Caringo: Changing the Economics of Storage

For more than a decade now, Austin, Texas-based Caringo has had a singular goal: give companies an object storage solution that offers complete control over any volume or size of unstructured information, all while reducing both costs and complexity.

And in the media and entertainment space, that means facilitating today’s all-digital workflows, giving content companies a software-defined storage solution that’s scalable, and making assets immediately accessible and indefinitely preserved.

Adrian Herrera, VP of Marketing at Caringo, spoke with the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) about the changing storage needs in the M&E space, the security challenges his company’s clients are facing today, and how Caringo is helping clients gain control over and insight into their stored content.

MESA: What was the impetus for Caringo when it was founded, what gap in the media and entertainment storage market was the company looking to fill?

Herrera: Our mission from inception was to change the economics of storage. When we say that, most people’s minds go straight to cost savings — however, that’s a very small part of it. Our focus has always been on preserving media in a securely accessible way that allows you to continuously upgrade hardware without impacting the integrity of your files, thus enabling organization at massive scale.

Media-Ent Since our start in 2005, content producers and user-generated sites have implemented Caringo Swarm to enable origin storage and direct-from-storage streaming (OTT). With our support for standard storage protocols like Amazon S3 API and NFS and our ability to plug into Windows File Servers and NetApp filers, we are now being used to optimize the storage and access process in digital video workflows at production houses, M&E service providers and broadcast organizations.

View our webinar on real-life use cases for object storage in M&E to learn more.

MESA: What makes Caringo Swarm software-defined storage solution unique in the space, what is the company offering that others aren’t?

Herrera: Stability, reliability and ease of management of our software is where we shine and how we win most opportunities. Our software has been market hardened over the past 12 years with highly secure, mission-critical deployments at some of the largest Government, Healthcare and Research organizations in the world. We have numerous deployments that have been up and running with no downtime or disruption for longer than most of our competitors have been in business. This mix of security and always-on reliability brings tremendous value to M&E companies in today’s web-based, connected and mobile world.

Many M&E companies are struggling with sending their most valued assets to a cloud service for storage and delivery. While the cloud is ideal for a certain subset of highly accessed media or media that needs to leverage compute in a burstable fashion, for the clear majority of strategic media assets, it will always make sense to keep them within the four walls of your private data center from a security, accessibility and overall economic perspective.

MESA: How has today’s digital reality changed content accessibility and archiving needs for media and entertainment companies, what challenges are they facing that didn’t previously exist?

Adrian-Herrera Herrera: There are a number of major changes that have happened within the last 4 to 5 years, including the shift of consumer behavior to immediate consumption from any device, broadband everywhere, and the radical shift in the production process moving to an all-digital workflow with rapid distribution. Millennials and Gen X‘ers have grown up online and are breaking away from the traditional broadcast methods. From cord cutting to the rise of YouTube stars, Vine, Netflix and other streaming services…consumers now dictate when and where they watch content and the underlying IT infrastructure has to support this demand.

This is a challenge with traditional network attached storage (NAS) technologies. They should only be used for high-performance storage needs within the production process. If you want to enable long-term storage, OTT and origin storage or find more economical storage to back your asset management solutions and provide media resilience without backups, then object storage — and more specifically Caringo Swarm — is a great solution.

MESA: It’s not just storage solutions that Caringo offers. How is the company helping clients gain insight into their stored content via data applications?

Caringo-200x90s Herrera: We use customizable metadata that is attached directly to the object to manage all media stored on Caringo Swarm. With our web-based UI, you can customize metadata and make it accessible via an API for direct integration. We have built in Elasticsearch so you can do ad hoc searches without needing to specify a certain database structure as you would with a relational database. The Caringo Swarm platform essentially combines web serving with a NoSQL database and storage, all on the standard hardware of your choice. By taking this approach, metadata isn’t locked into one asset management or editing application. It is accessible to all applications via multiple protocols.

MESA: What are some of Caringo’s favorite use case examples, where M&E companies have made especially good use of the company’s services?

Herrera: We have been enabling origin storage and long-tail delivery (now OTT) since our creation in 2005. Now we are seeing a lot of momentum in optimizing shared storage in the digital video production process. One of the most interesting use cases is using object storage to protect against ransomware attacks for large media libraries. While object storage solutions that require an operating system install first or rely on SQL databases are still susceptible to attacks, Caringo Swarm is not. For more information, see our blog on how object storage protects from ransomware attacks.

MESA: What’s next for Caringo, what can we look forward to from the company in the future?

Herrera: We will continue our 12-year record of innovation in the media storage and access space with additional enhancements in the ease of management and administration of our solution. There are a number of experienced partners we are working with in the M&E space and we are currently certifying with an impressive list of asset management, production and editing suite applications. We will continue to help customers by giving them universally accessible metadata, which is the key to finding what you need when you need it. With the sheer volume of content being created and AI and machine learning advancements moving at a rapid pace, metadata will be the key to enabling new methods of user interfaces and advancing business models.