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Hypercovergence: The Cloud on Your Terms

Data is the lifeblood of modern digital business. Why should hybrid business models employ dynamic data management?

To say the working landscape has changed over the past 18 months or so would be a major understatement. Most organizations have had no choice but to implement years’ worth of digital transformation in mere days, sparking the cloud revolution we all knew was imminent. Cloud storage is now omnipresent, woven into the DNA of any digital business—but each organization leverages the cloud differently. What was once a simple vehicle for conveniently and securely storing data is now an engine of productivity and a driver of change, particularly for media enterprises.

Data is the driving force of any modern digital business. It needs to flow in a controlled and methodical pattern, supplying vital business functions by being available on demand to those who need it and accessible across multiple global sites. Naturally, this flow has been complicated by the move to a more remote methodology, forcing the hand of many businesses to lean further into cloud productivity than they ordinarily would. But while the medium may have changed, the work has not, especially for the media production industry.

Businesses that can quickly adapt their infrastructure to maintain collaboration, keep up with productivity and meet demands remain competitive. Teams and departments need access to the same data at the same speed, with the same level of security, to perform their roles in the production workflow effectively. As always, technology finds a way, and now, disruptive technologies are empowering the creative media industry to look beyond the task of data storage and into the new world of dynamic data management.

Storage-powered collaboration for a hybrid world

While the focus has recently shifted to cloud productivity, it’s important to note that the future will be very much a blended, hybrid one—a methodology adopted some time ago by the creative media sectors.

When it comes to data storage, studios and broadcasters have historically depended on on-premises hardware supplied by the major data appliance vendors. Aside from a few exceptions, most of these vendors don’t include cloud-based solutions in their offerings, and lock customers into long contracts. This hinders collaboration, and in turn, the growth and flexibility of media creation companies, and the only solution available for upscaling storage needs is to add more capacity to existing appliances.

The secret is adaptability: operating one integrated system that seamlessly combines on-premises and virtual workflows in a secure way with as little friction as possible. This level of operation is only truly made possible by having a software-defined solution in place that adapts to collaborative needs, sandwiched with an on-premises data center. This is more than just cloud storage and cloud access; this is end-to-end workflow and data integration.

Dynamic multi-site data gains and efficiencies

Those working remotely should have the same experience as those who choose to work on-premises, and vice versa. For studios operating virtual workstations, this is a vital part of the workflow— that’s where dynamic data management enters the picture.

A hyper-converged approach allows creative media businesses to stay agile and keep infrastructure costs low by virtualizing key elements of conventional “hardware-defined” systems. Solutions such as pixstor and ngenea inspire collaboration; allowing teams to work together on projects whether they are in the same building or on the other side of the planet; and open secure sharing with third-party facilities and customers.

Working seamlessly across multiple operating systems and leveraging cloud provider networks for ultra-high-speed data transfers, businesses can easily expand on-premises pipelines into the cloud with a software-defined solution such as pixstor, while still enjoying the guaranteed sustained collaboration, performance, scalability and intelligent management tools of an on-premises deployment.

Supported by ngenea, an intelligent data transport mechanism, business experiences can be tightly integrated on-premises, and cloud infrastructure integrated under a single namespace. This delivers unparalleled performance and high availability failover protection to teams by harnessing hierarchical storage management (HSM) and NAS acceleration. Achieving performance gains when moving large volumes of data is a perfect example of storage becoming a key driver of productivity, rather than just a background enabler—boosting efficiency continuously, with minimal infrastructure investment.

Even the act of storage can be refined and enhanced with the right technology. Archiving with an innovative data-management platform such as ngenea keeps ease-of-access a top priority, allowing teams to retain 360-degree visibility of their assets; from file and object stores to legacy storage; no matter their archive status.

The environmental impact of data movement

What this means is effectively removing the overheads associated with data flow and management; we’re increasingly likely to see this approach evolve as more and more data-heavy industries embrace hybrid working. However, it’s not just efficiency, cost and productivity where businesses stand to gain; they are also beginning to assess the environmental impact of their data storage methods.

With climate change crucial on today’s agenda, businesses are now factoring in how they store and manage data when assessing their own environmental footprint. By 2025, Greenpeace estimates that society’s data habits will consume more than 20% of the world’s energy. The more intelligent and efficient the data management solution, the smaller the impact on the environment. This translates directly to cost and collaboration efficiency. If a business transfers its workflow into the cloud using a private server, it immediately has no infrastructure cost and no need for on-site labor to maintain its servers.

In 2022 and beyond, data storage is going to be about so much more than where you keep your data; it’s going to be the agenda that drives your business and powers your workflows. Hyper-converged infrastructure offers scalability and agility, optimized performance and collaboration and the option to reduce costs. By adopting integrated cloud solutions such as ngenea and pixstor, media creation businesses will have everything that they need, from on-premises to remote working and everything in between. In simple terms, it gives media enterprises more choices, more collaborative efficiencies and more freedom.