If you are reading this blog, chances are you are looking for an alternative to dedicated hardware for playout. Virtualized playout is a topic that has been covered extensively by industry publications and social media posts.
With all of the playout options offered in various forms by multiple vendors for broadcast applications, we'd like to clear some things up. The industry consensus seems to be that virtualized playout means a channel-in-a-box (CiaB) offering running on customer provided hardware. It may or may not, in fact, make use of virtualization, or in other words run a virtual machine (VM) (i.e., computer software with access to shared hardware resources). The definition of virtualization can also encompass private and public cloud. And as if that was not enough, virtualized playout can be extended to include master control and decentralized control.
There’s a couple of reasons you might want to run VMs:
To operate multiple applications on shared hardware and maximize resources
To optimize management of your applications and orchestration of your hardware
If your application is going to use most of the resources in a hardware device, VMs may not be for you. In fact, you can get back the overhead of a VM solution and maximize its functionality, using it to support a higher channel count and future proofing with new features instead. In this case, the solution you actually want is bare metal. The simplest way to think of bare metal installations is deploying an operating system and software for the solution you need.
If I am not virtualizing hardware, what can I virtualize?
Let’s say that you’ve determined bare metal is the right route. You may be wondering: What’s the best way to manage applications and orchestrate your hardware? Well thought out playout solutions have network-based management tools to configure, monitor and manage all the storage, I/Os and other functionality, eliminating the need to do this on a machine by machine basis. All of the information you need is available at your fingertips from a single web-based user interface.
Looking beyond local applications, it is now even possible to centralize regional, national and global operations by connecting on-premises systems to the cloud. The result: more effective support. A great example is Harmonic’s virtualized SpectrumTM X.
With the virtualized Spectrum X, you can source compliant hardware locally, install our software and still be able to use the very latest functionality leveraging our industry-leading support. The virtualized version of Spectrum X connects to our VOS® cloud-based solution through VOS HUB — our support portal that is shared with on-premises and public cloud deployments. And just like that: Location of hardware is no longer an issue. Service and support are more responsive and far easier to reach than picking up the phone or resorting to email exchanges.
What if: Virtualization is not for me, and I want to use private or public cloud?
If dedicated hardware, VMs or other virtualization is not for you, an alternative option is a private or public cloud. To learn more, check out our blogs on VOS and see how we are bringing channel origination to the cloud and creating a complete end-to-end video delivery system for broadcast and OTT applications.