Digital video is carving out a new niche for storage networking vendors, and recent innovations in the motion picture and TV industries have several suppliers pumped to deliver new wares.
We expect to ship more than a petabyte of storage this year, says Brett Goodwin, VP of business development at Isilon Systems. He says the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate that all television broadcasters use high-definition video by 2006 is key to opening the market for new storage products. All major broadcasters are in the process of moving to digital. None of them are quite there yet.
Isilon sells a product called the IQ system that includes a storage server, software, and 1.44 Tbytes of disk capacity that can be clustered. The company lists Paramount Digital Entertainment, Technicolor, and Research Channel as customers. Goodwin says he will soon announce one of the major broadcast networks as a new customer.
Isilon's not alone. The growth of digital video has helped other broadcast-specific storage vendors find a foothold, including Rorke Data Inc. It's also opened new markets for traditional storage players such as EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP). And it's apparently given Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) a newly found place in storage networking.
Digital video is storage-intensive for several reasons. The files are large, and companies often save them in multiple formats, so storage needs to grow at a much faster rate than for enterprise data. Besides requiring extra storage for production and editing, video requires multiple content distribution points when it's ready to ship -- TV being only one of these. Distributors of digital video also are involved in satellite, DVD, and movie theatre distribution. What's more, digital video calls for transmission rates twice as fast as for analog video.