SaaS services such as Aspera Files already virtualize the back end storage.
The cloud might help broadcasters that need access from multiple locations. It solves the problem of securing access and enabling it from different sites. It also helps them to offer the streaming services needed for non-linear playout due to the scalability and elasticity of the streaming service platforms. But to what extent is migration of cloud storage happening today and what applications are already seeing benefit? The Broadcast Bridge asked Richard Heitmann, VP Marketing at Aspera for his opinion.
How has the cloud (in all its forms) been used to develop multiscreen TV and enable it to become established very quickly?
Richard Heitmann, Aspera: Original mezzanine content needs to be transformed to multiple different formats, resolutions, and bit rates to support multi-screen. For live events, multi-screen also includes delivery of multiple different camera feeds simultaneously. In both cases, producers need to have access to vast computing and storage resources, but only for a short period of time until the content is completely transcoded and / or the event ends. To meet this highly variable infrastructure demand, media organizations would have to over provision their data centers to support the peak demand, only to have the infrastructure sitting idle for the rest of the time. On demand cloud infrastructure on the other hand is perfectly suited to these variable workloads. The compute and storage resources can be scaled out as needed to meet the demand, then released afterwards.
How might migration to cloud storage help broadcasters and payTV operators achieve their strategic technology objectives and business goals?
RH: The benefits of the cloud storage are: 1) eliminate the up-front investments and cash outlays needed to pre-provision storage in the data center, 2) align costs with usage so that you only pay for what you actually use, 3) virtually unlimited scale out on demand, and then scale back when the additional storage is no longer needed.
To what extent can storage be virtualized in the cloud today?
RH: New modern SaaS services such as Aspera Files already virtualize the back end storage, and in fact do that across on-premises, public, and private cloud. A simple web user interface with a familiar file and folder sharing paradigm allows users to move content to, from and across the cloud completely seamlessly and without any detailed knowledge of the underlying storage type or location. Simple drag and drop in the UI can move TB sized files from one cloud platform to another, or from on-premises to cloud. Storage location behind the folders can be changed from say on-premises to cloud, or back, with no change to the user experience or workflow.
How does on-premise storage compare with off-premise public cloud and a hybrid model?
RH: The cloud does offer virtually unlimited scale out, however there are many workflows that may require some or all of the content to remain on-premises. In this case, media organizations need to ensure they have fast access and can easily share and exchange the content from their on-premises storage with customers and partners without having to move it to the cloud first. Aspera files supports this model out of the box.
What reservations do broadcasters and operators have around using public cloud storage…and are these reservations justified?
RH: Broadcasters and operators may prefer to keep certain types of content within the four walls of their data center for improved security or control. However, even in this case, the content often needs to be delivered to a partner such as a special effects house during post production. Broadcasters and operators need to be able to transfer and share the content securely, and have complete control and visibility into who can access and receive the content, and what they can do with it. Aspera Files provides exactly this level of security.
How easy is it to swap cloud vendors once you have virtualized core video processing or playout functions to them? (And so protect yourself from vendor lock-in).
RH: New modern SaaS services like Aspera Files are multi-cloud, meaning they run on and are directly integrated into the leading cloud storage platforms such as AWS, Azure, IBM Cloud, Google Cloud. With the combination of multi-cloud support and the virtualized access described above, a broadcaster or operator could migrate large content storage from one cloud storage provider to another by simply dragging and dropping the content from one folder to another, triggering a secure high-speed data transfer directly from the source cloud storage to the destination cloud storage.
Are you thinking about using cloud storage in your workflow? Here are some recent articles The Broadcast Bridge has developed to help you better understand the technology and some options. Click on these links to learn more.
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