Hyperconvergence: Uniting Production Workflows in Media & En

Public cloud adoption has been expanding rapidly, even before the outbreak of COVID-19. After the pandemic took hold, cloud plans and adoption increased rapidly. From a technology perspective, creative organisations are adopting hybrid-cloud strategies to put more workflows, compute, and data into the cloud. From a business perspective, cloud enablement can unlock global collaboration and the ability to scale teams to deliver larger, more complex, or a greater volume of projects at any one time.

Creative organisations must still deliver high quality output while navigating a new technology landscape. Rather than build from scratch, taking a hybrid approach enables them to maintain business continuity whilst embracing the transformation that this brings to their ways of working.

Moving data on a global basis

Now that compute services can be consumed right down to the nearest second, the next priority creative organisations must look at is how they store and move data. It is not just about how quickly you can move large datasets through a pipeline, but also about ensuring that data is moved to the right place at the right time and at the right cost within context to the workflow.

The fact that media organisations are spread across so many locations, whether that is a physical location, an on-set event, film show, or remote off-site facility with the capability of public cloud, collaboration is about implementing the efficiencies to be able to work a 24/7 operation covering all time zones, whilst being mindful to how data is moved, replicated, and duplicated throughout a workflow. All whilst being considerate of the commercial model that underpins each project.

Media & Entertainment organisations that have embraced it with the highest impact to their business are the ones who use it as a tool; a different type of technology to address a different workflow need. Taking a gradual and transitional approach can also be a very effective way to embrace the cloud over time.

On-premise still has its place, such as providing an environment to manipulate and review high end, high frame-rate uncompressed video in its native format, handling high track count audio mixes within low latency playback environments, and many other scenarios. But even these types of organisations will benefit from low-friction solutions that enable them to get their data into the cloud for burst render, post-production, and other tasks that have become ‘location agnostic’.

In addition, organisations who have large LTO archives may need to maintain physical locations to access their media but may also benefit from migrating these low churn archives direct to the cost-effective colder tiers within the cloud. From here they will be able to both monetise these assets which have previously been locked in deep storage, and also attribute a tangible cost to their customers for retaining these files into the future.

Conclusion

The rate of progress and innovation that the space has gone through may have been born out of adversity, but a huge amount of positive change has been made already. Creative organisations now need to look at the efficiency of moving content in a fast and reliable way. Data needs to be orchestrated intelligently to where the creative element of the workflow needs it. 

Having a hybrid workflow is not just about blindly duplicating resources in the cloud, but by having systems and technologies that work in unison to ensure creativity can take place on a global stage without wasteful resource consumption. The data that underpins this creativity may need to be visible everywhere, but not necessarily duplicated everywhere. Commercial models must be respected to prevent runaway costs.

In reality, if the question is “what exactly does hybrid mean for my organisation?” then the answer today might be “how do I get my data in to the right place without existing systems being disrupted” followed very quickly by “how do I unlock the full potential of this data now it has been unshackled from a single location?”

Hyperconverged infrastructure offers studios scalability along with the flexibility to be agile to change. It enables them to create streamlined on-premise environments with the option to move data, workflows and ultimately costs to the cloud, to remain competitive across all aspects of the Media & Entertainment industry; liberating media and production workflows into the future.

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