“For any organisation that needs to store tens of terabytes of video data, MatrixStore is the appropriate solution,” says the (incorrectly-deinterlaced, badly-dubbed, content-repeating ahem) marketing video. For their system, you need three (count ’em) RAID storage clusters, and the cost is ~$1,000 per terabyte of stored data. MatrixStore seems to be one of the cheaper and, thus, more exciting long-term video archival platforms, and it’s built to work with Final Cut Server.

Well, OK. Let me count up the bits that are spinning away on my desk right now:

  • 1Tb media RAIDs: 3 off.
  • 500Gb backup/archive drives: 3 off
  • 500Gb Time Machine drive: 1 off
  • Other drives: 320, 250, 160Gb: 2 off, each.

Rrrright. So… in two years, I’ve spawned about five gig of data, roughly-roughly. And I’m about to go high-def, shooting a fully-digital workflow (so, no tape backups).

I’m about a year, perhaps eighteen months, away from wanting to archive ‘tens of terabytes’ of video data. But there’s no way I’m in the market for an archival system that’s in the £20,000 bracket. Not a hope that I could pass that cost on to my clients: it might work for broadcast, but that’s not the world I’m in any more.

Yet my only real alternative, currently, looks like a Drobo, which tops out around 2.8Gb. As far as I’m aware you can’t span across multiple Drobos. One might tide me over for a while, and even at current prices it’s not far off DV tape costs (well, double, ish – could be worse), but ultimately… yikes.

So my question is: how unusual am I? How rare, really, is a need for expandable, redundant storage in the 10Tb+ bracket?

My guess? ‘More common than you might expect.’ Keep your eyes open for sales figures of AVCHD video cameras, particularly mid/high models like Panasonic’s HMC150. You don’t buy one of those unless you’re planning to use it quite a lot, but currently, there isn’t a really sane long-term storage plan for the things. If the HMC starts to eat marketshare from HDV cameras, there’s the market for ‘low-end’ media archiving in the 10Tb+ range.

Of course, the quick way out of this would be a Drobo with eight drive bays. If I start the rumour, do you think it might happen?