By Marc M. Batschkus
The post-production workflow is responsible for precious files that might have cost millions to create. Therefore, having solid protection and maximum security for this data is necessary. Since there are many options and technologies available, a closer look is necessary.
How to Manage Your Data in the Post-Production Workflow
Challenges to look out for when managing data in the post-production workflow
The biggest risk for data is still human error and mishaps. Especially under time pressure, these become more likely. Any manual process to secure data is bound to fail sooner or later, especially under time-critical deadlines.
Only automated processes to protect the files help to keep them safe. This means data management software is a necessary part of data protection.
Finding the right solution for data protection in the post-production workflow
There are three categories that determine which solution is needed: throughput, retention time, and security level.
The throughput requirement influences the medium used for storage and the connection. The fastest is a RAID of SSDs and a direct Thunderbolt, SAS, eSATA or Fibre channel connection. This is followed by SSDs (no RAID), Disk RAIDs, LTO tape, and single disks.
Immediate availability of files
For the fastest availability, cloning/replication is required. This means all files from the primary storage are cloned to secondary storage. In case something goes wrong, either single files or the complete file set are immediately available. No restoration is necessary. This is what P5 Synchronize offers.
Automatic Backup and storage options
Only an automated Backup keeps files protected even under time pressure. P5 Backup can store data to disk, tape, and cloud storage, thereby offering the flexibility of storage media. Time to restore and recover files needs depends on the storage medium in use.
How Long is the Data Kept?
The retention time is important because it influences the decision for a storage medium and capacity. This means: how long it is possible to go back to recover a file that has been accidentally deleted or lost.
Shorter retention times mean less capacity for Backup storage. Longer retention times mean more capacity, keeping or preserving data for the long-term needs an Archive solution and respective media.
For long-term storage, LTO tape and Cloud storage are the best choices. Right now, LTO tape scales at the lowest cost per TB (starting at about 10USD/EUR per TB). Tape is rated at a shelf life of 30 years, making it the only professional long-term medium.
What Security is Needed?
The necessary security level for the post-production workflow depends on compliance requirements, individual strategy, and budget. The highest level of security calls for multiple copies, plus one copy stored off-site. This protects against local incidents.
The classic 3-2-1 rule: 3 copies of each file on 2 different media (e.g., SSD/Disk, Disk/Tape, Disk/Cloud) and 1 copy stored off-site.
Tape and cloud are storage options for easy off-site storage. Additionally, air gap is an important security feature of LTO tape. A physical gap between the data source/network and the Backup/Archive medium prevents any malware or error from spreading to the secured files.
The Archive Becomes the File Memory
If all finalised productions are migrated to the Archive, it becomes the single source of truth. It is the only place to look for files for reference, re-use, and returning customers. Added metadata makes finding files easy. Archiware’s P5 Archive offers customisable metadata fields and menus. Additionally, visual browsing using thumbnails and proxy clips supports research for specific files. P5 Archive can use disk, tape, and Cloud storage.
Special Case: The Ingest Archive
If the production storage is too small to hold all footage that comes in for post production, the Ingest Archive is a solution. What this means is that all footage is archived to LTO tape at the time of ingest. Proxies are generated and used for subsequent editing. At the end of the process, only the clips that actually have become part of the final production are restored from the Ingest Archive and used for the conform process and delivery.
A Cost-Effective Solution
The most cost-effective way to create maximum security and long-preservation is Archiware’s Desktop LTO Edition.
Together with a single LTO drive, it protects data on two levels: production data with P5 Backup and finalised files with P5 Archive. This creates a maximum level of security for a very reasonable investment.
The single LTO drive can also be used for data exchange and delivery using the LTFS format. Finding files becomes easy because P5 Archive offers media previews and proxy clips together with customisable metadata fields.