The ability to dynamically scale up any process in the Cloud is the cornerstone of any native cloud-based solution, including cloud-based automated QC. And with the large and unpredictable pattern of content volume in the Cloud, this capability has become a necessity for cloud-based content workflows.
One of the key reasons for the large volume of the content in the Cloud is the notion of Multi-screen delivery. A large number of viewers are now watching content on their personal devices rather than their TVs. VOD and “binge-watching” are also common now even for the television content. Therefore, it has now become a routine occurrence with a growing number of content providers and OTT services to deliver content to various screens using the Internet.
This requires content providers to embrace the multi-bitrate Internet delivery in addition to the television delivery, resulting in multiple versions of the same content (at different bitrates), which drastically increases the content volume. Content now needs to be transcoded to multiple encoding profiles and delivered efficiently over web and television. While all this is happening, content providers also need to keep their workflows efficient as many of them are still in the process of establishing monetization models for their content.
The diagram below compares a pure television delivery with a multi-screen delivery. It is clear that in comparison with the television-only delivery, a lot more processing activities and much more data need to be delivered in the case of multi-screen delivery.
Since all the VOD content needs to be ultimately delivered over the web, it also makes sense to process this content in the Cloud rather than on-premise. Many operators are still processing the content on-premise or are using hybrid workflows to keep basic content preparation on-premise while performing transcoding/packaging operations in the Cloud before delivering to CDN. It is expected that more and more content providers will move to fully cloud-based workflows due to the following reasons:
-Efficient content transfer. Content multiplication and delivery to CDN directly off Cloud.
-Availability of tools by OVPs on Cloud in order to handle the multi-screen content processing and delivery
-Auto-scaling of processing resources on Cloud
-Infrastructure reliability on public Cloud platforms
-OPEX based business models
Auto-scaling of QC resources in the Cloud
File-based QC is a necessary process in every professional content workflow. With the advent of multi-screen delivery, content volumes have reached levels at which manual QC is no longer feasible. There is an urgent need to adopt Auto File QC tools in the workflows to ensure that required content quality is delivered to the viewers, simply because viewers today are not ready to compromise with the quality – whether it is television or VOD delivery on the Internet.
While content providers embrace the multi-screen delivery and adopt file QC systems, what complicates such cloud-based workflows is the unpredictable nature of the content volume, either during the day or around key events, and the need for timely delivery of that content, regardless of the drastic sudden increase in the volume.
To attain the above benefits, it’s essential that the right processing tools including file QC are used in the Cloud as OPEX, with the ability to exploit key Cloud capabilities such as auto-scaling. In the absence of auto-scaling, users will have to make large upfront investments in buying QC tools while the majority of that investment lies unutilized during low usage periods. And if such investments are not made, content producers/providers will have to deal with large content processing queues leading to delayed delivery of the content that may not be acceptable to the intended audience, or risk sending untested content to the viewers.
Auto-scaling of QC resources in the Cloud offers significant value to content providers both in terms of investment and SLA. This is a necessary capability for any file QC tool claiming to be native cloud QC.
It’s clear that traditional QC systems designed for on-premise cannot be used as effectively in the Cloud. This can lead to severe bottlenecks on the Cloud workflows leading to either sub-optimal QC or delayed content deliveries. It isn’t enough to say that “On-premise QC systems are compatible with Cloud storage and users can buy licenses to install on static VMs”. Users now need native Cloud QC systems for use in their Cloud workflows and Quasar fits the bill perfectly.
QUASAR – Native Cloud File QC
Quasar, a Native Cloud File QC service is the only native service in the market allowing users to ensure their content quality while exploiting full benefits of the Cloud. One of the key Quasar capabilities is auto-scaling, with which it automatically spins up additional QC processing resources as and when needed to eliminate the content queues. Moreover, Quasar is capable of spinning up these additional resources automatically and dynamically in the same region as the content. This capability allows for instant content validation, leading to a quick decision on the content delivery.
Quasar is available as a ‘SaaS service’ wherein Venera manages the entire infrastructure while users can use the system using its REST API. Quasar is also available as a ‘Private edition’ wherein users can set up the system inside their own VPC (Virtual Private Cloud). Quasar is available with monthly, annual or longer-term pay-as-you-go plans that users can choose from, depending on their content volumes. Read more about Quasar at www.veneratech.com/quasar.