23 Jul 2021

Content storage: Accelerating Cloud Migration In Search of Cost-Savings and Efficiencies

The pandemic appears to have provided the necessary impetus for more organisations to invest systematically in cloud-Based content storage.

When it comes to content storage and the cloud, there is plentiful evidence to suggest that the last 18 months have provided a ‘perfect storm’ in which an already present trend has been significantly accelerated. This applies as much to organisations already some distance down that road as to those at a more formative stage of the transition.

Raul Alba, Avid’s director of solutions marketing, points to two virtual events – held 12 mon apart – devised to help Avid keep in touch with its customers during lockdown.

“If we compare the discussions we had in both series of meetings, we have seen a significant change in the mindset,” he says. ths apart – devised to help Avid keep in touch with its customers during lockdown. 

In the most recent meetings, just weeks ago, every single customer we talked to has included clouds in its plans. Not all customers we talked to are at the same stage: some just want to be sure that any vendor they choose to work with has a roadmap to go to the cloud, while others already want to start migrating to the cloud as soon as possible.

Nonetheless, one can infer that the shift in viewpoint has been fairly dramatic in some quarters. 

For me, the most surprising aspect is how things that were seen as completely impossible or nonsense a year ago, today seem to be ‘plan A’ for many organisations,” says Alba.

Tailored solutions

As a leading innovator in the media cloud space, base has been well-placed to track the recent uptick in demand for cloud storage. Pursuing what it terms a ‘tailored cloud solutions’ approach for digital media companies, base provides clients with a central, cloud-Based media hub in which to store all their files and then seamlessly connects to a choice of pre-integrated Software as a Service tools. 

Working with media SaaS partners across multiple clouds – including AWS, Google and IBM Cloud – base can facilitate tasks such as automatic multi-site syncing for large files, accelerated global file transfer, remote Adobe editing, and sophisticated media asset management.

Ben Foakes is founder and managing director of base. He says that the company’s focus on “simplifying and packaging up” cloud storage and services has served it well. 

The way we work is that we don’t charge egress, retrieval or API call fees, and we have done all the network integration and behind-the-scenes work to do with running on multiple clouds. We started the business to simplify the cloud for media, and that continues to be [our primary objective].

Nonetheless, there is always room for improvement, and Foakes reveals that a current focus of development is “a self-service experience that means each client will have an app to access and automatically set up their environments and the way they want to work. It will make the cloud and related services more simplified for the actual users.” 

“There have been a lot of enquiries from companies over the last 18 months who are looking to close down their buildings, get rid of their hard drives and physical equipment, and go across completely to a virtual way of working for their creative teams,” he says. Meanwhile, for the more reticent organisations “who had previously been thinking about the cloud and adopting a more online, collaborative way of working, the pandemic has provided the necessary impetus to move ahead with their plans.”

Financial benefits

For Avid, Raul Alba has a clear sense of why migration of storage to the cloud is accelerating at this point: “The reasons why customers are moving – or considering moving – to the cloud are mostly related to flexibility in their operations, lower TCO [total cost of ownership] when all the factors (real estate, electricity, AC and maintenance) are considered, and the predictability of the financial cost of operations, tied to an Opex financial model.”

With this in mind Avid, continues to evolve a family of solutions that prioritise flexibility and dynamic storage of resources. These include Avid NEXIS | Cloud and Avid NEXIS | EOD, both of which are underpinned by the Avid NEXIS | File System (FS) running on cloud storage. The File System features a storage infrastructure that is managed and automated by intelligent software rather than by the storage hardware, and is virtualised into a single pool of shared resources which are allocated dynamically with the required composition of data services (such as capacity, bandwidth and protection).

Elaborating on AVID | NEXIS Cloud, Alba remarks that this “delivers tiered storage in the cloud, supporting online, nearline and archive storage for real-time media workflows. [Meanwhile] Avid NEXIS virtual storage workspaces allow complete control over the allocation of storage to individuals, teams and projects.”

Apples for apples?

Bob Bolson, director of solutions architecture at Imagine Communications, echoes many of the aforementioned factors behind the current growth in cloud storage, but also indicates that it has taken a while for the market to become more well-defined. 

At the start, he notes, “there was a lot of really expensive online storage as well as [storage solutions] that were almost like the equivalent of tape archives. But since then more tiers of solutions have become available, and that has given customers [more flexibility].

Indeed, at this stage, he points to an interesting “blurring of lines between different types of storage, so for instance a customer might want to dip their toe in the water for a certain service or type of production. It might also be that, in some cases, the price difference [between traditional and cloud storage] is not so dramatic that it immediately becomes [a must-have].

Increasingly, though, he believes that customers are likely to take a holistic approach to determining their storage arrangements. 

For instance, the benefits of cloud might become fully clear “when they drill down into the pricing, and consider the cost of the real-estate, cooling systems and manpower needed to keep [on-premise storage] up and running. They need to have a critical eye and speak with people who can give them the full story; it’s not just apples for apples.” Moreover, it is likely to be the cloud providers who can allow workflows to remain relatively unaltered who stand to benefit the most: “People like continuity, so the more you can make the workflows look and feel like those with which they are already comfortable, the better.”

Enabling content creators to carry on working in familiar ways is also a priority for Aveco, which announced the launch of its new GEMINI Media Asset Management (MAM) solution at the end of June 2021.

Designed for cloud, hybrid-cloud and on-premise use, GEMINI allows users to manage media and AI-enriched metadata, plus timeline annotations describing any frame or segment of an asset. Content assets are under control across all types of storage, including in the cloud, NAS and SAN, and video servers.

Pavel Potuzak, CEO of Aveco, says: “The introduction of the GEMINI MAM brings powerful tools that are easy to use, so people can concentrate on the task at hand, anywhere in the world and on any browser.

In terms of storage strategies, it’s clear that we are in a period of transition that may last several years yet. But with broadcasters wanting to access, process and distribute content more flexibly than ever before, it’s certain that the share of storage provided by the cloud will continue to grow steadily across the M&E industry.

By David Davis

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10 May 2021

Green Rock cements hybrid cloud facility

The pandemic panicked much of the post industry into remote workarounds. Now, as vaccine rollouts bring back some normality, companies are grappling with the long-term structure of work and office life.

“The pandemic has drop kicked the industry 5-10 years into the future,” says Niels Stevens, Snr Solutions Consultant Pro Video and Broadcast Workflows, Adobe. “Some companies already moving in the direction of cloud are setting themselves up for a full cloud-based workflow. Others who have made large investments in hardware are having to segue into a hybrid model as they go towards remote.”

These ideas and the technology underpinning them are explored in a webinar hosted by Broadcast and featuring a live demo of a hybrid cloud workflow connecting sites in London with New York and Los Angeles.

“Our journey to cloud predated the pandemic,” explains Simon Green, founder and CEO of Green Rock, a production and post production agency based in London and LA. “I had my first conversations about a completely virtual post facility over a decade ago. Distributed collaborative post production is no longer a dream. It is now a reality.”

With clients including ITV, NatWest, Netflix and XPRIZE, Green Rock is among the first UK facilities to transition away from bricks and mortar into a completely cloud-based shop.

“For us, cloud infrastructure means less capital investment in on-premise solutions and a more flexible approach to team working,” Green says. “These issues have magnified in recent months as more and more clients have begun requesting a more agile way of working.”

In the webinar, Green explains more of his thinking. “We are always looking to create the future first and get that advantage for us, and our partners. We are therefore looking to move completely out of our Soho facility and to use cloud to connect clients and colleagues with media and creative tools. It frees us up to scale at a global level like we have only imagined.”

“We have major brands and broadcasters keen to work with us because they can see that we are not limited to the physical suites we have on site. We can start to build a facility using cloud resources that enables us to bill and be billed by the hour.”

The demo explained

Green Rock is well on the way to achieving this with technology partner BASE Media Cloud, leveraging an integrated cloud-based platform with SaaS products from Adobe, Bebop and Iconik.

“What we’ve designed together with Green Rock and are rolling out for them will allow their US and UK teams to collaborate remotely via the Iconik cloud MAM,” says Ben Foakes, Founder & Managing Director, BASE Media Cloud. “On prem storage remains for high performance tasks with burst capacity enabled in the cloud.”

“There are no longer big fat PC towers under the desk,” Foakes adds. “It will be an entirely virtual workstation environment enabling Green Rock to re-invent its editing strategy.”

BASE Media Cloud acts as the cloud agnostic storage hub into which media applications such as Iconik, with integrations into the Adobe Creative Cloud suite are plugged. Access to application is by simple login secured with multifactor authentication.  Remote Workstations are powered by BeBop Technology, running on AWS.

“In essence this means your data becomes centralised in the cloud, your workstations run in the cloud but your users can be anywhere in the world,” Foakes says.

The evolution of post

Anecdotally it seems that from VFX boutiques to global broadcasters the industry is coming out of the pandemic seeking a more formalised and long-term strategy.

“At the start of COVID, everyone was in a rush,” Foakes says. “The broadcast and post community moved to nomadic working and had to quickly spin up reactive solutions such as using a Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or running remote desktop or PcoIP sessions. These were temporary solutions because no one really had time to design for it.”

“Now we’re seeing a huge wave of interest in reducing the size of premises but not moving 100 percent to the cloud. It’s about changing the ratio.”

Post production has evolved. From the days of physical film cutting, into tape-to-tape and the transition at the end of the 1980s into nonlinear file-based editing, now things have gone pure digital.

“The virtual hybrid cloud has arrived as part of the eventual move towards full virtual,” Foakes said.

View the webinar including the live demo of virtual hybrid cloud:

DEMO

 

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13 Oct 2020

Rapid cloud migration with integrated fast file sharing service help enable award-winning production company’s remote working strategy.

Taylor Made Media and BASE Media Cloud

When the UK went into lockdown, Taylor Made Media was forced to quickly move much of its data into cloud storage and shift workflows to enable teams to work remotely. Data security and round-the-clock technical support were critical, so it turned to BASE Media Cloud and IBM Cloud solutions (IBM Aspera).

Business Challenge Story

BASE Media Cloud was tasked with rapidly migrating 10 terabytes of creative assets from on-premise storage to a centralised storage platform. The new cloud storage needed to be up and running within 48 hours to ensure the smooth collaboration of creatives that were mandated to work remotely.

Transformation

BASE Media Cloud used IBM Aspera on Cloud and IBM Cloud Object Storage to provide a centralised storage hub for Taylor Made Media’s remote production workflows.

Results

Migrate

10TB of data to the cloud over 48 hours with access to files from anywhere in the world

Powers

Seamless collaborative workflows with clients and colleagues

Delivers

Peace of mind that valuable client content remains protected and secure

Business Challenge Story

Rapidly implement a remote working strategy

During ‘normal’ times, the award-winning media production company Taylor Made Media works from its creative hub in East London, collaborating closely with clients globally throughout the entire process. With strong and transparent client relationships, producers share content with colleagues and clients at each stage, requiring fast, efficient workflows and media delivery solutions.

When the UK went into lockdown due to the pandemic, production manager Ian McGinty approached innovative managed cloud services company BASE Media Cloud with the urgent need to deploy a solution for the company’s new remote working strategy. BASE Media Cloud provides integrated cloud storage and multi-cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions to high-profile media brands like BBC, COPA90, Formula E, ITV and Objective Media Group. As an IBM Aspera partner, BASE Media Cloud uses Aspera on Cloud and IBM Cloud Object Storage to increase efficiencies in media distribution solutions.

As staff were forced to work remotely, Taylor Made Media needed to quickly shift from its on-premise storage and manual media workflow. To maintain the efficiency of media exchange with clients and colleagues, it had to immediately migrate all media assets to a cloud storage solution, almost overnight. Restricted access to data centres during the first weekend of lockdown posed significant data migration challenges.

“When we needed to implement a remote post-production workflow at short notice, we reached out to BASE who got us set up immediately. As soon as everything was online, we were given a tutorial on how to navigate and operate the system which gave us a clear insight into how we would use the service.” Ian McGinty, Head of Production, Taylor Made Media.

With several projects in progress and both staff and freelancers based at home with no access to its on-premise storage in London, the company needed a quick turnaround solution with minimum disruption to familiar workflows and processes. It was imperative that assets like rushes, and editing, music and animation files be migrated efficiently and made accessible to all stakeholders through cloud storage. With each asset containing valuable client content, factors such as data security, resiliency and redundancy were all key considerations in finding a solution that would provide instant access backup, archive and file sharing capabilities.

To ensure this fast and seamless transition to cloud-based storage and remote working, Taylor Made Media needed a solution with minimal training requirements and continuous technical support for creatives working around the clock. With the time-sensitive nature of the situation, the team wanted a personalised service from a partner that understands its business and technical requirements. It was also important that the solution be modular to enable the company to future proof its production workflows and facilitate adjacent services such as media asset management and transcoding for the potential creation of a virtual studio in future.

Transformation Story

Moving 10TB of data in a single weekend

Based on its long-standing relationship with BASE Media Cloud and previous discussions about virtualising its storage, Taylor Made Media was confident that the company offered the expertise and support needed to migrate its storage and data workflows. Understanding the project’s urgent requirement—migrating 10 terabytes of data over a single weekend— BASE Media Cloud used IBM Aspera on Cloud and IBM Object Storage alongside its migration and support services for the large data migration.

The decision was made on a Friday and Taylor Made Media’s employees were working seamlessly by the following Monday, accessing rushes and project materials quickly and remotely via their standard home IP connections. Due to IP connectivity restrictions at the company’s London production facility, the hard drive was transferred directly to the UK-based data centre, using IBM Aspera on Cloud to migrate the assets from there to IBM Cloud Object Storage.

The foundation of the solution is built on the IBM Aspera on Cloud file transfer service, while the underlying IBM Cloud Object Storage with built-in erasure coding provides Taylor Made Media with increased security, resiliency and redundancy. The combined BASE Media Cloud–IBM Aspera on Cloud service runs as a managed service inside IBM Cloud data centres in the UK, directly connected to the IBM Cloud Object Storage platform.

Results Story

Seamless collaboration and future-proof workflows

BASE Media Cloud was able to deliver a solution that has centralised Taylor Made Media’s storage in the cloud using IBM Aspera on Cloud and IBM Cloud Object Storage, while ensuring remote creatives can access valuable media assets and collaborate seamlessly. Taylor Made Media’s new remote working strategy has enhanced its workflows and created a more dynamic way of working, whether from the studio in London or home offices.

The integration of Aspera on Cloud with IBM Cloud Object Storage has enabled Taylor Made Media to maintain its efficiency in delivering creative support to clients. Alongside BASE Media Cloud’s technical and migration support, it guarantees efficient workflows and future proofs Taylor Made Media’s operations at an uncertain time.

“Within a couple days of first contacting BASE we were completely set up for remote working and our team of editors and freelancers were happily sharing footage and collaborating on multiple projects.  It has made our transition from entirely office based to entirely remote based working pretty much seamless, allowing us to pick up from our homes on the Monday almost exactly where we had left off in the office on the Friday” comments McGinty.

Benefits:

  • Centralised processes: the solution provides a single storage hub for creatives to access files.
  • High performance: provides fast and secure movement of valuable assets via the cloud using home IP connections.
  • Flexibility: enables staff to productively work from the safety and comfort of their homes.
  • Future proofed: potential to add more storage space and create a fully virtualised studio.

About Taylor Made Media and BASE Media Cloud

Founded in 2010, London-based multi-award-winning media production company Taylor Made Media has produced numerous films for some of the world’s leading brands, including Accenture, Barclays, Liberty Global and American Express. Its team of creatives is known for creating films that influence audiences and add value to clients’ brand messaging. From concept to creative, the team’s brand and broadcast experience ensures the delivery of high-value brand content.

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18 Jun 2020

Facilitating Digital Content Production in the Age of COVID-19

Increased demand in a time of remote working.

As people around the world spend more time in their homes to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the amount of digital content they consume has skyrocketed. For my company, BASE Media Cloud, that has led to a significantly increased reliance on our platform to help media companies work remotely. Since 2015, we have provided media companies with centralised cloud storage integrated with media software tools online and on-demand—a business model that has special appeal now that many people must collaborate online.

Supporting remote work

When lockdowns began in the UK, some of our customers had very little time to shift from working together in a common space with high-speed internet access to working remotely with varying levels of technology and connectivity. Suddenly, they were using our platform at record levels.

Fortunately, BASE Media Cloud’s multicloud platform is supported by IBM Cloud Services. Our solutions leverage IBM Cloud Bare Metal Servers on the IBM public cloud, as well as Aspera and IBM Cloud Object Storage. This provides our customers with reliable access to their important files and the ability to transfer files quickly for various editing and production tasks.

How our customers are coping

One of our long-standing customers, Little Dot Studios (LDS), creates content for social media networks. When stay-at-home orders were issued, Little Dot had 48 hours to set up more than 80 employees to work from home. Fortunately, LDS had been working in partnership with us toward a cloud-first infrastructure, and they were able to implement it quickly. Our IBM Cloud solution managed the surge in activity flawlessly.

Another of our UK customers is the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which began preparing for the pandemic in advance, as soon as it became international news, which meant that we helped them move much of their editorial work to the cloud before the lockdown began. The first phase of the project was to quickly set up all systems in the cloud and back up the project data that was required immediately. We got them ready for remote access over a weekend. Today, BBC are using BASE Media Cloud for key parts of their essential news editorial work, incorporating backup storage, file sharing, and remote editing with BeBop.

A third example of how BASE Media Cloud is helping customers prosper during this difficult time comes directly from Taylor Made Media:

“When we needed to implement a remote post-production workflow at short notice, we reached out to Ben at BASE, who got us set up immediately. Because we had a large amount of material to transfer in a very short space of time, the team at BASE arranged for a drive to be sent out to us to make the initial upload process as quick as possible. As soon as everything was online, we were given a tutorial on how to navigate and operate the system, which gave us a clear insight into how we would use the service. Within a couple days of first contacting BASE, we were completely set up for remote working and our team of editors and freelancers were happily sharing footage and collaborating on multiple projects. It has made our transition from entirely office-based to entirely remote-based working pretty much seamless, allowing us to pick up from our homes on the Monday almost exactly where we had left off in the office on the Friday.”

 

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17 Jun 2020

Webinar: IBM Aspera Media Summit: How IBM Aspera accelerates remote workflows

Enabling Faster Content Production and Delivery Workflows

Hear from BASE Media Cloud Founder & Managing Director, Ben Foakes, about how clients including Taylor Made Media and Engine House Media Services have used its platform, integrated with IBM Cloud and IBM Aspera to re-design their remote working storage and file delivery workloads.

Speakers:

Sachin Agarwal, WW Product Management Lead, IBM Aspera

Ben Foakes, Founder and Managing Director, BASE Media Cloud

Sigrid Larsen, Head of Media Services, The Engine House Media Services

 

To watch full webinar, please click here 

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04 Jun 2020

How to Set Up a 100% Cloud-Native Editing Suite with iconik and BASE Media Cloud

This webinar demonstrates how iconik and BASE Media Cloud can be used to create an editing suite that is entirely cloud-based—allowing editors to create with 4k video and best tools from anywhere with a standard laptop and internet connection—from ingestion to the final render without ever leaving the cloud. This workflow will show how BASE Media Cloud brings iconik and editing tools like Adobe Premiere Pro with service from BeBop Technology.

Learn more at www.iconik.io

BASE Media Cloud www.base-mc.com

 

 

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