With Open Architecture, Quantum Facilitates Video Across Facilities

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Quantum Corp., based in San Jose, Calif., and with locations throughout the world, specializes in scale-out storage, archive and data protection. Quantum products allow workgroups of any size to network workstations in any configuration, from within a cutting room or small VFX shop to a giant corporation with multiple locations around the world. Quantum claims more than 100,000 customers including the BBC, other major broadcasters and studios, and smaller operations that produce reality TV content.

Wherever groups of people are collaborating on video projects, there’s a good chance that Quantum is part of the workflow. Alex Grossman, Quantum’s vice president, media and entertainment, attributes the wide adoption of the company’s products to a rejection of closed systems. “Everything we do is open and based on standards,” he says.

Origin Story

Quantum began three decades ago as a manufacturer of specialty hard disk drives. After selling that business in 2001, the company was primarily a tape storage provider until its merger with ADIC (Advanced Digital Information Corp.) seven years ago. The merger included ADIC’s StorNext platform, which allowed Quantum to reposition itself as a data management company. StorNext, initially used for extremely high-end computing tasks, became more prevalent in media environments because of its compatibility with Apple Xsan.

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Alex Grossman

“At this point, Quantum took StorNext to the next level by joining with a lot of partners, including the company I ran, Active Storage, turning StorNext into a totally new, 100 percent open and very powerful system that allowed up to 100 people to collaborate,” Grossman elaborates.

Growth

StorNext has grown to a family of tools, including metadata controllers and storage pieces such as the physical disks that hold the content. “Users needed lower-cost networking systems that were resilient against failure and didn’t require a lot of additional tools to make them work,” adds Grossman. “Whatever you are working on—Autodesk Smoke, Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro—we sell everything else you need to act as ‘traffic cop.’ The system lets you set up who has permission to change what and avoids all the redundancy that can happen when you move media from one place to another.”

Head in the Cloud

Quantum launched StorNext in the Cloud at this year’s NAB Show for the rapidly growing number of users who share tasks on projects from remote locations. StorNext in the Cloud required extensive engineering cooperation with partners including Levels Beyond, Adobe and Telestream. The idea was to use the cloud to ease bandwidth demands inherent in such workflows. “We decided to use Switch’s SUPERNAP data center in Las Vegas, a data center with virtually unlimited bandwidth,” Grossman explains. “It’s a hosting facility with all the power and cooling necessary to host anything our users need it for.”

Among the new offerings Quantum is excited about displaying at IBC 2014 is StorNext Pro 4K, a StorNext 5-based system that will help alleviate some of the most worrisome roadblocks for television content creators, as RFPs are starting to come in for shows that must be finished in HD and archived in one of the various flavors of 4K.  

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