Traditionally, the infrastructure required for broadcast media creation has consisted of specialized GPU workstations, high-performance storage arrays, complex networking, and video wiring; all of which are capital intensive and costly to maintain.
Over the past year, NBCUniversal has been evaluating a cloud infrastructure model, to provide on-air media creation as a service to its creative teams. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) technology has been around for years, but because of media specific challenges (GPU utilization, frame rate, color representation, etc), it has not been fully adopted in media workflows, until now.
Utilizing GPU-enabled cloud-based virtual machines, dynamically scalable high-performance cloud-native storage, and infrastructure-as-code methodologies, we are now able to provide full end-to-end media production workflows in the public cloud.
The infrastructure-as-code philosophy treats compute, storage, database, and network systems as software; prioritizing automation, efficiency, versioning, and reusability. Closely aligned, configuration management tools allow us to deploy software and specialized configurations to many systems simultaneously. Using an automation-forward approach, we know exactly what is going to be applied, how it will propagate through the infrastructure, and what dependencies are involved.
Elastic scalability of compute and storage eliminates over-provisioning (and its related capital investments), and provides the ability to dynamically add/remove resources as necessary. Additionally, the use of IP video technology enables devices and applications to share audio and video across the network.
Through configuration examples and system diagrams, this paper will highlight the technical details of this programmatically reproducible solution, as well as the challenges and benefits of media creation in the cloud.
Critically, we seek to offer the broadcast community an insight into “non-broadcast” technologies and tools which are fast becoming crucial to our industry.
Key data points and discussion topics include network bandwidth and cloud connectivity requirements, performance metrics for cloud storage solutions, scalability factors and user experience – can creatives tell the difference between traditional workstations and cloud virtual machines?
Technical Depth of Presentation
Our presentation will be of an intermediate-to-advanced technical depth, with deeply technical details about cloud implementations and performance characteristics, as well as code snippets.
What Attendees will Benefit Most from this Presentation
In our discussion of both commercial impacts and technical implementation of cloud technologies, we seek to appeal to a broad range of audience members from C-Suite Executives to Engineers and Technologists. Critically, we seek to offer the broadcast community an insight into “non-broadcast” technologies and tools which are fast becoming crucial to our industry.
Take-Aways from this Presentation
While for many broadcasters “The Cloud” is a proposition which remains impenetrably cloudy, technology has progressed to the point that practical applications for media workflows are available today. Our presentation will provide attendees with a survey of these technologies, solutions and design patterns, as well as a discussion of benefits, to answer both the “how” and the “why” of moving to the cloud.