Last time, we’ve established that companies in the media and entertainment industries need considerable amounts of storage. But, at the same time, they must also make sure that the right data is stored for the right time to be used.
Media archives are often seen as repositories of media that are ready to be accessed for several workflow requirements in the short and midterms. These workflows include post-production, editorial, but storage distributions masters as well.
While long-term preservation of digital media files is highly important, it is sometimes more vital for companies in this industry to have media archives that ensure preservations masters of the content to retain and access it at any time.
Serverless cloud solutions can help reinvent ingest workflows and ease the process of managing vast repositories of video content. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the challenges of managing large-scale video content on-premise and see how companies can establish a more elastic ingest model through the cloud.
Media Archive Challenges
Media archives are not just storage units to store your media files but a remarkable opportunity for content owners. With more content producers and distributors entering the market each year, media archives developed new use cases. It could be a sports channel looking for the greatest moments of a championship event to create a highlight reel or a documentarian compiling a show made of old news footage.
But these archives can only fulfill their goals if the content within is stored to ensure accessibility and discoverability. As we’ve discussed previously, an archive composed of physical assets like tape or kept in offline formats only leads to considerably less discoverability. Today, owners need to manage video assets from several generations, including codecs, physical storage, and various metadata standards.
Those working on the preservation, curation, and provision of access to their organization’s video assets often have to deal with vastly different generations of video formats, proprietary systems, metadata, disrupting technologies, as well as a growing number of use cases—all of that to make good use of “old” content.
However, these people are often forced to focus on the immediate present, struggling to meet immediate content requirements. And in this situation, the disorganization of content often increases, leading to processes and content being duplicated, with a great deal of stored content retaining no value.
At the same time, owners store and maintain all their media files to ensure that no valuable content slips through their fingers. The problem is that the cost of checking all that content often stalls any review process for an indefinite amount of time.
Cloud-Based Content and Data Lakes
The right cloud solution provides media archive owners with an environment that can help with all the aforementioned challenges.
For instance, data lakes allow organizations to move away from legacy environments that store content in multiple places (NAS, SAN, HSMs, desktops, offline physical media, etc.). Based on our experiences in managing our clients’ media archives, integrating the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) of Amazon Web Services with Glacier can help store all media files centrally, allowing multiple organizations and services to leverage that content from anywhere, anytime. The result is an environment where you can control content access, keeping it safe and secure with security mechanisms, such as encryption at rest and in transit.
This solution will also dismantle content owners’ concerns regarding the disappearance of critical, creative content on a portable hard drive. Additionally, once AWS’s 11 9’s of durability, high-performance capabilities of S3 are combined with economical tiering via Glacier, you receive a safe storage environment free of technology refresh issues.
With introducing their Intelligent Tiering feature in storage, the need to guess life cycle policies has also been entirely removed. Content can be stored in S3, enabling the automatic migration to the most economical storage tier based on usage.
The centralized storage structure helps media owners, producers, and distributors assign a logical storage structure which ultimately reduces complexity and redundant processes.
What Does Media2Cloud Do Exactly?
Media owners want to place their content under management. And Media2Cloud is the ingest framework that eases the whole process of establishing an elastic ingest service that ensures the essentials for ingesting video content: assigning a UUID, running an MD5 checksum, technical metadata extraction, and the creation of proxies of thumbnails.
Furthermore, as we discussed how important metadata is when it comes to archiving, the Media2Cloud framework has a built-in trigger that helps augment the metadata of video assets (leveraging AWS Machine Learning). And that’s only the cherry on top, with features like Amazon Rekognition that can scan media files for the object and face recognition, Amazon Transcribe to enable speech-to-text, as well as Amazon Comprehend for creating contextual metadata.
Thanks to Media2Cloud’s elasticity, it’s unnecessary to create separate workflows. The ingest service can also support day-to-day protection and archive migration ingests—make sure that they both have the requirements.
However, keep in mind that a MAM is still needed to import and manage content and metadata in the media archive. In addition, M2C’s Content Lake architecture provides content owners the option to interface multiple systems to the content, further empowering their business.
As you can see, Media2Cloud can lay the foundation for businesses working in media and entertainment to construct their unique MAM strategy within a serverless cloud environment and automate the processing of content for OTT, digital publishing, production, and other media services. Furthermore, with the right setup and add-ons, you can also enable the visualization of data regarding your content inventory, such as timeline views with ML/AI analysis support as well as any timeline-based search metaphor.
Is Media2Cloud a Game Changer?
We’ve been working with and using AWS technologies to support our clients for more than a decade. Seeing what the M2C ingest strategy can do to aid with production and archive migrations within the same workflow easily makes it one of the best solutions for media archive ingest to the cloud, in our opinion.
Its infrastructure is elastic enough to meet your exact processing needs for standardized asset and descriptive metadata creation at any given time. In addition, the struggles of finding the right content in time (a side-effect of diffuse metadata state on-premise, but this problem can also be encountered on MAM systems), as well as the knowledge of locating valuable media files in an archive being lost (e.g., due to employee turnover), can be finally put to rest. The addition of machine learning metadata to each media asset makes sure of that, increasing search efficiency and discoverability dramatically, which in turn provides organizations with the means to deal with metadata atrophy and achieve a highly sustainable process for improving content management.
In a nutshell, Media2Cloud can empower media organizations with standardized proxies and metadata and a storage policy that protects masters in cost-effective Glacier storage.
And most importantly, the content owner remains in full control over their content the whole time. Since all processes can be managed within an AWS storage, assets and metadata can be published without proprietary formatting. At the same time, the data lake creates an environment sufficient for maintaining structured metadata, secure storage, access policies, and automated maintenance. The result is reduced complexity and less manual intervention.
We think that with Media2Cloud ultimately dealing with media archive ingestion in an efficient and automated manner, organizations can use the time and resources that are freed up this way to focus on other business challenges, such as greater content utility and UX and media access tool upgrades.
At the same time, media owners can combine Media2Cloud with multiple MAM systems to further improve various use cases and enact their unique content-driven strategies.
Our full-scope OTT solution, ENT.360, is an enterprise-ready, software-only AWS native architecture that answers these challenges. With it, we architected and developed a global, monetized content distribution platform for a market-leading streaming service provider that was available in 50+ countries across more than 15 devices. ENT.360 is Well-Architected Solution.
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