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storage business today

conversion of video content will create a huge demand driver for storage device and systems manufacturers. According to the 2012 ‘Digital

storage for media and entertainment’ report by Thomas Coughlin Associates, data capacity increases, form factors, lowered product prices and the growing familiarity with digital editing, digital intermediates and various forms of digital distribution are key components in the continued growth and development of entertainment. It argues that because of the large file sizes required for high resolution and stereoscopic images there is increasing demand for high capacity storage devices. In addition, active archiving will

drive increased use of HDD storage for ‘archiving’ applications, supplementing tape for long term archives and Flash memory will find wider use in cameras and content distribution systems. Overall, between 2012 and 2017, Coughlin expects about a 5.6 times increase in the required digital storage capacity used in the entertainment industry and about a four-fold increase in storage capacity shipped per year from 22,425 PBytes to 87,152 PBytes. This effect will percolate throughout

the entire content value chain encompassing content creation, editing, archiving, distribution as well as into the connected devices themselves. All of this will generate a huge spur to the generation and demand for growth in data storage for all entertainment content applications. So can storage technology and

service providers expect a bonanza? More than likely. In the consumer environment, Gartner believes that there will be an initial demand from consumers who will first try the basic packages offered free by online backup companies, generally available

as apps on tablets, smartphones and broadband-connected TVs. Going forward it then expects to

see cloud service providers (CSPs) increasingly offer cloud storage, providing the foundational experience for consumers to start using cloud storage as part of the personal cloud. Even though the analyst expects on- premises storage to remain the main repository of consumer digital content, Gartner predicts that its share will progressively drop from 93% in 2011 to 64% in 2016 as the direct-to-cloud model becomes more mainstream. “Local storage will become further

integrated with home networking, presenting opportunities for local storage providers to partner with home networking and automation service providers,” added Verma. “Cloud storage will grow with the emergence of the personal cloud, which in turn will simplify the direct- to-cloud model, allowing users to directly store user-generated content in the cloud. As storage becomes a part of the personal cloud, it will become further commoditised. Therefore, online storage and sync companies need to have a strategic rethink about their future approach.” For the industry the picture may be

equally as complex, and with equally varying cost implications. Coughlin predicts that for archiving and distribution applications where content is relatively static low cost/high capacity ATA storage, optical disks and tape-based storage libraries will likely predominate; where storage cost factors must be combined with performance requirements, hard disk drives as well as enterprise solid state drives (SSDs) will also see use; SSDs are also becoming more popular in applications requiring rugged field use or fast playback response Flash memory.

Storage is being driven by the consumer demand for digital content and the development of HD TV and other high resolution content devices in the home and on the move. In the media industry environment, storage is a fundamental element in the transformation process that is being undertaken in content creation, editing, distribution and reception.

What this will mean, says the

analyst, is that total media and entertainment storage revenue will likely grow by a factor of more than 1.4 between 2012 and 2017 to $7.8 billion. To give this figure some context, as to the mix of products and services, Coughlin believes that during the same period, total revenue for storage media and devices will increase from about $774 million to $974 million. With such complexity, formulating a

strategy to meet storage requirements cost effectively could be equally as involved. What’s certain is that the days of just feeding the best in terms of storage are over; moreover in terms of effective solutions, one size does not fit all. Optimum solutions should be those storage technologies that can lower the cost of implementation administration and management. Some are even talking in terms of not storage architectures but in terms of the choreography of storage as different technologies work holistically according to different demands in modern workflows. And making a decision on future

storage requirements is something of an imperative: media dynamic ranges are steadily increasing to up to 14 bpp; frame rates are in some circumstances reaching up to 120 fps; and the days of 8K resolution from ultra HD are not too far away. The ramifications of this in terms of storage requirements probably don’t need to be spelled out too much - nor does what will happen when over the top services from the likes of Google, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and inevitably Apple become more and more mainstream. So making the right storage decision is making a profound decision for your business. And if not rock and roll, what’s dull about that? l september/october 2012 l ibe l 7

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