Published on 05-May-2011
Validated on 06 Nov 2012
"When we were looking at extending the reach of our platform, we saw a clear opportunity to team with IBM and take advantage of its LTO 5 and LTFS technologies." - Mark Lemmons, CTO, Thought Equity Motion
Thought Equity Motion (now T3Media)
Media & Entertainment
IT/infrastructure, Business Continuity, Business Integration, Optimizing IT, Optimizing IT
IBM Business Partner:
Headquartered in Denver, Thought Equity Motion works with more than 400 rights holders, including some of the world’s largest media companies. The company increases the value of video content through its advanced technology platform and licensing services. The company delivers large scale archive management and “smart content” metadata tools as a cloud service, providing greater control with reduced cost and complexity. Through its web platform and global sales force, the company licenses sports, news, entertainment, editorial, and creative content to the world’s leading media producers.
Thought Equity Motion is expanding its hosted video storage and delivery platform to offer an enterprise scale video supply chain as a cloud service. The company needed a low-cost interoperable solution for digital video storage to support flexibility and efficiency.
Worked with IBM® Business Partner Re-Store to deploy IBM LTO® 5 tape with Linear Tape File System at several global locations; the data growth rate on LTO 5 is approaching 100 TB per month.
Lower ancillary costs for data storage; greater transparency and reduced complexity in licensing make costs more predictable; interoperable tape format opens up new business opportunities with clients.
Headquartered in Denver, Thought Equity Motion works with more than 400 rights holders globally, including some of the world’s largest media companies.
The company increases the value of video content through its advanced technology platform and licensing services. The company delivers large scale archive management and “smart content” metadata tools as a cloud service, providing greater control with reduced cost and complexity. Through its web platform and global sales force, the company licenses sports, news, entertainment, editorial, and creative content to the world’s leading producers in advertising, film, television, publishing, and interactive media. This includes footage collections from BBC Motion Gallery, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, National Geographic, The New York Times, and the NCAA.
Aiming to reduce its clients' costs while improving service levels and process efficiencies, Thought Equity Motion is extending its hosted video platform as a service offering. Mark Lemmons, CTO at Thought Equity Motion, explains: “Our vision has been to create a lights-out solution for our library owners, giving them a rich set of tools to manage their content archives and to monetize them using our web platform. Simultaneously, we are continuing to digitize our existing content libraries, adding breadth and depth to existing content libraries, as well as new libraries. Our challenge was to increase the reach of our platform through federation; IBM LTO 5 tape with Linear Tape File System (LTFS) is playing an important role in helping us achieve that goal.”
New format for greater reach
The broadcast and media industries have grown accustomed to standards-based interoperability for video recordings. A video tape recorded in New York can be shipped to Tokyo and played back without difficulty on standard hardware. However, when files are digitized and stored in large hierarchical storage infrastructures, compatibility issues emerge.
“Interoperability is very important in this industry and with the digital migration the industry has recently taken some steps backwards in this regard, but LTFS is a refreshing step forward,” says Lemmons. “In the past, having a ‘federated archive’ [locally accessible] of digital content was simply cost prohibitive for some of our clients. When we were looking at extending the reach of our platform, we saw a clear opportunity to team with IBM and take advantage of its LTO 5 and LTFS technologies.”
LTFS is a self-describing media format—effectively, a file system that is embedded in the cartridge itself—bringing a new level of portability and interoperability to open systems tape storage. It enables files to be dragged and dropped to and from cartridges, reduces complexity in data management, and accelerates access to data.
“LTFS makes LTO 5 an easily readable media format,” says Lemmons. “For clients that want a local archive of their content, either for disaster protection or to accelerate access, that's now an economically viable option. It's also something that we're helping them to deploy.”
Thought Equity Motion worked with IBM Business Partner Re-Store to deploy the new LTO 5 solution, and is continuing to build it out across its two major data centers in Laramie, Wyoming, as well as in London, Amsterdam and Tokyo. The current growth rate for storage on LTO 5 at Thought Equity Motion is approaching 100 TB per month. All of this growth is new digital content, either newly supplied as digital files by content owners or freshly digitized by Thought Equity Motion from video tape.
As Thought Equity Motion continues to extend the reach of its footage platform, the company is looking to benefit from IBM solutions for cloud computing and analytics.
Lemmons explains, “While we had solid IT infrastructure, and technical capabilities in-house, we recognized that IBM could help us achieve greater reach, in the sense of being able to meet local demands faster. The IBM global cloud and LTFS could potentially make that significantly faster than we could currently do it.”
He adds, “We're a little further along the road when it comes to analytics. The goal here is to help our clients understand the changing value of their holdings and the most appropriate way to manage them. This will include brand sentiment analysis, which can rapidly become very complicated. For example, if a particular actor hits the big time, can our content owners immediately spot that they have footage of a TV show in which he was a child 30 years ago? How do we manage the metadata down to that level of detail? How much metadata can we afford to keep? This feeds into considerations around the format in which you store the content, the resolution of the digital files, the ownership and rights, and so on. The extremely rapid growth in digital media is making the metadata challenge ever more complex. We see clear opportunities for using IBM analytics tools to help us cut through that complexity and help our clients minimize costs and maximize value.”
With LTO 5 tape and LTFS technology, Thought Equity Motion has an open, interoperable, low-cost option for the long-term storage of digital video assets. “LTO 5 and LTFS significantly reduce the ancillary costs around storage,” says Lemmons. “This is a real game-changer from IBM: We can just buy the library, the drives and the tapes, and we can very accurately determine my future per-TB costs. By contrast, the licensing model in a traditional HSM solution is incredibly complex, so you can get hit with large unexpected costs. LTFS is delivering transformational cost savings, and it's also making it easier to expand, because our costs are predictable. This is a genuine competitive advantage.”
In addition to cutting storage costs and providing greater transparency for Thought Equity Motion, the IBM technologies are opening up new business development opportunities. “We can now meet the interoperability needs of our clients at low cost, using a federated archive on LTFS,” says Lemmons. “This is an exciting opportunity for us, because it makes a local archive practical and affordable for many more of our clients, not just those with highly developed IT organizations.”
He concludes, “We are deploying LTO 5 and LTFS everywhere we can plug it in and deploying it on behalf of our clients. We are enthusiastic about this technology, and can see it becoming the dominant storage technology for our platform.”
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
Storage: TS3200 Tape Library
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