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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05 Mar 2021

Powering Extreme E’s remote live production

A multi-cloud distribution platform from BASE Media Cloud and Veritone helps off-road racing series Extreme E store, manage and share assets with multiple global partners.

 Imagine a Red Bull air race on the ground. There are certain gates that teams need to pass through but how they get through them is them is down to the skill of male and female drivers on terrain that varies from desert to deforested jungle to deserted glacier.

That’s the premise of all electric rally-style Extreme E, the progressive FIA-backed

SUV racing series which launches next month.

With 30 percent of the planet’s CO2 emissions coming from transport, Extreme E exists to showcase the performance of electric vehicles, and to accelerate their adoption.

As such it needs to marry urgent environmental messaging with as lean a production footprint as possible.  That’s particularly challenging for a live broadcast given that the locations are remote and infrastructure-free.

“We want to shine the spotlight on the climate crisis that we’re facing all over the world through the lens of an adrenaline filled action sport,” explains Dave Adey, head of broadcast and technology for Extreme E. “We’re employing remote production with minimal production staff on site and no spectators at the track, so for us content and fast turnaround is imperative.”

There are four constituent elements to the Extreme E production designed by production partners Aurora Media Worldwide and North One. All race camera sources including drones and onboards are uplinked from a lightweight TV compound on site. Car telemetry is managed by Barcelona-based Al Kamel Systems with AR and VR overlays from NEP in The Netherlands. Everything is back hauled to the gallery in London for production of live coverage across each race weekend plus highlights shows, a 30-min race preview and 300 VOD films for digital.

Given the scale of production, Extreme E needed a system that would allow them to manage content, including the ability to upload from anywhere into a centralised secure storage location. They also needed to be able to manipulate, search, view and download content; and to give this functionality to its authorised media partners.

“We need to find any of the content instantly so the user interface needs to be intuitive and the metadata schema rich but precise,” Adey says. “Once you find the clip you want to be able to view it with a proxy version online. We then may want to manipulate that content or create clips or transcode to different file formats. The system we chose had to do all of this and more.”

Extreme E chose to use a sports multi-cloud Digital Media Hub (DMH) comprising a cloud-native storage and content distribution platform developed and managed by Base Media Cloud with Veritone’s AI-powered asset management system.

After transmission, all live programming and all the rest of the content including VT’s, highlights and digital is uploaded to the DMH for rights holder to search, view and use.

“The DMH provides a dual purpose: to make content easily available to rights holders; and provide a rich suite of assets that rights holders can use to enhance their own content,” explains Adey.

“A key benefit of a cloud-native solution is that the distribution of content is much more cost effective. I don’t have to put up a satellite feed to do a highlights program. Instead, we can create those programs in London, upload them into our content management system and make them immediately accessible via accelerated download for any of our rights owners and media partners around the world.

“It’s also really important that we have very high and very clear, environmental credentials which the multi-cloud sports media solution from Base Media Cloud and Veritone gives us.”

More than 70 broadcasters have bought rights to Extreme E including Discovery, Sky Sports, Fox Sports, BBC, ProSieben Maxx, Disney ESPN and TV Globo. The series launches in April in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and will continue in Senegal, Greenland, Brazil and Tierra del Fuego.

Read more here.

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19 Jan 2021

EXTREME E Remote Working Case Study with BASE Media Cloud, Veritone and IBM Cloud.

A multicloud distribution platform from Base Media Cloud and Veritone helps off-road racing series Extreme E store, manage and share assets with multiple global partners.

Summary:
Extreme E’s remote production needs necessitated collecting and distributing data from multiple sources
● The solution needed to allow them and their media partners to search, view and download content
● A combined solution from Base Media Cloud and Veritone helps meet sports production’s unique needs

 

Extreme E is an exciting new sports organisation that uses groundbreaking electric SUVs to race in remote parts of the world, from the Amazon rainforest to the Arctic, while raising awareness about climate change.

The series aims to bring viewers a completely new way to interact with racing, as each event seeks to not only entertain with high-speed races in exotic locations, but raise awareness of the need to protect these remote environments.

The series launches April 2021 in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and will continue in Senegal, Greenland, Brazil and the Amazon.

A complex production

With such an ambitious undertaking, Extreme E needs to employ a broad range of solutions to produce sensational race coverage, as the organisation revealed during a tech talk, “Remote Working at the Extremes,” at the Broadcast Sport Tech Innovation event earlier this year. Extreme E needs to utilise technology such as track, on-board and POV cameras (across water features, jumps, etc.), drones, virtual reality and augmented reality, and timing and telemetry data will consist of hundreds of pieces of data that will then be fed into the live TV program.

For broadcast, its races will stream live on a variety of digital platforms. Each two-day race will conclude with a two-hour transmission, distributed to global rights holders. In addition, clips will need to be generated for TV shows, documentary series and social media.

Given the scale of production, Extreme E needed a system that would allow them to manage content that is created all over the world, including the ability to upload from anywhere into a centralised secure storage location. They also needed to be able to manipulate, search, view and download content; and to give this functionality to its authorised media partners.

If that level of operation weren’t enough, Extreme E is also fiercely dedicated to making its production as environmentally conscious as possible. By employing remote workflows, they can transport fewer people and equipment to each far-flung locale, reducing their carbon footprint.

“We’re a TV-only product. We don’t have spectators on-site, partly because we’re so remote, and partly because we ‘race without a trace’ — we don’t want people damaging the already delicate locations we’re at,” explains Dave Adey, head of broadcast and technology for Extreme E. “Being a TV product, content is our most valuable asset, and the robust management of that is a fundamental requirement.”

Implementing a remote workflow solution

Extreme E (and its production partners Aurora Media Worldwide and North One) chose to use a sports multi-cloud distribution solution created through a partnership between Base Media Cloud and Veritone, a centralised cloud storage provider that helps its clients manage multiple terabytes of data using multiple clouds. Base Media Cloud and Veritone began their partnership nearly four years ago to form the solution, which is already used to meet the unique needs of some of the largest sports federations in the world.

The sports solution combines accelerated file transfer and cloud object storage services from Base Media Cloud with Veritone’s Digital Media Hub AI-powered intelligent asset management system for a cloud-native integration from which all global content access is handled in the cloud, making it ideal for remote workflows. It standardises the ingest process from multiple partners, accelerates content into secure object storage and then provides instant access to those assets to key rights holders and stakeholders, such as broadcasters, teams and sponsors. This takes place at the heart of the production, where multiple production companies and partners can coordinate upload and standardise media access.

By using Base Media Cloud and Veritone’s solution, Extreme E coordinates and simplifies their content and metadata aggregation from multiple partners and makes it easier to discover and share content globally and securely. The combined platform is built to scale, is able to connect to multiple services as the business grows (e.g. a comprehensive range of AI services, eCommerce for monetisation, open API’s for third party connectivity, remote editing, branded channels for streaming purposes, automated distribution workflows, etc.)

“The benefits of cloud production and distribution with Base Media Cloud and Veritone is a real 101 for us,” Adey says. “It’s the initial building blocks that we need.”

If you’re interested in exploring implementing our combined sports solution in your own organisation, get in touch with one of our representatives to see how you can solve your remote working challenges.

Read more about Extreme E

 

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27 Nov 2020

Extreme E Enhances Environmental Reputation With Cloud-Based Distribution

The competition is working with Base Media Cloud and Veritone to create a cloud-native storage and content distribution platform.

Speaking at the Broadcast Sport Tech Innovation Forum, Extreme E head of broadcast and technology, Dave Adey, Base Media Cloud managing director Ben Foakes, and Veritone senior director, customer solutions, David Candler, have explained how they’ve worked together to deliver a cloud-based content distribution system and remote broadcast workflow for the competition.

Adey explained the importance of this work: “Our TV compound needs to be self-sufficient. Everything will be back hauled to a production gallery in London, with track-side equipment at a minimum”.

“The ability to search, view and download, not only for us but for rights holders and media partners, is vital – so Base and Veritone are a 101 for us, it’s the building blocks for what we need.”

Both of these systems help Extreme E to achieve its environmental aims, with less equipment at the endangered sites where races take place and fewer resources used in terms of servers and electricity.

 

Candler said: “We’re environmentally aware… working with public cloud infrastructures with fewer servers used, less electricity consumption, architectures designed at scale for efficient energy use, etc.”

Foakes said of the BASE Media Cloud’s platform capabilities: “In addition to storage, file transfer and distribution – in the future you can do things like remote editing, spring up branded channels, automate distributing workflows.”

Candler added on Veritone Digital Media Hub’s capabilities: “Multiple production companies and partners can co-ordinate upload and we can standardise media delivery…plus provide instant access to the key stakeholders or rights holders across the world.”

Extreme E is set to launch next year, with the first race taking place in Al-‘Ula, Saudi Arabia in March.

‘Secure Your BASE Media Cloud Special Offer with Free Access to Veritone’s Flagship Applications for 60 Days Here

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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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