Case Study: AK Productions Increases Efficiency with Cloud Storage Solution

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AK Productions found out why economical and efficient cloud storage leads to a better workflow. The freelance company does video production for businesses and individuals, including international brands like National Geographic and the World Bank.

Aiden Korotkin, director of photography and editor, stays hands-on throughout each project. He shoots videos from start to finish, edits them, and then does post-work. Finally, he delivers the golden version to his customers. He saves footage and other data captured and changed each step of the way — tons of information.

Korotkin’s core services require AK Productions to have an extensive archive. He said, “If a client comes back in five years and wants to do something else with the project I shot, I better have it on hand.” How efficiently Korotkin accesses project information means a better workflow and more business from his clients.

Storing Sessions Safely

At first, Korotkin tried storing all his data on a three to six terabyte hard drive (HDD) and copying files to a backup. But the HDD got old and stopped working. The backup crashed too and, in the process, lost a couple of projects.

This experience led him to ensure that his video sessions were saved more securely. He invested in RAID technology, a redundant array of independent disks that distribute and duplicate data on a stacked set of drives. He bought a standard RAID HDD and a QNAP network access server (NAS), a box with several drives augmenting his standard computing storage. He investigated whether this was enough to keep his files safe.

Korotkin read that experts recommend a 3-2-1 system to protect data. It requires owners to have three copies of data with two copies on a different storage media and one copy in an off-site location. He had two replicas, the RAID HDD and QNAP NAS, but needed to keep a copy in a different place. This requirement led him to consider cloud computing.

Seeking Security and Efficiency from Cloud Computing

Korotkin had a one-year credit to Google Cloud storage and thought it made sense to use this benefit on-hand. Initially, everything went well. He grew confident of keeping all his files on Google Cloud, including those on the HDD and NAS. But as he accumulated and tried to back up more data, the problems started. Korotkin explained:

“After uploading project files as a batch, I could not figure out which files went with which projects. Lists upon lists of files appeared alphabetically, making it confusing. I could not locate the needed information. Later, the 12 terabytes of videos and project files I assumed uploaded to Google Cloud had disappeared, after my HDD failed. I had received no error message when backing them up, and I thought they were there.”

So, Korotkin turned to Google support, a string of blogs, to try to troubleshoot. He said:

“Google has too many options and five different right answers. Following Google’s steps leaves five to ten different ways Google Cloud functionality breaks. A Google Cloud engineer or developer could make sense of all the possibilities. Although I am pretty technology savvy, I experienced Google Cloud’s platform as super confusing and chaotic.”

Korotkin later learned that Google architected a “whole back end IP platform integrating with its cloud.” This engineering made Google Cloud very complicated. In the meantime, questions emerged for Korotkin about Google’s security and privacy, from a steady stream of articles about how Google collects and uses customer data.

AK Productions wanted to move completely away from Google and even the G-suite. Korotkin needed an alternative, economical, and practical cloud storage with a user-friendly interface. After further research on DuckDuckGo, Korotkin decided to transfer his data to Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage.

An Efficient Cloud Storage Solution

Backblaze caught his attention as he read different reviews. Customers touted Backblaze’s simplicity, security, and user-friendliness. When Korotkin contacted Backblaze, he found a responsive vendor, helping him find the best options.

Transferring the 12 TB of data from Google’s Cloud, while keeping business up and running had worried Korotkin. Moving large amounts of data from one cloud storage service to another can be costly, time-consuming, and complicated. Furthermore, he had many drive failures when backing up to Google Cloud; he feared data corruption and loss of integrity of the files he had.

Backblaze put AK Productions in touch with its partner organization, Flexify, to simplify Korotkin’s cloud migration. The company leveraged cloud internet connections, moving customer data more quickly. This ability allowed Flexify to migrate data at 10 Gbps (up to 100 TB per day). As a result, Flexify shifted AK Productions’ 12 TB of data in 12 hours. Korotkin “could not be happier.”

Flexify not only migrated AK Productions’ information incredibly quickly; it also checked that all the data ported over and was intact. Toward the migration’s end, Flexify noticed that some files did not upload completely. The company’s support team responded immediately, providing some of the best tech support Korotkin ever received.

Customer Support with Empathy

That Flexify and Backblaze handled Korotkin’s files carefully gave AK Productions comfort. “They had no idea that I gave them my very last copies to transfer,” he remarked. From AK Productions’ perspective, Backblaze and Flexify gave customer support with empathy. Korotkin stated:

“From the moment I reached out to Backblaze for a better idea about their cloud storage to the migration from Google and onward, Backblaze has been responsive. Customer support has stayed with me through the entire data migration. I have been in touch with Victoria at Backblaze. Not only did Victoria check on the transfer of data, but she continues to be in touch with me today, making sure I am doing well with the cloud storage. Even as Victoria moved to different teams, she still asks if I am ok.”

Time and time again, Backblaze has gone above and beyond, assisting AK Productions. With Korotkin’s data transferred to Backblaze, it worked with Korotkin to configure his QNAP NAS to upload to Backblaze B2. As a result, Korotkin could archive his remaining 40 TB, stored on the NAS.

Hours saved from Backblaze’s and Flexify’s technical support gave Korotkin the most significant benefit. He adds, “I was spending between 30 minutes to an hour trying to figure out how to do simple tasks on Google.” Most of the time, making things work on the Google Cloud failed. Korotkin got a headache, “cross-eyed staring at my screen.” On Backblaze, Korotkin needs only five minutes to set up a new application key or sync to a third-party source.

An Economical Interface to the Cloud

In addition to excellent technical assistance, Korotkin felt that Backblaze’s portal to the video data stored on the cloud worked intuitively. Korotkin said:

“I am thrilled with how Backblaze cloud storage works. I can immediately see what has and has not uploaded. All the files on the cloud match the same size as those on my HDD. That alone has made this cloud experience invaluable, because of the background data needed to open a Premiere project and to link to everything else. I know files backed up without having to open each project, downloading expected data and double-checking. Knowing I have access to my files gives me peace of mind.”

Backblaze had the economical application Korotkin needed. It put him in the driver’s seat when managing his storage.

Google, while faster and cheaper, did not address AK Productions’ needs. Korotkin had to keep going back and troubleshooting Google Cloud, taking up more time and clogging his video storage and access process. Backblaze, on the other hand, provided smoother service through a partnership with Flexify, a cloud migration manager, excellent customer service, and a user-friendly portal into the files stored on the cloud. Backblaze’s economical solution gave AK Productions a more efficient workflow.

AK Productions’ success with Backblaze has convinced Korotkin to further store project media in Backblaze’s cloud. In the long term, Korotkin says that he will archive everything literally to Backblaze. Aiden Korotkin added:

“Moving forward, I definitely will continue to incorporate Backblaze through my NAS and continue backing up projects to the cloud. I cannot imagine having the workflow I do now without Backblaze involved.”

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