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Scott Salik had been in the video business long enough that he knows that sooner or later footage will become corrupt and a reliable back-up is crucial. The amount of video media storage he needed was growing faster than he could economically scale his current storage solution. With video being an instrumental part of the Youngevity marketing, Scott’s team needed to continuously create multilanguage, multi platform content to keep up with business growth. Instead of focusing on content, he was spending valuable resources on his aging overmatched infrastructure. It was time to flip the script.
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Founded in 1997, Youngevity is a leading omni-direct lifestyle company -- offering a hybrid of the direct selling business model that also offers e-commerce and the power of social selling. Scott Salik is the Vice President of Global Content and manages all the video content for all platforms in all countries for Youngevity.

A Little History

Early on, as Youngevity was just starting to use video in their marketing, finished video projects were small and could easily fit on a single external hard drive. Carbon Copy Cloner was used to make two copies of the original hard drives onto external hard drives. As protec-tion the 2 copies would then be stored in 2 separate locations off-site. The drives and media cards were labeled and their contents were recorded on a spreadsheet to keep track of all the projects and raw footage. This was the Youngevity archive.

Over time, working storage outgrew individual systems and local storage servers were introduced into the environment, with 24TB storage RAID servers being the current favorite. As storage space filled, another RAID was added and these drives were backed up on removable hard drives. Eventually, the server room was out of rack space for new equipment, while 4K video and increased complexity of each new video project seemed to require more and more storage. Making matters worse, it was difficult to delete anything as some projects required accessing assets as far back as the founding of Youngevity 20 years ago.

Marilu Henner

Marilu Henner

Actor, Author, Health Advocate

Challenge and Change

Video production for Youngevity has changed dramatically over the last few years. It’s now not unusual to have a half-a-dozen cameras on a shoot, with a mix of resolutions and multiple recording formats. It’s commonplace for the video editors and production staff to be scattered across the country or even the world. A given project creates huge amounts of video data that needs to be at the fingertips of the editing workforce so it can be sewn together with a myriad of other media assets, old and new, to create the desired product in multiple languages.

While storage management was the obvious problem at Youngevity, Scott instinctively knew that he also needed to improve the workflow of how video content flowed through his far-flung operation.

axle Video: Media Asset Management

After looking at several options, Youngevity decided on using axle Video as their Media Asset Management (MAM) system.Youngevity was able to quickly install the affordable axle software and then just point it at the media files on their local storage servers they wanted to manage. Axle automatically created low-bandwidth proxies that could be accessed from any web browser, captured file metadata and simplified quick tagging. From there it was easy for project stakeholders, producers, and editors to search, comment, mark, approve and annotate their media assets regardless of where they were located. In addition, axle was able to take media files from many different file formats and make them uniform from the editor’s point of view. For example, media files from 4K cameras, internal B-roll, YouTube videos, Vimeo and more could easily be worked on interchangeably.

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Extending Live Storage to the Cloud

Prior to starting this entire project, Youngevity compared the cost of adding more onsite storage to the cost of storing data in the cloud. One critical requirement was the ability to be able to quickly access and download files stored in the cloud from anywhere. By default, they did their initial calculations using Amazon S3 as their cloud storage vendor, but the high cost of S3, made the entire project a losing proposition. Undaunted, Youngevity continued to look for an affordable cloud storage solution – they found Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage.

B2 met all the performance metrics Youngevity required, but was nearly 75% less expensive versus S3 and the other leading cloud storage providers. In addition, B2 was integrated with many of the leading MAM providers, including axle Video.

Youngevity could ingest daily content into axle Video, tag it, and then move unneeded footage over the B2. Throughout the project, work-in-progress versions, as well as other extraneous files could be copied to B2 as well. At any time, whether they were working locally or remotely, editors could easily use axle Video to quickly retrieve any file they needed regardless if where it was stored: locally or in the B2 cloud. By using B2 in their workflow, they were able to store more data without having to purchase, install, and manage additional local storage.

Cloud Storage as an Archive

The final phase of the project was to upgrade their current archive of external hard drives to something more durable and easier to access – B2 was the answer. First, they had to economically get the data from the “archive” to B2. For that, Youngevity used the Backblaze B2 Fireball data transfer service to easily move over 70 terabytes of archived media files to B2. It worked like this:

Once the data is in the B2 bucket it is was ready to be accessed and downloaded as needed. Axle's built in archive function seamlessly integrates with B2, making reliable 1 click archiving possible and placing years of video media at the fingertips of the Youngevity editors. In addition, Youngevity now has the ability to handle outside requests for the “archived” media files. Each file stored in B2 has a unique friendly URL that allows the URL user to download the specified file. With B2 and axle Video, Youngevity’s old closet dwelling media archive was now a readily available editorial resource and also a secure cloud-based archive.

What’s Next?

As Youngevity becomes familiar with their new found capabilities, one idea they are considering is using the B2 Fireball service to collect data at various recording events. Video would be stored on the B2 Fireball on site and then sent to Backblaze to be downloaded to the Youngevity account. Once downloaded, files can be indexed by axle Video and be available to the project editors regardless of where they are working.

Today, Scott and his team have a flexible, manageable workflow for their video assets. Scott believes that cloud storage, specifically Backblaze B2, will be a key technology for Youngevity for years to come. For Youngevity, B2 not only protects 20+ years worth of media assets, it is the data backbone of their media asset management system. The most important consequence of using B2 is that Scott is spending less budget on his infrastructure and less time worrying about losing assets. That leaves Scott and his team more time to spend creating and delivering innovative and engaging video content that will help drive Youngevity’s global growth.
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