31 October, 2022

Explaining SymplyPERIFERY: The Power Of Metadata

Welcome to Part 6 of our short series explaining SymplyPERIFERY.

Video transcript

We’ve covered a lot already - so it’s time to talk about something that we’ve only touched on before. Metadata. Welcome to episode six of our short series explaining SymplyPERIFERY - our S3 native scalable storage solution.

Let’s get meta. Whatever that means. We’ve mentioned metadata several times in the course of this series. The fact that it’s encapsulated with objects and that it can be used to drive Perifery behaviour. But what is it? Metadata is… well it’s data about data. In our case it’s data that describes an object - a video file, an image, an x-ray, a legal document, or any other kind of object stored on SymplyPERIFERY.

This is what makes SymplyPERIFERY incredibly powerful and it’s also how you find your content.

Previously, we talked about how when content is written to disks in SymplyPERFIERY the data is always stored as two parts: object data and metadata. These are written strictly once and always remain physically encapsulated together. Unlike other object storage solutions that keep the data and metadata separately - typically in a database - SymplyPERIFERY is uniquely metadata aware as the metadata is stored directly alongside the object it’s describing.

Sounds interesting, but what does it mean?

In practical terms it means speed. If you’ve been watching our channel you’ll know that SymplyPEFIFERY is fast and one of the reasons for that is we don’t use databases. No database has to be stored on expensive flash media, and no databases to consume valuable CPU resources. And no need for the system to update both the object and a database containing the metadata about the object. That’s a lot of faff.

There’s also no practical limit on the amount of metadata that can be associated with any given object. With many S3 systems there’s a surprisingly small number of tags that can be added. Which is a shame really, because the more metadata you add the easier it is to find the content you want at a later date, in a day, a year or maybe in the next decade.

This becomes particularly powerful when you’re working on a project. Let’s take video editing as an example. Full projects comprising hundreds of files that get very dense when you’re working on a lot of different things. Personally, I do my editing in Adobe Premiere. I often end up with duplicates of music. It’s annoying. If I want to pull an 80s style synth track into my timeline I’d usually have to go through my file structure to find it. Or copy it. But there’s a solution for Adobe Premiere with our object storage. Perfirey Panel is a plugin for Adobe Premiere. Adobe allows certain developers to integrate with their API and create panels, which are the digital workspaces that facilitate a video project.

The Perifery Panel provides content browsing, advanced metadata search, metadata enrichment, and the ability to drag and drop files from your object store onto the Adobe timeline. So one place to look for new media and the ability to update descriptions of that media. For example, if you’re adding a clip to a timeline and want to add a note that it contains a shark jumping over a man then you can. And the panel will update the metadata on the SymplyPERIFERY storage itself.

You can also use Premiere to create new metadata fields and populate them with information. There’s no limit to what you can create or describe. Uniquely this happens instantaneously without having to save or carry out any other operations. The updated metadata or new metadata fields are automatically and instantly updated on SymplyPERIFERY. Users accessing the objects in real time via the SymplyPERIFERY browser will see the same metadata that you do in Premiere. And if you’re using an application such as a media asset manager, this will also have immediate visibility of the new and updated metadata stored with the object.

Game changing for projects at scale. And it’s made possible because SymplyPERFIERY stores objects along with the data that describes them. Storage that uses file systems can’t do this. Historically, with file systems, there was no good way to easily get additional metadata associated with a file - you needed a database to do that. So it’s more than likely that you needed a media asset manager.

Using the Perifery Panel you can have operators logging content, with the ability to directly enrich metadata from within Adobe Premiere. The enriched metadata is then forever associated with the object, so as the object moves through production, maybe going to other editors, other adobe applications, MAMs or transferring between SymplyPERIFERY clusters, the data and metadata remain encapsulated.

Next time we’ll talk about what makes SymplyPERIFERY more environmentally friendly than other systems along with how your PERIFERY cluster can scale almost infinitely.

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