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Contributed by Tom Coughlin | Coughlin Associates

Digital media workflows are facing new challenges with the move to 4K UHD content, higher frame rates, bigger color gamut and more bits per pixel. In addition there are an increasing number of projects that are using multiple cameras and combining the video to create stereoscopic content.

As shown in the figure below (from the 2015 Digital Storage in Media and Entertainment Report from Coughlin Associates) modern post-production may use a combination of direct attached, network storage and private and public cloud storage.


Many storage companies at the 2015 IBC focus on digital storage for vieo production and post-production. Let’s look at a few of these companies.

DataDirect Networks announced at the IBC that its MEDIAScaler storage solution, an turnkey end-to-end storage appliance tailored to meet the rising requirements of Media and Entertainment (M&E) bandwidth-intensive workflows, has been integrated with Adobe® Creative Cloud®, Crossroads Strongbox, Green International Consulting, MediaPower, Tiger Technology and QStar Technologies. The innovative collaborations offer customers open solutions that simplify and accelerate workloads, increase flexibility and reduce production time and cost. Codex provides storage capabilities for production digital recording and workflows.

Codex has been successful in many video productions due to its easy-to-use recorders and media processing systems that streamline the transfer of digital files and images from camera through to post production. They also include leading-edge tools for color, dailies creation, archiving, review and digital asset management. Codex is being used for the Disney/IMAX production A Beautiful Planet, due for release next April.


Dot Hill is prevalent throughout the media and entertainment industry through OEM partners such as Quantum Corporation, Autodesk, Imagine Communications, Concurrent, and Rhode & Schwartz who provide solutions for M&E applications and professionals. Dot Hill provides low-cost, high-performance and reliable storage solutions that meet the unique HD and 4K editing needs of the media and entertainment market. The enterprise-class AssuredSAN® hybrid arrays shown at the IBC, featuring Dot Hill’s RealStor™ real-time operating system. Dot Hill is also one of the first companies to use Seagate’s IP-interface Kinetic HDDs, which may be part of the reason that the company has been acquired by HDD maker Seagate Technology.

EditShare unveiling its latest AirFlow “Private Cloud” remote workflow solutions at IBC2015 (stand 7.G37). Now included with every EditShare storage system as part of the integrated Flow MAM toolset, and also available for integration with qualified third-party storage products such as Avid ISIS 5500, AirFlow empowers organizations to provide secure remote access to outside collaborators right from their own production centers.

Pixspan a company offering advanced compression technologies for video content announced a strategic reseller partnership with ALT Systems, Inc., a premier systems provider for the media and entertainment industry. As part of the agreement, ALT Systems will now offer Pixspan’s solutions as a seamless, integrated component of its compositing, DI, networking and storage solutions for its customers. 

PROMISE was showcasing their V-Trak A-Class with NAS Gateway, Pegasus2 R2+, SANLink2 16G, Vess R2600 PRO and V-Trak 5000 for the entire rich media workflow, from ingest and editing to delivery and long term archiving. The Pegasus2 R2+ RAID storage features two hot-swappable HDDs and Pods for convenient media exchange, and SANLink2 16G that connects Thunderbolt systems to a Fibre Channel SAN at 16 Gb/s speeds. Additionally, the company was showing their new Vess R2600 PRO, a cost effective NAS for multi-user rich media compressed workflows and the VTrak J5000 Serieshigh-performance 12Gb/s SAS subsystems.

Flash memory is playing a greater role in video workflows. The Facilis TerraBlock 24D/HA Hybrid Array (and related family products) includes a drive group of 8 x SSDs for ultra-high performance, alongside a larger drive group of traditional 4TB SATA drives for 72TB or 80TB combined capacity. The 24D /HA is designed to deliver the performance required for uncompressed 4K finishing, along with scale-out collaborative editorial, in the same system. In addition Facilis was showing its FastTracker product for cataloging, searching, viewing and accessing many common media formats within the Facilis TerraBlock Shared Storage System.

Sonnet was showing a number of PCIe SSD cards for video projects as well as a Thunderbolt 2 dock and RAID storage systems.  ATTO, a long standing component manufacturers was also showing a number of product bridging between different interfaces as well as providing interface services used by many companies at the IBC.

At the IBC HighPoint  Technologies was showing its RocketStor 631xA 8 and 4-Bay Hardware RAID Tower enclosures. These compact brushed-aluminum 4 or 8-Bay tower enclosures provide dual 20Gbps Thunderbolt™ 2 ports and supports fast, highly reliable hardware RAID 0, 1, 5 6, 10, 50 and JBOD configurations.

Sony was demonstrating rugged portable RAIDs with 4 and 6 TB capacities as well as 256 GB SXS Pro+ memory cards for 4K video capture and production. The HDD RAID systems PSZ-RA4T (4TB) and PSZ-RA6T (6TB) feature a handle on top for easy carrying and are designed to support increasing file sizes in a resilient and reliable housing. The new models offer rapid transfer speeds of up to 440MB/s (read/write), reducing the transfer time for all files, including large 4K video files.  

The 256GB SxS PRO+ memory card provide up to 3.5 Gbps (440 MB/s, read) data rate and can record up to 40 minutes of 4K footage (at 60p).  The cards, which are part of the new SxS PRO+ D Series, also come in a 128GB and 64GB model and are pre-formatted in exFAT for quick startup. 

What is attracting storage companies to the production and post-production video market is the growth potential for storage in this market.  As shown in the figure below from the 2015 Digital Storage in Media and Entertainment Report the next few years could lead to more than a seven-fold increase in DAS as well as network storage and cloud storage for post production.


About the author:

TomTom Coughlin, President, Coughlin Associates is a widely respected storage analyst and consultant. He has over 35 years in the data storage industry with multiple engineering and management positions at high profile companies. Dr. Coughlin has many publications and six patents to his credit. Tom is also the author of Digital Storage in Consumer Electronics: The Essential Guide, which was published by Newnes Press. Coughlin Associates provides market and technology analysis as well as Data Storage Technical Consulting services. Tom publishes the Digital Storage Technology Newsletter, the Media and Entertainment Storage Report, the Emerging Non-Volatile Memory Report and other industry reports. Tom is also a regular contributor on digital storage for Tom is active with SMPTE, SNIA, the IEEE (he is Director for IEEE Region 6 and active in the Consumer Electronics Society) and other professional organizations. Tom is the founder and organizer of the Annual Storage Visions Conference, a partner to the International Consumer Electronics Show, as well as the Creative Storage Conference ( He is the general chairman of the annual Flash Memory Summit.  He is a Senior member of the IEEE, Leader in the Gerson Lehrman Group Councils of Advisors and a member of the Consultants Network of Silicon Valley (CNSV).

For more information on Tom Coughlin and his publications. go to

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