Archive for the ‘Media and Entertainment’ Category

A Modern All-IP Infrastructure for your Media Digital Transformation

Charles Sevior

Chief Technology Officer at EMC Emerging Technologies Division

Anybody who has attended one of the major Media / Broadcast trade shows over the last 6 – 12 months would know that most of the large solution vendors are now building solutions designed to take your media workflow into an “All-IP” future state – away from the past infrastructure built on dedicated hardware like video / audio routers and industry-specific cabling such as SDI with embedded audio.  The vendors are working hard to adopt standards from SMPTE, VSF and other bodies and to prove system interoperability.  The task of replacing the reliable and rugged (but inflexible and single-purpose) SDI backbone in your facility with a robust and interoperable All-IP fabric has been accepted by AIMS – the Alliance for IP Media Solutions.  This is an industry-lead collaboration of some of the largest M&E vendors, including:

  • Grass Valley (Belden)
  • Imagine Communications
  • Snell Advanced Media
  • Evertz
  • EVS
  • Lawo
  • Sony
  • Cisco
  • Arista
  • Harmonic

But more than just replacing your SDI cable and video router with Cat-6 and a network router, this multi-vendor industry alliance is also focused on fully-virtualised software-defined media solutions. What this means is that solution vendors are now re-engineering their applications to “behave nicely” in the virtualised and containerised environment that is commonly adopted in Enterprise IT and Cloud-Scale operations today.  This is different to the bespoke engineering of the past that assumed full control over some “bare metal” hardware.  Whilst this may be seen as introducing some performance constraints due to the overheads of virtualisation, it actually results in a more robust solution that can leverage the enormous resources of IT scale available today, and has improved features of monitoring & control with graceful failure and rapid service replacement.

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Sci-Fi Today, Reality TV Tomorrow

Yasir Yousuff

Sr. Director, Global Geo Marketing at EMC Emerging Technologies Division

Latest posts by Yasir Yousuff (see all)

There’s been a fair bit of hype surrounding the latest SpaceX upright rocket landing. Simple as it seems, the excitementSci-Fi Today, Reality TV Tomorrow, at least for me, stems from how the feat has brought us one step closer to fulfilling our sci-fi fantasies – etched into our minds by the many blockbuster flicks Hollywood has produced.

If you can recall one of the opening scenes of The Martian, we witnessed the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) lifting off, attempting to escape an ensuing dust storm. While most of the focus was on the misfortune of Mark Watney – played by Matt Damon, left behind after being struck by debris, you could say we took for granted how easily the MAV ascended into space. Combine the thought of how the MAV got there in the first place, and you have yourself a similar parallel to the SpaceX launch and landing.

So what am I getting at? Science fiction only remains science fiction until technology catches up with our imagination. This applies not just to space travel, but every other area of technological advancement.

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News Informs, Animated News Empowers

Yasir Yousuff

Sr. Director, Global Geo Marketing at EMC Emerging Technologies Division

Latest posts by Yasir Yousuff (see all)

Animated NewsNews not only informs us of what’s happening around the world. Its investigative nature enhances our system of checks and balances, uncovering wrongdoings and deep-rooted conspiracies that undermine the very integral values of modern civil society.

No, we’re not here to discuss Mossack Fonseca, though its recent revelations do lend a certain credibility to what we plan to talk about.

Did you catch Disney’s latest animation film, Zootopia? For the benefit of those who didn’t, it tells the story of a rabbit police officer and red fox con artist working together to uncover a conspiracy involving the mysterious disappearance of predator civilians. Not many have realized this, but the movie’s ability to explain the concept of a conspiracy to adolescents is something to marvel at.

This makes you wonder about the storytelling power of animation, and whether it could further enhance our understanding of everyday news. Forget erudite commentary understood only by a handful. Think vernacular language, and its mass appeal.

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IABM Selects EMC as a Game Changer for Storage at NAB Show

Tom "TV" Burns

CTO, Media & Entertainment at EMC

Hello from the NAB Show in Las Vegas! It’s been a terrific couple of days so far and the team is having a great time connecting with our customers, partners, prospects and others in the broadcast and media technology community.

game_changer_logo_for_web_bannerWe’ve got some exciting news to share from the show – the International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers (IABM) presented EMC with the 2016 Game Changer Award in the storage category for Isilon CloudPools and IsilonSD Edge. These new products help media organizations integrate cloud storage into their current workflows and easily enable new remote office productions.

The media industry is built on change, and today the media business of creation and delivery is no exception. As higher resolution formats and new delivery methods create turbulence in the industry, media professionals are looking for best-of-breed technology that will future-proof their workflows and transform their business to meet tomorrow’s needs.

From day one, EMC has thought differently about the media industry: we’ve always believed in challenging the status quo of how storage is used in creation, processing and delivery of media. With Isilon storage we’ve done that by creating simple, easy to manage, high performance, and cost-effective tiers of storage that are all in one flexible pool.  A single pool of storage lets artists and editors easily share assets across the workflow, while providing a single point of storage management throughout the life cycle of the storage infrastructure.

EMC Isilon SD Edge graphic

Perhaps more importantly, from the ground up, we’ve future-proofed our products by design. The Isilon storage platform can be incrementally and modularly grown as business needs change or technology requires component replacement. There’s no need to acquire the infrastructure today based on predictions of what will happen in the next three years—simply grow the storage system in increments that follow business cycles. If a portion of the infrastructure is no longer cost-effective, gradually replace those portions with new technology—seamlessly and cost-effectively.

The judging panel of 40 independent industry professionals described the products as “a development of a well-established professional, high performance media storage system [that] enables a hybrid approach in migrating to cloud-based storage.”

This Game Changer award is a testament to our team’s dedication and hard work to provide thousands of organizations in the media and entertainment industries the most effective storage solutions. From all of us at EMC, we want to extend our thanks and appreciation to the IABM for this recognition.

In China, it is different…

Charles Sevior

Chief Technology Officer at EMC Emerging Technologies Division

So is the often repeated phrase, when those of us outside of Qr code 1China ask our colleagues about business, technology and consumer activities within the World’s most populated country – which is still on a very substantial economic growth curve and taking big steps on the global stage. Just think about the devices that you use every day – it is hard to find one that is not made in China.

I have just returned from Beijing, where EMC joined the 24th annual China Content Broadcasting Network Conference and Exhibition – CCBN 2016.  CCBN boasts 100,000 attendees from 30 countries to meet with over 1,000 exhibitors across a 60,000 sqm exhibition campus in 8 halls.

CCBN exhibition campus

The weather was spectacular!  Cool, clear and sunny, perfect for walks around the campus.  Chinese M&E industry professionals are just like you and I – focused on practical outcomes that deliver the best quality and new innovations at an affordable price.  They are optimistic and enthusiastic for the future – and much younger and fitter than the “industry veterans” that I expect to be rubbing shoulders with during the upcoming NAB Show in Las Vegas (no offence intended).QR code 2

EMC was at CCBN in Hall 3, and we also held an in-depth customer workshop where we presented our technology updates and vision for the media industry, and then listened to some of the most advanced media customers in China tell us of their plans, challenges and requirements for the future.  If you want to get some takeaways, take a look here or scan this QR code (it is the Chinese way).

4K? Cloud? OTT? All-IP? Social Media integration?  You bet!  These are all hot topics, and many vendors were presenting solutions addressing all of these rapidly developing requirements.  But this is where we start to see some significant variations between China and the rest of the world.

Vendors are different…

Forget your well-known major brands. In China the biggest players are the local vendors and solution providers.  International vendors are usually represented through partnerships and JV agreements.  Software-based solutions that are localised to support Chinese language and integrations are the most successful, because they can be married with local-brand IT hardware thus giving the local system integrators some opportunity for a share of profit margins and local support contracts.  So the model that most M&E vendors are finally adopting – getting away from hardware sales and providing fully-virtualised software options – ensures access to huge markets like China.  The two biggest by far are Dayang and Sobey – and I’m pleased to say they are both very good partners of EMC, having sold many solutions integrating Isilon storage into major media companies in China.

Dayang Sobey

This snapshot on Day 1 of the show gives you an idea of the crowd and the popularity of Dayang and Sobey for the media industry in China.  Each vendor was showing innovations and solutions addressing the hot topics for 2016 – 4K, Cloud, Asset Management, Archiving, All-IP, File-Based Workflows. Located directly opposite each other, Hall 4 was definitely the hot spot! You will find these two companies exhibiting at NAB, but they won’t be quite so busy…

Clouds are different…

When you think Cloud, names that leap to mind are Amazon, Microsoft and Google.  Not here.  The big players are Alibaba and Tencent, and the biggest public cloud in China is Aliyun (yun=cloud, so we usually call it AliCloud).  Just as we see interest in running M&E workflows on AWS and Azure, so in China there was a major partnership being demonstrated between Sobey and Aliyun.  This follows a similar model to elsewhere, where the solutions are being developed on layered SaaS / PaaS / IaaS models. You will recognise a few logos in the snapshot below.

Cloud solution china

Just as we find in the professional media industry outside of China, there are concerns expressed by our customers about being too dependent on 3rd party providers, vendor lock-in and content security. And just as we find outside of China, the cloud is not cheaper than a well-run private / hybrid cloud solution built on a foundation of open source software and managed infrastructure.

Internet TV is different…

Netflix?  As the leading global provider of subscription Video On Demand, Netflix is well-known as the disruptive innovator that has started to reshape media consumption.  Just like Uber for the taxi industry and Airbnb for the hotel industry, Netflix has triggered the launch of a myriad of OTT content providers across Asia – competing to stay abreast of this wave of rapidly changing consumer demand.  Watch anything, anytime on any device.  Binge-viewing of whole seasons at less than $10 / month. In early 2016, Netflix pressed a button to roll out services across the rest of the globe – with one very big exception…

netflix globe

Yes, that big hole is China, 1.3 Billion people.  Netflix may yet start up here via a JV, but in China, it is different… The companies defining and dominating the OTT and Internet video space in China are predominantly local or acting as JV partners.

China OTT Video Giants

In China there is no Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Google. Instead there is WeChat, YuoKu, QQ, Wasu, DisneyLife – and plenty of others.  These media ventures are dominated by the big guys, like Alibaba, Tencent, CCTV and SMG.

However from a technical perspective, the pressures and issues are the same.  The need for high-quality transcoding, origin servers and CDNs that can scale to handle the massive traffic demands, a range of different consumer devices to be supported, and of course doing all of this at a low incremental cost.

What’s Next?

Well, most people I spoke to were already well down the track of 4K video production, and looking to be able to offer those channels in the near future.  Vendors at the show were promoting their support for 4K video, and HDR.  With Beijing officially winning the bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, that caps off a North Asian clean sweep for the six years following the Rio 2016 Olympics that will certainly drive broadcasters and vendors to bring advanced television production and distribution such as 4K, 8K and individual event streaming to the market and into the hands of demanding consumers.

Olympic Cities

See you at NAB 2016!

And so as we rapidly approach the major annual broadcasting & media show in Las Vegas, if you are travelling from Asia or if you are interested in providing services into Asia, come and have a chat with me on the EMC stand #SL9605 in the South Lower Hall. Or if you want to find out more about the world’s most trusted media storage and converged infrastructure solutions – adopted by more than 1,500 media & entertainment companies worldwide (including China), come and meet with our experts on the stand.  We will show you the result of 15 years of developing and selling Isilon, now in its 8th generation of software innovation. We live and breathe the “All-IP” media world, and with EMC’s market-leading converged infrastructure solutions we can take you into the cloud-connected, virtualised, “always-on” future that your business and your customers are already demanding.

Is the Media & Entertainment industry in the middle of a major transformation?

Tom "TV" Burns

CTO, Media & Entertainment at EMC

Media Companies in 2016 find themselves “in the middle of things”:

  • a “peak TV” environment in which cable channels are bursting with high-quality scripted episodic programming
  • an on-demand subscriber environment that has revolutionized the way consumers find and watch entertainment
  • immersive environments which have changed the grammar of visual storytelling

“We can’t really even call it television anymore…”
When I took this gig as CTO, Media & Entertainment for EMC, one thing that intrigued me about the role was how EMC thought differently about the media industry: they focused on helping media companies create and deliver great stories. We do this by leveraging the evolving concepts from traditional enterprise IT such as software-defined storage and converged infrastructure to provide adaptable carrier-grade solutions and a future-proof infrastructure to their media customers. This year is no different as we’re introducing a host of new features to our flagship Isilon product—features that expand a media organization’s reach from “Edge to Core to Cloud.” (I’ll talk about how this relates to media organizations in a sec…)

“The software-defined media facility”
Broadcasters, advertiser- and subscriber-supported OTT providers, content creators, aggregators and the entire ecosystem of partners and suppliers are really in the “Entertainment Services Delivery” market. Technology infrastructures like software-defined storage and software-defined networking will allow broadcasters to make changes to their workflows programmatically. This is the “new normal” – of adding or migrating new services in days rather than months.

As our media customers have responded to this re-definition of their business, we’ve introduced new features that let them do things they’ve never done before. For example, last year we introduced the concept of a “Media Lake”—essentially a single, high-performance shared resource that let media organizations consolidate their data into a central repository. Rather than copying your data to some other silo, transforming it and copying it back – the idea is to leave your data in one place and execute the value-creation operations (whether it’s encoding, archiving, creative editorial, analytics or what have you) while you leave the data in place – it saves you time, enables collaboration and reduces the possibility of error.

Isilon Media and Entertainment Data Lake
This year we’ve doubled our investment in the idea of a media data lake—announcing “Media Lake 2.0,” which gives our media customers new capabilities that allow productions to extend to “edge” (smaller or remote) locations, optimize their core media operations, and leverage public/private/hybrid clouds.

The new Isilon software upgrades and products being introduced include:

OneFS 8.0—improves availability failover reliability for Isilon storage clusters.  OneFS 8.0 includes multiple features, but the ones that are critical for Media & Entertainment include non-disruptive operating system upgrades, upgrade rollback, and non-disruptive operations.  In addition, OneFS 8.0 incorporates support for SMB3.0 Continuous Availability for increased reliability and availability for Windows clients.

One of our long-standing partners Jeff Snyder Nexio Mediaand premier media industry vendor, Imagine Communications, recently tested OneFS 8.0 in their lab and at one of their customers’ sites.  As a  global leader in video and advertising solutions—nearly half of the world’s video channels traverse through more than three million Imagine Communications products deployed across 185 countries.

That’s why we look to Imagine to give us feedback on our solutions as they definitely know how to stress new technology.  For OneFS 8.0 they were specifically interested in the non-disruptive upgrades and the improvements in SMB 3.0.

In testing, Imagine found the scale-out and failover from EMC Isilon makes it one of the “best” NAS solutions they’ve tested. The continuous availability options (the ability to upgrade or update on-the-fly) and improvements in the SMB protocol gave them functionality and bandwidth “they couldn’t get with other NAS products.”

IsilonSD Edge—provides a software-defined storage solution that allows media companies to quickly and seamlessly gain access to production and talent wherever great stories are created and captured. In addition, as a software-defined storage solution, IsilonSD Edge runs on commodity hardware in a virtual environment—substantially reducing costs and increasing agility. IsilonSD Edge extends the Media Data Lake across geographies, allowing “follow-the-sun” content creation and delivery from remote and branch facilities. Media data lake synchronization with remote assets reduces inefficiencies and accelerates production times by sharing critical production media assets.

EMC Isilon CloudPools—enables Isilon media customers to seamlessly archive or tier assets from their Isilon cluster to an in-house (private) cloud based on EMC ECS, or a choice of public cloud providers, or a combination of both. This gives a media organization the flexibility and simplicity to dynamically expand beyond their current capacity and archive storage into any cloud-based solution. With CloudPools, data that is transmitted to the cloud is encrypted for security purposes and compressed to optimize the network bandwidth usage.

“Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…”
The industry continues to change at a dramatic pace, and we realize our customers need to not only adapt and transform but also profit from their efforts.  That’s why we continue to challenge the status quo for our media customers.   Whether it’s jointly developing end-to-end workflows solutions with great industry partners like Imagine Communications, or upgrading the Isilon platform with innovative features like the CloudPools and IsilonSD Edge, our goal is to give our customers a foundation for future-proofing their business and workflow needs.

@TVBurns

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