About the Customer

This successful Media & Entertainment Customer owns several film and television production studio sites, channels and streaming platforms. Having produced multiple award-winning films and television series and reaching a global audience, this Company is home to some of the most watched video content in the world.

Customer Challenge

Like most other film studios and content producers, this customer has historically relied on magnetic tape to store their legacy video content. In today’s Media & Entertainment industry, tape storage is costly and the data retrieval process is time-consuming.

Valuable assets are exposed to the risk of damage and deterioration over time, and opportunities for additional revenue generation from easily accessible and streamable content are lost. To overcome these challenges of cold tape storage, the Company launched a project to liberate their collection of over 8 PB of content to AWS. The ultimate goal of the project was to create a cloud-based data library that they could use to search, edit and stream their video content.

The data archive is large and complex, containing a variety of media types, data formats and types of encryption. For the Company to execute this migration independently, they would need to invest heavily in additional hardware and highly skilled staff over a timeline that was outside of their budget. The Company needed a solution that would facilitate the migration of their legacy content to cloud storage at maximum efficiency and minimum cost, with no risk of disruption to their day to day operations.

Our Solution 

Tape Ark are global experts in tape to cloud migration with extensive experience and demonstrated capability working in the Media & Entertainment industry. Tape Ark’s scalable technology stack and highly experienced team rapidly position data in the cloud, regardless of tape type and format. The unique cataloguing process contextualizes library metadata for enhanced searchability and greater discoverability, and efficient auditing processes offer an accurate indication of the expected cloud footprint for precise budgeting.

The Tape Ark team deployed their customized Mass Ingest Workflow to move the M&E assets from physical media to AWS, enabling the Customer to establish their online data library as desired.


The Tape Ark Mass Ingest & Restore Workflow

  • Tape Cataloguing – Tape Ark received the tape archive at the Mass Ingest Facility, in Dallas, Texas. Upon receipt of the archive, a media audit was performed which included photographing each tape, reading RFID data chips, and applying a supplier QR code. This created a detailed catalogue of tapes and hard drives for quick retrieval, should they be needed mid-project, minimizing the potential impact to the Customer’s day to day operations. The audit also provided crucial information regarding tape contents and data volumes for migration planning and cost prediction.
  • Data ExtractionData was extracted from the tapes and each file interrogated to ensure it was fully extracted. Each file underwent a complex restore process and detailed metadata was generated including media information and checksumming, for a central database. Tape Ark processed over 200 million files from thousands of backup media.
  • Data Upload – The data were securely uploaded to the Customer’s Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) bucket, ready for ingest into a custom built, cloud based MAM. Tape Ark worked closely with the Customer to define criteria for data tiering, as well as duplicate detection and removal in order to optimize the storage footprint.

The Tape Ark team also developed a custom uploader to take advantage of the high bandwidth available out of the Tape Ark Ingest Facility. The custom-built uploader accommodated the wide variation in file sizes and workloads and ensured maximum throughput at all times to deliver a fast and efficient data migration.

Amazon Web Services provides a highly scalable, durable and secure platform for data storage and archiving, all with lower costs and faster access times than on-premises tape storage. Using the AWS platform was straightforward thanks to the well-documented and featureful suite of services and products available. The AWS Professional Services Team engaged in the project provided unlimited support to ensure the migration was completed successfully and in line with AWS best practices.


Results and Benefits

The tape migration project took place at Tape Ark’s US Mass Ingest Facility, located in Dallas, Texas, over a period of 10 months. The project was delivered on-time and on-budget. The project accomplished its objective of successfully identifying and migrating all media files that could be restored from the tape collection. Over 8 PB of files were uploaded to the Customer’s AWS account with systematic error checking, remediation and validation.

With their video content unlocked and readily accessible, the Customer can now easily search, access and stream their previously tape-bound data. Advanced AI and ML tools available on the AWS platform today offer the opportunity to find further utility and value from legacy content. The M&E Company are now free from the costs of maintaining a physical tape library, and with no ageing hardware to maintain, can have greater confidence in the preservation of their archives, trusting AWS for replication and disaster recovery.