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44 TVBEurope Cloud for Broadcast

says Climer. “Contributors can join and leave teams on the fly, enabling a far greater reach for talent and content gathering.” “Every production we work with needs storage and CPU NOW. And when they wrap, they don't need it anymore,” she adds. “The cloud allows our customers to spin up infrastructure immediately, and shut it down when they are done.” “If well done, for sure, it will

save costs,” adds Schreurs. For live work, it needs to be scalable. This would require a huge capital investment if done in house, so outsourcing can offer considerable savings. “It is also good for speed to

market. If you need resources if you are introducing a new service, you don’t need to plan resources locally.” It also reduces the number of things the broadcaster will need to worry about, as the cloud provider should already have such things as security management or load balancing covered. Companies are under pressure

to move from capital expense budgets to predictable and scalable operational expenses. “Cloud-based services that bill on a ‘pay-for-what-you-use’ model allow CFOs to predict and control costs easily and accurately. From a business perspective, having content in the cloud allows the business to further monetise its assets through value-added services such as transcoding, online delivery, data integrity, technology upgrades, format migrations, etc,” says Hurt.

Cutting costs “A recent report by Gartner predicted technology costs for broadcasters would reduce by 50% over the next few years — I think the cloud will play a big part in achieving this,” says Climer. “However, we also think we’ll see significant savings around time to market (capture to air), hardware and software, storage (remote and local) and maintenance.”

Wymbs: The cloud “eliminates the need for a large up-front capital investment required to start a new project”

Cloud services offer savings in cash, overheads, efficiency, more flexible working locations (including reduced travel time) and simpler updates, adds Streater. “It's Ricardo's Law of Comparative Advantage: Companies and people should do what they're good at. And for media companies this is media, not IT.” Although these savings can be

difficult to quantify, Peto points out that STV Productions saved one week in seven on the game show Catchphrase using Aframe’s cloud, while the Australian OTT company, Access Digital Entertainment uses Elemental Cloud to dynamically scale video processing capacity for its online services, which means it “hasn’t had to make any new infrastructure, server nor capex investments as it launched new streaming services and expanded its business into new regions,” adds Wymbs. Savings depend on “how deeply the cloud services are embedded and the type of work, but as a general rule, the more distributed the team and the more collaborative the workflow, the bigger the savings,” says Roberts. “To make the savings or

advantages work with cloud services you’ve got to be disciplined and organised, otherwise it will probably cost

you more than doing it the traditional way,” warns Burton. “It is always less expensive by the hour to buy than it is rent,” adds Duval. “However, if application needs are not full time, or at full capacity, there are savings in realtime provisioning to meet demand needs. The alternatives are either on-premise over provisioning or missing deadlines due to lack of capacity. One is an out-of-pocket cost and the other is an opportunity cost.”

Security risks One worry many broadcasters have about the cloud is security, but “the most insecure places to keep content is in your own premises,” says Burton. “Cloud facilities are built for security.” Schreurs agrees. Securing

physical access to the data centre “is often better for cloud infrastructure than broadcaster infrastructure.” In cases where a private network and private cloud is used, it can be under the same management of firewall and connectivity as in-house equipment. “If banking gives a green light for cloud computing, I think we can all consider it secure,” he adds. “It would be very challenging

for broadcasters to achieve the same sort of security that a cloud infrastructure provider such as Amazon Web Services has in place,” insists Wymbs. “Achieving that scale and the sustained QoS required to support it is a huge financial undertaking. Infrastructures such as those offered by AWS are the most secure in the world, bar none.” Amazon has about 80% of the market. Gartner research found that Amazon’s cloud computing capacity is more than five times that of its next 14 competitors combined. Climer adds that generally

“broadcasters have become more comfortable with public cloud security as they’ve had more exposure to the measures in place and compared them to their own

onsite measures,” and that if they have concerns they should start small “with non-critical material to satisfy themselves that they can get the service and the business benefits they need.” Cloud services can offer data encryption and the ability to store media as object IDs, multiple copies in disparate locations with instant access, 24-hour uptime and failover. “Whatever a media conglomerate can do, a really good cloud provider can provide all of that and at considerably less cost,” says Peto. “Many of the arguments

against cloud are referring to public cloud. Where public services do not offer the performance or security required for a specific media application the alternative is to look at private cloud,” says Maycock. “Generic IT infrastructure hosted within a broadcasters’ facility can offer much of the flexibility and agility that public cloud offers, but within a secure closed system managed by the broadcaster.” Nann agrees. The Digital

Rapids Transcode Manager offers cloud-like dynamics on local infrastructure, so that anyone with concerns about security or control can still take advantage of many of the benefits of the cloud model through on-premises (private) clouds. It is a matter of choice, adds Roberts. Creative Cloud

subscribers don’t have to store a file on Adobe’s infrastructure, or can add Adobe Anywhere to their own infrastructure to create a private cloud.

Quality of service Quantel’s new RevolutionQ system sits on top of other people’s storage (including cloud), which appears to the production system as its own storage, and has just been installed in a major broadcaster. Quantel’s systems can drag terabits per second off local systems, and while this is possible for longer distance connections, “it is not without its problems,” says Trevor Francis, Quantel’s director of broadcast. “Latency is a big issue for cloud storage. No one can remove latency.” “The elastic nature of the cloud all but eliminates the wait associated with saturating infrastructure,” agrees Climer. “As such, the guarantee of throughput and resource availability is far greater than a capped, in-house data centre.” However, because of uncertainty about storage and internet access that is not controlled by the broadcaster, “there will always be a role for storage that is owned and controlled locally,” says Francis. It’s inevitable that cloud

Roberts: The cloud “is the most fundamental shift that has ever occurred in our industry”

storage and computing will become more and more universal. The next frontier will not be whether or not broadcasters use the cloud, but how they can use it in new and creative ways to revolutionise their workflows and delivery. February 2014

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