Predictions for Media Storage in 2014

Happy New Year to you!  I thought I’d start out the New Year with a few predictions regarding media storage in the coming 12 months.  I polled a few of our NetApp media specialists and some of the predictions below come from them.  As with all predictions, some may seem like long-shots, but the trends are driving the industry in these directions:

  • Object Storage plays move from science experiments to deployable infrastructures.  There are more software products on the market that are beginning to take a lot of the pain out of object storage deployments, but it will still take a lot of preplanning and solution integration to get things off the ground.  Will object storage make it big in 2014?  Probably not big, but definitely significant.
  • Flash Storage, or more specifically flash arrays, will start looking like a real option in media.  The prices are still pretty high per gigabyte for solid-state storage, but the performance will make that cost look good compared to the idea of short-stroking hard drives to get the throughput up to meet the needs of things like 4K post-production.  We’ve also seen flash arrays being used for file system metadata to improve access times as well as for the content metadata databases for MAM systems.
  • Cloud Storage will continue to gain momentum, but the risks are still going to make some people nervous. Most cloud providers today are agreeing to reasonable SLAs now, so many people are poo-pooing the risks (most of those people’s jobs don’t rely on having 24x7 access to the content, so it’s easy for them to say, right?).  Hybrid Cloud Storage will continue to expand.  Hybrid cloud storage is storage that is still owned by the media company, but the management of the equipment will be outsourced to lower the operating cost.  Cloud compute will continue to gain momentum and more hybrid storage will be located close to the service provider’s data centers and networks.
  • Outsourced distribution services will continue to expand.  The consumer products end of the business changes so rapidly that it makes sense for someone else to specialize in this and for media companies to take advantage of the service provider’s expertise and investments.  The job of most media companies is to create or aggregate compelling content and not worry about the transcoding side of consumer delivery.  Let others own the CDN while you focus on the brand. 
  • Long-tern content storage will continue to be an unsolved mystery.  As far as we know, there are no new technologies that will be ready in 2014 to solve this problem.  Cloud storage seems to be the easy solution for now (let someone else worry about the platform and migration over time), but the risks discussed earlier still apply.  And don’t forget how much more information is being created as people move more and more to 4K production!  This problem just seems to get bigger and bigger.

As you move into the New Year, keep watching this space as we explore the options and offer ideas for how to solve your media storage problems.  And always remember that we want to know what’s on your mind.  Comments below will be addressed immediately or in upcoming blogs.  Stay safe, be well and have a great 2014!