Assets in the air


Paul Wilkins TV-Bay Magazine
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People everywhere are talking about "the cloud", as if it is somehow something (1) new and (2) intrinsically exciting. It really is neither of those things. In the IT world, software as a service (SaaS) has been around since the 1960's when organisations bought the use of mainframe software on a time-sharing basis.

The important part of SaaS is the word "service". The cloud is only valuable to us if it provides something we actually need to do, and provides that service in a way which is operationally convenient and cost effective.

That is not to say that the cloud does not have huge attractions. What you are doing, essentially, is bringing in subject experts to do things that otherwise we would have to worry about. Building, extending and maintaining large IT installations requires not just a hefty capital budget, it needs specialist skills. Scarcely a week goes by without some high profile organisation suffering a security issue: there is a lot of sense in passing that problem on to the experts.

In our industry, the core business is in making and delivering great content. Producers and editors want to spend their time shooting and polishing programmes, not worrying about how to keep the footage securely stored, for the duration of the project and beyond.

But there are well-known objections to using the cloud in the media industry. Perhaps the biggest challenge is that, while most IP applications have large numbers of relatively small files, we have relatively small numbers of extremely large files. The charging structures of the major cloud providers are set up to reflect their core business and may not be flexible enough for our needs.

The ideal solution, then, is to build applications on media-aware cloud storage. At TMD we have been working with our UK partner, ERA, to provide an off-the-shelf, cloud-based archive solution called Coeus.

Before we go any further, we should explain the name. Coeus - pronounced kee-yos - was one of the Titans of Greek mythology. To be precise, Coeus was the god of intellect, representing the inquisitive mind.

 

What Coeus does is present an intuitive, cloud-based service for short and long term storage, management and protection of media. To do this, we essentially run TMD's Mediaflex-UMS platform running the Paragon media service application for archive management, in a cloud which has been set up and managed by ERA specifically for media applications.

The ERA data centre is in the UK, and its infrastructure and connectivity is designed around media storage. It provides the flexibility and agility that media enterprises need. Most important, the cost structure is designed for media users.

Running TMD software in the cloud ensures that the familiar and expected functionality is available. Central to this is something that we now take for granted in an archive application: partial restoration of files.

 
 

Imagine you are an editor charged with making a suite of trailers for a new drama series. You really do not want to copy multiple high-resolution, hour-long programmes into your edit computer when all you need is a few seconds from each.

That is a doubly important consideration when the master content is not on a server network in your facility but in the cloud. Even ignoring download charges, the time taken to transfer tens or possibly hundreds of gigabytes of data would be a complete block on productivity.

So the desired cloud archive storage application must include a proxy viewer so the user can browse at frame-accurate low resolution, to choose clips, then recover and download only those clips at full resolution. That is one of the key feature of Coeus.

The system has a simple, web-based interface, designed to be used by real people not IT experts. The fact that it is web-based means it can be used anywhere, provided the operator has the right credentials. So if you are shooting on location, your camera operator or DIT can upload the selected takes each day, making them instantly available to the editor, producer and anyone else who wants to work on them or check progress.

What we set out to do with Coeus is to create a cloud storage and archive solution which is readily accessible and instantly available. Set-up is simple, archive maintenance is intuitive for real-world users, and costs are clear and manageable. Because the underlying cloud data centre is designed for media files, security structures are appropriate to keep the content from prying eyes.

Already we are seeing the industry welcoming this fresh approach to cloud provision, combining the best available software with a media-aware data centre. Because Coeus is self-provisioning in an intuitive way, users are finding that it delivers on the promise of software as a service, providing the key requirements of secure transfers, simple viewing, partial restore for fast and efficient recovery, and practical storage for working materials and long-term archiving.

 
 
 

Tags: iss121 | tmd | cloud | mam | era | coeus | Paul Wilkins
Submitted by Paul Wilkins Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
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Submitted by Julian Marks Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The world is not flat
David Schleifer The world is all around us. We have a lot of cues that make us aware of how we fit into a 3D space. Many of these cues, senses and reactions are survival instincts. For example, the ability to hear someone walk up behind us, to see movement in our peripheral vision, a sense of how we are oriented when we move our bodies or swivel our head. All of this creates an overwhelming amount of data that we seamlessly interpret as we go around our day getting our morning coffee, driving, walking through crowds, diving into pools, and everything that we as people do in our lives.
Tags: iss120 | vr | 3d | primestream | David Schleifer
Submitted by David Schleifer Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Cause and effect of jitter in an operational IP video network
Paul Robinson What are the advantages of moving to an IP infrastructure?
Tags: iss119 | ip | tektronix | cots | jitter | Paul Robinson
Submitted by Paul Robinson Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Hacking Hell
Dick Hobbs. There was a really scary story in the news a week or two ago. In the words of Yves Bigot, director-general of TV5 Monde, "we were a couple of hours from having the whole station gone for good".
Tags: iss119 | hacking | hackers | dick hobbs | Dick Hobbs.
Submitted by Dick Hobbs. Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The importance of a low noise floor
Alan Wheable The Noise Floor of a piece of T&M equipment is the inherent noise (or intrinsic jitter) introduced by the equipment itself. The level of inherent noise affects the accuracy and repeatability of jitter measurements that can be made, especially when measuring low levels of jitter. With the permitted 100KHz jitter on a 12G-SDI signal being only 0.3UI, it is important to establish the total level of jitter in the signal path to ensure that it does not exceed this limit and cause data errors.
Tags: iss119 | omnitek | test and measurement | intrinsic jitter | Alan Wheable
Submitted by Alan Wheable Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Rethinking standards in the media world
Bruce Devlin It's actually a more difficult question than you think. When I ask the majority of engineers this question, I will get a technical answer. It will be something like "to be sure we meet the specification" or "to be sure we don't put bad signals on air" or "so that I don't get fired for getting loudness wrong"
Tags: iss119 | qc | monitoring | mr mxf | class | Bruce Devlin
Submitted by Bruce Devlin Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The value of an industry placement
Abbie Smith Do a placement after the second year of your degree they said, it'll be fun they said! You know what, they were right!
Tags: iss119 | tvfutures | placements | student | Abbie Smith
Submitted by Abbie Smith Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
A changing media industry
Anupama Anantharaman How is the media industry changing today?
Tags: iss119 | interra | ott | vod | Anupama Anantharaman
Submitted by Anupama Anantharaman Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Smart audio - the way foward for live broadcast production
Anthony Wilkins Today's broadcast facilities are facing ever-increasing demands on their resources as they strive to keep up with consumers who expect more content on more devices, both where and when they want it.
Tags: iss119 | junger | audio | Anthony Wilkins
Submitted by Anthony Wilkins Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine