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Run Media Processing Software on Private Data Centers: Key Deployment Questions

December 13, 2019
3-Minute Read
Senior Product Manager, Primary Distribution/Edge

The video delivery industry is shifting to software and media processing in the cloud. However, for some, the cloud is a big jump. Why would you deploy media processing software on a private data center infrastructure? There are certain contexts where private data centers make sense. Here are a few:

  • You don’t want dedicated video processing appliances and prefer video processing software
  • You’re looking for next-gen, private data center tech
  • Your current corporate strategy requires having a private data center for all applications, including video
  • You’re planning to move to the public cloud, but first want to learn how to use and manage the cloud tech and cloud infrastructures

There are of course other contexts when it makes sense to deploy your media processing software in a data center. We’ve only listed a few. However, deciding to run your media processing software in a data center is only the first step. There are other key questions to ask your media processing software provider before taking the leap. You can use these questions as a checklist for the key essentials.

Key questions to ask media processing software providers to run the software on your private data center:


1. Ask for a unified software solution supporting playout, broadcast and OTT delivery

Maybe today your media processing needs are limited to one application, IPTV or OTT for instance. But maybe tomorrow, those needs will change: adding OTT to your IPTV application, refreshing your old DTH appliance headend or planning to offer a new scheduled playout service. Given the rapid changes in the media business environment, you want to make sure that the software suite you select can offer versatile service capabilities. It should support everything from playout to broadcast statmux to IPTV to OTT streaming with linear services, time-shifting, nDVR, VOD and SVOD, ad insertion, and targeted advertising. And of course, the most important factor for quality and savings: ask for premium compression. You’ll want to cut storage and CDN delivery costs.


2. Ask for an “infrastructure neutral” solution

Today’s market shows that change is frequent thanks to innovation and technology improvements that open up new opportunities for growth. Today, you may start with COTS servers from vendor A, but tomorrow you may decide to switch and use servers from vendor B. Or, at some point, you may need to replicate your headend in another data center that may use a different virtualization layer. That’s why it’s important to ask for neutrality. The solution needs to be able to run on a wide range of infrastructures. That includes customer provided data centers to bare metal configurations, COTS hardware, and diverse virtualization layers.


3. Ask for a solution that is entirely portable to the cloud

Portability is a big factor. Here is why:

  • Your management team may decide in the future that all company applications have to move from a private data center to the cloud. If your video application is not portable, then you will have to design or use a new one.
  • The cloud can help for those punctual uses that are only occasional: the go-to option for delivering content for just a few weeks, for a specific sporting event, or a season. You don’t want to buy and deploy equipment in your private data center that is used only during a short span of time. You can consider in that case renting cloud capacity and of course using the same SW as the one you have on your private data center.

You want software applications that can be easily replicated in the cloud. And that can be replicated in any cloud. Cloud agnostic solutions prevent you from being locked into a cloud from a specific vendor.


4. Ask for the capability of disaster recovery as a Service (DRaaS), with usage-based pricing in the cloud

For a fraction of the cost of an on-premises headend, DRaaS is like having an insurance policy. But it’s only used and paid for when you need it, like for testing a few hours per month or in case of crashes, failures or maintenance of your main infrastructure. Having the DRaaS in the cloud also means that it is always ready and can be activated in minutes.


5. Ask for a flexible pricing model

With a capacity pricing model, you can purchase a given amount of capacity and utilize it in a flexible way. You can support any media processing and delivery functionality, according to your needs. This gives your operation team a lot of flexibility to test and implement new features in your service, with no need to go through a procurement process to acquire additional software licenses.


6. Ask for a cloud-native software solution and a cloud-native data center infrastructure

If you want to be infrastructure neutral and have cloud portability, then you need a cloud-native solution. Cloud-native technologies depend on three components:

  • Microservices: Applications are segmented into microservices. This significantly increases the overall agility and maintainability of apps
  • Containers: Each microservice is packaged in its own virtual container (Harmonic is using Docker). This facilitates reproducibility, transparency, and resource isolation
  • Orchestrator: You can automatically schedule and manage containers to optimize resource utilization and deal with redundancy (Harmonic is using Kubernetes and other virtualization layers)

Cloud-native offers ultimate flexibility for workflow implementation and scaling. It leads to more reliable systems and more optimized usage of your data center resources.


Now that you know what to ask…

Choosing how to run media processing software is a big decision. Sometimes it takes time to get all the answers you and your teams may need to make a sound choice. Harmonic has the world’s most advanced cloud-native media processing and delivery software today with the VOS Cloud-Native Platform. A unique blend of everything needed to deliver compelling video experiences, it encompasses the entire video workflow from playout to delivery. If you have additional questions or want to talk about your options for media processing and delivery, we’re ready for you. Contact us today to see how we can help make your video delivery smarter, faster, simpler.

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