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Pros and Cons of Cloud vs. On-Prem Streaming Production

Should all streaming production operations be shifting to the cloud to take advantage of the scalability, flexibility, and economic benefits of cloud streaming workflows? Or does on-prem still have its time and place? Steve Vonder Haar, Senior Analyst, Intelligent Video & Enterprise, IntelliVid Research, discusses these questions with Richard Andes, Director of Customer Success, Telestream, and Waseem Ahmad, Associate Director, Global Lead Streaming Media Services, EY, in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2023.

Vonder Haar asks Andes, “As a vendor of these solutions, both on-premises and in the cloud, what have you seen in terms of reticence towards moving to the cloud? Are a lot of people set in the way they're doing things? Is it tough to get people to embrace the cloud?”

Andes says that using the cloud for a wide range of applications that would otherwise be very difficult to do at scale using traditional infrastructure is now essential. “The scalability factor is very appealing, especially as there is a need and a desire to market more sort of secondary streams,” he says. “So, the extra courts at Wimbledon, in-car cameras for racing events, things like that. If you wanted to build all this out of traditional infrastructure and more of a physical service sitting there constantly for all your little streams, it's just not worth the expense. You cannot create that kind of user experience for the consumer at a reasonable cost. Cloud allows you to do spin up those extra channels when you need them.”

In terms of any hesitation from clients to use the cloud, Andes says, “I wouldn't even call it resistance. The places where it's not as effective mostly come down to things with really quick turnarounds, and most of that has to do with on-prem production needing to be done on-site. Direct linear records need to happen because you can play them out with a couple-minute delay rather than doing a file process…I think those are the parts where, from production standpoints, we still really see that a lot of the traditional workflows are much better. But once that content has been produced and you're ready to build those additional channels and get the content out there, and you need to scale it up so that you have multiple endpoints across the world, [spinning] up little substreams on demand, that is where cloud is offering so much more to the consumer.”

Vonder Haar asks Ahmad to give a “front row” experience of using cloud workflows. “Would you ever go back to on-premises style solutions? I guess you almost don't know any other way at this point…”

Ahmad says that they have developed a type of hybrid workflow solution to enhance flexibility depending on the client's needs. “We're actually looking at creating on-prem solutions in key offices only because we want to look at marrying the convenience factor for the talent,” he says. “Our use case is very different where we have to have speed. So something Richard was just touching on is being able to spin up an event, for whatever reason, in minutes, and we can do that because of how we're built with a cloud workflow. If you try to do that in an on-premise situation…you run into all these challenges, even redundancy to make sure that the talent is ready and you're good to go. Talent might be situated in a location where it's much more convenient for them to be on-site and we're passing signal and content over the cloud and marrying that together.”

He notes that the sheet size of EY is a major factor in how his team handles production workflows. “We have multiple locations,” he says. “We got to plug together over the cloud and pull in SRT and leverage things like NDI to make these productions happen. There's a lot of ‘marionette action’ taking place behind the scenes…it's much more cost-effective to do this on the cloud. I think the magic really is understanding your use case and then piecing that together to make it effective and work for you as an organization.”

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