Digital Storage Veteran Tom Coughlin Talks M&E IT Challenges and Solutions in New White Paper

Digital Storage Veteran Tom Coughlin Talks M&E IT Challenges and Solutions in New White Paper

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IT pros in the Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry are all too familiar with the challenges of managing workflows by manually or semi-manually copying data across heterogeneous storage. A recent white paper published by Coughlin & Associates titled, “Media and Entertainment: Automatic Data Management that Matches Your Workflow,” highlights common problems and discusses how innovations such as data virtualization and intelligent data management can be used to address them. Let’s take a closer look at how.

Performance and Availability Come with a Price

The white paper describes how M&E applications can have very diverse storage performance requirements that create the need for data to be placed on different types of storage throughout workflows. As Coughlin notes, “Post-production and rendering require periods of rapid data access, very high throughput and low latency,” while other applications'  "stored content is seldom accessed, [sitting] mostly idle with data accessed only when a project demands it and may eventually use private or public cloud storage for long term archives.”  Coughlin explains that the cost of storage hardware increases with levels of performance and availability, so M&E companies must make “trade offs between cost, accessibility and performance [that] have led to a hierarchy of data storage.”

Managing this hierarchy is challenge and complex, as IT pros must both meet application SLAs and keep costs in check. Coughlin states: “the creation and use of M&E content requires a sophisticated workflow for moving content from capture and creation, through post-production, into distribution and finally into an active or passive archive without breaking application awareness and reconfiguring the applications when data mobility occurs.”

Traditional Approaches Fall Short of M&E Business Demands

Coughlin notes that shared storage is required to support the collaboration that M&E companies require, but that traditional data management approaches fall short because they use fixed policies that insufficiently protect performance and control costs. “What is needed,” Coughlin advises, “are management functions with optimized objectives that can adjust to the circumstances existing at a given point in time, or anticipated in the near future.” Hardware must be virtualized to optimize efficiency and reduce costs.

According to Coughlin, M&E can remedy these IT challenges with:

  • “Virtualization of physical resources, like storage, allows the management of these resources to achieve the maximum utilization and lowest total cost of ownership.
  • Intelligent software….to monitor and manage the flow of data throughout the environment.
  • Managing the metadata and monitoring the performance telemetry of the infrastructure at the application layer.
  • Continuous storage monitoring and data management [that uses] realtime monitoring with machine learning algorithms.”

These capabilities enable M&E IT to “optimize the available storage, reduce the need to over-provision resources, and ultimately free up IT resources to spend time on higher value work.”

DataSphere Automates M&E Workflows Across Heterogeneous Storage

Coughlin cites DataSphere as a prime example of a product that meets M&E business requirements. DataSphere meets Coughlin’s criteria as it:

  • Virtualizes data across heterogeneous NAS and cloud/object storage within a single namespace to maximize resource utilization and minimize costs
  • Automates data management with machine learning through objectives for performance, price, and protection
  • Delivers application-aware data management based on performance telemetry and metadata
  • Continuously monitors data and storage performance, transparently moving data in real-time to meet application objectives.
  • Increases application and overall system performance, with an architecture that eliminates common storage bottlenecks

Want to learn more about how DataSphere can increase M&E application performance and resource utilization while reducing costs? Connect with us at to schedule a meeting or demo.

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