“Cloud-Native” Is More Than Just A Concept At IBC 2022

As broadcasters and content distribution services continue to look for the most cost-effective ways to create and distribute content in the cloud, equipment vendors have shown the flexibility of their respective technologies to be operated remotely, with precision and efficiency.

At this year’s IBC Show in Amsterdam, countless exhibits will spotlight their support of workflows that are either situated on premise, in the cloud or a hybrid of both. Figuring out which one works best depends upon the business model, the desire for team collaboration, and the amount of content that needs to be created and delivered.

The big advancement this year will see a proliferation and a maturation of technology that has been “virtualized”, that is, designed to work as a microservice that can be turned on and off as required. In most cases this means placing the processing power and the application natively in the cloud, which can be accessed by anyone on the team from anywhere in the world. Prior to this year, customers have been frustrated with missing pieces of “cloud-native” workflows that have hindered smooth implementation.

For reference, a cloud-enabled application is an application that was moved to cloud but it was originally developed for deployment in a traditional data center. Some characteristics of the application had to be changed or customized for the cloud. On the other hand, a cloud-centric application (also known as cloud-native and cloud-ready) is an application that was developed with the cloud principles of multi-tenancy, elastic scaling and easy integration and administration in its design.

Here are a few examples of on-premise and cloud-native technology solutions working together that will be on display at IBC 2022:

At Stand 13.L104, 7.B19Dell Technologies will spotlight a number of hybrid cloud workflows that are enabled by its file-based storage product, Isilon PowerScale storage system, servers and network infrastructure for remote workflows. The company is partnering with NVidia at IBC this year to showcase next-generation IP broadcast workflows and how to simplify adoption of SMPTE ST 2110 standards. They will showcase IP-based content creation capabilities and the deployment of AI in the broadcast pipeline, from workstation to edge.

Dell’s PowerScale storage solutions provide the high-performance file infrastructure to support NDI and ST-2110 workflows, for a wide range of IP-based functions.

Dell’s PowerScale storage solutions provide the high-performance file infrastructure to support NDI and ST-2110 workflows, for a wide range of IP-based functions.

“Dell supports the hybrid model,” said Tom Burns, CTO, Media & Entertainment at Dell. “Object storage belongs in the M&E workflow, whether that’s a broadcaster doing up and out distribution for an ad-supported FAST TV channel, or it's an OTT service. There are still a lot of workflows that need performant file systems, such as PowerScale. Broadcasters are facing a data management problem. What workloads do they put in the cloud, what workflows do they put on the edge, and how can they make those two things work together?”

On the virtualization side, Dell’s PowerScale storage solutions provide the high-performance file infrastructure to support NDI and ST-2110 workflows, for a wide range of IP-based functions from ingest, transcode, editing, mastering, packaging, delivery and more. Dell Precision workstations, HDR Precision Color displays, VxRail, PowerScale and ECS storage, PowerEdge servers and PowerSwitch networking will all be on display at IBC.

On the cloud front, Dell Technologies’ Apex Hybrid Cloud provides options for shifting from Capex to Opex and adopting hybrid and multi-cloud environments by enabling consistent, secure operations with automation and orchestration across multiple environments—a data center, co-location facility, edge locations, and public cloud deployments.

Dell’s Apex Data Storage Services leverage PowerScale scale-out NAS technology designed for content creators, broadcasters, content delivery and video game developers seeking the high-performance and elastic scale in a Storage as-a-Service business model.

Over at Grass Valley (Stand 9.A01), the cloud-native GV AMPP (Agile Media Processing Platform) will be front and center. As of June 1st the company is no longer charging for Playout services on the microservices-powered platform. This will surely make it accessible to many more media and entertainment companies. This move builds on its GV Media Universe vision of providing a digital ecosystem that allows media companies to use on-premise, cloud or hybrid to build live production environments that suit their needs today, while adapting to future demands.

The built-in agility of AMPP Playout gives customers the ability to experiment with new types of live content without prohibitive up-front investment and enables them to increase yield-per-asset.

The built-in agility of AMPP Playout gives customers the ability to experiment with new types of live content without prohibitive up-front investment and enables them to increase yield-per-asset.

Media distribution today includes pop-up channels, feeds to social media, targeted advertising, and ad hoc requirements for major events in multiple languages. AMPP Playout addresses these requirements and supports future demands due to its flexible design and the ability to be both on-premise and cloud based, as well as being deployable across a diverse range of topologies mapped to fit the customer’s changing requirements.

“With AMPP Playout available for free, users can utilize on-premise, cloud and remote technology within a unified production ecosystem to create and distribute world-class content onto any platform, including linear television, online, streaming, and social media – from anywhere in the world,” said Neil Maycock, CMO of Grass Valley. “This is increasingly important, as playout needs to be orders of magnitude more flexible than in the linear TV world of past decades.”

The built-in agility of AMPP Playout gives customers the ability to experiment with new types of live content without prohibitive up-front investment and enables them to increase yield-per-asset. The basic AMPP Playout product license is free, with support and advanced features chargeable.

Featuring a suite of software modules—audio mixing, AV Mux, CleanCut switching, Clip Player, Delay, Flow Monitor, Graphics, Master Control, Multiviewer, Recorders, ST-2022-2 Local Transport Stream, and WebCapture—that can be turned on and off at will, AMPP is Grass Valley’s scalable SaaS platform of management tools, elastic platform services and smart media technologies that combine into solutions that mirror broadcast workflows where and when they are needed.

At IBC Grass Valley will also show its resulting work collaborating with Epic Games to bring Unreal Engine, a real-time 3D creation tool for photorealistic visuals and immersive experiences, to GV AMPP. Unreal Engine on AMPP enables customers to leverage the most innovative real-time rendering system natively with all Grass Valley video technology.

Imagine Communications’ Aviator software streamlines the process for procuring and deploying software tools and microservices that help manage and monetize existing ad inventory and various types of program channels.

Imagine Communications’ Aviator software streamlines the process for procuring and deploying software tools and microservices that help manage and monetize existing ad inventory and various types of program channels.

At Stand 2.B49Imagine Communications will highlight its new cloud platform called Aviator, which streamlines the process for procuring and deploying software tools and microservices that help manage and monetize existing ad inventory and various types of program channels.

At the heart of Aviator is Imagine’s “audience-first” ad placement engine, which allows media companies to efficiently sell inventory by audience, by context, or by spot—regardless of the platform or delivery mechanism. New functionality, to be introduced after IBC, will enable media companies to maximize revenue by targeting commercials to audiences accurately; delivering CPM/CPI-style metrics across all platforms, including broadcast; and monetizing scenarios that are difficult to plan in advance, such as extra time in sporting events and breaking news programming.

The Aviator platform suggests strategies for repurposing ad inventory and streamlining playout channels. Most importantly, Aviator brings much of the company’s intellectual property and experience to bear in order to support how customers want to Plan TV (content rights, scheduling), Make TV (Playout or channel origination) and Monetize TV for sales optimization, billing and ad decisioning in order to generate the most revenue.

While the “Make TV” component of the system was demonstrated at NAB, the two other parts—Plan TV and Monetize TV—will be shown in Amsterdam.

Leveraging the AWS Cloud service, Aviator is offered via both subscription and SaaS models, recognizing that larger organizations prefer to work with their own cloud account under a subscription to these cloud-native services while smaller entities will choose the SaaS route, as it allows them to spin channels up and down as required—which saves cost and headaches, as the entire workflow is monitored, managed and maintained by Imagine staff. This, the company said, allows customers to reap the benefits of operational efficiency, while maintaining control of all creative aspects of their content.

“We know that the landscape is changing,” said Andy Warman, Senior Vice President of Product at Imagine Communications. “Rather than people buying silos of technology, we’re enabling customers to buy as much or as little as they need across the three main areas of content monetization. And it’s not just a dashboard or an orchestration solution, it’s a lot more than that.”

By unifying all of the necessary content/ad management tools under a single interface, Aviator helps customers prepare, distribute and sell their inventory more effectively. For broadcasters and OTT providers alike that means few repeating ads, the ability to create customized promotional campaigns, automatically managing aging out content and the ability to have tighter control over their operations.

Lawo, in Stand 8.B90, will show a new IP infrastructure management platform called HOME, that has already been successfully deployed in over 60 installations worldwide. This includes systems on redundant server clusters and single-leg systems on the embedded CPU of Lawo’s mc² networked audio consoles.

HOME is designed to make managing deployments hosted locally, remotely or even at third-party data centers smooth and effective. A simple, user-friendly UI allows users to organize processing services, control access to them, and configure software-defined network infrastructure for video and audio applications.

Lawo’s HOME platform is designed to make managing deployments hosted locally, remotely or even at third-party data centers smooth and effective.IP

Lawo’s HOME platform is designed to make managing deployments hosted locally, remotely or even at third-party data centers smooth and effective.IP

“With the adoption of IP well underway, the focus of operators has shifted from whether to adopt IP to how to use its potential with minimal effort and maximum effect,” said Axel Kern, Senior Director Cloud and Infrastructure Solutions at Lawo. “HOME addresses all pressing issues real-world operators face today and tomorrow. In one place and via a single, platform-agnostic, intuitive user interface.”

HOME is cloud-native, designed as a collection of microservices, and is based on open standards and established protocols to ensure future-proof integration and compatibility with all third-party systems. The platform turns an array of devices, setups, sites, hubs and data centers into a powerful, agile network.

Inside HOME, discovery of devices is automatic, while registering and admitting them to the network is only a button press away. Third-party vendors can turn their solutions into Home natives, and support for NMOS IS-04 and IS-05 is provided.

Users can administer their media network and manage security. The HOME platform also provides access to a sophisticated orchestration service, either through a stream-patching web UI, or by connecting to a third-party control system via a north-bound API.

“Every workflow should start in the cloud and end up in the cloud for distribution,” said Dell’s Burns. “In the middle, being located on premise provides faster access to content. Putting everything in the cloud hasn’t worked because there is not 100 percent cloud native technology out there in the market right now. The idea that people can log in, just as if they were sitting in the office, allows people to work from wherever and to have the compute close to the storage is resonating with customers around the globe.”

Other companies sure to put cloud-native workflows at the center of their IBC exhibits include: Evertz, with its evertz.io cloud native SaaS platform; Sony, with its Ci platform; and Vizrt, with its with its NDI-native Viz Vectar Plus live production in the cloud platform.

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