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If Knowledge Is Power, How Much Power Do You Need?

January 30, 2020

By Bob Herzan, CEO

It’s no secret that the world of media production and entertainment as a whole has become far more complex—after all, it’s a natural progression from where art and technology collide. For the most extreme examples, simply look at the latest Marvel or DC comic book movie adaptations. From green-screen effects to colorization, 3D formats, IMAX, surround-sound audio and more, the complexity of production is at an all-time high.

As consumers of media and entertainment genres, we are thrilled every time we go to the theatre or log in to our favorite streaming service to be entertained—wowed by the very nature of the production quality and all that it entails. But what of those who actually create the content?

If today’s media and entertainment have become complex, imagine for a moment the production and workflows happening behind the scenes. Every one of the aforementioned production attributes comes with a host of challenges, all of which need to be met to not only satisfy the audience, but also to work within production timelines, budgets, and so on.

With growing file sizes, increased video resolution and high-quality visual effects requiring more storage, and an increased need for higher network and server performance, the stresses placed on post-production environments today are extreme—requiring a never-before-seen degree of parallel access between work groups, not to mention exponential increases in storage capacities to handle the higher volumes of recorded media.

In short, in order to make the business of media and entertainment move at, well, the speed of business, media storage and management solutions can’t be slow, weak, or unreliable—there is just too much at stake.

Imagine for a moment working in one of those crazed, high-stress environments—directors looking over editors’ shoulders giving real-time feedback, adding more and more effects, edits, and other changes. Pair that with overmatched IT systems, including storage, and the result is missed deadlines, client friction, and lost business. In fact, even with maximum uptime, the smallest amount of downtime can cost thousands in lost productivity and missed deadlines that can jeopardize relationships.

So what is at the root cause of all this stress?

The primary challenge in all of this is that unstructured data in a media environment cannot be ingested, encoded/decoded, edited, colour-corrected, and managed properly with typical IT or data-center applications or storage. The amount of data that needs to be managed along with the performance required for a “shared storage” environment virtually precludes standard data-center applications and hardware from being used.

This is where storage becomes a major driving factor in success. Shared storage for post-production must contain all of the materials needed for all active projects at any given time. In many cases, multiple terabytes of data for each project is the norm, paired with the much-needed ability to satisfy the access requirements imposed by popular non-linear editing applications and tools. When the work of an entire organization depends on common infrastructure, the ability to access content and avoid disruptions is critical to business performance and success.

This is again why storage is an essential part of a productive and efficient media workflow. It’s not a question of whether media production companies will need to upgrade these workflows to support the future of media; it’s a question of which companies will be left behind.

The key to success? If knowledge is power, the question becomes, how much power do you need? And that is a tough question to answer. But there is an easy way to get an answer: find out who is working with the right tools and vendors. They will have the insight, expertise, processes, and best practices to quickly understand your current environment.

In all, knowledge can be acquired quickly by surrounding yourself with the right people. The power just happens to be the ultimate byproduct that leads to success.

If you could easily save a million dollars, would you?

January 21, 2020

By Dave Herzan, V.P. Enterprise Support Services, Co-founder

The world of IT can be complicated, to say the least—the need for constant and ubiquitous connectivity, new ways of serving customers, and the seemingly ever-present requirement to build bigger and better infrastructure is never-ending. But all the technical stuff aside, there is a far bigger elephant in the room that should be addressed, one that also adds its own type of complexity, albeit one that’s far more political and financial in nature. I, of course, am speaking of OEM support.

Now, before any manufacturers out there develop a sudden case of “How dare you,” let me begin by saying I get the paradigm all too well. Manufacturers of big-enterprise IT gear are not in the business of supporting legacy equipment. And yes, many will argue that they offer a multitude of support options, including post-warranty and so on, but it’s really not in the best interest of their business model. After all, why would they work so hard at innovating and constantly releasing new products if previous products had a shelf life of a decade?

However, though the art of creating new and exciting equipment is a lucrative one, the reality is that most organizations neither want nor need to update big-enterprise equipment at the market-frequency rate expected by OEMs—a frequency that borders on the impossible.

That’s where the elephant in the room truly makes itself impossible to ignore. You see, the driver put in place by OEMs to necessitate those frequent and impossible upgrades resides entirely in their post-warranty support models. They present one of two very clear options: spend millions on new equipment, or spend millions on post-warranty support contracts to sustain legacy equipment. See where this is going?

So, what would you choose? I know that for myself, put in that same two-choice conundrum, the shiny and new would win over the old every time, especially given that my pocketbook is going to hurt either way.

But what about a third and far more realistic option, because spending millions on infrastructure every three years just doesn’t cut it. It’s here that customized extended warranty support services has become the go-to model—one that has, in fact, become imperative for business success—all due to the substantial savings that it represents to organizations as a whole.

The reasons are simple. The world of IT can be calculated in many ways but, in this case, it really comes down to two very distinct things: the true value of one’s own network, and the people needed to maintain it.

The value of IT is a fascinating byproduct of the modern age. For instance, the inherent value of one’s equipment is based on its value to those who rely on it. Therefore, if high-end storage-server infrastructure costs a million dollars, but the entirety of one’s business process and subsequent success relies on that infrastructure, it is by definition worth far more than the simple sticker price. Therefore, keeping it running is imperative. By engaging with a customized extended warranty support services provider, the cost of maintaining that infrastructure could be 50 percent lower than OEM costs—saving millions—all while maintaining business value.

Then there is the people aspect of the equation. Let’s face it, network maintenance is not just about keeping the proverbial lights on; innovation plays a critical role as well. This means that upgrades, swaps, and so on are also a reality that must be addressed. To do so, however, requires that highly skilled operators and administrators perform these tasks.

Again, by leveraging a relationship with a provider of customized extended warranty support services, that provider’s own highly trained team members will shoulder the brunt of that work—physically moving components and reintegrating all the software, processes, and so on. By doing so, your own staff can be working on other far more important tasks.

So, it begs the question—if you could easily save a million dollars, would you? And if you are skeptical about the amount you could potentially save and reallocate to far bigger and better things—as anyone with a healthy sense of business should—here’s my challenge to you: call us and find out. The odds are in your favor that my team could very well contribute to your next big project by cutting millions out of your expenses. What do you have to lose?