many years to come. And after that, there will be a new metal particle already under development by Fujifilm called Strontium Ferrite (SrFe) to ensure continuing areal density gains and to meet the demands of future tape roadmaps. But SrFe is a subject for another blog! (more…)

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