Cloud Computing in the Media and Entertainment Industry with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

Welcome to our series of blog posts that explore how Cloud Volumes helps various verticals meet their sector-specific challenges and reap all the benefits of cloud computing. In this post we look at the media & entertainment (M&E) industry, which provides us all with print and online newspapers and magazines, TV and radio, and, of course, movies, video games, music, and books. The next post in this series will examine the NetApp Cloud solutions for SaaS challenges and DevOps challenges in the Software vendors sector.

Globally, the M&E sector was valued at $1.9 trillion in 2016, of which the US accounted for $712 billion of the entertainment industry market size. The top players include household names such as Comcast, Disney, Time Warner, YouTube, and Netflix, but the sector also includes thousands of small-to-medium enterprises and employs more than 1.5 million people in the US alone.

In this blog post we take a closer look at the benefits of cloud computing in the media and entertainment industry, and how media companies have successfully leveraged NetApp’s Cloud Volumes ONTAP to stay ahead of the curve.

The Advantages of Cloud Computing for Media & Entertainment

How do businesses use cloud computing? In this section we look at how the advantages of using cloud storage are helping the M&E sector face four of its most important challenges.

Demanding Consumers, Unpredictable Demand

Today’s consumers of media and entertainment content expect flexibility and choices. In addition, consumer demand is unpredictable, with spikes and surges in viewership that have to be dealt with in real time. The on-demand characteristics of cloud computing provide the levels of scalability and flexibility that the M&E sector needs to cost-effectively meet volatile demand, automatically spinning servers up and down as demand ebbs and flows.

Agility, Speedier Time to Market, Continuous Expansion of Content

In order to stay competitive, content creators in the M&E sector are under pressure to produce and/or distribute original content more frequently and faster. Without the cloud it would be close to impossible to store, manage, and deliver these huge quantities of digital content in an agile, dynamic and cost-effective manner. Hybrid and/or multicloud deployments can provide an even greater measure of flexibility, allowing workloads to be shifted seamlessly across public and private infrastructures.

Cost Benefits of Cloud Computing

Save Costs with Cloud ComputingTraditional M&E distribution companies such as cable or broadcast television are being challenged by new trends in television broadcasting and agile, low-cost OTT (Over the Top) companies that sell and/or deliver streaming audio, video and other media directly to consumers over the Internet. Other factors that are challenging the bottom lines of the content-oriented M&E companies are the rising costs of content licensing, as well as shortened technology lifecycles.

Cloud computing in the media and entertainment industry offers opportunities to contain technology and storage costs in order to balance the rising costs in other areas. By shifting from a CAPEX model to the cloud’s OPEX model, for example, M&E companies can reduce their sunk costs in storage and delivery technologies and infrastructures. Also, using the different tiers of cloud storage SLAs for their hot vs. cold digital assets can reduce storage costs considerably for M&E companies.

High Performance, Minimal Delays/Downtime

High streaming performance, with minimal delays and downtime, is critical both in terms of user experience as well as advertiser expectations. A six-second delay in streaming an ad for a hit show, for example, can cost a media company hundreds of thousands of dollars that they have to give back to the advertiser.

The cloud provides ample opportunities for dispersed and redundant architectures that support high availability and high performance SLAs, such as multi-region, multicloud, and hybrid deployments.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP Advantages for Media & Entertainment Companies

The cloud providers themselves provide tools and services to help their users monitor, manage and contain storage and compute usage and costs. However, these cloud-native tools and services are usually inadequate in the face of complex cloud infrastructures that straddle multiple—and often siloed—cloud consumers within the organization, as well as hybrid and/or multicloud deployments.

NetApp’s Cloud Volumes ONTAP data management system, which runs as an instance on either Azure storage or AWS storage, brings a wide range of cost-containment and other advantages to cloud computing in the media and entertainment industry, including:

  • Storage efficiencies: Cloud Volumes ONTAP uses storage efficiencies that can automatically compress, deduplicate, and compact data in order to minimize costly storage sprawl. In addition, its thin provisioning feature allocates storage capacity dynamically, as it is needed instead of ahead of time.
  • Automated data tiering: Cloud Volumes ONTAP deployments benefit from seamless data tiering between a high-performance tier for “hot” data on Amazon EBS or Azure Premium/Standard disks, and the higher-latency, less-expensive object storage tier on Amazon S3 or Azure Blob for “cold” data.
  • SnapMirror® replicates data highly efficiently on the block level from NetApp storage devices to the cloud. SnapMirror cost-effectively shifts large quantities of data to and from the cloud in hybrid or multicloud deployments and is a great way to perform data replication to create and maintain secondary copies.
  • FlexClone® flexible volume cloning leverages NetApp’s resource-efficient incremental Snapshot technology to clone writable volumes instantly and at zero capacity no matter the size of the source data. FlexClone can cut storage requirements (and costs) by 50% or more and speed your production processes and time to value.
  • Data Protection: Encompassing highly-available storage, snapshots, and disaster recovery, Cloud Volumes ONTAP offers one solution to all you data protection needs; In Cloud Volume ONTAP’s AWS high availability configuration, if one node crashes workloads are immediately and automatically directed to another node.
  • Single-pane management: Cloud Manager provides an intuitive, single-pane data management interface with full visibility and control across the most complex deployments.

M&E Customer Success Stories

The following table provides some concrete examples of how M&E companies are leveraging Cloud Volumes ONTAP to lower costs, boost performance, and overcome the challenges of cloud computing:

Customer Success Stories Table

A Final Note

Sectors like media and entertainment that generate and deliver huge volumes of data and are held to high standards of performance and responsiveness are turning to the benefits of cloud computing for scalability, elasticity, availability, continuity—and NetApp is their natural data management partner. The next post in this series will examine the NetApp Cloud solutions for SaaS challenges and DevOps challenges in the Software vendors sector.

We invite you to use our AWS calculator and Azure calculator to see how layering Cloud Volumes ONTAP over the public cloud services can provide cost effective cloud storage—or go ahead and try out Cloud Volumes ONTAP in a 30-day free trial on AWS or on Azure.