Sony Optical Disc Archiving Proves the Right Choice for Prolific North American Production Company

Endemol Shine North America Requires Long-term Storage That Saves Costs, Simplifies Workflow, Prevents Data Loss and Reduces Necessary Maintenance

ODA software in use on a laptop

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The Challenge

Serving as archive central for one of the largest production companies in North America requires world-class storage capabilities. Endemol Shine North America houses storage for each megabyte of data generated by its roster of hit programming including MasterChef, The Biggest Loser, Deal or No Deal, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Every camera master, offline edit proxy, online edit proxy, and all show-generated media resides on storage drives in North Hollywood. Because of this large volume of material, the company wanted a solution that would cut costs, simplify their workflow, prevent data loss and reduce maintenance requirements.

The Solution

After using a combination of tape media storage and four Sony first generation ODS-D77U standalone optical disc drives for several years, Endemol Shine North America is transitioning to become a fully Sony Optical Disc Archive (ODA) facility with four Generation Two ODS-D280U ODA units. The transition process to ODA has been an easy one. Endemol Shine has remaining tape media infrastructure because of their library of legacy content. But all new content is stored on Sony ODA drives, which is a change that literally happened overnight. “No joke, it was overnight,” said Alex Palatnick, Vice President of Post-Production, Endemol Shine North America. “This has been a very transparent transition for us, to move from [tape media] to ODA. Everything at this stage of the game goes to ODA, and it’s a much easier cartridge to manage.”

The Outcome

Since their recent move to ODA, the Sony drives store two petabytes of material for Endemol Shine North America. The company was looking for a storage system that would require little to no maintenance, and that’s precisely what grabbed their attention after transitioning to ODA. “Right out of the gate, we saw there was zero maintenance with these drives,” said Palatnick. “With [tape media] drives, depending on how much volume you have within your facility, you need to clean each drive at least once a week. With ODA, it’s all laser. It’s one less thing for the librarian who pilots the system to have to worry about.”

Sony is the only company to belly up to the bar in terms of optical media for archive and come up with a viable solution. I will never give up hard assets ever. In the event we run into a failure, we have to retain the ability to recover from it quickly.

Alex Palatnick, Vice President of Post-Production, Endemol Shine North America

Cost Savings

When storage was on tape media, the post-production team at Endemol Shine North America housed the tapes in an off-site, climate-controlled warehouse. As an illustration of the physical space that requires, shows can generate between 70-80 cubic feet of boxes. “With [tape media], it was necessary to have climate controlled off-site storage,” explained Palatnick. “Climate-controlled storage is exceptionally expensive. But magnetic media is very susceptible to humidity and temperature over time. If you put [tape media] in a warm room, say, 80-90 degrees for a year or two, you will impact the ability to get data off that cartridge. With ODA, that issue does not exist. ODA has a life span at least two to three times that of [tape media]. For us, that means we don’t have to have climate-controlled storage for our newer shows.”

A montage graphic imge of an ODA rack.
A graphic of a shield made of light, over a background of ones and zeroes, representing digital security.

Advancing the Workflow

Palatnick and his team discovered new operational workflows such as on-set archiving, in-facility archiving and distribution. “We’re always looking to refine our workflows, and we’re always looking to save more time,” said Palatnick. “Our workflows are very solid. We save a lot of time, and thus a lot of money in the process. Behind that result is the continued refinement of those workflows and processes.”

No Data Loss Worries

Another positive Palatnick points out for optical disc storage versus tape is that the potential for data loss on discs is virtually non-existent. Optical Disc archive has the most robust bit error correction in the industry and is not susceptible to magnetic bit rot. In an unlikely event, if a disc was damaged, it doesn’t result in damage to the entire cartridge, as is the case with tape media-based storage: “With [tape media], if you have a problem with the cartridge, you can lose the entire thing. With ODA, because of the individual discs that comprise the cartridge, the potential loss is compartmentalized.”

A graphic of a globe - the earth at a perceived distance of 20,000 miles. showing columns of light rising from the surface, representative of data.