Answered By

Damien Le Moal

Distinguished Engineer

Why Did Western Digital Join the Streaming Video Alliance?

Western Digital has long been at the forefront of game-changing data storage innovation. From the invention of the first hard drive to recent advancements in 3D NAND, our journey of innovation continues.   While networking challenges often come to mind when considering video related services, video streaming can only be as good as the performance of the system memory and storage subsystems used to deliver it. Western Digital’s expertise in storage devices and storage system designs can help unlock high performance and quality of service for video data ingest and delivery.   Western Digital builds its products using open standards such as SCSI, ATA, and NVM Express® (NVMe™). These open storage standards foster system design and implementation innovations by enabling multiple vendors to create interoperable solutions. Western Digital joined the Streaming Video Technology Alliance because we believe that defining best practices and specifications for video delivery is a natural extension to storage standards, enabling the interoperability of video optimized storage devices with systems delivering high-quality video at scale.   Positive interactions between the standards governing the interfaces of different system components can emerge from the SVTA work. For instance, a service may benefit from using storage features such as the ATA Native Command Queuing (NCQ) command priority control or the SCSI/ATA Command Duration Limits feature set. These features enable traffic latency characteristics to be assigned to storage access commands, enabling the storage device to better optimize command scheduling according to command deadlines or priority. This optimized scheduling, can enable SLA/QoS guarantees for the Open Caching and Edge Storage frameworks as defined by the SVTA.

What Do You Believe is the Biggest Technical Challenge Facing the Streaming Video Industry the Alliance Can Help Address?

The rapid worldwide growth of streaming video traffic combined with the increasing adoption of high-quality video resolutions (4K/8K) and virtual reality technologies brings new network infrastructure challenges for service providers. Network edge caching solutions can reduce the strain on service networks but increase the potential cost of implementing content delivery services by multiplying the number of servers and appliances. All downstream caching nodes need a sizable amount of storage space to hold the most popular video titles. Such globally distributed systems are a big technical challenge.   The specifications and standards developed by the SVTA, such as the Open Caching framework, help content providers move video content closer to the end user, building out resources to the edge of network and even potentially into the home. Layered on system components based on storage standards, such as operating systems (Linux®), file systems (POSIX), and storage devices (SCSI, ATA, NVMe), the SVTA specifications can enable a multi-vendor ecosystem of content delivery service providers at various layers above the storage. This makes the overall content delivery ecosystem more diverse and fosters innovation at all levels.

How Does an Organization Like the Streaming Video Alliance Bring Value to the Industry?

The value of open standards created as the result of technical discussions and consensus between different competing companies is significant and has been repeatedly proven in various areas of computing and networking. All modern hardware and system software are built on open standards like SCSI, NVMe, TCP/IP and POSIX, just to name a few. The SVTA standardization work can have a similar impact on the streaming industry, allowing both commercial and open-source solutions to leverage system and hardware features to improve video delivery and quality of service as well as system performance.

Damien Le Moal

Distinguished Engineer

About

Western Digital is on a mission to unlock the potential of data by harnessing the possibility to use it. With Flash and HDD franchises, underpinned by advancements in memory technologies, we create breakthrough innovations and powerful data storage solutions that enable the world to actualize its aspirations. Core to our values, we recognize the urgency to combat climate change and have committed to ambitious carbon reduction goals approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. Learn more about Western Digital and the Western Digital®, SanDisk® and WD® brands at www.westerndigital.com.
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