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Deluxe Media Europe’s new StorNext storage solution

Today television programs live many lives. Content monetisation starts with initial broadcast and cable distribution, but now includes many OTT providers. Leading player Deluxe Media Europe turned to Quantum StorNext to create a storage system to support its conversion to file-based workflows, expedite content delivery, and support future growth

For decades, Deluxe Media Europe has been providing digital delivery services to prepare content and guarantee successful delivery for many clients in the media and entertainment sector. This includes a large number of broadcasters, major studios and OTT content providers. With the growth of multichannel delivery and the push toward standardisation by groups such as the UK Digital Production Partnership, Deluxe Media realised that to continue to hold a leadership position, it needed to transition its existing workflow processes to a fully file-based architecture. Ultimately, Deluxe Media’s success is demonstrated by the fact that multiple leading media companies have designated Deluxe Media as a preferred partner, and that production companies, studios, distributors, and content owners view Deluxe Media as a premium content management partner.

Collaborative workflows

In order to provide the full range of quality-check services for testing flashing images, correcting audio layout, managing audio levels, and ensuring consistent video, Deluxe Media required workflows that would allow seamless, simultaneous access to files while storing those files cost-effectively. Its new system needed to be able to handle extremely large amounts of data. Today, the company typically moves approximately 4TB of data on and off Linear Tape-Open (LTO) tape drives each day, while transferring 6TB to client-designated destinations, such as video-on-demand (VOD) services, OTT providers, or international broadcasters. Moreover, with formats increasing in resolution, the solution needed to be able to scale to address the quantity and volume of files that will be managed and stored in the future. Above all, the solution needed to provide the reliability and speed expected by its industry-leading list of global customers.

And since a key to the company’s success was the development of DL3—its own content management software, which manages encoding, transcoding, and preparation of content for delivery—the new system needed to be able to support this application as well.

Content management

Quantum StorNext plays a pivotal role in the new system that Deluxe Media created to support its digital file workflow. When client content is ingested, it is initially encoded by Digital Rapids, stored locally, and then transferred to the StorNext File System. Deluxe Media has implemented one StorNext file system for each of its larger clients and a set of shared file systems for its smaller clients. Each file system is currently storing approximately 100TB of content or 10,000 to 20,000 files. StorNext’s capacity handles today’s needs, and allows clients to easily increase the volume of files managed by the file system to meet future growth.

Deluxe Media selected StorNext in part because it gives the company the ability to access the file system from multiple servers and easily migrate content across various locations. StorNext’s support for Fibre Channel is also critical since it provides speeds that enable high-performance collaboration and makes near-line archives feel like a local disk drive.

“StorNext is also better than alternatives in how it manages data on disk,” says Dick Grun, senior systems engineer, Deluxe Media Europe. “It doesn’t matter if files are scattered across several sets of disks because the StorNext file system provides transparent access to all of the stripe groups.”

Key applications

The StorNext API also provided a way for Deluxe Media to integrate the new solution with its DL3 content management system. The StorNext API allows DL3 to directly interrogate the metadata servers, discover file locations, and initiate file movement across Deluxe Media locations around the globe. StorNext also provides interoperability with technical workflow partners which allows Deluxe Media to benefit from a fully integrated workflow and archive. Overall, the new StorNext-based system gives Deluxe Media the ability to ingest files, review or edit them for quality control, transcode them into the appropriate formats for consumer consumption, and then quickly and easily transfer them to other Deluxe sites—or, more importantly, to client sites.

Deluxe Media used StorNext to create a storage management approach that minimises disk space while keeping all content available to the team. The new system includes a Quantum StorNext AEL6000 tape archive, which today stores over 5PB of media content. The StorNext Storage Manager automatically transfers files from disk to tape archive if the files are not accessed within 5 minutes after they arrive on disk. Any file moved to tape is immediately saved as two copies, providing necessary redundancy in case disaster recovery is needed.

But because the archive is integrated with the StorNext file system and DL3, all metadata and content for any of the assets in the archive can be seen and retrieved transparently by any of the Deluxe Media facilities anywhere in the world.

“We have a lot of film clients and a lot of broadcast clients, so we have around 4 or 5PB of archive storage at our London facility alone,” says Grun. “It’s clearly impractical to store it on disk, but with Quantum StorNext and the AEL archive on the back end, it’s actually pretty easy to parcel the content off into what seems to be an infinite store.”

In addition to managing its own stored assets, Deluxe Media also uses the StorNext system to provide additional services for its clients, including indefinite long-term archival storage of master content and the resulting transcoded files.

“Clearly we’re dealing with demanding content workflows, but StorNext’s seamless integration with our state-of-the-art DL3 system gives us high-performance file sharing, tiered storage, and archive to increase flexibility and greatly enhance our end-to-end workflow management. It also gives the ability to expand the system in response to future demands.”

Solution Overview

  • StorNext File System 
  • StorNext Storage Manager
  • StorNext AEL6000