Vidcheck reports a high level of response to its 'Cloud Reality' webinar, held from 4 to 5 pm GMT on Thursday January 21. The event attracted an online audience from many countries, including technical and operational management from many major broadcast networks as well as leading product manufacturers and vendors. It was addressed by four highly experienced industry veterans: Dan Siewers, Brinton Millar, Darren Long and Larry Kaplan.
"This webinar proved a very useful opportunity to hear the thoughts and experiences of senior broadcast executives currently exploring the potential of cloud technology both for content management and as a medium for reaching direct to viewers," comments COO Howard Twine who moderated the discussion. "A key theme emerging is one of increasing choice in the way television channel managers balance the mix between dedicated hardware, virtualised production tools running on in-house servers, and service-based resources for data storage and forwarding."
"The cloud is a blend of technologies and business practices," said Dan Siewers, Executive Director of Systems Engineering at Fox (TV Film & Sports). "As such, it needs to be approached carefully. Broadcasters are accustomed to proprietary systems. Normally we look at the business requirement and then identify the technology which best matches that. We end up leaning on our IT guys as we move towards a data-centric model, pushing all our content to the cloud first and building our infrastructure around that. Moving away from tape into files changes the nature of decisions regarding capex and opex investment. We are looking at the concept of a network described in software as that is easy to manage; you don't have to worry about the hardware."
"We want to focus on creativity and less about the care and feeding of servers and storage," added Brinton Millar, SVP of Technology Strategy & Architecture at Discovery Communications. "How do we stop the spend on data centres? We are moving a massive amount of content: 152 petabytes into Discovery in the past year and that's HD; imagine the figures for 4K and 8K! Where do we store it? Maybe in the cloud or with a SAS model. We could do anything in the cloud now if the budget allowed it. We are talking to public cloud vendors and explaining the realities of our business. We need specific disk access characteristics, for example. We anticipate the commercial aspects working out in the coming year.
"The move from tape to files worked better than expected and we certainly want to embrace the cloud," said Darren Long, Director of Production Services at Sky. "We can't do all our post-production on site as we are growing fast. We need international shared storage for editing but we will always compare relative costs and reliability. It is a waiting game on costs and available services. A vital consideration is: Exactly where is my asset and how quickly can I get hold of it? Pushing content to customers via a cloud for a short period of time makes sense. We need to be able to turn content on and off quickly. Internal transcoding on a regular basis via the cloud is a different scale of activity. Doesn't look good yet though it will come.
"Vendors should always listen to customers and consider the business value of doing things a different way," summarised Larry Kaplan, founder and President of SDVI. "Maybe the cloud will give us infrastructure on demand with fast spin-up and spin-down, but what is the business value? We all have examples of cloud-based activity that makes no sense today. Can I switch between capex and opex? That should be the guidepost."
Vidcheck (www.vidcheck.com) is a major innovator in the design and production of software for automated quality control and automated correction of file-based media. Vidcheck personnel have unrivalled experience in the QC of file-based video, having been closely involved in this technology from its inception.
Vidcheck software is used by many of the world's leading broadcasters, content distributors, archive organisations and post-production companies. It provides a comprehensive check of the overall file, video and audio parameters and can perform intelligent correction of most common errors that can occur in the signal stream.
Vidcheck software automatically takes advantage of multi-core and multi-thread processors to process multiple files simultaneously. The software can be upgraded to add extra features or to achieve higher throughput.
Vidcheck is active globally via resellers in Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Africa and Australasia.