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Cloud vs. On-Prem: Choosing the Right Tool for the Job

Learn more about cloud migration at Streaming Media West 2022.

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Robert Reinhardt: The infrastructure that a lot of on-prem that was put into place a decade ago is still in place. And it's just a matter of a point of failure, right? And how many times do you come across institutions that are in that decision point of, "Hey, we have to re-up the capital investment in what we've been doing." Are you involved in those kind of conversations when you come with your offerings with them?

Rich Mavrogeanes: Usually not. The truth is I've been doing this for like 40 years. I founded a company called VBrick in 1997 and built my career and built that company on the basis of doing IP multicast Because we had shared media, 10 Megabit ethernet hubs is what we were fighting against. And Cabletron wiring systems. And if you wanted postage stamp-sized video from RealNetworks, you could kind of get it on a dialup. If you're gonna do anything other than that, you needed like five megabits, right? That was MPEG-2, MPEG-1 streaming. You needed big stuff. If you look at it today, everybody has at least a 100 megabits; almost everybody has gig in the backbone. And the need for that multicast scale is no longer there. You can do the same things with unicast that used to require multicast. So the level of complexity is much lower. And what we see is the infrastructure to do these sort of things. As long as it's not exotic, it's there. And we support ABR and all of the bandwidth mitigation things.

But when I say "the right tool for the job," let me give you just two very quick examples. If you look at the entire state of Rhode Island, our neighbor here (I'm from Connecticut). We do all of the live video and video on-demand distribution for the entire state legislature. They do hundreds of meetings--the house of representatives and the Senate and the committee meetings--and they're all streamed live and all recorded, and that's all done on the cloud. And it's on the cloud because, depending upon how many viewers there are, it needs to be scalable. So it's not a server in the sky. It's truly a scalable infrastructure, which is what I would say "cloud." Compare that to district, a school district in Texas. Texas is really big, if you haven't heard. And one of the school districts in Texas is as big as Rhode Island, the entire state. It's just a huge place. And that district has about 92, 93 schools in it. And they put in a premise-based system, and they do the same kind of thing that we do in the cloud, but they do it privately. And they do it for security, for privacy. And because there's momentum in a lot of the culture to do premise-based things, because they're either afraid of the cloud, or it's just momentum. "Hey, I got this iron here. Why don't we just reuse it?" And they can stick it on their premise. So it's not always a practical reason. Sometimes there are cultural reasons, the way it's always been.

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