Pick Two—Why Video Cloud Storage Before Storj Couldn’t Be Fast, Secure, and Low Cost

August 9, 2022

Recently, Storj CMO, Rosi Pongracz, and Storj VP of Product, Jacob Willoughby got together to talk about how Storj achieves The Trifecta of Video File Sharing and Storage. It was a fascinating look at how after all these years of cloud storage, traditional providers still can’t give video production studios and agencies what they really need from storage. Specifically, they want it to be fast, secure, and low cost.

Rosie and Jacob did a great job of explaining why a “pick only two” dilemma exists in video cloud storage and why that isn’t sustainable for where video production is headed (hint: into the cloud). They also introduced Storj as a video cloud storage provider and how it is possible to eliminate the pick two dilemma and get video file sharing and storage that is fast and secure and low cost. This article aims to provide the highlights from the webinar, but click through to get the video replay for deeper insights and great Q&A.

Video Production Needs to Move to the Cloud

Motion Picture Laboratories, Inc. (“MovieLabs”) is a nonprofit research and development joint venture founded by the major Hollywood studios. MovieLabs is driven to find innovative solutions to industry challenges shared by both our member studios and the broader ecosystem. As part of the mission to drive innovation in video production, they created a 2030 Vision stating that over the next 10 years, video production will be moving fully to the cloud. The core principle of their vision is that “All assets are created or ingested straight into the cloud and do not need to be moved.”

Of course this vision will not be realized overnight. The report states, “For this principle to be realized, the industry needs hardware, software, and cloud vendors to work together to design cloud-integrated systems that can securely create, encrypt, validate and store captured assets in cloud object storage over advanced data communications networks.” This requires taking a critical look at existing cloud storage and considering what needs to change to make this happen. Because media creators can’t sacrifice their productivity, the security of their video, or their budgets in order to get to 100% cloud production.

Traditional Cloud Storage is Not Meeting the Needs of Video Production

There are many great things about cloud storage and the advancements that have been made using their platforms. However, there are some existing challenges—particularly for large file storage like videos—that don’t seem to be going away.

Problems with Traditional Cloud Storage for Video

  • Few isolated data centers - this results in slow and expensive file transfers. In other words, really long upload/download times for geographies not close to the data centers.
  • Oligopoly economics - there is a pricing lock in, making it difficult to switch. Plus, many charge large egress fees, which are painful for media creators who want to remove a large video file from storage.
  • Hardware churn - the data center model brings high costs to the users and to the environment.
  • Target for hackers - data centers are a “honey pot” of data for hackers to attack which drives up the costs for users due to security and puts data availability into question.
  • Limited resilience - the data center model requires users to pay extra for data copies to be made and stored. If those premiums are not paid, it can result in long disaster recovery times and availability problems.

These issues are ones that video production studios and agencies have been struggling with for years. And when considered holistically, they boil down to the fact that you can only get two out of three of the main asks for video. You just can’t get fast, secure and low costs with traditional cloud storage.

You Can’t Have Fast, Secure, AND Low Cost with Traditional Cloud Storage

As the illustration from the webinar conveys, the combination of any two factors results in a miss for the third factor.

  • Fast + low cost = no built-in encryption or security measures so at risk should disasters occur, but also fast is typically only true for a few regions.
  • Fast + secure = high cost for encryption and immutability as well as regional distribution or CDNs to improve speed.
  • Secure + low cost = cold storage where you pay extra for egress and performance is slow and availability is low..

Today’s reality is that the pick two dilemma is causing issues with video production such as:

  • Lower productivity - Too much time spent uploading and downloading files.
  • Paying too much for storage - Stuck relying on NAS, only using cloud storage when absolutely needed.
  • Light on security - Sacrificing security for lower cost and risking critical files with no backups.

Before video can move fully to the cloud, these issues need to be solved.

Storj Is Built for Handling Large Video Files

Jacob Willoughby, Storj VP of Product, introduced how Storj uses a different model for cloud storage that is actually optimized for large files like video. Instead of having a small number of data centers, Storj uses a globally distributed model for storage where over 15,000 storage nodes are distributed throughout more than 100 countries.

Traditional Cloud Storage
Storj Distributed Cloud Storage

These storage nodes are connected in an open-source and transparent network that is completely zero-trust. That means no one except the data owner can access the data. It is the highest possible security for data as each file is broken into lots of pieces and spread out across the storage nodes. So accessing a node won’t give you access to the data. This design feature also makes it super fast because only a small number of the file pieces are needed to reconstitute the file so they can be taken from the storage nodes closest to the request. That means no CDNs are needed to get performance at the edge.

Storj Allows Video Creators to Pick All Three

The evolved cloud storage model that Storj uses allows video creators to achieve the trifecta of what is needed in video production—video sharing and storage that is fast, secure, and low cost.

Fast performance - Storj runs parallel uploads and downloads for optimal speeds. It also uses erasure coding (that is the technology that breaks the files into many pieces). This eliminates latency in video file sharing. And because data is stored at the edge geographically, it can be served at the edge, further speeding file transfers. Storj also enables video streaming and is faster than CSPs for video. Learn more about the technical details on how Storj is so fast for video sharing in this blog post.

Highest security - Storj was designed and built with the highest security measures that are standard for all users—that means no added cost. Storj has client-side encryption so Storj can’t see the data. Hackers must find and compromise the right 29 storage nodes just to get an encrypted blob. And the file backup (created automatically) is on 80 different storage nodes. Basically, it isn’t possible to breach Storj. Additionally, access control is decentralized for the highest level of ransomware resistance. Learn more about Storj’s incredible security features from this security content hub.

Low cost - The biggest benefit of using Storj for video sharing and storage is the economic model. Without expensive data centers and security experts to protect those data centers, Storj is significantly less expensive than traditional cloud providers. In fact, cost comparisons show it to be an average of 1/10th to 1/40th the cost of AWS (see Storj pricing). Beyond the flat storage costs, Storj has multi-region distribution and encryption standard. There are no minimum storage terms, no tiers or contracts, and most importantly, no egress fees.

GigaOm analyst, Enrico Signoretti, recently wrote a report on using the Storj model for video cloud storage use cases. The report details how the decentralized object storage model (what Storj uses) solves the problems with traditional cloud storage for video. Signoretti specifically profiles Storj in the report and noted the incredible economics. “The benefits of the Storj solution for users in the video industry are clearly visible in terms of total cost of ownership when the reasonable $/GB is associated with ease of use and the productivity improvements coming from decentralized network technology.” Learn more from the GigaOm video use case report.

Storj Works With Video Management and Collaboration Platforms

The webinar wrapped up talking about how Storj works with video management and collaboration platforms (see this blog post for more details). Studios and agencies are using Storj for project file storage, global file sharing, video file backups, and raw video file storage. Rosie also highlighted a partnership example with Iconik. Iconik is a cloud-native video management and collaboration solution that gathers and organizes media securely from anywhere. In the past year, Iconik has seen media data grow 132% - that’s 52.6 petabytes, with 144% more data added to the cloud. Iconik recognized early that all that data has to go somewhere and it shouldn’t cost as much as traditional cloud storage.

Mike Szumlinski, Iconik CRO, explained that, “Iconik is working with Storj to provide fast, secure decentralized cloud storage to our customers in media and entertainment—over 60% of our customers are in M&E. Openness is one of our key values, and giving our customers the choice of where they can store their data is important. Storj helps Iconik customers by providing blazing-fast CND-like performance at cold storage prices. With Storj’s end-to-end encryption, security is built in, making it easier than ever to securely store your media assets in the cloud.”

The webinar clearly demonstrated that Storj is a viable alternative for video sharing and storage that is a step in the right direction to getting video production into the cloud to realize the MovieLabs vision. And it does it by achieving the trifecta for video—fast AND secure AND low cost cloud storage.

Want a deeper dive and to hear the Q&A? Watch the on-demand webinar here.

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