San Diego County Communications Office Adds StrongBox to Content Archive

“StrongBox has saved us a ton of money. It acts like disk – we don’t have to extend our SAN and we also don’t have to buy a separate tape system for long-term San Diego County content.” – Jose Villanueva, Producer, County News Center TV

The Challenge

Skyrocketing video content eclipses SAN capacity – drives the need for more scalable, cost-efficient storage

The San Diego County Communications Office can be found in a busy hum as County News Center TV editors prep this week’s stories. Video producer, Jose Villanueva, ensures content is top-notch for the many departments that the office serves. Part of that job is to ensure that past digital content is archived and protected for the future.

The San Diego County Communications Office (the SDCC Office) produces print and video for many county departments and distributes content on, which serves more than 70,000 monthly web visitors. Villanueva said, “We don’t throw anything away – footage from last year might be needed for a presentation or programming down the road.”

With video content on the rise, it quickly became evident that the seemingly simple and inexpensive task of keeping a couple of terabytes on external hard drives was futile. Hard drives were easily lost and after the second or third drive failure, Villanueva knew he needed a safer, more scalable storage option.

The SDCC Office deployed an EVO SAN system, but disks were soon teeming with content. Buying and maintaining more SAN storage was too expensive; deleting footage was out of the question. Villanueva needed tier 2 and tier 3 storage solutions to preserve terabytes of long-term, yet non-erasable content.

The challenge was the budget. How could the San Diego County Communications Office get the online availability of a tier 2 (disk) solution with the low cost and protection of a tier 3 (tape) solution?


The Solution

StrongBox delivers cost-effective tier 2 and tier 3 storage in one streamlined solution

The SDCC Office found its answer in StrongBox, a unique hybrid solution that protects content and keeps it accessible while minimizing long-term storage costs. StrongBox met both tier 2 and tier 3 storage needs with one streamlined solution. The SDCC Office delayed additional SAN purchases by deploying StrongBox as its protected active archive. Additionally, StrongBox delivers online data availability at one tenth the cost of disk.

StrongBox is a network-attached storage (NAS) solution that leverages intelligent caching along with Linear Tape File System (LTFS) technology, which delivers the performance of disk with the protection and low cost of tape that Villanueva needed. He said, “It’s great because StrongBox acts like disk – we don’t have to extend our SAN, and we also don’t have to buy a separate tape system for long-term content.”

Minimized TCO for long-term content

“StrongBox has saved us a ton of money,” Villanueva said with a smile. “We have about 25 terabytes of archival footage today, which we can expand easily with StrongBox.” Using a CatDV media asset management application, the organization moved data from its SAN into StrongBox, freeing up SAN capacity and delaying thousands of dollars of disk purchases.

The SDCC Office can now ensure the reliability of its content for many years because StrongBox harnesses long-lasting LTO 6 technology that boasts a shelf life of 30 years, compared to a three or four-year lifespan of disk. For this government organization, StrongBox provided long-term cost savings, fewer media refreshes, less power consumption, and minimized cost per gigabyte for online storage.

Content is always online and available to the County News Center TV team of editors, yet StrongBox continues to reduce operational costs such as power and maintenance. In fact, StrongBox reduces power costs by 95 percent compared to a disk alternative.

Simple to use in a streamlined workflow

Unlike the hard drive method, where “try this one, try that one” was commonly heard when searching for specific files, StrongBox empowers the County News Center TV team to streamline the workflow. Existing applications (like CatDV) can easily work with StrongBox. Editors simply access files from the CatDV application; they are never exposed to the underlying tape layer. StrongBox’s intelligent disk cache provides the performance that keeps active projects rapidly available, helping producers like Villanueva meet demanding deadlines. Editors can access content as needed, while files are always protected with one or more copies on tape.

Once data is archived, it can be deleted from the SAN to free up high-performance resources. Retrieving files from archive is as simple as drag-and-drop from a familiar application. Data is retrieved from StrongBox and available on the volume, where editors in the Mac and Final Cut Pro environment can use content freely. It’s simple, transparent, and requires no complex training.

The Bottom Line

StrongBox delivers protection and online data access at pennies per gigabyte

Faced with limited SAN capacity, a strict budget, an urgent timeline, and data volumes on the rise, the San Diego County Communications Office needed the most cost-efficient and simple-to-use storage solution that provided both performance and data protection. With StrongBox, the SDCC Office found just that. According to Villanueva, “We found the solution that delivered the most ‘bang for the buck’ that is also easy to use and simplifies our workflow.”

About the San Diego County Communications Office

The County of San Diego Communications Department produces print and video content for many county departments as well as County News Center TV creates unique content to distribute on the Web site, TV channel, or Facebook and Twitter. As traditional newsrooms shrink with limited resources, the County Communications office is dedicated to delivering information on how the county is working for its citizens and showcasing county activities that traditional media would not cover. Learn more at www.



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