Sessions Prove the Power and Flexibility of the Cloud

Quantum StorNext

Applications and user acceptance in cloud services technology, including media and entertainment, have continued to grow, as evidenced by some 40 conference sessions that will focus on cloud technologies, and with at least 69 exhibitors showing some form of cloud services, products or functionality.

The two-day Media Management in the Cloud conference runs today and tomorrow, sponsored by Google Cloud Platform, Rackspace Hosting, Equinix, Aspera and Dropbox.

The sessions will showcase cloud-based practices that look into various solutions, issues, practices and systems; aimed at enunciating just how the cloud ecosystem of tomorrow might be constructed and utilized.

Cloud services are employed in three fundamental constructs: private cloud, public cloud and hybrid cloud. Each has valuable and varying applications. Despite media and entertainment entities that still believe content shall only be stored in a private cloud (often their own on-premise systems), roots are forming that lead away from this exclusive environment and head toward hybrid-cloud activities as a combination of private and public cloud services for varying aspects of media management.

Cloud providers are being utilized more frequently as the industry addresses three formidable services consisting of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Nearly all the providers can offer some degree of cloud storage, but that is not always the case or the need.

Many of the exhibitors offer one or more of these services, targeting everything from playout services to media processing to storage and surveillance.

Imagine Communications is showing Versio-Cloud, a deployable, software-based and IP-enabled integrated cloud playout solution that runs on commercial/commodity off-the-shelf IT platforms.

Grass Valley brings extensions to its 2014 NAB Show release of Stratus Playout, the company’s SaaS cloud-enabled, edge-playout automation and monitoring system.

Several exhibitors are showing on-demand cloud-computing infrastructure and storage capabilities including: Prime Focus Technologies, which is featuring Clear, its hybrid cloud technology; and MediaSilo, whose cloud-based collaboration and asset management platform lets everyone connect to the media supply chain.

Dejero with solutions for news, streaming and sports, is showcasing LIVE+ Control, the next-generation, cloud-based management, monitoring and reporting tools that simplify IP-video workflows used in remote broadcasting productions.

Teradek provides a cloud-based workflow management platform for remotely managing a fleet of Teradek encoders in real time from anywhere in the world.

Many of the storage providers offer cloud-centric solution sets that augment their mainstream on-premise products. These exhibitors include Quantum, whose Lattus and StorNext solutions are well-established for archive and cloud uses; NetApp for UHD/4K production; and Nexsan by Imation are just a few. Oracle plans to show attendees what’s new in their cloud-services offerings since the acquisition of Front Porch Digital last year.

Software-defined storage (SDS) is yet another technology being showcased in the cloud-services ecosphere. At Promise Technology cloud-solutions for vertical markets including surveillance, IT and rich media storage are being demonstrated. Elemental Technologies will have Delta and other solutions for IT, UHD and OTT.

Traditional broadcast equipment solution providers are now offering products or services that leverage not only their mainstream products in a cloud environment, but they are now providing new cloud-only services built exclusively around software-defined or virtualized implementations. Defining the vision for those who use these products and examining by what means they utilize them is another of the discussion topics at the Tuesday and Wednesday cloud conference.

According to Christine Thomas of Dolby Laboratories, “We all have a common vision. How do we bring the technologies used by oil and gas and many other industries to the media and entertainment environment?”

The good news, said Thomas, is that providers already offer these services to users including Disney, Technicolor and Deluxe. Essentially the “pieces are already assembled and ready for use,” whether on a full-time basis or in an as-needed/ on-demand service model.

The Media Management in the Cloud conference opens with session chair Ken Williams of the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at the University of Southern California, and will be facilitated by Erik Weaver, also of ETC.

Keynote speaker Brian Stevens of Google, shares some of the important challenges ahead. Stevens raises the question of “how” not “if or when” broadcasters, studios and OTT providers will address infrastructure costs, content security and collaboration.

The session “Update on Industry Cloud Tenants,” will be moderated by Al Kovalick of Media Systems Consulting; featuring participants from Adobe, Google, Sony Media Cloud Services, Rackspace Hosting and Avid.

The need to expand production and content distribution are driving producers into the cloud more than ever before. Instead of expending capital for new UHD/4K workflows, risking further infrastructure obsolescence at an accelerating rate; users are now integrating cloud-based solutions into existing workflows, which permeate to lower entry costs for UHD/4K production.

The final Tuesday session brings Ken Goeller, of Deluxe Digital Distribution, to the program where he looks at cloud flexibility as it pertains to “Reducing 4K UHD Content Distribution Costs.”

Security remains a concern to many industry executives who have yet to fully assess or validate all the potential risks raised when considering cloud services.

Wednesday offers the “MPAA Keynote” by John McCoskey for the Motion Picture Association of America; facilitated by James Reavis of Cloud Security Alliance.

The MPAA, in combination with CSA, is working to craft cloud security standards for the entire industry. MPAA and CSA will elaborate on their plan to release the first set of cloud application security controls for the media and entertainment industry.

Recent Hollywood events continue to raise concern about the compromise of private data. David Ginsberg, of the Sundance Institute, moderates the session “Cloud Security — Today, Tomorrow and Beyond” featuring five panelists that delve into just how secure content is when stored in the cloud. The panel looks at methods to safeguard systems from attacks and how new cloud-based solutions will address the always-evolving security challenges.

Closing the conference, David Rosen of Sony Media Cloud Services engages Michael Koetter from Turner Broadcast on the “Cloud’s Renaissance of Media Workflows: Exploring the Success and Future of the Cloud.” Koetter will discuss successful implementations, their next big cloud idea, and the future of a cloud-enabled media industry.

As industry continues to address the increased pressures of time to release new content, spin up new channels, and develop new workflows, one must wonder where the next path will take us.