Molly Rector's blog

Active Archive Alliance Celebrates Two Years of Raising Market Awareness

It's hard to believe that it has been two years since the Active Archive Alliance (Alliance) was formed. A lot has happened since that time, and the storage industry has begun to quickly recognize the benefits of combining the best of software, tape and disk for a more efficient and functional storage strategy.

What’s Old is New Again: Media & Entertainment Active Archives

Though the active archive concept is drawing attention at lightning speed, active archive in the Media and Entertainment arena is not a new concept or process for storage administrators in this vertical market. Broadcasters not only want, but need their video assets to be available and readily accessible at any time and at a moment’s notice; and it’s just not an option to keep multiple PB’s of data spinning on disk. Now that broadcast formats are digital, or file based, the content that an organization owns or has rights to is typically available in a single, unified online, or nearline system. Because of the amount of data generated – and in most cases we’re talking PB’s of high-definition video – archiving requirements are larger than ever before. Keeping files on data tape (LTO) is a much more cost-effective way to store and manage massive amounts of video content.

Take the BP oil spill for example. When word spread of the tragedy, news stations wanted to run stories on the last big oil spill. They needed to be able to simply do a metadata search on Exxon Valdez and have access to all the files that contain this key word so they can quickly pick and choose old news clips to use to make a fresh news story. It would be ridiculous to keep story footage from 1989 spinning on disk.

Instead of a backup environment like most of the IT world is used to, a broadcaster looks at their data as not in a backup pool, but a storage pool. Whether a file was created yesterday or 20 years ago, you never know when you’re going to have to bring that material back—and fast. There are multiple reasons that one may need to access material; may it be to reference current events such as the tsunami in Japan or the overthrowing of Egypt’s president; or a new delivery format where the owner of that content can generate additional revenue streams. For example, changing the file format to IP based delivery or mobile delivery, or converting an old film from analog to HD or even to 3D.

When an organization has their assets available at the click of a button, it allows them the flexibility to help realize the true value of that content, and maximize their profit. Take Discovery Channel for example. They have endless hours of TV programming, and by keeping an active archive, they have the ability to access their entire database quickly, to reformat these shows so that viewers can watch “The Deadliest Catch” on an airplane, on their phone, in their car, or even at the gas station on that little screen above the credit card machine.

In summary, broadcasters have used active archives for years to address and solve all of the above concerns…. so what’s new today? There are now limitless options due to advances in storage technology, in both hardware and software.

Please contact us and visit the Active Archive Alliance’s Web site to learn more about the best practices and solutions for active archives in the modern data center.

Welcome to Online Access to ALL of your Data

By Molly Rector, founding member, Active Archive Alliance

A storage industry breakthrough was unveiled today after four storage vendors came together to collaborate on a common mission: to promote active archives and simplify online access to all archived data.

I'm proud to join executives from QStar, Compellent, FileTek and my own organization, Spectra Logic, in announcing the formation of the Active Archive Alliance.

Fundamental, fast moving changes in data storage and access are occurring in the archive market. As organizations increasingly store more data in archives, the challenge of retrieving that data when needed has intensified.  That's where active archive solutions come in.  Active archive solutions resolve this predicament by turning offline archive and backups into visible, accessible extensions of online storage systems. Active archives also offload archive appropriate data from primary storage, while keeping it online and accessible.

The goal of the Active Archive Alliance is to align needed technologies and provide the education necessary to address today's rapidly evolving requirements for storing and accessing large quantities of data quickly and affordably.  With the right combination of tape, disk and file system interfaces, vast volumes of data are just a few clicks away.

So what can you expect to see from the Active Archive Alliance and its founding members?

  • Active Archive best practices and guidelines for end user education
  • Additional alliance partners added including: vendors, VARs and end users (Contact Us if you're interested in joining)
  • Contributing analysts and alliance partner blog posts
  • Alliance activity on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • White papers, webinars, videos and educational materials will populate

The Active Archive Alliance is a vendor neutral organization open to leading providers of technologies including file systems, active archive applications, cloud storage, and high-density tape and disk storage.