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What’s the Diff: DAM vs MAM

Post Syndicated from Janet Lafleur original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/whats-the-diff-dam-vs-mam/

What's the Diff: DAM vs MAM

There’s a reason digital asset management (DAM) and media asset management (MAM) seem to be used interchangeably. Both help organizations centrally organize and manage assets —  images, graphics, documents, video, audio — so that teams can create content efficiently and securely. Both simplify managing those assets through the content life cycle, from raw source files through editing, to distribution, to archive. And, as a central repository, they enable teams to collaborate by giving team members direct access to shared assets.

A quick answer to the difference is that MAM is considered a subset of the broader DAM, with MAMs providing more video capabilities. But since most DAMs can manage videos, and MAMs vary widely in what kind of video-oriented features they offer, it’s worth diving deeper to understand these different asset management solutions.

What to Expect From Any Asset Manager

Before we focus on the differences, let’s outline the basic structure and the capabilities of any asset manager.  The best place to start is with the understanding that any given asset a team might want to work with — a video clip, a document, an image —  is usually presented by the asset manager as a single item to the user, but is actually composed of three elements: the master source file, a thumbnail or proxy that’s displayed, and metadata about the object itself. Note that in the context of asset management, metadata is more than simple file attributes (i.e. owner, date created, last modified date, size). It’s a broader set of attributes, including details about the actual content of the file. We’ll spell out more on that later. As far as capabilities, any DAM or MAM worth being called an asset manager should offer:

  • Collaboration — Members of content creation teams all should have direct access to assets in the asset management system from their own workstations.
  • Access control — Access to specific assets or groups of assets should be allowed or restricted based on the user’s rights and permission settings. This is particularly important if teams work in different departments or for different external clients.
  • Browse — Assets should be easily identifiable by more than their file name, such as thumbnails or proxies for videos, and browsable in the asset manager’s graphical interface.
  • Metadata search —  Assets should be searchable by attributes assigned to them, known as metadata. Metadata assignment capabilities should be flexible and extensible over time.
  • Preview — For larger or archived assets, a preview or quick review capability should be provided, such as playing video proxies or mouse-over zoom for thumbnails.
  • Versions — Based on permissions, team members should be able to add new versions of existing assets or add new assets so that material can be easily repurposed for future projects.

Why Metadata Matters So Much

Metadata is a critical element that distinguishes asset managers from file browsers. Without metadata, file names end up doing the heavy lifting with long names like 20190118-gbudman-broll-01-lv-0001.mp4, which strings together a shoot date, subject, camera number, clip number, and more. Structured file naming is not a bad practice, but it doesn’t scale easily to larger teams of contributors and creators. And metadata is not used only to search for assets, it can be fed into other workflow applications integrated with the asset manager for use there.

Metadata is particularly important for images and video because, unlike text-based documents, they can’t be searched for keywords. Metadata can describe in detail what’s in the image or video. For example, metadata for an image could be: male, beard, portrait, blue shirt, dark hair, fair skin, middle-aged, outdoors. And since videos are streams of images, their metadata goes one step further to describe elements at precise moments or ranges of time in the video, known as timecodes. For example, video of a football game could include metadata tags such as 00:10:30 kickoff, 00:15:37 interception, and 00:21:04 touchdown.

iconik MAM example displaying meta data for a BMW M635CSi

iconik MAM

Workflow Integration and Archive Support

More robust DAMs and MAMs go beyond the basic capabilities and offer a range of advanced features that simplify or otherwise support the creation process, also known as the workflow. These can include features for editorial review, automated metadata extraction (e.g. transcription for facial recognition), multilingual support, automated transcode, and much, much more. This is where different asset management solutions diverge the most and show their customization for a particular type of workflow or industry.

Regardless of whether you need all the bells and whistles in your asset manager, as your content library grows it will need storage management features, starting with archive. Archiving completed projects and assets that are infrequently used can conserve disk space on your server by moving them off to less expensive storage, such as cloud storage or digital tape. In particular, images and video are huge storage hogs, and the higher the resolution, the more storage capacity they consume. Regular archiving can keep costs down and keep you from having to upgrade your expensive storage server every year.

Asset managers with built-in archiving make moving content into and out of an archive seamless and straightforward. For most asset managers, assets can be archived directly from the graphical interface. After archive, the thumbnails or proxies of the archived assets continue to appear as before, with a visual indication that they’re archived on secondary storage. Users can retrieve the asset as before, albeit with some time delay that depends on the archive storage and network connection chosen.

A good asset manager will offer multiple choices for archive storage, from cloud storage to LTO tape to inexpensive disk, and from different vendors.  An excellent one will let you automatically make multiple copies to different archive storage for added data protection.

What is a MAM?

With all these common characteristics, what makes a media asset manager different than other asset managers is that it’s created for video production. While DAMs can generally manage video assets, and MAMs can manage images and documents, MAMs are designed from the ground up for creating and managing video content in a video production workflow. That means metadata creation and management, application integrations, and workflow orchestration are all video-oriented.

Metadata for video starts when it’s shot, with camera data, shoot notes or basic logging captured on set.  More detailed metadata cataloging happens when the content is ingested from the camera into the MAM for post-production. Nearly all MAMs offer some type of manual logging to create timecode-based metadata. MAMs built for live broadcast events like sports provide shortcut buttons for key events, such as a face off or slap shot in a hockey game.

More advanced systems offer additional tools for automated metadata extraction. For example, some will use facial recognition to automatically identify actors or public figures.

There is also metadata related to how, where, and how many times the asset has been used and what kinds of edits have been made from the original. There’s no end to what you can describe and categorize with metadata. Defining it for a content library of any reasonable size can be a major undertaking.

MAMs Integrate Video Production Applications

Unlike the more general-purpose DAMs, MAMs will integrate tools built specifically for video production. These widely ranging integrated applications include ingest tools, video editing suites, visual effects, graphics tools, transcode, quality assurance, file transport, specific distribution systems, and much more.

Modern MAM solutions integrate cloud storage throughout the workflow, and not just for archive, but also for creating content through proxy editing. In proxy editing, video editors work using a lower-resolution of the video stored locally, then those edits are applied later to the full-resolution version stored in the cloud when the final cut in rendered.

MAMs May be Tailored for Specific Industry Niches and Workflows

To sum up, the longer explanation for DAM vs MAM is that MAMs focus on video production, with better MAMs offering all the integrations needed for complex video workflows. And because video workflows are as varied as they are complex, MAMs often fall into specific niches within the industry: news, sports, post-production, film production, etc. The size of the organization or team matters too. To stay within their budget, a small post house may select a MAM with fewer of the advanced features that may be basic requirements for a larger multinational post-production facility.

That’s why there are so many MAMs on the market, and why choosing one can be a daunting task with a long evaluation process. And it’s why migrating from one asset manager to another is more common than you’d think. Pro tip: working with a trusted system integrator that serves your industry niche can save you a lot of heartache and money in the long run.

Finally, keep in mind that for legacy reasons, sometimes what’s marketed as a DAM will have all the video capabilities you’d expect from MAM.  So don’t let the name throw you off. Instead, look for an asset manager that fits your workflow with the features and integrated tools you need today, while also providing the  flexibility you need as your business changes in the future.

Backblaze will be exhibiting at NAB 2019 in Las Vegas on April 8-11, 2019.NABShow logoSchedule a meeting with our cloud storage experts to learn how B2 Cloud Storage can streamline your workflow today!

The post What’s the Diff: DAM vs MAM appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

What’s the Diff: Hot and Cold Data Storage

Post Syndicated from Peter Cohen original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/whats-the-diff-hot-and-cold-data-storage/

Temperature Cold - Data Delay: Seconds to Hours vs. Temperature Hot - Data Delay: None

It’s been common to use temperature terminology, specifically a range from cold to hot, to describe the levels of tiered service available to data storage customers. The levels have been differentiated according to how crucial to current business the stored data is and how frequently it will be accessed. These terms likely originated according to where the data was historically stored: hot data was close to the heat of the spinning drives and the CPUs, and cold data was on tape or a drive far away from the data center floor.

There are no standard industry definitions of what hot and cold mean when applied to data storage, so you’ll find them used in different ways, which makes comparing services challenging. Generally, though, hot data requires the fastest and most expensive storage because it’s accessed more frequently and cold (or cooler) data that is accessed less frequently can be stored on slower, and consequently, less expensive media.

The terms are still used by the major storage vendors to describe their tiered storage plans. Below, we’ll get into why these terms have become less useful for anticipating both storage cost and performance thanks to the advent of less expensive and more efficient storage offerings, such as hot cloud storage, that effectively offer hot storage performance at cold storage prices.

Defining Hot Storage

Hot storage is data that needs to be accessed right away. If the stored information is business-critical and you can’t wait for it when you need it, that’s a candidate for hot storage.

To obtain the fast data access required for hot data storage, the data is commonly stored in hybrid or tiered storage environments. The hotter the service, the more likely that it will use the latest drives, fastest transport protocols, and be located near to the client or in multiple regions as needed.

Cloud data storage providers charge a premium for hot data storage because it’s resource-intensive. Microsoft’s Azure Hot Blobs and Amazon AWS services don’t come cheap.

Data stored in the hottest tier might use solid-state drives, which are optimized for lower latency and higher transactional rates compared to traditional hard drives. In other cases, hard disk drives are more suitable for environments where the drive is heavily accessed due to their higher durability standing up to intensive read/write cycles.

No matter the storage media used, the workloads in hot data storage require fast and consistent response times. Some examples of the uses for this type of storage would be interactive video editing, web content, online transactions and the like. Hot storage services also are tailored for workloads with many small transactions, such as capturing telemetry data, messaging, and data transformation.

Defining Cold Storage

On the other end of the thermometer, cold (or cooler) data is data that is accessed less frequently and also doesn’t require the fast access of warmer data. That includes data that is no longer in active use and might not be needed for months, years, decades, or maybe never. Practical examples of data suitable for cold storage include old projects, records needed to be maintained for financial, legal, HR, or other business record keeping requirements, or anything else that’s of value but not needed anytime soon.

Cold data is usually stored on lower performing and less expensive storage environments in-house or in the cloud. Tape has been a popular storage medium for cold data. LTO, Linear Tape-Open, was originally developed in the late 1990s as a low-cost storage option. To review data from LTO, the tapes must be physically retrieved from storage racks and mounted in a tape reading machine, making it one of the slowest, therefore coldest, methods of storing data.

Data retrieval and response time for cold cloud storage systems are typically much slower than services designed for active data manipulation. Practical examples of cold cloud storage include services like Amazon Glacier and Google Coldline.

Storage prices for cold cloud storage systems are typically lower than warm or hot storage, but cold storage often incur higher per-operation costs than other kinds of cloud storage. Access to the data typically requires patience and planning.

Today, cold storage also can be used to describe purely offline storage — that is, data that’s not stored in the cloud at all, so sometimes when you hear about cold storage it is the old definition of cold storage: data that is archived on some sort of durable medium and stored in a secure offsite facility without a connection to a network. This could be data that needs to be quarantined from the internet altogether (also called air-gapped) — for example, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. (See our post, Securing Your Cryptocurrency, for more information on this topic.)

Traditional Views of Cold and Hot Data Storage
ColdHot
Cold cloud storageHot cloud storage
Access SpeedSlowFast
Access FrequencySeldom or NeverFrequent
Data VolumeLowHigh
Storage MediaSlower drives, SAN, tape, LTO, offlineFaster drives, durable drives, SSDs
CostLowerHigher

What is Hot Cloud Storage?

With the advent of storage services that combine high speed, availability, and low cost, differentiating between cold and hot storage has become more difficult. While structuring cloud data storage by temperature has been commonly used by the big, established cloud storage providers to describe their tiered storage services and set pricing accordingly, today there are other choices, including hot cloud storage, that cross the old boundaries to provide storage that is at the same time fast, available, and inexpensive.

The big providers of cloud storage — Amazon, Microsoft, Google — have been challenged by new players in data storage, who, through innovation and efficiency, are able to offer cloud storage at the cost of cold storage, but with the performance and availability of hot storage.

Services like our own B2 Cloud Storage fall into this category. They can compete on price with LTO and other traditionally cold storage services, but can be used for applications that are usually reserved for hot storage, such as media management, workflow collaboration, websites, and data retrieval.

The new model is so effective and efficient that customers have found it economical to migrate away altogether to cloud storage from slow and inconvenient cold storage and archival systems. This trend is continuing, so it will be interesting to see what happens to the traditional temperature terms as the boundaries between hot and cold blur due to new efficiencies, technologies, and services.

What Temperature Is Your Cloud Storage?

Organizations will vary in their needs so they’ll have different approaches to the question of where to store their data. It’s imperative to an organization’s bottom line that they don’t pay for more than what they need.

Have a different idea of what hot and cold storage are? Have questions that aren’t answered here? Join the discussion in the comments.

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If you’d like to experience the latest in hot cloud storage at cold storage prices, you can give B2 a try. Get started today and you’ll get the first 10GB free!

Note: This post was updated from March 7, 2017. — Editor

The post What’s the Diff: Hot and Cold Data Storage appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.