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February 2014

TVBEurope 37 Cloud for Broadcast

their content. Much time and effort is spent in post houses to ensure physical and electronic security is in place to prevent the loss of data. As discussed earlier, the ultimate way to alleviate such concerns is to implement a fully private cloud on premises. However this may not be practical or cost effective in many cases, so the use of an external service is required. What happens to your data when it leaves your trusted network and enters a cloud environment? The fact is there are many possible ways to move, store and manipulate data in cloud systems and unless you are in full control of them, you may not know if your data is being protected. The good news is that because of the architecture of cloud, it can allow more security than traditional systems relying on block storage (a simple SAN for instance). Combining data dispersion techniques with encryption can for instance offer multiple layers of defence that are not afforded by encryption alone. Of course, as with any system there are many areas that require attention to ensure security. Attacks on cloud systems may try to exploit multicore vulnerabilities, concurrency, or particular control (hypervisor) implementations. A robust system treats the whole cloud network as being under threat, expects attack from all sides and protects against it. The use of cloud in media

production and post production processes still has much further to go to reach its full potential, but it is sure to be a game changer for facilities large and small.

Content storage management: own vs cloud?

You know your company needs a CSM, but do you build one yourself, or do you turn it over to the cloud? Rino Petricola, SVP and general manager, Front Porch Digital helps you decide

THE DEBATE About the economic benefits of cloud- based content storage management (CSM) systems commonly boils down to operational expenditure versus capital expenditure. While there is excitement about the potential for cloud storage infrastructure to create cheaper and better IT solutions, broadcasters struggle to quantify the difference in capital, operational, and staffing costs between an internal-built CSM system and cloud-based platforms. There are many factors that affect the total cost of ownership, so how can a broadcaster or content creator decide whether to build and maintain an in-house CSM system or make a leap to a cloud service?

A CSM primer

A CSM system is the software abstraction layer that automatically retrieves broadcast-quality content from any storage infrastructure, whether it is a disk, a data tape library (with the aid of a robot) an optical archive, etc, delivering it to an edit station, a playout device, or wherever else it might be needed. CSM systems were developed to help content owners cope with what would otherwise be an overwhelming volume of content, to address the video-specific complexity of that content, and to facilitate smooth integration with video operations. All of these capabilities are critical for broadcasters, as content is the lifeblood of their business. A feature-rich CSM system not only enables efficient, sophisticated workflows, but also is agile enough to cope with rapid change and

“The investment in physical hardware is

arguably the largest cost associated with building and maintaining an

in-house CSM platform”

sudden fluctuations in demand for capacity. With all that a CSM system

can do, the natural next step is to move it into the cloud to take advantage of the cloud’s unlimited storage space and computing power. Cloud CSM can provide all the features of a physical CSM system without the infrastructure investment and overhead costs. Even so, how can a broadcaster be sure that cloud CSM makes sense for that organisation?

CSM: To own or not to own? To answer that question, consider the following variables:

Hardware utilisation One of the key differences between a cloud platform and

an in-house storage platform is in the way they use assets. For example, although a Linear Tape-Open (LTO) 5 tape can hold 1.5TB of data, it is extremely difficult to achieve maximum storage across an entire LTO library. So in order to store, say, 300TB of data in a self-managed facility, a broadcaster would need to invest in more than 300TB of storage to achieve 300TB of usable capacity. In contrast to that inefficiency, a cloud-based ecosystem can achieve 100% utilisation, and broadcasters pay only for what they use.

Asset redundancy This is an often-overlooked area when deciding between self-built and cloud CSM platforms. For

protection purposes, most media-centric businesses hold two copies of each asset. If a broadcaster wants to store 300TB of mission-critical assets locally, then it must buy twice as much storage to ensure the proper redundancy. With media- centric cloud CSM, on the other hand, a broadcaster can send 300TB of data to the cloud and pay only for that 300TB, yet still be certain that a second copy of the asset is available. That’s because when content is sent to the cloud, it is automatically copied onto two datatapes. One copy stays online in the tape library, and the other is externalised. So in effect, with the cloud, a second copy of content is available at no additional cost.

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