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40 TVBEurope Cloud for Broadcast In search of the silver lining


The cloud offers a way of outsourcing that is flexible, scalable, and can save money. But it will require compromise and new ways of working to make the most of it. David Fox reports


The arguments in favour of cloud working are many: “The biggest advantage of cloud is avoiding implementing large, fixed capital-intensive infrastructure,” says Snell chief architect, Neil Maycock. “The media industry (and content consumption) is changing rapidly, it is no longer wise to implement a static media operation that is written off in three to five years. Media companies need greater agility and the ability to adapt and change services quickly — cloud enables this.” “The ability to enable a


geographically independent workforce is extremely valuable,” says Naomi Climer, president of Sony Media Cloud Services. “With the explosion of content gathering devices getting footage is becoming even easier, and the need to get it into editorial as quickly as possible is critical to getting the story first.” “The cloud can help companies handle the explosion of content from remote places, as well as the proliferation of formats and the associated


worth doing. If you need a quick turnaround but are happy to have lower quality, then editing and delivery on the cloud works better, such as for news or web deliverables,” says Tim Burton, solutions architect, ERA. “The cloud allows your


Burton: “You’ve got to be disciplined and organised, otherwise it will probably cost you more than doing it the traditional way”


organisation to be distributed and built on talent, not location,” adds Bill Roberts, director of product management, video, Adobe. “There is a lot of discussion on what role the cloud will play, but we think it is the most fundamental shift that has ever occurred in our industry.”


Streater, chief executive, Forbidden Technologies. For Johann Schreurs, EVS’


market specialist for remote connectivity and cloud-based solutions, the big attraction is scalability. “Sometimes live productions need more resources and the cloud is a really neat solution because it allows you have the resources you need for a short amount of time. It is also a neat way of having redundancy or fail over.” Mike Nann, director of


marketing, Digital Rapids, believes that the greatest gains in


“If banking gives a green light for cloud computing, I think we can all consider it secure”


challenges that provides,” says Aframe CEO, David Peto. It can also enable companies “to get valuable content quickly and securely back into one place, so that it can be instantly accessed, edited and broadcast.” “When a technology can do it quicker than a courier bike, it is


“The cloud is the natural next


step for IT solutions. So not using the cloud is like using floppy disks, non-networked computers, MS-DOS or the old green-and- black computer monitors. All areas of IT which use storage, computing power and networks will benefit,” insists Stephen


standards,” and the volume of content to be processed can vary significantly, “With on-premises equipment only, media enterprises with such ‘spiky’ workloads have traditionally had to purchase and provision their systems based on the maximum possible workload, leaving part of their installation under-utilised the rest of the time. The cloud enables them to quickly scale their processing resources up and down dynamically to match their needs,” he explains. Although “hosted platforms provide: very fast provisioning,


www.tvbeurope.com February 2014


Johann Schreurs, EVS


operational agility and cost savings come from using the cloud for resource-intensive tasks with highly variable workloads, such as transcoding. “Media transformation can be extremely computationally intensive, particularly for the latest advanced compression


Maycock: “The biggest advantage of cloud is avoiding implementing large, fixed capital-intensive infrastructure”


pay-as-you-go pricing, dynamic scalability and global accessibility,” says Jim Duval, director of new products and strategy, Telestream, the tradeoff “is the I/O penalty paid for moving source video to the hosted platform and then delivering the output to the distribution network.” However, this doesn’t matter so much for non-video applications, while the growth of distribution to non TV devices, typically of news or sports clips can easily be processed and distributed from cloud services as “there is no round-trip penalty and the infrastructure can be provisioned and scaled as needed.” “There is a need for some


knowledge at the broadcaster, because you don’t manage cloud infrastructure as you do physical infrastructure. They might require fewer people, but with different knowledge, and that may be the missing factor today,” says Schreurs. As some IT departments are resistant to using cloud services it may also need a change of mindset or an alteration in the internal politics, he believes.


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