Plunging circulation figures for printed newspapers and magazines has coincided with an explosion in online and freelance video reporting. Tech-savvy individuals and small, nimble companies are having a big impact on how news is created, delivered and consumed.
Sydney, Australia-based journalist and videographer Munir Kotadia is in the thick of this news revolution. Over the last 15 years, he’s worked for Sky News, BBC World Service, IT Week and ZDNet. Last year, Kotadia established his own business, TechTV Productions, which produces news reports and videos about the IT industry.
Starting his own company was a big decision for Kotadia. Choosing the right technology tools to support his company’s growth was another critical move. Kotadia uses Seagate’s BlackArmor NAS 440 network storage server, which gives him instant access to multiple terabytes’ worth of HD video files. The four-bay storage servers are designed to provide reliable uptime and data protection for up to 50 workstations.
The speed and performance of Seagate’s network-attached storage (NAS) solution helps Kotadia quickly turn around high-quality video news reports for his clients.
“Online news sites are very demanding when it comes to setting deadlines,” Kotadia explains. “Finished video reports are often required in a matter of minutes, rather than hours or days after an event. If a story breaks, I have to access my archived footage immediately. Without a fast, reliable storage system, my business simply couldn’t exist.”
When social-networking giant Facebook recently announced updates to its privacy settings, for example, Kotadia quickly pulled together a story and video report using clips he had on file, including shots of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and consumers using Facebook on their laptops and smart phones.
“The Seagate BlackArmor system is my centralized media library for all my digital assets,” Kotadia says. “Whether I need a shot of a supercomputer, a beach or even a giraffe, I can find it.”
Before he switched to Seagate’s NAS solution, TechTV’s media files were stored on an ever-expanding number of external hard drives. The system was far from efficient; for Kotadia, it was “a disaster waiting to happen.”
“Unless I knew which hard drive I’d used to store the images from a specific shoot, I’d have to plug in each drive and manually look for the right files,” he says. “Sometimes I got lucky and found the image quickly, but usually it was a slow process. I was also paranoid about losing work due to hardware failure, so I’d make numerous backups. Within a couple of months, the system was completely unworkable and I had serious data-duplication issues.”
TechTV now runs its media library on Seagate’s BlackArmor NAS 440 system; its 8TB capacity is easily able to cope with the large file sizes Kotadia creates on a typical assignment. Three minutes of HD video, for example, consumes about a full gigabyte of storage space.
“Each day’s shoot usually produces between 5GB and 50GB of content,” Kotadia says, “and each of these videos and audio files is categorized, tagged, renamed and filed to make it searchable. When I come back from a shoot, my BlackArmor NAS system automatically backs up my PC and all its files, so I no longer have to worry about anything but getting the story finished.”
While Seagate has helped TechTV meet its deadlines more efficiently, the BlackArmor NAS storage system also protects Kotadia’s most valuable work assets—his photo and video files.
“Reliability is critical in this business, and this is where the BlackArmor solution really pulls its weight,” he says.
Strong Security, Better Sleep
The BlackArmor system is preconfigured with RAID 5-level (redundant array of independent disks) protection, so even if one of its drives fails, Kotadia has the peace of mind knowing that his media and backup files are still safe. In addition, the BlackArmor system’s included software provides scheduled and automatic full-system or incremental backup. The server software can also be configured so that small-business owners like Kotadia can choose the level of encryption security that’s right for them.
“I used to spend a significant amount of my time making backups and then backups of backups,” he explains. “Seagate’s BlackArmor system is definitely making me more efficient and helping me sleep better at night.”
Looking ahead, Kotadia said his continued creation of large media files means his current 8TB BlackArmor NAS system could be full within a few months. As his storage needs grow, he can simply replace his current drives with larger capacities.
“It’s essential that I can expand the capacity of the NAS system easily and quickly,” Kotadia says. “I knew the BlackArmor system would be a good addition to our technology equipment, but I underestimated just how valuable it would be. I trust the BlackArmor system to take care of my data, which means I can focus on my real job—which is to make more videos.”
Photo Credit: Zennith Geisler