Why load balancing will be a key (albeit hidden) component of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Why load balancing will be a key (albeit hidden) component of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Media Published on 3 mins

Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee this June with a series of events to mark a staggering 70 years on the throne. The focus will very much, therefore, be on re-living all that's happened to the royal family in those 70 years. But that means digging deep into the media archives...

Many moons ago, some poor intern at the BBC likely had the job of digitalizing all of the archived royal photos and tapes (negatives and 8mm films, remember those?!), and somehow categorizing that content, in the hope they could one day be retrieved.

These old images are the very things that transport us, immediately, to a particular moment in time, when we were with family and loved ones at some of the nation's most memorable moments: the Queen's Coronation (1953), the Queen's Silver Jubilee (1977), Golden Jubilee (2002), Diamond Jubilee (2012), and the funeral of her late husband, Prince Philip (2021).

The digitalization of archive footage

In the late 1980s/early 1990s film editing moved away from tape decks to computers, with scanners becoming digital. To begin with, old 8mm films were transferred to digital formats using interlacing, which allowed images that were previously viewed on movie projectors to be viewed on tube televisions.

However, the arrival of High Definition (HD) televisions led to the digitalization of archive footage to a much higher resolution. The sheer volume of these files and the need to organize and retrieve them calls for a high-performing, high-capacity storage solution.

The need for object storage

Object storage applications solve this problem by consolidating all of this unstructured data into a single, dynamically-scalable storage environment, with data stored as distinct 'objects' - with rich metadata tagging to store user-defined content information, allowing for rapid search.

These object storage solutions are typically compatible with popular Media Asset Manager (MAM) software (e.g. Evertz) which provides an intelligent interface for users to be able to actually access these archive files.

Maximizing the benefits of object storage

Supporting Her Majesty and the object storage applications that hold precious, archived footage of her and her family, is the humble load balancer - maximizing the benefits of object storage through safe storage, performance, and high availability.

How does it work?

Load balancing improves responsiveness and increases the availability of these object storage applications by distributing network or application traffic across a cluster of servers. So while most object-based data storage vendors promise unlimited scalability as one of their biggest strengths, load balancing is ultimately the driving force behind it, ensuring that performance is never compromised as the demands made of these applications increase.

ADCs also provide essential health checks and immediate failover to an alternative server in the event of a system failure, or essential maintenance. Without a load balancer, most data storage vendors would use a simple round-robin DNS solution which is not entirely reliable when a storage node fails, thus failing to offer high availability, or protection against data loss.

So in order to adequately meet customers’ data demands, it is important for storage vendors to add load balancers to their storage clusters.

Why is a dedicated load balancing solution so important?

It is imperative that storage vendors can guarantee a set level of performance. This can be hard when customers use their own load balancers, especially when it provides load balancing for other products. If another application places a large demand on the load balancer it can have a negative impact on the storage vendors' guaranteed performance, resulting in a typical "noisy neighbor" situation. This can lead to a compromised experience for the object storage end-user, and additional troubleshooting to identify the issue.

So there you have it. Load balancing - the unsung hero of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee : )

We'll be cheering you on, Your Majesty, along with the rest of our UK office (and probably a couple of other million people worldwide). Have a great day, and enjoy reminiscing over those magical moments from the last 70 years...

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