The earliest cloud adoptions were around business processes, light graphics and offline editing. Improved network performance has marked the arrival of ‘heavy lifting’ cloud applications, libraries, transmission and post. Importantly it’s the business and operational benefits that have been driving these transformations.
Think of SaaS, S3 and IP and look forward 10 years – will the broadcast and media world be turned on its head? Perhaps rolling out a new media service could be rapid and inexpensive; ‘spin up’ on-demand services, applications, network and storage, add creative ideas, branding, scripts, talent, content, rights management, etc. and decide who you are going the deliver the service to and how.
Maybe this vision is overly simplistic, but even if it’s half true it’s a radical change. For large media companies’ complex migrations, this can’t happen overnight, often because of legacy of applications, workflows and assets’ metadata and media formats.
However good service providers and supply side vendors believe their shiny new cloud solutions are, there are still some very practical issues to overcome. Most of our broadcast and media clients don’t have the luxury of starting with a blank sheet of paper along with some brilliant business ideas which will drive revenue from day one and a million rights cleared assets already hosted in the cloud.
The vast majority of assets and workflows are still very much ‘bolted to the ground’ in billions of dollars of legacy infrastructure often with very complex live integrations, often between incompatible systems, which can’t be teleported into the cloud.
So the real journey is one of mitigating complexity and risk associated with the migration of live workflows into the cloud – maybe the villager had a point after all?
Don’t standards resolve all these issues? The reality is that standards simply bound the complexity but don’t guarantee interoperability and the situation is actually getting worse driven by the arrival of new camera formats. Often ‘proprietary standards’, highly optimised for acquisition efficiency and quality, don’t use professionally supported file formats, metadata, codecs, frame rates and resolutions. If we concatenate these with post-production codecs, transmission codecs, consumer codecs and preservation codecs, the complexity becomes astronomical.
We cannot assume a simple translation of ground based workflows into the cloud, we have to do better. Cloud and hybrid cloud operations require care and thought over decisions on all these topics.
Our experience of integrating ground based workflows with Medway our media centric middleware gives, us an excellent insight into the requirements of Cloud integrations and workflows. Our strategy has been to enable both pure play and hybrid Cloud workflows. Our product roadmap and recently launched developments reflect this vision with:
- Cloud hosted web services, for high quality transcode, legacy workflow support, and multi resolution 4K proxy workflows.
- Native cloud object storage support for both ‘on premise’ and ‘in cloud’, enabling large scale consolidation of storage infrastructure
- Cloud based partial file restore for media files to transform the asymmetric economics of cloud storage
In summary enabling live migration of legacy workflows to cloud will accelerate cloud adoption. However, the integration to legacy systems isn’t trivial, so our extensive library of such integrations, makes us a natural industry player within an open vendor eco-structure. We make it possible for ground and cloud workflows to co-exist. In other words; make the migration and integration practical and simple.
Only with such solutions can broadcasters decide when, how and if they move selected workflows to the cloud, making implementing this migration a business decision, de-coupled by the conventional technical complexities of integration with legacy infrastructure. This enables an agile response to an increasingly fast moving and competitive media delivery landscape.
This article was previously featured in TVB Europe February 2017