CASE STUDY

Baron & Baron

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Cloud Dreams Become Reality at Baron & Baron

It was the kind of phone call an IT manager never wants to get. Hurricane Sandy had roared into Manhattan, leaving the Baron & Baron building without power for days. The creative professionals Rocco Russo supported at Baron & Baron had grown impatient, and were even threatening to drive into Manhattan and move all the servers, storage, and networking equipment offsite so they could work again. Meanwhile, Rocco was in Disney World with his family, calling his co-workers from attraction lines and begging them to not tear up his data center.

It didn’t take a hurricane to push Rocco to re-evaluate not only their disaster recovery strategy, but also their overall approach to backup and archive. He knew that LTO tape wasn’t working anymore and they needed to move to the cloud.
Baron & Baron Logo
Since the late eighties, Baron & Baron has been the driving force behind the creation and evolution of some of the world’s most celebrated luxury fashion and beauty brands. From longtime relationships with brands like Calvin Klein, Burberry, Giorgio Armani and Balenciaga, to fresh collaborations with labels including Coach and Christian Dior, Baron & Baron is committed to helping each client meet their own unique goals. As a full-service agency, strategic-thinking and artful expression are the common thread across all our capabilities including film, print, product design, digital, experiential, and everything in between.
Baron Cowgirl
Since 1989, Baron & Baron has been the creative force behind some of the world’s most celebrated luxury fashion and beauty brands, from Calvin Klein and Georgio Armani to Burberry and Coach. Since Rocco started working as Baron & Baron’s in-house IT manager over 20 years ago, as much has changed in this full service agency as the fashions and styles they promote. Their bread and butter has been traditional print advertising — magazine ads, billboards — produced digitally with Mac workstations.

Now their business has grown beyond traditional print advertisements and they are creating more and more video content produced on shared SAN workflows. And for both the print and video content, the source imagery has become much higher-resolution even in the last five years. That means more content to be stored, backed up, archived, and managed.
Baron Armani

Tied Up In Tape

For years, Rocco’s backup and archive policy for Baron & Baron’s content was writing the data onto LTO tape using Tolis BRU software. Since they were stored on tape, these backups and archives were accessible only with Rocco’s intervention. As Baron & Baron moved from strictly print media to also offer more video and rich interactive content, building a self-serve archive for his creative teams became a higher priority as well.
"We wanted to migrate away from LTO tape because retrievals were a manual process. I’m not onsite full-time, but I was the gatekeeper for content on several hundred LTO tapes. We needed our creative team members to be able to login and search for assets themselves."
- Rocco Russo, IT Director, Baron & Baron
Cloud storage’s ability to be always available made it a natural choice. However, Rocco’s early attempts weren’t fully effective because of media file sizes and bandwidth issues. He tried several solutions to back up just their non-video content and found it still couldn’t keep up with all their servers.
Baron Firebomb Ribbon
The cloud backup solutions he first tried were designed for smaller computers with fewer big files — not the sort of media produced by a creative agency.

Rocco struggled initially with cloud backup and archive because of the large file sizes their creative team generates. That includes Photoshop files, InDesign layouts, Illustrator, and video — all the media you’d expect from a digital advertising agency.

Taking Advantage of New Cloud Options for Media

Then Rocco learned about Archiware, a backup and archive solution that was powerful enough to handle big media files efficiently and also had cloud storage integration. Archiware was recommended by his preferred integrator T2 Computing, as well.
"I rely on a network of people I’ve worked with. We’re a complete Mac shop — both hardware and software — and T2 Computing have been Mac experts for 20 years. I trust them."
- Rocco Russo, IT Director, Baron & Baron
Baron Calvin Klein Airplane
Rocco told T2 Computing what his challenges were and they helped him put together the solution. Archiware had solid Mac support and integration with cloud storage. Backblaze B2 and Amazon AWS made the short list for cloud providers. B2 was chosen because it offered a much better value for the same level of service.

Working together, they designed a hybrid cloud solution with Archiware P5 that allows Rocco to back up his data to Backblaze B2 while continuing to back up to tape locally as a second copy. In addition, Rocco will be able to use Archiware for archiving completed projects, and has created a second B2 cloud storage bucket for archive. "I liked that it was one integrated solution instead of piecemeal. Archiware can do both backup and archive to the cloud together."

To avoid any bandwidth limitations and speed up his first backups to the cloud, Rocco used the Backblaze Fireball rapid ingest service. He did a full backup to a Backblaze Fireball and sent it back to a Backblaze data center where it was uploaded securely into his B2 account. After the Fireball was uploaded, he set up incremental backups directly to the cloud and got his users online so they could self-retrieve files. After that initial transfer was done with the Fireball, they found their network bandwidth keeps up for the incremental backups and other day-to-day uses.

Baron Dior iMac

Rolling Out More Cloud in Their Workflow

With backup in place, Rocco’s next task is to set up archiving with Archiware, so that content from their decades of projects now archived to LTO can be readily available when creating new projects.
"With our LTO archives, if we need something, we have to figure out how many seasons ago it was archived, think back to who was here working on it, then offload the files from tape and start looking around to find the project. There’s not any kind of metadata or preview to know what we’re getting, just a folder structure and file name."
- Rocco Russo, IT Director, Baron & Baron
Rocco has already created a dedicated B2 bucket for archiving, so he can begin un-archiving older projects off of LTO tapes to make them more accessible whenever needed. And with Archiware, they’ll also be able to search by keyword, add tags, and view video previews so they can quickly locate content stored in their archive.
Baron Dior

An Automated Solution for a Fully Digital Workflow

Much has changed for Baron & Baron in the past 10 years. Where before they printed handcrafted books and mounted boards to present to clients, they now use 8-10 GB Keynote presentations. Last year, they reduced their internal printer count by 50% and dismantled their spray booth for mounting boards. That Manhattan office space has been reused for new video editing stations.

Now with Archiware and Backblaze, Baron & Baron finally has a cloud solution to support this digital content creation that also allows them to move away from labor-intensive LTO tape. For years they really wanted cloud storage, but didn’t think it would work since each of their servers stored 30-100 TB of creative assets. With B2 and the Fireball, they got started much faster and find cloud storage easy to use and manage.
Archiware
"I'd rather build the system and manage the system than be the system. I couldn’t continue to be that guy sitting at the desk. We needed an automated, self-service system, and Archiware and Backblaze provided that."
- Rocco Russo, IT Director, Baron & Baron

About T2 Computing

T2 Computing provides the latest in computing, storage, networking and media hardware and software coupled with world class professional services to resolve a vast range of challenges leading companies face today. T2 specifies, designs, deploys and supports solutions for the most complex workflows, ensuring that the products and systems deployed correspond with clients' strategic and tactical goals.

About Backblaze

Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage has become the cloud storage of choice for content creators by offering extreme levels of content protection and instant availability at one-fourth the cost of the largest cloud storage solution. At only $5 per terabyte per month of content stored, creatives can finally get all of their content into a truly active archive, streamline their production workflows, and phase out expensive, hard-to-manage tape and disk archive systems.