Marc Batschkus, Business Development Manager, Archiware
Clement Barberis, Product Marketing Manager, LaCie Brand
Michael Kammes, Director of Technology, Key Code Media
James Tucci, Chief Technology Officer, Archion Technologies
Larry O’Connor, President & Founder, Other World Computing
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS
Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we are talking about storage, backups and archiving. We start with Doctor Marc Batschkus, business development manager for Archiware, a company that specializes in archiving. Marc explains the difference between storage, backups and archiving, and what we need to know to successfully archive our projects.
Larry Jordan: Michael Kammes, the director of technology for Key Code Media, discusses the impact archiving has on our workflow. He looks at what we need to do to successfully prep our projects for the long term.
Larry Jordan: James Tucci is the chief technology officer for Archion, a company that makes ultra high speed storage for large workgroups and enterprises working with media. He shares his thoughts on how to balance performance with accessibility.
Larry Jordan: Larry O’Connor, the CEO of Other World Computing looks at the future of storage. Is it spinning media, SSD, tape or something entirely different? As each project generates more media and more files, safely storing it all is getting harder and more expensive.
Larry Jordan: Clement Barberis is the product marketing manager for LaCie. Tonight he talks about the gear list he makes that is designed for creative professionals, the role of SSD versus spinning media, and what he’s watching for the future.
Larry Jordan: All this, plus James DeRuvo with this week’s DoddleNEWS update. The Buzz starts now.
Announcer: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking – authoritative – one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals – current – uniting industry experts – production – filmmakers – post production – and content creators around the planet – distribution. From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now.
Larry Jordan: Welcome to The Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry, covering media production, post production and marketing around the world.
Larry Jordan: Hi, my name is Larry Jordan. Two interesting pieces of news to start with this week. Recently, Jonathan Handel reported on negotiations between Telemundo and SAG-AFTRA, up to allow Telemundo actors to be represented by SAG. This morning, the Los Angeles Times reported that “81 percent of the actors at the Spanish language TV network, Telemundo, have overwhelmingly voted to unionize with SAG-AFTRA, bringing to a close a protracted dispute between Hollywood’s largest union and NBCUniversal which owns the network.” Continuing, the article said, “Miami based Telemundo which was acquired by NBCUniversal in 2001, is the largest employer of Spanish language performers in the United States.” Jonathan will return to the Buzz in the near future to discuss the implications of this vote in more detail.
Larry Jordan: Another interesting piece of news today is from the Consumer Technology Association who reports that the percentage of free, or paid streaming video subscribers in the US, 68 percent, has caught up to the number of paid TV subscribers at 67 percent. The research also showed that the time consumers spend watching video on TV which was at 51 percent in 2016, down 11 points since 2012, is now essentially equaled by time spent watching video content on all other consumer technology devices, including laptops, tablets and smart phones.
Larry Jordan: Thinking of the news reminds me that now it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.
James DeRuvo: Hello Larry.
Larry Jordan: So hey, what’s happening in the world this week?
James DeRuvo: Well as a little anecdote to your last story, my son told me last night when we were trying to get him to learn how to use the Roku because we had cut the cord ourselves, and he said to me, “Dad, I’ll probably never watch another TV program again. I get all my stuff from YouTube.” That’s pretty close to what you said, so.
James DeRuvo: News this week, well actually today. In a investors meeting, Apple CEO Tim Cook assured investors that the professional market is still important to Apple. Even though the Mac Pro hasn’t been updated in over a year, as a matter of fact the Mac Pro was introduced in 2013 and there hasn’t been a new one since, the iMac hasn’t been updated, and the Mac mini is all but lost. He says they’re working on new things, but I think his words seek to reassure investors that the pro market is still viable, but they’re still focusing completely on consumer products, and I think it’s going to lead some to think that Cook wants to funnel pros through existing consumer lines, rather than service their professional needs.
Larry Jordan: I think that part of the problem is a lack of chips, and I do believe that to be the case. Part of it is now we have to see does he live up to the talk? And this year is going to be the time when we’re going to find out whether they’re going to ship product or if it’s all going to be consumer devices.
James DeRuvo: I just hope that if we do get a professional offering this year, it’s not a short sighted offering like the trash can Mac Pro was because people are either calling it an absolute failure, or kind of a bad joke and it’s too bad because it’s super pretty, but sometimes function has to trump form.
Larry Jordan: We will just have to watch and see. Remember also the Worldwide Developer Conference is coming up in a couple of months, and things will change between now and then.
James DeRuvo: Here’s hoping.
Larry Jordan: What else we got?
James DeRuvo: Switcher Studio 3 was launched this week with an extended iphone support. Switcher Studio is that app which enables you to broadcast and stream live to Facebook Live using your iphone. They have a mobile version called Switcher Go which is free, that enables you to do it on a single iphone, or you can manage multiple iphones, and use a central mobile device as your broadcast studio for lack of a better term. Up until Switcher 3, you had to use an ipad to do that. Now you can use an iphone, so you no longer have to have an additional device to operate Switcher Studio 3. It also comes with the ability to add pre-recorded B roll and graphic overlays and Switcher Go can insert up to four videos in the streams. So it’s a really good update, and a future update will include expanded Windows Desktop support, so you’ll be able to go from Windows Desktop to the iphone, over to an ipad, back over to a Mac OS10. You could do some really fun live video streaming for Facebook Live and I believe even YouTube Live, using the new Switcher Studio 3. And it’s only 300 bucks a year.
Larry Jordan: That’s pretty amazing. What else we got before we run out of time?
James DeRuvo: Lastly, we were promised that Panasonic’s GH5 was going to have an improved noise reduction, and while it does have improved noise reduction, it really is only evident in the 8-bit format. When you get into shooting in 10-bit, the noise really doesn’t get any better. That’s leading some people to think that “Maybe I’ll hang on.” The footage is good, but when you put it up against the GH4, honestly at 10-bit I prefer the GH4’s color gamut. So if I had the choice, I’d stick up an extra light or two and go with the GH4. What do you think?
Larry Jordan: Interesting indeed. Well, we’ll just have to see what happens because noise reduction can be fixed in software with an update. It may be that that’s coming on the way.
James DeRuvo: We’ll see, but meanwhile, that’s what we got.
Larry Jordan: For people that want more information, where can they go on the web?
James DeRuvo: As always, all these stories and more can be found at Doddlenews.com.
Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the senior writer for Doddlenews.com and returns every week with a weekly DoddleNEWS update. James, take care, we’ll talk to you next week.
James DeRuvo: See you then Larry.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Enter the new digital eco system of media, entertainment, and technology, where behavior and business have merged to redefine content, workflow and revenue streams. It’s the M.E.T Effect, a cultural phenomenon fuelled by hybrid solutions and boundless connectivity that’s changing the very nature of how we live, work and play.
Larry Jordan: Join more than 100,000 attendees from 160 countries at the NAB show. Conferences are April 22nd to the 27th and exhibits are April 24th through the 27th, at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Let’s thrive and I’ll see you there.
Larry Jordan: Doctor Marc Batschkus is the business development manager for Archiware, which is a Munich based manufacturer of data management software for backup, synchronization and archiving. Marc’s background includes archiving media informatics and data management. Hello Marc. Welcome back.
Dr Marc Batschkus: Hello Larry, thank you for having me again.
Larry Jordan: On tonight’s show, we’re talking about archiving, storage and backup. To put this in perspective, before we get carried away with archiving itself, describe what Archiware itself does.
Dr Marc Batschkus: We at Archiware produce a software suite called Archiware P5 and this contains four modules. P5 Archive, for archiving, P5 Backup for backup, P5 Backup2Go for work station backup, and P5 Synchronize for cloning data or doing data transport or data distribution. That’s what we do. It runs on all platforms, Mac, Windows, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD and is used heavily in media and entertainment industry since many years.
Larry Jordan: How would you define archiving and what makes it different from backup?
Dr Marc Batschkus: There’s a very simple explanation. You can think of backup as being the spare tire in the trunk of your car, so you always want to have it with you. It replaces something in case a piece gets lost, which in this case is a tire, in our case it’s more files. Whereas the archive is more like the winter tires in your garage. You want to keep them, but you don’t want to keep them with you all the time, and it’s no big problem if it takes several hours to put them on. So, this is similar to the real archive which should only contain files that are no longer needed for daily production, and you migrate them, not in your garage, but in your archive storage.
Larry Jordan: It seems to me from your definition that backups are what we rely on on a day to day basis in case we stupidly erase a file. But archive is preserving our assets for the longer term. Would that be a fair distinction?
Dr Marc Batschkus: Yes, that’s true, but in recent times there are additions to this picture like an ingest archive where people don’t have enough storage to hold everything that they ingest every day, so they archive at the beginning, work with proxies and then restore at the end, because they have no online storage that’s big enough to hold all their 4K, 6K, 8K files. So that’s an addition to the picture, otherwise you’re completely right.
Larry Jordan: Here’s the problem that I’m running into. The first one is, what do we archive on? And more importantly, if we view archiving as longer term, as opposed to ingest archiving, how do we configure our files so we know we’re going to be able to read them in five or ten years? Technology changes unbelievably quickly, and I can imagine archiving and the files are perfect, but unreadable.
Dr Marc Batschkus: Unfortunately, that is true. And we have to take into account that things might change, especially codecs and technologies might come and go, might be more and less popular in a number of years from now, or there might be new ones showing up that have more advantages so that people jump on them. First of all, we are not archiving right now and keeping it 30 years and not touching it. So, an archive also has to involve some level of migration of technology. Every five, six, seven years. After that, we have a clearer picture of the contents that we archived a number of years ago and what needs to be taken care of to be able to read it. So that might be keeping a machine, it might be keeping specific software that might be adding license information or tools to the archive, whatever that is. But in five years, we will have a clearer picture of how universally reusable and readable our files are that we archive today.
Larry Jordan: It sounds like archive is not copy it to tape, put it on the shelf and forget about it. Archive requires active management?
Dr Marc Batschkus: Yes, that’s true. Actually, the tape itself guarantees for 30 years shelf life, which is very nice and gives us a nice reserve time here. But since tape generations change every two to three years, and they have a backwards compatibility, of two generations backwards for reading, and one generation backward for reading and writing. So right now, the LTO 7 that you can buy today, reads and writes LTO 6 but only reads LTO 5. It makes sense to migrate every other generation, so every six years, from one technology to the other. And of course you regain a lot of space in your archive because the density basically doubles or sometimes even more than that, which means you only need half of the media that you used before. By the way, there are automatic processors to do that, so you don’t have to do that manually, and like in P5, that’s integrated as a migration tool.
Larry Jordan: We have to not only manage the archives in terms of figuring out what’s there, we’ve got to manage the hardware because the hardware evolves about every two and a half to three years, and the software codecs evolve. What kind of person do we want to help manage this material? But what skill set?
Dr Marc Batschkus: That is a good question, because the skill set is very broad and what I wanted to also bring into the view here is that to build a good and stable metadata schemer, you need kind of a librarian person that has this point of view of searching, of retrieving, of key words, of all those technologies that librarians have developed over time, and you need to also put this in the archive to be able to retrieve the stuff that you have put in the archive, and that you don’t remember any specifics of in five, six, seven or ten years. So that’s another broadening of this spectrum so to speak. Otherwise, we need a person that is reasonably well acquainted with the production itself, the workflow, codecs and tools, to be able to decide what to put in, what to document, what kind of settings or other things to add to an archive to make sense and to allow it to be not only reusable, but maybe reproducible so that people can say, “This was a specific look. How did we achieve that, and can we build on the experiences that we had a number of years ago, and what tools did we use then?”
Larry Jordan: I have two examples of this from personal experience. One is, it’s very hard for editors to get their brains wrapped around archiving. I remember when I was trying to archive the assets of our video studio, I had two editors working with me, and all three of us, and I blame myself as well, none of us were interested in archiving. We wanted to concentrate on editing, so it sounds like we need someone that’s more of a librarian in terms of temperament and training than someone that’s more of an editor. So that’s the first statement.
Larry Jordan: The second statement is, I’m in the process of media managing the assets that I have here, and I discovered I’ve got 1.47 million assets, and I’m just a small shop. It’s impossible for me at the moment to find anything because there’s so much that I just have to look at it by folder structure. So I want to emphasize the importance of metadata, because if we don’t enter metadata descriptions of what it is that we’re working with, unless we remember the file name, we’ll never find it again. What are your thoughts?
Dr Marc Batschkus: Yes, this is true. The temperament that you mention is really more of a librarian type of person. Though we do paint a picture right now of, let’s say, a very perfectionist archive. What most people actually would be very happy with, is that they have a consistent archive which means everything that they completed, everything that they handed over to their clients, gets archived in a way that it’s technically stable and can be read in a number of years, which means on LTO tape. And there are ways of course to make use of technical metadata, like for instance P5 can important technical metadata from the file header, so everything that’s in there already, camera type, resolution, color space, and lots of other things that might be there in the file header, can be imported automatically and searched for later. So this is already a basic structure that you can build on.
Dr Marc Batschkus: Of course it would be nice to have descriptions that you put in and say, “OK, we talked about this and that, and there was this and that person, and it was at this and that location,” and stuff like that. This is nice to have, but building on technical metadata and automatic processes that you can use, makes it a lot easier and might not be the 100 percent archive, but maybe the 95 percent archive, which is a lot more than most people have.
Larry Jordan: Marc, as I reflect on our conversation, there’s so many things we need to keep in mind. We’ve got to worry about the hardware, and the hardware going out of date. The codecs, and the codecs going out of date, and keeping track of all these files. Shouldn’t we just leave it on a hard disc and forget about it?
Dr Marc Batschkus: No, definitely not. As I said, we paint a picture here of a 100 percent accurate perfectionist archive. Most people will not achieve this in a reasonable amount of time, and investment. But a lot of people would be very happy to have a 90 to 95 percent archive, which holds at least all of their files and has a search capability and lets them retrieve them, in most cases, maybe not in every case but most cases and allows them to browse and go through their files. To have a central reference point, and to have a memory of the company and to have this protection that a professional long term storage media gives you, like LTO tape, and a disc on a shelf doesn’t give you any protection. Basically it’s gambling with your files.
Larry Jordan: Where does the Cloud fit into this? Should we even consider Cloud based archiving?
Dr Marc Batschkus: That’s a good question, and of course there are benefits here that are undeniable. So for instance you can have an offsite copy of your archive without having a second location. You can have an archive without any hardware investment in storage. It scales immediately, we know that from Cloud services, and there’s no initial investment. And that’s a reason why we put this on our road map and recently released an Amazon S3 compatibility with our P5 archive, so you can use that now as either a secondary storage or your main storage for archive, and Glacier coming soon. So every, everyone has to wait for his personal or production situation, if those benefits are crucial to him or if it’s just of less importance and they would like to keep the things local and have all the other benefits or burdens to take, so like a local installation and investment cost, to having to handle hardware. But otherwise, it’s not really free, and it’s not really cheap to archive to the Cloud but for a lot of people, either as an offsite copy or saving investment, it’s definitely worthwhile to have a look at.
Larry Jordan: Provided your files are not too large, and you’ve got sufficient bandwidth to upload to the web?
Dr Marc Batschkus: Definitely yes.
Larry Jordan: With every project, file sizes seem to get bigger and there’s more of them. What does this constant growth in media hold for the future of archiving?
Dr Marc Batschkus: This is a good question. Just returning from BVE in London, the Broadcast Video Expo, I talked to several people who are also involved in R&D and storage and there’s some agreement that it might well be that in a number of years we only have two choices. We will have some kind of flash storage that will also evolve and become very powerful, a lot cheaper and a lot bigger in capacity. And tape, believe it or not. Because there is nothing out there right now, not even in R&D, that can replace tape for at least the next decade. So as amazing as it may sound, tape is here to stay at least for the next decade, and will improve in capacity and price point. Yes, tape is definitely here to stay. Flash will become ubiquitous and disc will probably go away.
Larry Jordan: I think we’re going to be wrestling with issues of too many files and not enough capacity probably for the rest of our lives.
Dr Marc Batschkus: Yes.
Larry Jordan: For people that want more information about the products and services that Archiware provides, where can they go on the web?
Dr Marc Batschkus: Just go to archiware.com.
Larry Jordan: Dr Marc Batschkus is the business development manager for Archiware, and Marc, this is always fascinating. Thanks for joining us today.
Dr Marc Batschkus: Thank you so much Larry.
Larry Jordan: In his current role as director of technology at Key Code Media, Michael Kammes consults on the latest in technology and best practices in digital media communications. Hello Michael, welcome.
Michael Kammes: Hello Larry, good to hear your voice again.
Larry Jordan: So Michael, you know that we’re talking about archiving and storage. What do we need to do at the beginning of a project that will simplify archiving later?
Michael Kammes: Well not to follow Marc, that’s what you have to do because Marc just said everything I was going to say. That man knows a ton of stuff. But what we have to do at the beginning of a project to make it easier later is, first of all, make sure it’s archiving and not backup. I think a lot of folks confuse those terms, and archiving is you’re not going to get it anytime soon. It’s a failsafe. So A, make the determination between backup and archive, and second of all as Marc mentioned, a library system, an organizational methodology so you can actually find it and retrieve it later on.
Larry Jordan: What technology should we use if we’re creating a backup or creating an archive? And I know they’re different, so do we need different technology?
Michael Kammes: There’s a couple of different ones. I prefer the all in one methodology, what I like to call the one … choke scenario. If you get technology that writes to a tape, that’s great. But if that company also doesn’t make the library system, you’re now dealing with technologies that may not be working in parallel. So I’m a big fan of companies that say, “Look, we’re going to organize everything for you, index it, and then we’re also going to write to this hardware medium, like an all in one solution.” That’s what companies like StorageDNA, who have DNA Evolution. That’s a great solution. We look at companies like Imagine Products which has PreRoll Post which is a little bit at the lower end, but that allows you to write to LTO and they have a way to tag media so you can find it later.
Larry Jordan: Where do hard disks, SSDs and tape drives fit into this equation?
Michael Kammes: It’s funny because you just listed on what the viability is in terms of pricing. SSDs are usually the more expensive per terabyte. Then you have hard drives, and then you have tape. Tape as much as LTO is fantastic, I think it’s almost an intermediary at this point. As Marc pointed out, flash memory is going to become more ubiquitous. It’s going to gain in size, and cost is going to go down and that’s going to be the new standard. Once we get better to put to the Cloud, we no longer will need the LTO backup that we have local now, because things will be in the Cloud, a little faster connections, and we’ll use that as our failsafe. So tape will eventually go away. I think flash is probably the standard we’re going to be looking at years down the road.
Larry Jordan: I’m reading more about something called a hybrid storage technology. The combination of flash drives, high speed hard disks and high capacity hard disks. Does this ring a bell to you, and where does it fit into the equation?
Michael Kammes: It does, in fact if you’ve purchased any Mac recently in the past couple of years, they’re actually using hybrid technology which is putting flash memory or SSD components onto either another SSD or spinning disk. So you’re getting all the benefits of that flash memory or SSD caching that frequently use data, but putting the stuff that you don’t use all the time on the slower portions, in this case the spinning disk. So you’re getting the benefits of both technologies without the cost of paying for that expensive flash, or expensive SSD.
Larry Jordan: It sounds like we need to build planning for archiving into the very beginning of our project, to think about what assets we want to keep for the long term, and where we’re going to store them. True?
Michael Kammes: True. There has to be a methodology behind it, and I don’t just mean a folder structure. There has to be a methodology, so if everyone gets hit by a bus, someone else can find that media and know what to do with it.
Larry Jordan: For people that want more information about your thinking, where can they go on the web?
Michael Kammes: A couple of different places. My tech web series at fivethingsseries.com, or my namesake, michaelkammes.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, michaelkammes.com, and Michael Kammes himself is a director of technology over at Key Code Media. Michael thanks for joining us today.
Michael Kammes: Always a pleasure Larry, thank you.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Archion Technologies makes ultra high performance and scalable shared media storage. James Tucci is their chief technology officer and the perfect person to talk with to learn more about storage technology for media. Hello James, welcome.
James Tucci: Hello Larry, how you doing?
Larry Jordan: James, how would you describe your products?
James Tucci: They are high speed machines that you can connect up to anything, and specifically content creation such as Avid and Adobe and whoever, and sit down and work the way you want to work.
Larry Jordan: Why the focus on high performance?
James Tucci: That high performance is what gives you the capacity to do the workflows and to do the workflows that you want to do. For instance, we have one of our clients, they’ll sit there and edit on an Avid, and right in the middle they’ll say, “Wait a minute, there’s something wrong with this shot.” In the edit, there’s like a big blob in it or something like that and they’ll go to a Resolve and then do a DPX to the Resolve. Take those Avid files, covert them into DPX and then do all the corrections, and then bring them back out. This saves them time, money and energy and it has an immediacy. You need to have high bandwidth to be able to do what you want to do when you want to do it.
Larry Jordan: Would your products be designed for individuals or workgroups or enterprises?
James Tucci: Our products are designed to run an entire post production facility. With just two systems, we can produce 8,000 megabytes a second to run a facility, so having that capacity of throughput gives you that edge.
Larry Jordan: Eight gigabytes a second? Wow, how are you doing that besides magic?
James Tucci: Close to magic, but essentially there are seven patents that we have and that intellectual property is part and parcel of what we do. There’s a lot of virtualization going on inside this system. That’s how we produce that much bandwidth.
Larry Jordan: Is this a flash based system which means it doesn’t hold a lot? Or are you using lots and lots and lots of spinning media?
James Tucci: Well, we’re using spinning media. They’re fairly robust and we have a 24 bay and we have a 16 bay type chassis, and the 16 does 2500 out of the box, and the 24 does 4,000 out of the box. It all comes with 40 gig or ten gig and we now just put in 100 gig.
Larry Jordan: The gig refers to an Ethernet connection, so you’re attaching to a central switch with 40 gig connectors or 100 gig or ten gig connectors? Am I hearing that right?
James Tucci: You’re hearing that quite correct. It is a multi protocol box. We do standards based, so it can connect to anything without having drivers or any kind of methods that you would want to connect. It’s very straightforward. We also have Avid project sharing, we work well with Adobe and they’re project sharing in the Cloud as well as any other type of system that you can do for content creation. We wanted to have something that you could literally go from camera to a finished product in the same box.
Larry Jordan: Our first guest was talking about the future of storage, and says that from his perspective, the future of storage is a combination of flash and tape, and that flash will gradually expand in capacity and tape will continue to grow and it’s long term storage, and spinning media will gradually diminish. He’s not saying disappear, but he’s saying diminish. Would you agree or disagree?
James Tucci: Well I would agree to a certain point. They just put out 12 terabyte drives and spinning media. We are on the flash edge of things. The problem right now is that actually writing to a flash you have to be very careful that you put the right combination. During those writes it will actually overwrite stuff if you don’t have the proper amount of cache. There’s a limit to the number of writes and you have to be careful with that.
Larry Jordan: For people that want more information about your products, where can they go on the web?
James Tucci: HYPERLINK “http://www.archion.com” www.archion.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s archion.com. James Tucci is the chief technology officer. James, thanks for joining us today.
James Tucci: My pleasure.
Larry Jordan: Larry O’Connor founded Other World Computing in 1988. Their website which you may know better as Macsales.com and OWC is both a reseller and a developer supporting all things Mac for more than 25 years. Welcome back Larry, it’s good to have you with us.
Larry O’Connor: Hey thanks for having me again Larry, appreciate it.
Larry Jordan: Larry, tonight’s show’s about storage and archiving, and you guys have been making storage gear for a long time. Can we use the same technology for archiving as we do for storage?
Larry O’Connor: That sort of depends on what storage you’re talking about, but in terms of using drives for storage, the answer is yes. What I suggest is these for archiving and not so much from a cost perspective also just from an unproven state in terms of longevity of data and an unenergized flash device.
Larry Jordan: One of the things we’ve heard from a couple of the guests tonight, is that over the long term, the future of storage is probably going to shift to flash and tape, and spinning media is going to be end of life. Would you agree with that?
Larry O’Connor: All things eventually come to an end, but I would say speaking of the death of spinning media is a bit soon. The straight answer for the near to relevant and that’s the next five, ten years and potentially beyond, I think spinning media has a lot of life ahead of it as well as flash and tape. They all have their place but certainly I don’t see, not from the current flash technology, spinning media being replaced significantly, maybe not in the next few years.
Larry Jordan: One of the things we’ve talked about is tape which is a generic word for specific technology which is LTO. Why are LTO drives so expensive? And the reason I ask is a lot of independent filmmakers don’t have large budgets, and these units are not inexpensive.
Larry O’Connor: The people who need and demand LTO, especially the higher end of production studios, the … they already have the budgets and it’s a lot more convenient . And we’ve got into the habit of shipping hard drives around with our media on it, and in terms of the practicality of that for some of these larger operations is not there, but in terms of the demand for LTO, it’s still a relatively niche market. In fact there’s only one major producer of LTO tapes out there, I believe it’s Fuji. LTO’s not my background, but LTO is very high performance and that’s a requirement that makes it expensive. It’s tape, it’s physical, it’s a removable tape product. For all purposes, it’s relatively speaking a niche and complex solution. It’s a great solution for those that need that kind of … it’s high density, it has longevity, but it’s not anywhere near as mainstream in anywhere near the volume. Plus you have standards and patents. There’s a lot that goes into the cost. But there’s more complexity involved than a hard drive that’s been pre-mastered.
Larry Jordan: You guys sell a lot of storage. Why doesn’t OWC sell LTO drives?
Larry O’Connor: You know, we will soon offer LTO drives, in fact we’re working on ways that gives us option on both the media side and the server side to try and make the costs a little more reasonable. The main reason we haven’t jumped into it sooner really comes down to the cost, and we’ve always sought to have a value solution and when I say a value solution, try to bring high technology, enterprise type solutions, enterprise level solutions into the market at a price that makes sense and for the most part our audience hasn’t had a big need for LTO, and there’s other LTO products out there that we do support and offer to a customer that absolutely has to have LTO. And we’ve focused on where our strengths are, which has been with flash and spinning media.
Larry Jordan: Thinking of flash, what is it that’s holding back higher capacity SSD drives?
Larry O’Connor: It really comes down to shrinking the … and moving the architecture forward, and right now, 3D MOC in general is the big new thing and the transition from dual layer, multi MLC products into the 3D world has been fraught with some unexpected challenges. I mean, we’re currently going through that right now, and it’s one of the reasons we’ve seen flash costs jump up. You’re packing more and more on a magnetic or putting tracks closer together. With flash media … actually everything is electrical I suppose. I try to differentiate the two, but it’s a little bit more involved now that they are solid state versus a physical media solution. And if you look at it, not to keep jumping around, but flash has become, if you look at where we started a few years ago with 128 gigabytes of storage was a lot, and now we’re doing two terabyte solutions and a four terabyte solution. Flash has actually come a long ways, and four terabyte drive this year, even with the increases in flash costs due to short term supply challenges and manufacturing challenges, the transition that’s going on out there from one architecture to another as well as the giant demand jump, from the mobile space. Mobile is really a huge part of the reason we have short term flash costs going up. But to the point, a four terabyte drive this year is still about what a 480 gigabyte SSD costs six years ago. So call it eight, nine times the storage for the same price. I would say flash is moving at a very accelerated trajectory if you consider how long it took hard drives to get to where they are. A big drive a few years ago was four terabytes, now we’re up to 12 terabytes. Flash is definitely growing in increasing capacity quicker than other storage technologies. LTO is moving up a couple of terabytes or several terabytes a year if I’m not mistaken.
Larry Jordan: Well thinking of interesting challenges, what are you expecting at NAB?
Larry O’Connor: NAB is going to be a big Thunderbolt fest. Thunderbolt 3 is really going to change the landscape. It’s going to be interesting to see what Apple does in terms of external GPU and support. We’re going to move into a word where there’s storage or computer technology, the kinds of things that drive the creative process. They’re going to become a lot faster and a lot more flexible. External GPUs are going to have the potential to change everything. It’s definitely not the processor that ends up being your whole back, it’s the GPU and the ability to connect external GPUs to systems to give them a big processing boost for the 3D rendering, for the special effects, for any of the post edit processing that certainly threatens, in a good way, to change the prior status quo. So, it’s going to be very exciting in general with what Thunderbolt 3’s going to bring us, but it already is starting to bring us.
Larry Jordan: I am looking forward to seeing it, and because OWC creates exciting products on its own, where can people go on the web to learn what you guys are up to?
Larry O’Connor: You can check out all of our latest and greatest at owcdigital.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s a new website isn’t it?
Larry O’Connor: Yes, that’s our branded website, and now, just so the audience is aware, we don’t just design these things, we have a full engineering team in Austin, Texas and we actually have a full manufacturing. We’re actually the only company mass producing Thunderbolt solutions, actually manufacturing the bores, the whole SMT process, right here in North America.
Larry Jordan: Very cool. Larry O’Connor is the CEO of OWC, Larry thanks for joining us today.
Larry O’Connor: Hey, always a pleasure Larry.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
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Larry Jordan: Clement Barberis joined LaCie in 2010 and he’s responsible for product and brand positioning, product marketing at LaCie, and LaCie focuses on the creative pro market. He also works on co-marketing efforts with other industry leaders. Clement, it’s good to have you with us. Thanks for joining us today.
Clement Barberis: Thank you Larry I’m glad to be with you today.
Larry Jordan: What first got you interested in storage?
Clement Barberis: My job. The LaCie story is very interesting, the brand has been out there for about 25 years and the credit professional market is very interesting because you talk to people who are passionate. When you talk with people who are passionate it makes you want to be equally passionate, and get to know more about them and their work. So the more time you spend with them, the more you want to know about them.
Larry Jordan: Tonight on the show we’re talking about archiving, storage and backup. How would you describe the differences between those three terms?
Clement Barberis: These are very specific terms. Storage is just a location for your data. This is the broader term out of the three. It’s when you create content and the storage is where you’re going to keep them. Now, backup is how to keep them safe. The way to keep data safe is to replicate them in multiple locations. So a backup is a copy of original data that I kept somewhere else. So you just make a new copy to a new storage solution. Finally, archive is how to keep data somewhere and be able to access it at any point of time in the future. You might not access your archive regularly, not even daily, not weekly, sometimes you might not use it within three or five years, but a good archive solution is the one that gives you the peace of mind that five or ten years from now, you’ll be able to access your data and the storage solution will function.
Larry Jordan: Of these three terms, archiving, backup and storage, where does LaCie spend the bulk of its time?
Clement Barberis: Storage and backup. That’s really the heart of what we do and where we are the best.
Larry Jordan: LaCie is best known for its variety of hard disks, spinning media, as opposed to flash drives. There’s been concern for a while that traditional hard disks are going to max out in the near term, either for speed or for capacity. What are your thoughts on this? Is there a long term future for spinning media?
Clement Barberis: Yes, and I think we can look in the past to try to have a hint to the future. If you look at LTO technology, it looks like an archaic technology. It was the old way to keep …media and the actual business is still out there. People have been forecasting the end of that technology for years, and it’s still out there. The technology transitioning is something that takes longer sometimes, doesn’t fully happen, and when you look at alternative technology to spinning media, I see them as complementary but not replacing because the new technology has definite benefits that we do not yet offer, but there are also big downsides and big tradeoffs to it. So I still see spinning media as being out there for a bit.
Larry Jordan: LaCie, if I remember correctly, is part of the Seagate family. How important is the parent company in choosing which hard drives to buy?
Clement Barberis: First of all, because I’ve been on both sides, I see at LaCie where we used to source hard drive to multiple vendors, and then I went through the whole acquisition. In between there’s been a floating in Thailand, and when those things happened for instance, and you’re just sourcing hard drive, and sometimes it’s hard to actually get access to drive. You don’t have much leverage for negotiation to have the good hard drive at good prices, so when you have a good relationship like we do with our parent company, Seagate, we have access to the whole portfolio. We can really pick and choose the right hard drive, and really qualify the best fit for our customers, and for the best price for the best value and also having inventory is never an issue, so from that perspective it’s all positive.
Larry Jordan: LaCie offers a wide range of products from single hard drives up through multi drive RAIDs. We’re looking at a RAID. There’s two ways that a RAID can be controlled. Software based RAIDs and hardware based RAIDs. Which of the two is LaCie using and what’s the benefit of that choice?
Clement Barberis: Today all the RAID solution of … are hardware based. We have always been advocating for hardware RAID technologies. The first and the main reason for using hardware RAID technology over software, is the RAID is embedded in the product so you are not depending on the operating system of your computer to be able to work on your RAID solution. That means it’s actually transparent for your computer whether you work on the Mac or a PC, you can connect to any computer, and it’s going to recognize it. It will actually see as a normal storage.
Clement Barberis: The other benefits of hardware RAID over software RAID is because it’s hardware and it’s all managed inside the actual storage solution, it releases resources from your computer, so it’s going to go faster and your computer’s going to go faster as well. So the only downside of hardware RAID actually is it’s more expensive, because it’s hardware. This is software. But compared to what you gain instead, it’s an obvious solution for us to go for.
Larry Jordan: We’ve seen over the last several years a lot of growth in Thunderbolt technology, from Thunderbolt 1 to 2 and now Thunderbolt 3. From a storage point of view, is there a significant benefit to Thunderbolt 3 versus Thunderbolt 2 because, although the speed is phenomenal, it takes a bajillion, and maybe two bajillion disks to be able to fill that pipe? Or should we not get obsessed about the speed and bandwidth of Thunderbolt compared to say USB 3 gen 2?
Clement Barberis: It’s all about what you do Larry. If your general use of your hard drive is just watching blue rays and DVDs, no, the performance is not a big issue. If you are a creative professional, particularly in the video industry, and you’re shooting videos at higher and higher resolution, and we are talking about 4K, 6K or 8K, performance is a benefit at every point of time of the workflow. First of all those people they spend a humongous time to just transfer files because they deal with a lot of data. So the faster you can transfer those files, the more time you save, and all the creative professionals will tell you that “If I can spend less time transferring files, I can spend more time actually editing and producing my videos.”
Clement Barberis: And on top of that, when you start to look at very high resolution, like 4K, 6K or 8K, the video professionals prefer to work with raw files and work off the higher resolution because they have much more information on the video they work on, which gives them more flexibility in the post production part, and it’s a guarantee of delivering the best quality of work. From that perspective, performance is crucial.
Larry Jordan: Flash drives seem to be increasing in capacity. But will flash drives ever be a reasonable alternative to spinning media? Can we look forward to a day where spinning media goes away and it’s replaced with flash?
Clement Barberis: People tend to make flash drive and spinning media as competing solutions. The way I see it is those two are complementary. There’s definite benefits you can get from flash solution, but also trade off that spinning media can offer. So you can definitely see workflow when both solutions work together, and not necessarily replacing each other. If I give you like a general example, flash drives are constantly increasing. What does that mean for end users? That means for instance your mobile phone is going to have a bigger space and soon you’re going to have mobile phones with 256 gigabyte or even like1,000 gigabyte storage or more. That means more content to be created for multiple devices, because people have more than one device. And then that’s where the spinning drive based solution will be able to concentrate all this content created in a single, and cheaper solution for like large storage.
Larry Jordan: Does LaCie have any flash products today?
Clement Barberis: We have a couple of hard drives which are SSD based, and the record has a couple of models, 1,000 gigabyte and one terabyte. And also the fastest hard drive in our portfolio, the LaCie Bolt3 which manages to max out the Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth, is based off PCIE SSD.
Larry Jordan: How would you advise someone looking to purchase a drive? How do we make a decision that we’re getting the right drive for our project?
Clement Barberis: Capacity is usually the first one, like how much drive do you need? And then we need to look at how you are planning to use your storage. What do you want to do with it? But usually the first criteria is storage capacity, what interface you have on your computer, like compatibility, or if you are planning to upgrade your computer. Usually those are very good ways to limit the scope of solutions you want to look at. And then there are some variations, depending if you are looking for performance or for a safe storage solution, or mobility and other factors that come into consideration to be the right solution.
Larry Jordan: Clement, for people that want more information about LaCie and its products, where can they go on the web?
Clement Barberis: Everything about LaCie is HYPERLINK “http://www.lacie.com” www.lacie.com and I would also invite all the audience to come and visit us at NAB in Las Vegas starting at April 22nd. We’ll have some exciting announcement there, and a demonstration about capture edit and deliver as part of your workflow.
Larry Jordan: I am looking forward to the new toys coming at NAB. The website is lacie.com and Clement Barberis is the product marketing manager for LaCie, and Clement, this has been a fun chat. Thanks for joining us today.
Clement Barberis: Thank you very much Larry. I had a really good time talking to you.
Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we were looking at storage, backup and archiving. Each of these needs to be carefully considered in all of our projects, storage so we have room for all of our files, backup so we guard against accidental erasures, and archiving so we can find our files years into the future.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank my guests this week, Doctor Marc Batschkus from Archiware, Michael Kammes from Key Code Media, James Tucci from Archion, Larry O’Connor from OWC, Clement Barberis from LaCie, and as always, James DeRuvo from DoddleNEWS.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews all online, and all available to you today. And remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Friday. Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuZZ and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.
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Larry Jordan: Our producer is Debbie Price. My name is Larry Jordan, and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.
Larry Jordan: The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2017 by Thalo LLC.