TV provider MediaHub starts SAN and NAS for object storage Scality

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Australian media streaming service MediaHub has ditched SAN and NAS storage for Scality’s object storage.

It has built its storage-as-a-service offering, ArkHub, around a 3.5PB Scality ring – with projected growth to over 20PB by 2024 – and has saved millions of dollars on what would have spent on block and file access storage.

By doing so, it can offer its customers streaming media storage at a fraction of the cost they would incur in egress fees from major cloud providers.

MediaHub provides programming content and orchestrates the addition of TV commercials and promotions. It does this from three data centers in Australia and must deliver content that is “once in, multiple times out” in that it is delivered multiple times in multiple formats to consumers.

Therefore, the data it needs to store and deliver ranges from extremely small XML and file data to very large media files reaching terabytes.

He had used Fiber Channel-connected block storage from industry computing specialist SAM (Snell Advanced Media – now Grass Valley), which has been rebranded as quantum storage. It had also added near-line NAS storage – including from Dell EMC Isilon – but suffered from scaling performance limitations.

“When we had to onboard a customer, adding more storage capacity was a headache,” said Simon Scott, chief technology officer at MediaHub. “So we started buying NAS as the next level, but soon we hit another wall.”

MediaHub deployed Scality Ring object storage starting in 2018. It has deployed 3.6PB to date, but expects an almost immediate increase to around 7PB and expansion to 20PB by 2024 .

“One of the attractions is that Scality is infinitely scalable,” Scott said. “We can continue to add to it without content or performance penalties.”

Most access to Scality’s object store is via file access protocols CIFS and NFS, but S3 is used for Veeam backups and IBM Aspera data transfer. Throughput can reach 40 GB/s.

Scality is deployed on paired HPE Apollo servers in three MediaHub data centers. Each server contains 60 spinning disk hard drives of 14TB each for bulk storage, while metadata is tiered to a few TB of NVMe flash drive capacity in the same enclosure.

So why did MediaHub choose object storage? “We had gone through SAN and NAS, and we needed multi-site storage that was ready from day one for customer data,” Scott said. “Also, the world is moving towards S3 access and we needed the best of both worlds.” He cited the growing use of Kubernetes by broadcast industry software specialist Ateme.

The big advantage for MediaHub is that Scality storage cost it much less than previous systems. According to MediaHub CEO Alan Sweeney, he had spent around A$10 million on SAN and NAS storage. “Now we’re getting 3 to 4 times the performance for half the price,” he said.

Another advantage for MediaHub is that, being effectively a storage service provider for its customers, it can provide egress of its capacity at a lower cost than potential competing cloud providers.

Sweeney said the company can offer data delivery at around 50% of major cloud providers’ egress charges. Additionally, MediaHub guarantees that all data is stored in Australia, which would incur additional costs if a customer specified this to a cloud provider.

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