This data storage story was published in IT Pro Today on Jan 29, 2021
As Anthem Sports & Entertainment’s video content grew, so did its data storage requirements — to the point where the broadcasting and production company was forced to make drastic changes. And now it is seeing a performance difference that has been like “night and day.”
If you’re a big sports or game show fan, chances are that you have encountered programming from Anthem Sports & Entertainment. The Toronto-based company owns 10 national, international and global specialty channels, including the Fight Network, IMPACT Wrestling, GameTV and HDNet Movies.
All of those channels create a lot of content — hundreds of terabytes’ worth, according to Ryan Barnes, the company’s supervisor of technical implementations and maintenance. About 90% of Anthem’s data is video content, and the rest is graphic images and text documents.
As Anthem grew, its data storage requirements grew with it. The company picked up different storage technologies through the years, resulting in a disaggregated, confusing and sometimes unreliable mix that just wasn’t working well. It included an aging media server consisting of two mirrored RAID 6 arrays, JBOD media, external hard drives and even thumb drives. Anthem was even using LTO 6 tape for its for short-term storage, even though it is designed for archival storage.
At its breaking point, Anthem had more than 200 terabytes of data and was still running out of room. The media server alone had 160 usable terabytes, and it was always full. Another siloed unit had 30 terabytes of capacity, and it was nearly full. The company was using storage as fast as it could add more hard drives and optical media. It simply couldn’t stay on top of capacity needs.
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