It Is Time For A New File System?

Written by Erik Weaver

Written by Erik Weaver

Published on December 26, 2019

Did you know that it takes at least 1.2GBs of throughput to comfortably work on uncompressed 12-bit UHD content?  While working on enhancing a storage pipeline for a major studio last year, we knew that we had to move to flash and were driving toward NVMe—simply to make the required performance numbers. 

There is no question that the media and entertainment (M&E) industry has seen an acceleration of seismic shifts in the data that they have to manage. In fact, ATSC 3.0, HDR10+, new VFX requirements, and OTT streaming giants are forcing new levels of volume and quality, driving higher resolutions, and moving us from 2K to 4K (and even 8K) with much better pixels.  These demands are overwhelming within the traditional pipelines and the tools that support them.  Volume, velocity, variety, and voracity are growing out of control, so how do we deal with this situation?  

Several months back, in my position of leading Global M&E Strategy for one of the largest storage vendors, I was talking with a key industry SVP about the market, a man who commanded a lot of fiscal muscle. He was asking my opinion about market share strategies, and I asked, “Why do you not just buy the leading file system in the market?” My thought was that this strategy would open a solid market customer base in which his company could advance hardware product sales on top of their file system. His answer surprised me. “That file system is really beyond its peak of where the technology is going.”

As I pondered it, I realized that he was absolutely correct. 

In fact, I could not recall a mainstream file system that had been launched in the last 12+ years.  Even though radical changes in hardware over this timespan had changed the impediments of older tools, like Rome building cities upon cities, the traditional technologies had not cleared the land and started from scratch. Rather, the leaders in storage technology had simply bolted on their technological advancement, built on layers in attempts to look progressive.  

I began to ask myself, is it time for something new in M&E?

With that I decided to dig deeper and define three things that a modern file system should incorporate.  Over the next few posts I will share these concepts and define how each one changes the way we look at Media and Entertainment data in the storage industry–and how we interact with that data.

Follow these blog posts to find out!

Blog Post #1: What is Composable Infrastructure Architecture, and Why Should We Care?     

Blog Post #2: Why are Key-Value Stores Critical?

Blog Post #3: When and Why Should NVMeOF and Object Dominate the Land?       

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