The media industry is facing daily challenges in storing, managing and facilitating collaboration using spiraling amounts of data. At the same time, increasing quality factors such as high frame rates and Ultra HD resolution video raise the need for a growing amount of dependable storage and for efficient and scalable computation. Although data I/O from directly attached storage systems no longer constitutes a barrier to fully digital media workflows, there still remain critical issues concerning the efficient management and sustainable use of large-scale, distributed data stores.

One solution to the problem is to provide a unified storage layer with a set of advanced functions to manage, process and access the audiovisual content without the need to transfer huge quantities of data. Also, content metadata, including relationships among media objects, should be transparently associated with the corresponding content to avoid effects of misaligned data. The system resulting from this approach can be defined as Media Storage Cloud.

IBM and RAI are working together to meet these challenges. Based on the typical professional requirements of modern broadcasting, IBM developed the Active Media Store, a unified cloud object store to support media artifacts across their entire lifetime. Concurrently, RAI is implementing media workflows over it including material ingestion, metadata extraction, quality checks, content transformation and archiving. This work builds on the results of the EU FP7 project VISION Cloud, which won the IBC 2013 Special Award for its pioneering work on cloud storage for media. 

The Active Media Store supports rich user-defined metadata for media objects and provides powerful search capabilities, including content-centric access (i.e. the ability to find stored media objects based on their semantics and mutual relationships, rather than on their position in a storage hierarchy). Furthermore, computation units called "storlets" enable typical workflow functions, such as transcoding, automated metadata extraction and quality checks to run close to the stored content, thereby reducing data transfer costs and latency times typically associated with cloud storage. Supporting the full lifecycle of media artifacts, the Active Media Store allows digital information from diverse sources to be seamlessly and efficiently ingested, processed and used for production by team members working collaboratively at geographically distributed sites.

Read more in tech-i 23.

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