Understanding Modern DAM Scalability Challenges and How to Deal With Them


When the topic of scalability in DAM implementations comes up, many tend to think of it in terms of quite straightforward quantitative metrics, for example:

  • How many digital assets a DAM system can hold.
  • The number of concurrent users supported.
  • Delivering high-bandwidth assets like videos to a global audience.
  • How quickly media proxies like previews and thumbnails can be generated.
  • Processing activities like zipping ad-hoc collections of assets.

These are all legitimate scalability concerns but in the majority of current DAMs, these have either been addressed or where they have not, it is because the vendor has elected to cut some corners in the design and implementation of their system.

Even quite modestly capitalised firms can now rent a highly scalable cloud infrastructure offered by one of the major providers like Amazon, Google, Microsoft etc.  Configuring this properly and setting it all up still requires some non-trivial engineering and development skills, but the know-how exists and is readily available.  Scalability (as measured by the criteria given above) is now more of a choice DAM software developers make rather than a limitation imposed upon them by how deep their employer’s pockets are.

From the above analysis, many might consider that scalability (as it applies to DAM solutions) is a ‘solved problem’.  As I will discuss in this series of articles, however, that would be a dangerous assumption to make.  What has occurred is that other scalability issues which previously were hidden or not considered important have now increased in both significance and potential impact.  Further, where scalability may have once been viewed as a low-level, technically-oriented topic, now it can cut across more managerial and strategic considerations as well.  This can make them far more demanding to deal with as a range of different stakeholders need to be involved.

In this feature article series, I will consider three key areas where the nature of the DAM scalability problem has changed and become more nuanced and complex.  These are as follows:

As is customary with DAM News feature articles, I hope to provoke some discussion and debate, further I will draw upon my experience working on real-world client DAM initiatives to illustrate my points.

The first article covers Digital Asset Supply Chain scalability:

As is frequently observed about supply chains of all kinds, they are only as good as their weakest link.  If your Digital Asset Supply Chain is dependent on some flaky or untested technology then you could have a hidden problem that might only reveal itself when a DAM API or connector is put under pressure and fails when you start to scale up.” [Read More]

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