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The “Internet of Action Sports” Meets Object Storage in the New Age of Media

They say good things come to those who wait – but sometimes good things happen simultaneously and you don’t even have to wait to revel in them. While I was enjoying a week of snowboarding in Val d’Aosta, right by the legendary Matterhorn, DDN was announcing the new WOS 360 at the Next Generation Object Storage Summit. As you can read in this article by Chris Mellor for The Register, the newest version of the industry’s most complete and versatile object storage platform was very well received.

The sportier reader may know that snowboarders and skiers spend half of their time on ski lifts. This gave me plenty of time to think about storage challenges and new opportunities for object storage. My epiphany came to me on the slopes of sunny Italy.

Being a gadget freak, I hit the slopes with a GoPro high definition cam on my helmet. I tried to mount it onto my snowboard as well, but the result was a bit shaky to say the least. While high-definition cameras have been around for a while, I was surprised to see how many skiers and boarders carried a camera. Turns out I’m much later on the adoption curve than I had been thinking. At times I counted one camera for every 10 skiers/boarders queuing at the lifts. Obviously, my random counts are not very statistically correct, so let’s say one in every 100 people were actually carrying a cam to be on the safe side. I shot about 8 GB of data per day, which doubles easily in the post-processing, but let’s say that the average cam user is less fanatic than me and shoots about 2GB per day, which doubles in the post-processing.

Capture

According to the 2013 International Report on Snow and Mountain Tourism, “there are about 70 countries worldwide that offer open air ski areas” and “about 2000 ski resorts have been identified.” Also according to the report, there are approximately 400 million skier visits worldwide, a ski visit being a day trip, or part of a day. That figure is said to have been stable over the last 10 years.

And now comes the fun (math) part:

400 million ski visits, means 4 million cameras, multiplied by 4GB = 16PB per ski season.

Add other action sports like surfing, mountain biking, speed bikes, skaters, etc. and we will soon see Exabytes of action sports data being shot every year.

I carry a MacBook with a 256GB SSD. Obviously, that’s OK for application data and documents, but definitely not for the tens of GB’s of action footage I was shooting last week. It has been common practice for a few years already to store pictures in the cloud and stream music, TV series and movies from online services, but I doubt there is a service that is ready to ingest PB’s of video footage from home users.

Strangely enough, there is no reason for such a service not to exist: Object Storage platforms like WOS make it possible to build profitable online storage infrastructures for large volumes of high definition video data. I hope to spark some ideas at the upcoming 2014 NAB Show.


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More Stories By Tom Leyden

Tom Leyden is VP Product Marketing at Scality. Scality was founded in 2009 by a team of entrepreneurs and technologists. The idea wasn’t storage, per se. When the Scality team talked to the initial base of potential customers, the customers wanted a system that could “route” data to and from individual users in the most scalable, efficient way possible. And so began a non-traditional approach to building a storage system that no one had imagined before. No one thought an object store could have enough performance for all the files and attachments of millions of users. No one thought a system could remain up and running through software upgrades, hardware failures, capacity expansions, and even multiple hardware generations coexisting. And no one believed you could do all this and scale to petabytes of content and billions of objects in pure software.

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