Storage technologies have fundamentally changed the landscape
of digital media in a profound way. Gone are the days of using
a single hard disk drive on a workstation as the sole means to
store digital content. Nearly vanished is the practice of capturing
video and audio only on videotape. The practice of transferring
videotape recordings into an edit station and then manipulating
sequences of images and sound has matured to the point that the
content now goes straight from a file captured in a camcorder to
a storage system where any number of other activities will happen.
This is what the industry has coined “digital” or “file-based
Videotape as we know it is close to the end of its practical life.
The fledgling domain of storing images as files is well onto its
way toward becoming the default means to capture, store, and
work; driving digital workflows forward on an almost incomprehensible
schedule. As a consequence of this new generation of
digital workflows, the volumes of unstructured data are growing
to staggering proportions at unprecedented rates. Managing
these files has become a science, taking the IT world and placing
it into another dimension.
In the not-too-distant past, data would simply be stored on
disk or on tape with those peripheral devices simply connected
to a server or a local workstation. The storage platform, be that as
it may, was considered a peripheral entity to the computer. Issues
surrounding security, permissions, access rights, and protection
were handled by the server; the duty of editing or producing was
left to the workstation or PC. Storage management was rather
straightforward; but that is no longer the case.
Storage is now an entity unto its own, detached and independent
from the computers and workstations, especially in the
media content, production, and editorial world. Storage is now
just a segment of the overall system of tools that users employ
to do their work. For this new storage environment, the term
“storage network” was conceived. It started out simple: attach a
contained box with a disk drive or two to a network port or a
bus (e.g., SCSI, Firewire, USB, etc). Begin working. Simple enough,
yes. Add more workstations, attach the storage to Ethernet, add
more connections, start sharing files among the workstations, and
soon you ran out of storage. No problem, add another networkattached
storage (NAS) box.