Baron & Baron

Building a Future of Self-Serve, Readily Accessible Content

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7K+
LTO Tapes
Eliminated
0
Hours Wasted on
Manual Retrieval
30
Years of Client
Content Protected

Rocco Russo, IT Director, Baron & Baron

“I’d rather build the system and manage the system than be the system…. We needed an automated, self-service system, and Archiware and Backblaze provided that.”

Situation

Rocco Russo, IT Director for the creative firm Baron & Baron, for years archived the agency’s work to LTO tape. It was time-consuming, and made using older content unfeasible for creative teams. As the agency started producing video and rich interactive content, it only got worse. Creating a secure backup and self-service archive became a top priority. All the more so after Hurricane Sandy came far too close to swamping their servers.

Solution

Russo chose Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage for backup and archiving of his big media files because it was the best value. He used the Backblaze Fireball rapid ingest service to upload hundreds of terabytes of content to the cloud quickly and seamlessly. He thoughtfully layered Archiware P5 over Backblaze B2 to make all archived content readily accessible for his creative team.

Result

With Backblaze B2, Russo unlocks the Baron & Baron creative team’s ability to do what they do best with an accessible archive. After a quick and efficient transfer process, all of their media files are safely backed up to the cloud, ensuring that they’ll never lose work and can immediately reach the content they need.

collage of Baron & Baron images

All images provided by Baron & Baron.

Backblaze Fireball

Backblaze Fireball rapid ingest tool

Baron & Baron Logo

Since the late ‘80s, 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, 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 their capabilities including film, print, product design, digital, experiential, and everything in between.

collage of Zara Flowerbomb images
No Time Lost Moving Content to the Cloud

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 that 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, Russo 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 Russo 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.

Since 1989, Baron & Baron has led the creative vision behind print and digital advertising for some of the world’s most celebrated luxury fashion and beauty brands. Their bread and butter is traditional print advertising—magazine ads, billboards—produced digitally with Mac workstations. Since Russo started working as Baron & Baron’s in-house IT director over 20 years ago, as much has changed in this full service agency as the fashions and styles they promote.

Now their business has grown beyond traditional print advertisements and they’re 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.

“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

Baron & Baron office table

Tied up in Tape

For years, Russo’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 Russo’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.

Cloud storage was a natural choice because of its ability to be always available. However, Russo’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.

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. The Baron & Baron creative team generates large Photoshop and Illustrator files, InDesign layouts, and video content which Russo initially struggled to back up to the cloud and manage in an archive.

“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

collage of Baron & Baron video stills

Taking Advantage of New Cloud Options for Media

Then Russo 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 also came highly recommended by his preferred integrator, New York-based T2 Computing.

Russo 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. Backblaze 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 Russo to back up his data to Backblaze B2 while continuing to back up to tape locally as a second copy. In addition, Russo will be able to use Archiware for archiving completed projects, and has created a second B2 cloud storage bucket for archive.

To avoid any bandwidth limitations and speed up his first backups to the cloud, Russo used the Backblaze Fireball rapid ingest service. He did a full backup to the Fireball and sent it back to a Backblaze data center where it was uploaded securely into his Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage 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.

“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

collage of Baron & Baron fashion shots

Rolling Out More Cloud in their Workflow

With backup in place, Russo’s next task was to set up archiving with Archiware, so that content from their decades of projects archived to LTO can be readily available when creating new projects.

Russo has already created a dedicated Backblaze 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, the Baron & Baron creative team will also be able to search by keyword, add tags, and view video previews so they can quickly locate content stored in their archive.

Archiware archive admin screenshot

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 now been repurposed with incremental video editing stations.

Now with Archiware and Backblaze, Baron & Baron finally has a cloud solution to support its digital content creation without reliance on 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 Backblaze B2 and the Fireball, they got started much faster and found cloud storage easy to use and manage.

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 that 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 is purpose-built for ease, instant access to files and data, and infinite scalability. It seamlessly supports workflows via hundreds of third-party software integrations, or through direct APIs and CLIs. At only $5/TB of object storage per month (a fraction of the cost of the largest solutions), Backblaze B2 is priced so users don’t have to choose between what matters and what doesn’t when it comes to backup, archive, data organization, workflow streamlining, and more.