There are key considerations that must be prioritized to ensure an economical, effective balance of ground and cloud transcoding resources:
- Feature parity: Select a platform that can exactly replicate the profiles, capabilities, and formats used on premise so that video outputs are identical regardless of where they are processed.
- Unified management: Make sure cloud-based and on-premise video platforms can be administered from a single interface and API so both sets of resources are managed seamlessly.
- Secure environment: Avoid multitenant environments and publically exposed networks.
- Reliable implementation: Ensure the cloud system spans multiple regions and availability zones for redundancy.
- Data transfer: Select cloud-based data centers that are located near on-premise data centers and leverage accelerated data transfer services.
- Experience: Make sure the vendor is equipped to meet FCC regulations and other standards, and quickly supports new ones.
- Recommendation: A hybrid approach
How can media, entertainment and broadcast companies best leverage video processing in the cloud? Low-volume broadcast companies may want to move all transcoding functionality to the cloud so they can scale resources up and down as necessary. For companies that consistently process vast amounts of video, the economics of a cloud-only system are still challenging. For those companies, a hybrid workflow makes the most economic sense.
A hybrid workflow is achieved by maintaining just enough on-premise infrastructure to fulfill day-to-day transcoding requirements, while leveraging cloud services for the elasticity to keep pace with demand. (See Figure 2.) This ground-to-cloud approach has the potential to save organizations significant capital expenditures. Augmenting in-house transcoding capacity with cloud resources can reduce video processing costs by at least 50 percent, and by as much as 80 percent, according to a report by the multinational technology consulting firm Accenture.
Being flexible about leveraging both on-premise and cloud resources allows companies to cost-effectively balance transcoding resources, while optimizing capital investments already made.
As cloud computing vendors continue to tackle the issues of cost, data transfer and security, interest in cloud-based transcoding is sure to grow among media and entertainment companies in the near future. By taking a hybrid approach, media companies can fully reap the benefits the cloud can offer.
—Dustin Encelewski is director of product marketing, Elemental Technologies.