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The TrailerFarm

Game On: Active Storage Powers Cinematic Game Trailers

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153 TB
client data
stored
~50%
budget
freed up
100s
of hours saved
per year

Guy Mayhew, Regional IT Manager, Southeast U.K., Keywords Studios

“I used to get lost in Glacier Deep Archive. The Backblaze interface lays everything out really clearly. It’s much, much faster, and I can immediately find what I need.”

Situation

For The TrailerFarm, a creative agency specializing in game trailers, archiving projects in Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive and using G Suite (now called Google Workspace) for backups worked early on. But then Google changed their data limits, and Amazon’s retrieval fees racked up as they scaled. So, they sought an active backup and archive solution that could grow with the studio.

Solution

The TrailerFarm transferred data from Glacier Deep Archive to Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage using Backblaze’s Cloud to Cloud Migration and migrated data from their Google Accounts to Backblaze B2 via their on-premises NAS. Now, active projects are backed up nightly, completed projects are backed up weekly, and staff can easily access archives going back to year one, all on Backblaze B2.

Result

The TrailerFarm achieved faster, easier storage at around half the cost of what they were paying for Glacier Deep Archive. Without having to deal with cold storage delays and retrieval fees or worry about overage charges from Google, The TrailerFarm team is free to focus on what they do best—taking the high score for seriously good game trailers.

collage of TrailerFarm video game trailers
The TrailerFarm logo

The TrailerFarm, a Keywords Studio, is a U.K.-based cinematic production house and creative agency for game developers and publishers of all sizes, with marquee clients including Atari, Hutch, Sony, and Sega. They help to take new games to market with campaigns that achieve 10 million downloads on Android alone. Their hype-worthy content spans from bespoke trailers for game launches to complete art and video assets for full marketing campaigns, all at a price point that works for outfits from indie game developers to AAA labels.

Beating the Final Boss: Studio Streamlines Workflows

When game franchises like Angry Birds, Just Cause, Borderlands, and Player Unknown Battleground want a trailer for a new release, they don’t want a few cutscenes thrown together. They want a trailer that tells a story—one that gets people excited and has them waiting by their computers, credit card in hand, to buy the game as soon as it’s released. In short, they want “seriously good game trailers”—and that’s exactly how The TrailerFarm describes their work.

Established in 2011, The TrailerFarm started as a boutique agency founded by a handful of directors based in Brighton, U.K. Over the years, they grew the studio and invested in technology to support everyone from indie game developers to AAA game franchises expected to sell over one million copies. After becoming part of Keywords Studios in 2019, business took off, and today, they have a staff of 38 and work with a bench of more than 40 freelancers.

The studio grew massively, and their video files more than kept pace, stretching from 4K just a few years ago to 8K today. And all that data has to be stored somewhere. The TrailerFarm needed an active backup and archive solution that could support their emerging next-gen workflow as the studio took on more clients and produced higher resolution videos.

stills from TrailerFarm video game trailer

Data Growth Maxes Out Storage

When the team was smaller, The TrailerFarm stored their data in a few different places. More recently, for fast on-premises storage, they invested in a Dell Isilon NAS HD400 to hold archives and used Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive to back up those archives going back to their founding. They kept active projects on another Dell server equipped with Perforce Helix Core software for version control. To back up the Perforce server, they created two accounts on Google’s Business plan, which offered unlimited storage at the time.

As new projects came in, they moved older projects off the active Perforce server to the archives in Glacier Deep Archive. “There’s a limited amount of space locally on the NAS, so the Amazon data kept increasing over time as new projects came in and pushed older projects up to Glacier Deep Archive,” Guy Mayhew, the southeast U.K. regional IT manager for Keywords Studios, explained. Mayhew joined the team in 2015 to help find solutions to the gaming industry’s unique IT needs, including managing huge amounts of data while keeping workflows uninterrupted.

Taking Damage: Retrieval Fees, Cold Delays, and Storage Caps

“I’d have to wait for hours because there’s so much data and so many millions of files on Glacier Deep Archive. I regularly had people coming back 
to me asking if the files were ready.”

Guy Mayhew, Regional IT Manager, Southeast U.K., Keywords Studios

The TrailerFarm initially chose Glacier Deep Archive because it was cheap, but the promise of budget storage broke down as staff increasingly needed to pull old projects up for new work, leading to large retrieval fees and costly cold storage delays. Retrievals from Glacier Deep Archive can take up to 48 hours depending on the tier, and Mayhew was the only person on staff who could navigate the interface. Even he found it confusing at times. “I’d have to wait for hours because there’s so much data and so many millions of files on Glacier Deep Archive. I regularly had people coming back to me asking if the files were ready,” Mayhew said.

In the end, they were spending more and more budget on storage that was supposed to be inexpensive, and Mayhew was spending hours every week searching for files. As his role expanded to managing not just The TrailerFarm’s IT needs, but other Keywords Studios locations as well, he couldn’t afford to spend hundreds of hours a year digging through the archives.

Mayhew had been growing weary of Glacier Deep Archive for some time, but the tipping point came from another front in the storage battle. When Google changed their storage limits for the Business tier, what used to be unlimited storage for $12/user/month was suddenly capped at 2 TB. He considered upgrading to Google Workspace Enterprise to maintain the unlimited storage, but the quoted price would stretch a budget already constrained by Glacier Deep Archive fees. With nearly 100 TB of data he needed to move from Google and increasing costs with Amazon, he knew it was time to find an active archive and backup solution that could grow with the business, rather than hampering workflows.

Active Storage Earns Action Points

Mayhew evaluated a few different storage solutions based on cost, reliability, and ease of use. “Other providers had hidden challenges and charges. Backblaze is transparent. After that, it was a combination of access, reliability, simplicity, and the proximity of the European data center that made Backblaze the right choice for us,” he explained.

Using Backblaze’s Cloud to Cloud Migration with the Glacier Vault connector, Mayhew moved approximately 150 TB of archive data from Glacier Deep Archive to Backblaze B2 with no downtime. “The migration process was really simple for me. The Backblaze team just relentlessly kept it all going and sent me regular updates. I would absolutely recommend Backblaze for that reason—the communication was so easy compared to Amazon,” Mayhew said. He then moved around 100 TB off of the Google accounts, down to their local NAS, and up to Backblaze B2 as well.

Now, their full archive going back to year one resides in Backblaze B2. Completed projects are stored locally on their Dell Isilon NAS and backed up to Backblaze B2 weekly. Active projects are kept on their on-premises Perforce server, which backs up to Backblaze B2 nightly. “We’ll still use Google for collaboration. The NAS allows people to access recent projects quickly, and Backblaze is our enormous store where we keep everything as a third place for extra safety,” he explained.

“The migration process was really simple for me. The Backblaze team just relentlessly kept it all going and sent me regular updates. I would absolutely recommend Backblaze for that reason—the communication 
was so easy compared 
to Amazon.”

Guy Mayhew, Regional IT Manager, Southeast U.K., Keywords Studios

illustration of TrailerFarm media workflow using the cloud

Backblaze B2 Unlocks Invincibility Mode

“It’s great not to spend so much time digging around in Glacier Deep Archive. If we can get better service, it’s easier, and it costs less, we’ll take that any time.”

Guy Mayhew, Regional IT Manager, Southeast U.K., Keywords Studios

Mayhew said his Amazon bill dropped almost 50% within weeks of getting started, even before he was done clearing data out of Glacier Deep Archive. Following that quick win, he also avoided overage charges from Google by moving data out of their Google accounts.

With an active archive and easy-to-use interface, his team can easily access files they need with no delays. “I used to get lost in Glacier Deep Archive. The Backblaze interface lays everything out really clearly. It’s much, much faster, and I can immediately find what I need,” Mayhew explained. He’s no longer the only one who can find old files, saving him hundreds of hours each year.

The time savings come at a key moment for Mayhew as he takes on more responsibility for Keywords Studios. “I’m the regional IT manager for the southeast U.K., and I’m temporarily helping out some studios in London as well. I’ve got less time, so it’s great not to spend so much time digging around in Glacier Deep Archive,” he said. “If we can get better service, it’s easier, and it costs less, we’ll take that any time.”

Making seriously good game trailers demands a production pipeline that can scale to suit projects and clients of any size. With seriously good storage that eases production workflows, The TrailerFarm team can focus on what they do best—creating hype-worthy content for both the next big game and the biggest games out there.

space battle scene from a TrailerFarm video game trailer

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.

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