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TV provider MediaHub boots SAN and NAS for Scality object storage

Sydney-based TV content provider MediaHub got tired of performance issues and scaling difficulties with SAN and NAS, so powered its as-a-service offer with Scality object storage

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Australian broadcast media delivery service MediaHub has ditched SAN and NAS storage for object storage from Scality.

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

In doing so, it can offer its customers broadcast media storage at a fraction of the cost they would incur in egress charges from mainstream cloud providers.

MediaHub delivers programming content and orchestrates the addition of TV commercials and promotions. It does this from three datacentres in Australia and has to provide content that is “once in, many times out” in that it is delivered many times over in multiple formats to consumers.

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

It had used Fibre Channel-connected block storage from industry IT specialist SAM (Snell Advanced Media – now Grass Valley), which was quantum storage re-badged. It had also added nearline NAS storage – including from Dell EMC Isilon – but had suffered scaling performance limitations.

“When we needed to on-board a client, it was a headache to add more storage capacity,” said Simon Scott, executive head of technology at MediaHub. “So we started buying NAS as a next tier, but we soon hit another wall.”

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

“One of the attractions is that Scality is infinitely scalable,” said Scott. “We can keep adding to it with no content or performance penalties.”

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Most access to Scality’s object store is via files access protocols CIFS and NFS, but S3 is used for Veeam backups and IBM Aspera data transfer. Throughput can be up to 40GBps.

Scality is deployed on paired HPE Apollo servers at three MediaHub datacentres. Each server holds 60 spinning-disk HDDs of 14TB each for bulk storage, while metadata is tiered to a couple of TB of NVMe flash drive capacity in the same box.

So why did MediaHub choose object storage? “We’d been down the SAN and NAS path, and we needed multi-site, day-one-ready storage for client data,” said Scott. “Also, the world is moving towards S3 access and we needed the best of both worlds.” He cited increasing use of Kubernetes by broadcast industry software specialist Ateme.

The big benefit for MediaHub is that Scality storage has cost it far less than previous systems did. According to MediaHub CEO Alan Sweeney, it had spent about A$10m on SAN and NAS storage. “Now we get 3x to 4x the performance for half the price,” he said.

Another benefit for MediaHub is that, being effectively a supplier of storage services to its customers, it can provide egress from its capacity at a lower cost than would-be rival cloud providers.

Sweeney said the company can offer data delivery at about 50% of mainstream cloud provider egress charges. Also, MediaHub guarantees that all data is held in Australia, which would incur further charges were a customer to specify that to a cloud provider.

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