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posted by Spectra Logic Corporation on July 5, 2017 (5 years, 1 month, 12 days ago)

Managing and Archiving Creative and NonManaged Assets in Media & Entertainment Environments



In typical media and entertainment workflows, content is edited, produced and managed by various tools and included within asset management applications. Incrementally, and when projects are completed, they are archived via the asset manager to the archive through Spectra’s BlackPearl® Converged Storage System. BlackPearl eliminates network congestion through policies that move files off the production network to multiple storage domains. In order to archive content from these asset management applications, Spectra’s industry leading partners have written BlackPearl clients using Spectra S3 to create a seamless workflow that archives directly from the application.

Outside of the workflow, many assets go unmanaged. Creative services groups use a myriad of graphics tools (ie. Adobe After Effects, Smoke, Illustrator, etc.) and output files that aren’t handled within the users asset management system – as no one management system exists that can handle every file type. Additionally, original source files like 4k, 8k, raw photos, etc., are not always managed within an asset management system. When the traditional means of archiving within the production workflow are unavailable, makeshift storage practices or workarounds become the norm. Desk drawers of external hard drives fill up and, in some cases, assets live on expensive production disk. Ultimately, the archive becomes disparate and storage is decentralized. Drives get misplaced, assets go missing and, in worst case scenarios, irreplaceable content cannot be recovered and is lost. Forever.

To protect digital content investments and secure future revenue streams, it is important to archive all content in a central repository. Spectra’s BlackPearl Converged Storage System creates a simple workflow for both managed assets (i.e. managed in a MAM/PAM/DAM environment) with Spectra BlackPearl client partners and non-managed assets with Spectra’s BlackPearl Eon Browser.

Spectra provides multiple options for managing and storing creative and non-managed assets – including BlackPearl Eon Browser which provides drag-and-drop manage and archive capabilities as well as BlackPearl Eon Browser with Spectra NFI (Network File Interface) for a semi-automated management and archive with watch folder functionality.


Managing and Archiving Creative and Non-Managed Assets

In production environments, an archive is generally managed within the user’s asset management application. In many cases, disparate assets are managed in a folder structure (on expensive SAN disk) only known to the person who created the asset. These SAN disk systems are often subjected to viruses, ransomware and external hacking further placing assets at increased risk by being kept online. Spectra Logic’s Eon Browser is a BlackPearl client application that enables users to store, manage, backup and archive creative and nonmanaged assets to BlackPearl. The Eon Browser runs on Mac, PC and Linux clients and is free of charge to users. With its intuitive user interface, it facilitates the management and transfer of files between any production storage or network share and a bucket0F1 on the BlackPearl Converged Storage System. 

The BlackPearl Eon Browser operates by moving assets from the selected source location (through the server running the BlackPearl Eon Browser client) to a bucket and its associated storage target. The simplicity of Eon Browser’s interface allows artists, editors, media managers and other creatives to search, select, group, archive and restore assets by simply dragging and dropping files between their network repositories and a creative asset bucket on BlackPearl. Doing so frees up production storage and provides a common archive for all media files – ensuring the protection and availability of those files in the future.


BlackPearl Media Policies

BlackPearl uses the Spectra S3 REST protocol, a variation of the Amazon™ S3 protocol, for transfer. Content transferred to BlackPearl is archived, based on a policy, to a variety of storage media -- including disk, tape, and/or cloud-based storage. In instances where tape is used for deep storage, unique isolated buckets can be set up. By taking advantage of Spectra’s Shared Library Services (SLS), specific tape drives and cartridges are dedicated to archiving non-managed assets, while other buckets on BlackPearl may serve to archive managed assets from a MAM, DAM, PAM or middleware application. Assets are searched for by name on BlackPearl and restored simply by dragging and dropping them from the Eon Browser to their original or new location. BlackPearl’s media policies allow users to select how long an asset is kept on a certain storage medium and easily creates an onsite copy and off-site copy for disaster recovery and long-term storage.

NAS Storage Workspace

BlackPearl provides a Network Attached Storage (NAS) workspace for users to interact with their assets via CIFS/NFS and complements a production environment for a complete workflow -- from ingest to production to archive. Not every asset requires an expensive SAN or parallel file system, instead, NAS on BlackPearl can be used as a lightweight working space for active content.

The working assets kept on BlackPearl NAS are protected with an NFI1F2 policy. This will maintain a disaster recovery instance of the latest saved version on the NAS in a unique BlackPearl bucket. Whether the disaster recovery instance is a single copy on tape, two copies on low-cost tape, or some mixture of disk, tape and cloud, the BlackPearl Bucket Policy provides the flexibility to configure as much resiliency and protection as needed for the disaster recovery strategy. This solution provides an excellent, robust disaster recovery copy of the working data set on BlackPearl NAS storage.

Adding BlackPearl to Existing Ingest Workflows with NFI

If the existing ingest workflow requires automation to move content from source to destination (i.e. pulling content off camera sources, assuring quality of the content and moving it to a storage location), there is an option for BlackPearl to have a ‘watch folder’ location. This watch folder or NAS share will be the target for assets from the ingest workflow automation system. From there, the BlackPearl will use an NFI policy to automatically archive assets into a creative asset bucket on BlackPearl. That way the original copy or the ingested assets are fully protected in the archive and available to all artists, editors, media managers and other creatives to access via the Eon Browser, eliminating the step of manually archiving newly ingested content.


By archiving non-managed and creative assets, users safeguard previously unprotected content, saving both time and money. Eon Browser helps feed new revenue streams by protecting original (raw) content and creative assets that aren’t included within the asset management and archive workflow. Users can rest assured that if a local copy is deleted, it can be easily restored from the archive.

The BlackPearl Eon Browser can be downloaded, free of charge, from the Spectra website.

Spectra Logic

Spectra Logic develops data storage solutions that solve the problem of short- and longterm digital preservation for business and technology professionals dealing with exponential data growth. Dedicated solely to storage innovation for nearly 40 years, Spectra Logic’s uncompromising product and customer focus is proven by the adoption of its solutions by industry leaders in multiple vertical markets globally. Spectra enables affordable, multi-decade data storage and access by creating new methods of managing information in all forms of storage—including archive, backup, cold storage, private and public cloud. To learn more, visit www.SpectraLogic.com.

Through key partnerships, Spectra Logic delivers industry-leading BlackPearl-based storage solutions. To learn more about Spectra’s ever-growing library of BlackPearl Certified Partners and integrations visit our BlackPearl Client Partner page.