SAM 2010 Technology Update: Asset Management and Long-Term Storage

The world of asset-management systems and long-term storage solutions has seen monumental change over the past decade, and sports organizations are constantly attempting to keep up with the rapidly shifting tide. At SVG’s fourth-annual Sports Asset Management Forum last week at the PGA Tour Entertainment facility in St. Augustine, FL, several industry vendors convened to discuss the latest enhancements to their media-asset-management (MAM) technologies.


Avid’s asset-management sector has undergone major changes following the acquisition of Blue Order in March. Avid has rebranded the Blue Order product as Interplay MAM (Avid’s traditional Interplay system is now called Interplay Production) and will look to sell it as a standardized MAM backbone that can also be customized to an organization’s needs.

“A lot of vendors will come with a box of Legos and just say tell us what you want to do,” said Straker Coniglio, senior marketing solutions manager for Avid. “That can be a double-edged sword. If you know exactly what you want to do and can define your specifications very clearly, that’s a great thing. But if not, then it can get overly complicated.

“Our approach,” he continued, “is to create that box of Legos that will build the exact picture on the box and then allow you to scale that out as you see fit. We build the 85%-90% of the system, and then that remaining 10%-15% can be integrated specifically to your components.”

Dalet offers a single enterprise piece of software that can be shaped for different industries and aggregates all the aspects of the broadcast workflow: acquisition, cataloging, production, newsroom, playout automation, distribution, and archival. Key functions of Dalet’s enterprise MAM are metadata management, comprehensive search capabilities, content management, business operations, production and postproduction, content delivery, integration with third-party systems, and audit, report, and key performance indicators.

“Our solution is a purely IT-based solution that provides a lot of flexibility to our customers for growth and expansion of their platform using future technologies as they become available,” said Luc Comeau, business development manager of Dalet Digital Media Systems. “An enterprise-class MAM platform like this enables businesses and broadcasters to monitor, control, and monetize their content because they know exactly what they have and what is happening with their content.”

Masstech’s products and services provide enabling technologies for a big-picture approach to asset management. The company’s Indigo, Topaz, and Cobalt products can be integrated with a larger MAM, such as Dalet or Avid Interplay, to streamline a company’s workflow.

“We see our product as more of an enabling technology for a total [asset-management] solution,” said Doug Hinahara, VP of marketing and sales for Masstech. “We have had a chance to work and partner with most of the players [in this industry]. We focus on the physical layer. We see this MAM infrastructure that we provide as extensive broadcast and device interfaces. We have an open-XML control layer that allows partners like Dalet and Avid to develop interfaces that control our system as a functional part of their total solution.”

In January, Tata Communications acquired BT Mosaic, an on-demand digital-media-management platform that manages content and workflow from production to distribution across collaborative market ecosystems. With the acquisition, Tata added Mosaic to its GMES (Global Media and Entertainment Solutions) sector and announced that it will invest $50 million in the group over the next two years.

Mosaic streamlines the content-production processes by providing a single point of integration for all media- and IT-based technologies. The Mosaic has three main components: a media-focused global service portal, a comprehensive set of media-production tools and IT-based applications, and customized workflows to complete a production-media platform.

Mosaic looks at media- and IT-based technologies required to create and manage content; defines them as technology components, making each a simple quantifiable technology; and develops a wrapper in which to provide the service through a simplified user interface.

“If you walk into just about any facility, after talking about the technologies used, sooner or later, you end up with a just a handful of people that end up at the table who understand how their shop works,” said Jack Wenzinger, director of business development for Tata Communications. “We have tried to remain agnostic in an effort to work with all these technologies and simplify the workflow in one central interface.”

Vizrt’s Viz Ardome is tailor-made MAM software that maps over a broadcaster’s entire workflow. The system is currently deployed at the PGA Tour Entertainment facility in St. Augustine.

Vizrt’s latest asset-management technology upgrades include the following:
• A new generation of external API (application programming interface): REST (Representational State Transfer)
• Viz Media Porter for P2/XDCAM upload
• EDLs saved natively in the Viz Ardome MAM system
• New-format support, AVC-intra, XDCAM HD
• Viz Link, connecting Vizrt MAM, graphics, online, and mobile products
• Viz ShotCut new Mac-based proxy tool
• Federated multisite search


Front Porch
Front Porch Digital has seen a definitive shift in the preferred method of long-term storage over the past decade.

“I think, six to 10 years ago, everyone was convinced that spinning disc was the long-term storage solution of choice,” said Brian Camponatti, CTO of Front Porch Digital. “Now here we are a decade later, and you see most organizations have instituted file-based infrastructures. Disc is actually a very small amount of their overall storage environment. It’s rarely used as an end parking spot for content because it’s just way too expensive, it doesn’t scale, and it is susceptible. We’re really helping our customers design and embrace file-based workflows and helping them to understand how all these different pieces fit together.”

SGI’s COPAN 400 platform is the next generation of the COPAN line of energy-efficient, persistent data-storage solutions. Its disc-based core platform features Enterprise 1- or 2-TB SATA drives, one to eight MAID (massive array of idle disks) shelves, and up to 1,792 TB of raw storage per cabinet with 2-TB drives. The COPAN 400 runs at speeds up to 6,400 MBps using native MAID or up to 3,200 MBps using VTL (virtual tape library). Its native MAID is ideal for HSM (hierarchical storage management) and D2D (direct-to-drive) applications, and its VTL provides a reliable, high-performance target for backup applications.

Spectra Logic
Spectra Logic’s T-Finity tape library boasts 180-PB native capacity with LTO-5 drives and media. Typical power use of 0.873 kWh and heat dissipation at 1.19 BTU per hour per terabyte is significantly less than most competitors’, which is two to six times more energy per unit of data stored. T-Finity won the “Green Product of the Year” award at the 2010 Storage Awards  (Storries VII), held in London.

XOS Digital provided an inside look at its XOS Vault digital-asset-management system. XOS Vault is designed specifically for sports organizations and has gained traction throughout the college-sports market. Schools can ingest live or historical content in SD or HD formats. Tags can then be assigned to video for tracking stats, game data, and individual plays. A powerful search device based on statistical metadata allows schools to search to the play. The video can then be published directly to the school’s Web platform or social-media sites like Facebook and YouTube. This allows schools to monetize their video through content licensing, syndication, and ad revenue.

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