ABC's video demands causing storage havoc

National broadcaster goes from 3TB in 2003 to 1600TB in 2010

The ABC is to source new data storage hardware, storage management and monitoring software and professional services over the next three years as it seeks to manage exponential data growth.

According to the national broadcaster, storage needs have dramatically increased over the past 18 months, driven chiefly by broadcast video media.

“As the media industry moves away from analogue tape into digital based technologies, many new storage challenges and requirements have evolved,” ABC documents read.

“These changes now confront the ABC with new business challenges around digital media management, lifecycle and the cultural change associated with the industry movement.”

The ABC’s current Hitachi Data Systems-based environment, in place since 2003, comprises 1.6 petabytes (PB) of raw disk storage and approximately 2PB of data on tape.

Detailing the growth in storage requirements the ABC noted that raw disk capacity had grown from about three terabytes (TB) in 2003 to 40TB in 2005, 600TB in 2008 and 1600TB in 2010.

While it was unclear what the specific requirements would be in 2015, the organisation expects storage needs to be in the order of three PB of raw disk and six PB of data on tape.

On top of gaining the right storage infrastructure and management tools, the ABC said it also faced a number of significant business challenges in the management of its digital data storage.

These included the cultural and operational implications of transitioning from tape based to file based production environments and the the ABC’s portfolio of disparate content types and its impact on content lifecycle management, data models and metadata frameworks.

There is also a need to make more effective use of existing data storage assets to accommodate the increasing quantities of content being produced and the legislative obligations for its archiving.

To help better manage its ballooning data the ABC has also implemented a data classification scheme based on three storage tiers.

Some 40 TB of total capacity has been allocated to high performance, tier one, some 100TB for general performance, tier two, and 677TB for backup and archiving, tier three.

The ABC’s storage environment also includes gear from NetApp for network attached storage (NAS), Brocade for fabric and StorageTek for tape libraries. Veritas’ NetBackup software for data security is also used.

Storage is also supplied to support approximately 200 virtual machines in the ABC’s VMware environment. Approximately 90 hosts are directly connected to its SAN, running predominately Windows and Linux operating Systems. The ABC also has approximately 60 LPAR’s (Linux and AIX) on System P infrastructure.

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