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Anthem Sports & Entertainment Massively Improves Reliability and Productivity, Consolidates 10 Channels of Broadcast Content onto Qumulo

Case Study from Qumulo

Fri 12, 03 2021

Media and entertainment company eliminates data silos and gets crippled workflows performing with simple to manage and extremely scalable Qumulo file data platform

Anthem Sports & Entertainment Inc. is a television production and multimedia company that produces and broadcasts entertainment, sports, gaming and theatrically released films and documentaries. Anthem has offices and studios throughout the world, and broadcasts 10 channels in Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Middle East.

Anthem’s rapid file-based data growth created a heavy load on its legacy systems, which
were dispersed for different environments.

“We needed an innovative new approach to centralizing and optimizing our data.”
– Ryan Barnes, Supervisor of Technical Implementations & Maintenance at Anthem

Anthem got what it needed and much more with the Qumulo file data platform. Qumulo’s powerful, scalable platform is built to radically simplify the complex workflows of the media and entertainment (M&E) industry and other file data-intensive sectors.

Roughly 90% of Anthem’s data is video content, with another 10% representing graphic images and text documents. Teams use a wide variety of applications including Imagine Communications for system automation, Amazon AWS Elemental for encoding video streams, and Telestream Vantage for file transcoding.

Many of Anthem’s applications access the same file throughout the production workflow. However, the company’s decentralized file data infrastructure resulted in data sprawl and multiple file copies for different applications and distribution channels. Because IT had to copy files to different departmental servers, duplicate data wasted essential capacity. IT spent hours of time each week managing disparate servers for performance, capacity, and security.

The legacy infrastructure largely consisted of an aging media server, JBOD media and Blu-ray optical storage. Rack space was at a premium and energy expenses were high.

Even more importantly, the environment had serious performance and availability issues and could not efficiently scale.

Innovative New Platform Optimized for M&E

The aging media server was at capacity, plus it was causing significant errors that impacted workflow.

The IT team researched new solutions and quickly decided on Qumulo. IT ordered a seven-node Qumulo file data platform that
was optimized for M&E with real-time operational analytics, radically simple data management, an API that automates provisioning and application integration, and massive scalability.

Barnes said, “One of our design requirements is easy expandability and upgradability. I want to avoid doing forklift replacements every few years. We did talk to a few other vendors, but none of them could give me a clear answer about scalability. With Qumulo, it was straightforward. You just choose a node type, buy it, and slide it into the cluster. Done.”

Anthem Boosts Productivity with 225TB+ Managed on Qumulo

Implementation was straightforward. Once Qumulo was up and running, previous problems vanished and productivity increased. The IT department no longer had three or four legacy system service issues to address each week. Qumulo file data management and consolidation reclaimed wasted space and accelerated performance.

IT centralized active file data onto Qumulo, migrating around 200 terabytes to the new platform. Today, IT stores more than 225 terabytes of Anthem’s core data. Should the company need to expand in the future, it’s a simple matter of adding new nodes to automatically scale capacity and performance.

“Consolidating all these systems onto Qumulo has been a huge benefit. We don’t have to spend hours each week keeping the systems running. Qumulo virtually manages itself and its performance is simply phenomenal.”
– Ryan Barnes, Supervisor of Technical Implementations & Maintenance at Anthem

Barnes described the difference once Qumulo arrived. “Replacing our legacy systems with Qumulo has been night and day. We have better performance and reliability, and we’ve seen improvements across the board. And since Qumulo is capable of so much more than our old systems, we now have time to focus on strategic and operational advancements – areas we never had the freedom to focus on before.”

Productivity Boost

Data consolidation onto a central platform improved data security and data management, which freed up to 500+ labor hours annually and allowed the IT team to focus more time on innovative, high-priority new projects.

Increased Performance

Transparent folder views made it simple for workgroups to manage folders for size and throughput. Higher performance also improved the user experience with flawless playback.

Analytics and visibility

Anthem traffic managers easily meet contractual obligations for show schedules, airings, and commercials with Qumulo file logging and tracking. IT uses analytics for proactive troubleshooting, trend tracking, and optimizing the file data platform for even greater efficiency and innovation.

Consolidation and radical simplicity

By consolidating core data onto Qumulo, Anthem achieved radical simplicity. Complex processes run simply off a single file data
platform with centralized files for easy access.

“Thanks to Qumulo’s stability and performance, we’ve boosted productivity and no longer have to waste time troubleshooting storage and file issues. The Qumulo file data platform has radically
simplified our file data management.”
– Ryan Barnes, Supervisor of Technical Implementations & Maintenance at Anthem

Ongoing Innovation with Qumulo

Qumulo freed up the IT team to work on new technologies for the company, including a work-from-home solution for high-performance video workflows. The team is also using its time and resources to build an innovative IP-based playout system, which will enable Anthem to distribute content to Africa and the Middle East. And Qumulo significantly improved their VOD offerings by consolidating files and metadata into a single high-performance system.

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