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CLOUD Paul Wilkins ASSETS IN THE AIR TMD. 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 IDEAL SOLUTION, THEN, IS TO BUILD APPLICATIONS ON MEDIA- AWARE CLOUD STORAGE 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. 52 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 121 January 2017 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.