A video networking company in StorageMojo?
Omneon isn’t new to StorageMojo. Their price list has been on price list page since January 2007.

Their booth was about 50 yards from Isilon’s and EMC’s and it was a madhouse each time I walked by. Partly that was because they were holding all their meetings there, but it also seemed like there was lots of traffic.

Building storage into an app
Founded in 1998, Omneon started offering storage in response to customer demand. They decided on a commodity-based cluster and built their own storage software, MediaGrid.

Their architecture hews to the post-array Google-style storage model:

  • No RAID – slices are replicated one or more times based on policy or demand
  • Single global namespace
  • Out-of-band meta-data servers manage content servers

<strike>They can rebuild a failed 1 TB drive in less than an hour.</strike> They can replicate the data from a failed 1 TB drive in less than an hour.  Just add 4 or 24 drive content servers to scale capacity. <strong>Update:</strong> My original wording was incorrect. Thanks to Bill Todd for elucidating Omneon’s mechanism.<strong> End update.</strong>

But that’s not all!
Omneon’s content servers do more than serve content. They put their unused CPU power to work doing jobs like transcoding – translating content from one format like HD to iPhone-suitable QuickTime.

Given the growth in multi-core processors that will become a more important part of their market appeal over time. Since they process files, not blocks, they have many more opportunities to add value than a modular array.

The StorageMojo take
Omneon made a lot of smart choices with their MediaGrid architecture. It shows how a company with a few bright engineers can build a basic storage utility to take advantage of low commodity costs.

Where they win is their integration with the application and the workflow. They’ve created a video utility that integrates ingest, post, media management and playout with the smart and scalable storage needed to make it all work.

Application specific storage writ large. They’ve taken the same storage the rest of us use and wrapped broadcast interfaces around it that broadcasters already know.

Comments welcome, of course.