The next time you come across your favorite sports channel broadcasting footage from a game played decades in the past, think of how they store that content. How do they keep game film from every minute of every game played every year accessible at the drop of a hat? It’s not just the jersey toting, face painted team fanatics that relive these glory moments either. The teams themselves review game film from the previous games almost religiously. That’s how they get better and improve upon their mistakes.
Video content is turning out to be ever more important to the competitive and business facets of most organizations. The Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League (NHL) are a prime example of an organization that leverages video to help improve upon successes. Over the years, the team’s internal video production department has had to keep pace with a growing set of needs. Much like business, in the sport of hockey, strength and speed are vital. Hockey and business are similar in that success and failure are sometimes determined by split-second decisions that depend on data.
If you’ve ever had the experience to soak in the sites and sounds of downtown Los Angeles’ STAPLES Center during hockey season, the experience is unforgettable. The atmosphere from September through June in one of the world’s most sports crazed cities is something to love. The LA Kings, longtime leaders in the NHL’s Western Conference, have been setting the standard of technological innovation for years, and acting as a benchmark for other franchises to follow. The Kings organization has built a reputation for their multi-media entertainment during its home games, relying on video assets to a great extent.
I order to stay on the top of the industry in regard to fan entertainment, the King’s organization needs to stay innovative and flexible to keep up with the fans’ demands. To tackle this monumental feat, the Kings needed an IT infrastructure bult for its unique and very detailed needs. Their video production team required a solution that could cost-effectively scale and needed minimum management resources. Along with finding a storage solution for newly created video content, the Kings organization had a myriad of content portraying their legacy dating back to the team’s inauguration in 1967. There were questions surrounding how they could protect and archive these 50 years of hockey history. During the team’s 2007-2008 season they were generating about 100 GB of data and in the following year they doubled that amount. During the King’s 2011-2012 Stanley Cup season, they were creating about 7 TB of data per week. Today, they generate between 32-35 TB of data per season. The amount of data being creating continues to increase year by year and they found there was only one solution that could store that data for years to come.
As the King’s video production team began looking at different data storage solutions, they were amazed with the minimalism and scalability of an active archive system. An active archive system allows both standard data archiving and deep data storage. LA Kings’ active archive solution includes a Fujiflm StrongBox T30, also known as the Dternity S30 with T30 and 75 terabytes of licensed NAS capability. The Dternity S30 is connected to a 48-slot Crossroads tape library. The open LTFS (Linear Tape File System) was also a key factor in the Kings’ decision.
For the Kings to invest in a long-term data archiving system, they needed a format that was open source and non-proprietary. Part of their storage strategy was planning for formats that had a long-life span, with the ability to outlast its original hardware and maintain data integrity for a long amount of time. The data they’re saving today is important to their brand, their partners, and their loyal fanbase now and into the future.
Years ago, the Kings just simply didn’t have the means possible to save all of their footage throughout history. So, the team set out to solve the problem by creating an active archive by standing a Dternity S30 behind their production Storage Area Network (SAN). Acting as an archive appliance, this allowed for static data to be offloaded from the SAN to the more economical tape-based storage tier. As part of the extensive evaluation of storage solutions, the organization realized they were spending too many man-hours on storage management and too much money on storage capacity with hard drives and LTO tape drives. With this new solution, only “hot” data resides on the performance-oriented spinning disk storage tier, driving down overall storage costs. Even better was the ease of implementation. The training session required only 15 minutes before the active archive solution was set up and serving data. The team noticed a significant savings as CAPEX was reduced by utilizing the more cost-effective, tape-based solution and OPEX was reduced by streamlining storage management. The Fujiflm StrongBox T30 delivers cost-effective scalability as data quantities continue to rise and offers greater peace-of-mind as the team’s data is mirrored and fully protected with off-site storage.
Now, the LA Kings Hockey team doesn’t have to worry about deciding which highlights to keep or game film to store because they can save everything. They have the ability to capture any angle of any shot from any game and keep it for future generations to enjoy. It’s nice to know that 100 years from now, the Kings will have access to these archives, including the original raw footage from the 2012 Stanley Cup Championship.