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Case Study: Tape is alive and well and kicking

Sun's T10000 drive delivers content four times faster

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Digital video media content storage and licensing company Thought Equity Motion, Inc. has reinforced its enthusiasm for tape as the best storage medium for its video archive of production-ready master video clips. The archive is growing at a rate of 5,000 high-definition video clips a week.

Thought Equity Motion (TEM) provides motion imagery licensing and management for the entertainment, creative and corporate production industries. It is experiencing rapid growth due to the increasing demand for digitized video clips, accessible over the internet, for use in feature films, television programs, advertising and corporate presentations. Customers such as the NCAA, HBO Archives, National Geographic and Sony Pictures are driving this demand.

TEM utilises a Sun StorageTek tape library infrastructure to store its video vault, but this is an online vault from which videos are received from source companies and delivered on-demand to customers. No other storage media comes close to the effectiveness of tape in terms of its cost, capacity and reliability for TEM's storage needs.

It has added a Sun StorageTek T10000 tape drive and cartridges to its StorageTek L700 tape library. Because the L7000 can support the newer T10000 drive and cartridges it meant that TEM had a straightforward upgrade path. The tape library infrastructure is connected on a storage area network SAN) managed from a single console with Sun StorageTek Storage Archive Manager software, providing TEM with an integrated way to manage its data over its entire lifecycle.

The T10000 cartridges hold 500GB of raw data compared to the previous T9940B generation's 200GB. This has enabled TEM to more than double its storage capacity within its existing data centre.

TEM needed a high-performance storage solution to keep pace with customer demands while storing more data with fewer drives to reduce data center footprint, power consumption and long-range storage hardware costs. By deploying the T10000 drives it has been able to scale its petabyte-level storage environment in cost- effective increments to keep pace with its customers' requirements for rapid access to the large film and video files.

"With creative professionals demanding instant, 24/7 access to the finest in production-quality film and high definition content, a reliable, cost-effective storage solution isn't a luxury for Thought Equity Motion, but a necessity and a competitive advantage," said Mark Lemmons, TEM's CTO. With the T10000 we have an "outstanding 400 percent throughput improvement and the 250 percent increase in storage density, we have avoided significant chassis replacement costs by leveraging our existing Sun StorageTek tape library and have established a scalable, flexible infrastructure for cost-effective, incremental expansion."

Sun's EVP for storage, David Yen, said: "The explosion of digital entertainment, especially in the form of video, has created something of a paradox when it comes to storage infrastructure. Customers must expand capacity while maintaining or reducing their footprint. Thought Equity Motion's deployment demonstrates how capably Sun's StorageTek high performance, highly scalable tape solutions meet that challenge -- not only are we helping them expand their business, but we're also helping them meet and exceed their customers' service-level expectations."


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