SVG Sit-Down: LH Computer Services’ Doug Cole on the Evolving Storage Needs of Sports-Content Creators

Huge amounts of data, cost-effective sharing, quick access to archive are major issues

South Florida-based LH Computer Services is a reseller specializing in video-storage solutions for media and entertainment applications and sports. SVG sat down with owner Doug Cole to discuss the latest trends in M&E-content storage, the company’s growing presence in sports-video production, and how the storage needs of sports operations large and small are evolving rapidly.

LH Computer Services’ Doug Cole: “The needs and growth of data are constantly changing. Bandwidth and storage configurations need to emerge to support the new workflows.”

For those in the sports-video industry that aren’t familiar with LH Computer Services, can you provide an overview of your solutions and some sports clients you have served in the past?
We offer solutions that provide next-generation storage platforms from the industry’s leading manufacturers. Our solutions are built on proven file systems that are purpose-built for video, providing reliability and performance from ingest to edit to playout and archive. We continue to support projects at clients such as the Miami Heat, Middle Tennessee State University, and Duke University.

Your team serves a variety of industries and offers a number of services. What do you see as your strengths in the sports-video marketplace?
LH Computer Services comprises highly skilled engineers and workflow specialists that work with our clients to architect solutions and manage projects from beginning to end. We remain engaged with our clients and become an external asset to their team to ensure that we keep them up-to-date on evolving technologies and provide assistance on any of their support needs.

As the video-production operations of teams, universities, leagues, and broadcasters become more sophisticated, how are the data- and content-storage needs of your sports-video clients changing? As their video libraries and archives grow exponentially each year, how can these sports users prepare for the future in terms of storage needs?
Our collaboration with our clients over time ensures that we are meeting the demanding needs of their video-content workflows. Scalable and cost-effective sharing and archive becomes a critical need for our clients, as content is always kept forever. The needs and growth of data are constantly changing. We always plan our solutions to meet the demanding needs of data growth and protection. With 4K, 8K, and beyond, bandwidth and storage configurations need to emerge to support the new workflows. Providing continuing education and recommendations to our customers becomes critical and beneficial to everyone.

For large sports-content creators that are building out large SAN infrastructures, how can they decide between Fibre Channel (FC) SAN, iSCSI SAN, or a mix of both? Which technology makes sense for which applications?
Large infrastructure and enterprise broadcast environments are always better suited for FC SAN architecture. With demanding workflows, high-resolution, high-bitrate recording formats require the low latency and high performance that FC SAN provides. With Ethernet speeds increasing to 10 Gb and beyond, we start seeing their play in smaller edit suites and edge-type solutions.

As a provider of hardware/software from multiple manufacturers, are there any particular technologies that you are excited about and/or are seeing a major demand for among your customers?
Cloud storage is creeping in here and there, but, with video and the demands required by sports teams to have content always available, it does not always provide a cost-effective model.

Are there any other major trends/customer demands you’re seeing in the M&E and sports marketplace right now?
Major trends continue to be the enormous amounts of storage required to support the high-resolution video that is taking over by storm. Quick access to archive to pull in older content for playout and re-edits for new shows continues to be the trend with my customers.

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