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Are We in Sync? Feeling Blue When You Should Be Feeling Purple

Content developers & production crews require solutions that provide access to up-to-date files at all ttimes

Film and production companies are often located across the globe with several teams working collaboratively to create the next box office hit. Imagine you are an animator in Brazil and in charge of illustrating the characters for a future film. Similarly, the individual who is creating the environments where your characters will dwell is located in Canada. As you continue your creation, other artists around the world are also working on specific parts of this very large, complex project. Meanwhile, the directors and producers in New York are anxiously awaiting ongoing updates.

Executives and directors are constantly making changes, some minor and others more significant. What happens when the director opts to change the color of the main character's shirt from blue to purple? Although, you were made aware of the change in an efficient manner, and have proceeded to make the appropriate adjustments, the same may not be true for your colleagues. This lack of synchronization can lead to hours of lost production time. How do you synchronize petabytes of data being generated on a daily basis?

The data-synchronization issues outlined above can make or break a film. In today's data-centric world, it is imperative that all team members working on a project have access to the most up-to-date files from anywhere in the world.

Content developers are generating terabytes of data, all of which has attached metadata. Managing this metadata in multimedia and film production environments has become an arduous task, especially when faced with data synchronization from remote locations.

As multimedia demands continue to increase and film steadily shifts to digital, organizations are looking to the cloud to help store their data, thus making securing, managing and providing immediate access to the data stored in the cloud a pressing area of concern.

Ubiquitous Data
In a recent report by Transparency Market Research, they found that by 2018 the global Big Data market is expected to reach $48.3 billion. That translates to a staggering amount of data that must be managed, stored, secured and made accessible. This growth is attributable to the explosion of data generated by games, videos, images and multimedia, all of which are streaming across the cloud.

The metadata associated with these files is stored in important descriptors of the larger sets of data, including file name, size, encryption keys, path and ownership information, a crucial part of controlling the data as it is created. Multimedia would be very difficult to manage without metadata. The industry is in dire need of a solution to simply and easily manage the ever-increasing amounts of unstructured data, while also providing content developers with the means to access files remotely.

More than ever, it is imperative that enterprises evaluate where and how their data is being stored, access, managed and protected.

Databases Revitalized
In an effort to address these challenges, production companies are looking to utilize metadata to help team members - regardless of their location - access, update and store data, ensuring that all parties are in synch.

Luckily, recent advancements have provided a solution to data synchronization and accessibility issues. Content developers can store metadata in geographically distributed relational database management systems, thus providing access to local data that is managed by a single database.

Moving Out not Up
Making use of the new technologies that decentralize data has proven to be an advantageous solution for content developers. Decentralizing data can substantially improve business resilience and provide users with the ability to stay "synced" with one another. These methods are able to manage performance from all components of the infrastructure. Unlike typical infrastructures that are "scaled up" by adding additional tiers of components, modern methods have taken a "scale-out" approach that simply adds additional, identical database ‘nodes' to the architecture.

These systems automatically store data across the nodes based on usage, policy and geography and deliver information when and where it is needed. To ensure availability, all information is automatically and intelligently replicated across multiple nodes. In the event that a node fails, users are re-routed to others until the original one recovers. Organizations have the option of placing nodes on-site, in local datacenters, or in multiple public clouds to ensure efficient response time for workers.

For production scenarios in the entertainment industry, geographically distributed databases have the potential to automatically synchronize metadata, thus improving the combined efforts of the entire team.

Benefiting from Economies of Scale
Not only is scaling in this way easier than with traditional deployments, but it also significantly reduces ongoing support costs. As facilities are added in other locations, nodes can be easily added, either on-premise or in the cloud, and when production slows cloud nodes can be removed and relocated.

As the entertainment industry looks for ways to leverage the economic benefits of virtualization and cloud computing, it is becoming clear that traditional database solutions available on current cloud offerings don't take advantage of the cost savings and flexibility of these new models.

Content developers and production crews require solutions that provide teams of professionals with access to up-to-date files at all times. In order to achieve this, fundamental IT architectures must incorporate technologies that are resilient and prevent critical data from becoming disconnected. These technologies provide developers with the means to deliver content that is consistent and highly available to global workers, while maintaining a flexible and reliable infrastructure.

More Stories By Frank Huerta

Frank Huerta is CEO and co-founder of TransLattice, where he is responsible for the vision and strategic direction of the company. He has been published in numerous trade publications and is a respected leader in the database management industry. He has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an undergraduate degree in physics from Harvard University cum laude.

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