Wednesday, May 17, 2017

NAB Show 2017 Recap

The 2017 edition of the NAB Show was again a success with more than 100,000 attendees and almost 2,000 exhibitors. Among these vendors, 185 were listed Digital Asset Management and Storage and 250 belong to the workflow software and solutions/systems integration category, and some companies are present in both lists.
New and recurrent topics were 4K, 8K and more, data/media workflow, live streaming, drones, special effects, VR and cloud-connected operations. Of course storage is a critical component thanks to bigger file sizes with high-resolution formats, edition requirements, sharing capabilities and collaboration needs for the production, broadcast and distribution chain. Speaking with some end-users during the show and sessions, they’re all looking for a fast, secured, flexible and scalable storage platforms able to sustain high capacity and deliver the needed throughput for various typical usages.
As 4K has started to be ubiquitous, capacity-oriented storage solutions such object storage are well adopted and many players were present at the show such as Caringo, Cloudian, DDN Storage, Dell EMC, IBM COS, Igneous, HGST/WD, NetApp, Object Matrix, Pure Storage or Quantum. Cloud service providers represent also an interesting alternative; Google, Azure and Amazon were of course exhibitors and AWS promoted various cloud-based solutions in addition to Elemental, acquired in 2015.
The other confirmed trend started a few years ago is the file-based workflow that justified the vast adoption of file storage with industry file sharing protocols such NFS, SMB and FTP. SAN file sharing system and more 'classic' scale-out NAS were also represented at many vendors’ booth such as Active Storage, Avere Systems, DDN again, DDP, Dell EMC, EditShare, NetApp as well as Panasas, Qnap, Quantum also, Qumulo, Rozo Systems, Scale Logic, Tiger Technology and XenData. And it seems that solutions with multiple access methods such object APIs like S3 and file-based protocols have some users preferences against vendors who deliver only one access type. This aspect contributes to limit the complexity of the environment by consolidating the various usages and access methods on a single platform.
As workflows are becoming a strict requirement, transparent multi-tier on-premise storage approach is the answer and vendors such Komprise, Quantum again, StrongBox Data or Tiger Technology to name a few have actively promoted interesting products. All these players introduced deep meta-data management capabilities to align data placement with the right storage tier and deliver the cost-effective model. There is a clear trend to move this operation into the cloud as it could be considered as the final tier in the data chain or the collaboration repository for global distribution.
And of course, flash was a key element in many solutions with all-flash storage products, hybrid ones and multi-tier approaches both in block and file storage modes. NGD Systems has demonstrated on the EchoStreams booth an interesting 24TB SSD PCIe board and we saw of course 'usual suspects' like again DDN, NetApp, Promise, Pure Storage and more dedicated ones such Avid or Harmonic.
The NAB Show is becoming a large storage convention of course very vertical displaying lots of interesting solutions for demanding environments but very storage centric topic like the famous software-defined storage is less used as users continue to believe in hardware-based solution aligned in their mind with performance requirements.

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