NAB 2017

NAB Reflections: Scale Logic’s Bob Herzan on Media Storage Services, Handling the Sports-Content Explosion

Interoperability and simplicity are the company’s key goals

At NAB 2017, Scale Logic showcased its Genesis series storage and networking platform, including Genesis Unlimited, Genesis NX, and Genesis HyperMDC. However, it wasn’t just products on display: Scale Logic put its Media Storage Services front and center at the show. The offering provides post-warranty support for the most popular platforms in the industry, including MC/Isilon, NetApp, HDS, Cisco, and Brocade.

SVG sat down with Scale Logic President Bob Herzan during the show to discuss Media Storage Services, the growing popularity of Genesis Unlimited in the sports-production market, and how sports organizations are racing to keep up with the ever increasing flow of video content.

Scale Logic is heavily promoting Media Storage Services at the show. What do you believe makes this offering unique?
The Media Storage Services is definitely one of the biggest topics for us at the show because it’s unique and there are huge savings. We are truly not trying to sell somebody something; instead, we are trying to help extend the lifecycle of legacy gear. There is nobody that has the ecosystem in place like we do.

My partner has done this for 30 years, and he did it for the general IT market. He was able to come in and have this complete global ecosystem in place with 80 warehouses and the ability to support 120 different countries, as well as over 100 different product lines. So that in itself was unique. But, in this particular market, media and entertainment, it has really never been seen. It took several years for the resellers to understand what this meant, which is a very different relationship with your client. We are taking a longer-term look at your entire environment vs. that short-term mindset of “I want to sell you something.” We’re pioneering that, and we’re having a lot of success. We’ve got tons and tons of new customers around it.

Bob Herzan at the Scale Logic booth at NAB 2017

How does Scale Logic differentiate itself from competition in storage for the media and entertainment market?
On the product side, we are differentiating ourselves from other storage companies because [we offer] an ecosystem of products that allow us to do small, medium, or large deployments — all focused on the media workflow. So, when we approach a customer, it’s not about selling that one thing; it’s about getting fully educated on their requirements for budget and for the future and then presenting them options to consider before we drive down a specific path. Other companies are going to drive you down that specific path because that’s what they’ve got. I think [we have] a unique differentiator: more consultant first and then we focus in on partnerships that we have and develop the solution set.

I don’t even like even talking about us as a storage company nowadays because storage is just a landing spot. It has to work with all the different applications in the market, and that’s where we spend most of our time. Key point of our organization is heavily invested in interoperability.

Aside from Media Storage Services, what big product announcements are you making?
If I was to pick a product driving into the sports marketplace, I think our Genesis Unlimited platform is that product. We have seen a lot of interest in it here at the show. It completes a workflow solution that cannot be looked at as just a storage device. It’s a workflow appliance that we’ve been able to tune for the media market, giving the connectivity options they need in order to solve their workflow problems, such as Ethernet vs. Fibre Channel or both. It can do it all. That solves the first problem of connectivity and prepares [clients] for IP. We also cross all areas of operating systems with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It’s an appliance that plugs right in.

But that’s just the start of it. We’ve taken it a step further in supporting applications inside the appliance. If it’s being able to use archive or syncing technologies out to second instance or third instance, we’ve got that in there so that we can go right from the appliance to tape to disk and even out to the cloud. That’s all built in.

The second layer on top of that is workflow-specific: it may be an inexpensive media-asset manager or transcoders, for example. We have a very strong relationship with Telestream, so we can put their Vantage workflow engines right into the storage appliance and build in automation to do multiple transcodes and prepare [content] for edit or for distribution — all within that appliance. For the sports market, that means simplicity. We take out the complexity of the networking connectivity and limit the moving parts, so that [clients] can focus on creating the content.

[If you] have bigger sports venues that need something more than the Genesis Unlimited, then you migrate up to the Hyper MDC cluster. It’s the same functionality, but now you’re building in high availability, more scalability, multisite environment.

How are you seeing the needs of sports-content creators change these days?
There is a lot more content now being created at venues because of the different ways of bringing it in. The biggest trend is, [teams] are no longer looking at those four or five points of entry: they’ve got potentially tens if not hundreds of points of entry of content, and they are trying to manage that. Their world is getting a lot more complicated in terms of bringing in that much content, manipulating that content, and figuring out where the experience needs to go.