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MediaCloud and Object Matrix bring MatrixStore as a service to Africa

With increased demands for tapeless and cloud workflows, South Africa-based MediaCloud realised the need for a scalable and secure multi-tenancy storage platform, delivered as a managed service. To do this, it joined forces with object storage company, Object Matrix, to develop its own solution.

MediaCloud provides lightning fast internet, telecommunication and cloud solutions to the media industry across the country, enabling media companies to access and share content efficiently. MediaCloud had already been promoting and selling MatrixStore, the media-focused private and hybrid cloud object storage solution, developed by Object Matrix, as part of its existing service. MatrixStore makes it easy to discover and access content within your archive, all while keeping it secure. However, with increased demands for tapeless and cloud workflows, MediaCloud realised the need for a scalable and secure multi-tenancy storage platform, delivered as a managed service.

The Challenge

MediaCloud has had great success deploying MatrixStore on-premises across the region. However, with the growth of its client base, more and more media companies were demanding a Disaster Recovery setup, should anything unavoidable happen on-site. This could be achieved through installing a second MatrixStore in a separate building with seamless replication from the primary MatrixStore; however, with many companies limited to just one site, an alternative was needed.

Additionally, through working with a number of organisations, MediaCloud identified that many of its customers needed a tapeless and ‘easy-to-access’ storage platform, despite not having the space on-site for a MatrixStore solution.

Public cloud was an option, but there were limitations in terms of metadata, speed of access when uploading or downloading assets using only the public internet, and the costs associated with egress when needing content back.

MediaCloud had a list of requirements to meet the demands of providing seamless offsite Disaster Recovery to existing customers as well as MaaS (MatrixStore as a Service) to South Africa and beyond.

Requirements included:

Disaster Recovery – the storage platform needed to be fast and easy to access in the event of an emergency with a simple interface to access the replicated assets if or when needed. It needed to support multi-tenancy requirements as well as being secure, robust, cost-effective and scalable in order to meet growing business needs.

MaaS – the storage platform needed to be fast and accessible with a simple intuitive media interface for users. It needed to offer dedicated connectivity for fast access as well as public internet. It would need to be highly scalable for flexible use and highly secure to protect content. Integrations to existing workflows and applications would be necessary. The solution would need to be cost-effective, with predictable costs.

The Solution

Having worked with Object Matrix for many years, MediaCloud had a deep understanding of its technology and its benefits. MediaCloud chose to implement Object Matrix’s MatrixStore solution to deploy MaaS.

Having its own on-premises MatrixStore means that MediaCloud can now offer a fully-hosted cloud service – ‘MaaS’ (MatrixStore as a Service) and deliver all of the required benefits that its customers had been asking for.

The MaaS service provides MediaCloud customers with a cost-effective cloud storage service that is scalable and delivered through a secure and robust platform. Connectivity can be achieved over public internet or through MediaCloud’s fast dedicated network. Customers included South Africa’s three largest broadcasters, post facilities and production houses, including Red Pepper Pictures, Clearwater and Homebrew Films, as well as a number of the country’s largest advertising agencies, who were in short-term need of a solution like MaaS.

Access to MaaS is gained either via a file system on a local machine or using ‘Vision’, the web-based asset management tool that enables easy search and share capabilities. The commercial aspect of the service is very transparent, with predictable storage costs and no additional penalties to access content (egress).

MediaCloud has benefited from having a multi-tenancy platform which it offers to all of its customers. The platform can scale seamlessly and enables protection and security whilst providing customers with easy access to their content.

As a media-focused private cloud storage solution, MatrixStore is designed to meet the challenges faced by organisations when creating, ingesting, logging, editing, sharing, distributing and archiving video content. It can be deployed as a hybrid cloud platform, which means that it uses a mix of on-premises private cloud and third-party, public cloud services, with orchestration of content between the two platforms. This allows content to be shared as needed whilst being tightly integrated to ensure seamless synchronisation of content and metadata. MaaS’s integration with AWS enables global collaboration and further elasticity.

The Workflow

MediaCloud hosts MatrixStore in its secure facility with a number of vaults (workspaces) per customer, customised to their requirement to enable multi-tenancy from a single platform. Thanks to tight security and audits, MediaCloud ensures that each customer is only able to access their own archive. Additionally, individuals within customer organisations can be assigned different permission levels within the archive.

Customers can access their files via the following methods:

  1. Vision: A simple and intuitive web interface which enables users to view lower resolution versions of the content within the archive and access the high-resolution versions when required. Assets can be found using extracted or tagged metadata. Proxies can be played out and content can be easily shared within the network.
  2. DropSpot: A data asset management tool that allows users to tag objects with metadata during ingest.
  3. MatrixStore File System (MXFS): A locally-mounted file system giving access to content in the MatrixStore. Users can browse, playback and perform basic edits using MXFS.

With MaaS, MediaCloud can give fast, low-latency connectivity to its customers, with many mainly using the solution as a nearline archive.

The Future

MediaCloud now offers a highly-successful service that is heavily in demand. Due to its scalability, the service can also grow with demand. Currently focused in South Africa, MediaCloud is hoping to expand the service to the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

Marc Eckstein, Managing Director of MediaCloud, commented, “I am really excited to be working closely with Object Matrix to deliver a service. Object Matrix really understands us, our clients, and the challenges faced. Its solutions are perfectly geared towards media workflows and can integrate easily with any combination of different systems. Thanks to this implementation, we can now offer our customers storage as a service that can be scaled at any time, is extremely secure, performs well, and is easy for them to access whenever needed.”

Peter Watling of Object Matrix added, “MediaCloud is a great company with a similar ethos to us. Like us, MediaCloud specialises in the media industry and has a team of media experts, meaning it can deliver a high level of technical knowledge and support. That, coupled with a specialised world-class solution, is a winning combination for its clients across the region. We are now in a great position to offer offsite Disaster Recovery for existing customers and MaaS to organisations across sub-Saharan Africa, which is very exciting.”

Written by Nick Pearce-Tomenius, Sales and Marketing Director, Object Matrix




Object Matrix at Mediatech Africa

Object Matrix will be demonstrating its media focused private and hybrid cloud solutions at Mediatech Africa 2019.

This includes the company’s recently launched analytics, monitoring and statistics tool, Sense. Sense enables the collection of real-time statistics of storage infrastructure usage, real-time monitoring of hardware and analytics of both usage and the types of information being stored. Sense is a framework that can also deliver monitoring, analytics and statistics to alternative dashboards or that can be used stand alone as the central place to view and analyse how assets are being used.

At Mediatech Africa 2019, Object Matrix will also be discussing how it has helped organisations such as BT, ITN, Orange, and many more, by implementing its object storage platform. Having replaced LTO libraries or aging storage silos, its customers can now monetise their archive and connect with global teams.

The company will also be presenting on how it is helping some of the world’s biggest sports brands and associations to implement private or hybrid cloud storage platforms to satisfy the constant demand from their communities for more content.

Visit Object Matrix at Mediatech Africa 2019, taking place from 17 – 19 July at the Ticketpro Dome, Johannesburg.

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