Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Case Study: HP StoreEver MSL6480 Tape Library safeguards business critical content

Tape may be one of the most 'old school' storage technologies, but that doesn't mean it can't play nice with the newest kids on the block.  But don't take my word for it.  This week, HP published a new tape testimonial from a very interesting and exciting source.  Because when it comes to video production and multimedia, it doesn't get much more cutting-edge than the advanced 4K digital film making projects created by Brain Farm Digital Cinema.

You might think that when it came to completing their digital workflow, the last solution a state-of-the-art video company would turn to is tape, specifically the HP StoreEver MSL6480 tape library. 

But as Brain Farm's post production supervisor, Danny Holland, says:

"Estimates indicate that our storage cost per terabyte is 86 percent lower with the HP StoreEver MSL6480 solution compared to an equivalent SAN disk array. The lower total cost of ownership of the MSL6480 tape library delivers affordable storage technology, providing us with a competitive edge in the digital media market."

So HP StoreEver tape is not just a means of storing data.  It is a key enabler that makes Brain Farm a more successful company.  In this blog, I want to take a closer look at why this is the case.

Brain Farm Digital Cinema is at the forefront of video production and its recent National Geographic "Great Migrations" documentary series won the company a prestigious Emmy award for cinematography.  The team has a reputation for creating breathtaking images in locations where few dare to go, especially in the fields of action sports and aerial photography.

Brain Farm often shoots several films simultaneously at 4K resolution with multiple cameras, each creating an uncompressed storage requirement of about 200 GB per minute. Moreover, a single project frequently involves a 100-day filming season, generating many petabytes of content.

The challenges faced by Brain Farm can be summarised:
  • storing massive output volumes.
  • inefficient labor-intensive stand-alone tape drive backup and archiving processes.
  • an inappropriate disaster recovery capability to safeguard clients’ valuable assets.
  • insufficient scalability to support growth.

 HP'sMSL6480 tape library meets these challenges directly:
  • Each unit offers up to 560 slots, storing up to 3.5 PB in a single rack, with 81 TB density per 1U of rack space
  • It can easily be expanded with extra drives, slots and cartridges, including future generations of LTO Ultrium for even higher capacities.
  • The automated process is 10X faster than the old workflow and 86% cheaper than using a SAN disk array for this purpose.
  • HP StoreOpen for Automation, HP’s LTFS solution for MSL6480, makes sharing and accessing data simple.
  • HP TapeAssure Advanced software makes the MSL6480 easy to manage from any location.

In the words of Danny Holland:
"The nature of the digital cinema business makes scalability extremely important. The HP StoreEver MSL6480 Tape Library design allows us to easily add extra drives, media slots and expansion modules as required, delivering a non-disruptive scalability model that’ll generate significant savings over the years.”

So next time anyone scoffs that tape is dead or for companies that haven't yet embraced innovation in storage, invite them to learn about Brain Farm Digital Cinema.  I think it's a great endorsement that such a successful and pioneering company sees a clear role for tape in its digital workflow.  Such companies do not use technology out of sentiment.  It's because they feel the core benefits of tape are the best solution for their cutting-edge needs!

Andrew Dodd
Worldwide Marketing Communications Manager
HP Storage Media

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