Moving To The Clouds At the 2015 NAB Show

Published on in Equipment / Tech Reviews

Shared storage that spans location and time is becoming increasingly common in modern digital media workflows.  Cloud storage in data centers fills this role and it is finding many applications in media and entertainment from post production to content delivery and archiving.  By 2019 Coughlin Associates estimates that Cloud storage for media and entertainment will generate over $1 B in revenue (2014 Digital Storage for Media and Entertainment Report, http://tomcoughlin.com/techpapers.htm). This article will look at some developments in cloud storage and moving content on the Internet from the 2015 NAB show.

Imagine Communication was collaborating with Cisco to demonstrate the next generation of IP play-out and hybrid IP facilities.  Imagine’s Zenium workflow manager and VersioCloud platform are certified to run on Cisco’s Unified Computing System.  At earlier shows, such as the HPA retreat earlier in 2015, the company was showing (with Fox) demonstrations of an all IP workflow.  In discussions with the company it appeared that they see growth in on-line DVR services that the company plans to address.  In addition to Cisco Microsoft was at their booth with a preview of the Azure Media Services Premium Encoder.
Scality Ring object storage software has many uses as an origin server for media content delivery.  The Ring 5.0 release supports multiple streams and is finding applications in the growing market for cloud-based DVR.  German TV station RLT II was able to vastly increase its ability to move content to make it available for broadcasts as well as on-line outlets such as Amazon and Yahoo.  Transfer times for a 40 GB movie improved from 60-708 minutes to 6.5 minutes while the HP-based storage Proliant SL4540 Gen8 servers were able to store 3.5 Pb in 50% less space than the company’s previous solution.


Axle media management provides support for over 600,000 media assets and supports multiple coordinated servers supporting object storage with RESTful APIs.  Their edit module for journalists offers rough-cut editing on an iPad or iPhone.  Signiant was showing its Media Shuttle hybrid SaaS file transfer solution at the NAB show.  New features of Media Shuttle include Auto Delivery, Metadata and Single-Sign On.  In addition the company announced updates to its Signiant Flight (formerly known as SkyDrop), which can send large files (even feature length films) up to 200X faster than FTP.

Both Google and Amazon were touting their cloud storage services to the media and entertainment industry.  Companies such as A-Frame and others are offering cloud-based editing and collaboration tools.  Rendering and transcoding are popular cloud-based M&E applications as few organizations can afford to own the required infrastructure and there are storage system/software companies such as Avere (who was including Google cloud storage in their booth) and Panasas who have developed products to serve these applications.

Aspera, now part of IBM, is the leader in high-speed long distance content delivery in the media and entertainment industry.  At the 2015 NAB show the company was showing their FASP platform incorporated with media storage, management, processing, workflows and distribution.  Other internet content delivery vendors at the show included FileCatalyst.

IBM and the RAI Centre for Research and Technological Innovation in Torin were showing Aspera Direct to Cloud storage transfer capability and Aspera Orchestrator in the IBM Active Media Store.  The IBM Active Media Storage provides a flexible object storage system that can be a flexible platform supporting media operations.   In the Active Media Store, computation units called "storlets" run typical workflow functions, such as transcoding, automated metadata extraction and quality checks, close to the stored data, thereby reducing data transfer bandwidth and latency typically associated with cloud storage.

HDS partnered with video compression company, V-Nova, for an end-to-end solution for acquisition and delivery of live UHD content to consumers.  The workflow was said to be fully compatible with today’s MPEG encapsulation and HLS, DASH or SmoothStreaming delivery.  Cloudian hybrid storage was offering the M&E industry with the means to securely, flexibly and inexpensively storage and manage data from anywhere in the world.  Their HyperStore is a media preservation system that is highly scalable and protected thrgou multi-site, geo-distribution.  Beamr Video cuts the bitrate of H.264 and HEVC streams by up to 50%.  After applying Beamr Video optimization buffering events were reduced by 50%, stream start time was reduced by 20% an viewers enjoyed higher quality video streams over their existing network connections.

Object Matrix was showing its MatrixStore nearline storage platform that ensures content is available in two locations so work can continue even if the primary site goes down.  The company product is targeted at ingest, transcode, parking, archive and playout of content.

Other cloud storage services at the NAB included XOR Media CloudAqua object storage service, MediaSilo cloud-based collaboration and asset management platform.  Promise Technology showed their VSky unified storage appliance supporting Object, Black and File access for content delivery and backup/archive.

Digital storage is the key element of cloud storage and content delivery.  You can find out more about Media and Entertainment Cloud storage at the 2015 Creative Storage Conference, June 30, 2015 in Culver City, CA  (www..orgcreativestorage

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 About Tom Coughlin, Coughlin Associates
 Tom Coughlin, President, Coughlin Associates is a widely respected storage analyst and consultant.  He has over 35 years in the data storage industry with multiple engineering and management  positions at high profile companies.  

 Dr. Coughlin has many publications and six patents to his credit.  Tom is also the author of Digital Storage in Consumer Electronics:  The Essential Guide, which was published by Newnes Press. Coughlin Associates provides market and technology analysis as well as Data Storage Technical Consulting services.  Tom publishes the Digital Storage Technology Newsletter, the Media and Entertainment Storage Report, and other industry reports.  Tom is also a regular contributor on digital storage for Forbes.com. 

Tom is active with SMPTE, SNIA, the IEEE (he is Director for IEEE Region 6 and active in the Consumer Electronics Society) and other professional organizations.  Tom is the founder and organizer of the Annual Storage Visions Conference (www.storagevisions.com), a partner to the International Consumer Electronics Show, as well as the Creative Storage Conference (www.creativestorage.org). He is the general chairman of the annual Flash Memory Summit.  He is a Senior member of the IEEE, Leader in the Gerson Lehrman Group Councils of Advisors and a member of the Consultants Network of Silicon Valley (CNSV).  For more information on Tom Coughlin and his publications. go to www.tomcoughlin.com.

image courtesy of: truenorthicg

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