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Bridging to the Cloud
09 August 2016

Bridging to the Cloud

Strange as it seems, despite the limited number of broadcasters around the world, they all appear to have different requirements, equipment and as a result; workflows.

Those workflows get ever more complex as the methods of distribution continue to expand. We may have taken on VOD and IP delivery, but we've not given up on traditional broadcast. As I write this, Wimbledon is on. In the UK the first colour television was broadcast by BBC2 for the Wimbledon coverage on July 1st 1967. Yet, the last analogue TV signal was not finally turned off until 24th October 2012 and in 2013 there were still 13,000 households in the UK with black and white TV licences. So, don't expect to be shedding the older distribution methods anytime soon.

Increasingly I am now hearing from many broadcasters; that some or all of their workflow will be in the cloud within five years. Many are not sure what yet, nor what 'the cloud' will mean to them, but they are sure something will have to happen.

However, how will they transition? A bit like the joke about asking for directions the first answer might be; “if I were you, I wouldn't start from here!”

Those playout servers are not going away anytime soon, they still need to be included in any workflow redesign. What about the archives? It would be great to have them in the cloud but even if they were all digitised, it’s not going to happen quickly, is it?

So, some part of our workflows are going to be rooted to the facility for the foreseeable future. However, a bridge between those bespoke, in-premise workflows and the new agile cloud based ones will be needed.

cloudsmallMarquis Broadcast is working on two areas that will be vital to this transition. The first is to enable our workflow automation engine, Medway, to be a bridge between in-premise and in-cloud. Medway can talk to myriad different systems, we've been solving workflow problems in production and broadcast for over 15 years, so we've learnt a lot about how to talk to all those different systems. By implementing support for S3 storage we will be able to hook the cloud into existing workflows, either as an archive destination, for content distribution, or as an archive source.

The second way we intend to help is by dramatically changing the costs of using in-cloud media. At present, pricing of cloud storage is often arranged to make it cheap to upload and store, but expensive to download content. Our proven Partial File Restore (PFR) technology that has been in use in Quantum and XenData archives for some years, will be available to use with S3 cloud storage too. That means only having to restore the 10 second goal rather than the full 90 minutes of a soccer match.

Now we can start to imagine a measured transition from on-premise to in-cloud, slowly enabling individual parts of those complex workflows to be moved, without disturbing the rest, which everyday broadcasts rely upon.

For more information, please visit us at IBC on booth: 7.G05

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Chris Steele

Managing Director
Marquis Broadcast

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Marquis moves media and metadata between different systems in broadcast and post-production workflows.

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