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Biggest Challenges of Moving from On-Prem to Cloud Video Workflows

Some streaming pros say cloud production has made 5-10 years of progress in the two years since the pandemic shook live production to its core, but when will cloud offer the sort of no-latency communication, preview, and replay producers expect and rely on in on-prem workflows? And will it require a paradigm shift in the way producers think about hardware purchases and usage? Live X's Corey Behnke, CNN's Ben Ratner, LiveU's Mike Savello, and Signiant's Jon Finegold discuss the challenges of cloud migration and the current state of cloud in this clip from Streaming Media East 2022.

While the pandemic created a unique catalyst for accelerated cloud adoption, its integration into on-prem workflows has not kept up the same pace. There are two key issues that have impacted full cloud on-prem integration. One concern is latency and other performance differences compared to the faster physical on-prem setups. The other concern is that business purchasing procedures often remain tied to lengthy RFP and POC processes which made sense for expensive hardware systems but are no longer necessary for the shorter-term use of cloud-based services.

“We haven't seen the business mentality shift to the cloud era,” says Jon Finegold, the CMO of Signiant. “There are these old processes in place that were designed for a hardware era that haven't yet been adapted. And I think that's going to continue to be weird in this hybrid world.”  

Corey Behnke, Producer and Co-Founder of LiveX, agrees with Finegold. “You're seeing products with control of where your customers are spending money, and you want to make sure you build UI and UX that allow them to utilize the business model in a way that's smart,” Behnke says.

Mike Savello, Vice President of Sales at LiveU, also emphasizes the issues of technological performance of cloud products versus on-prem workflows. “I think the biggest challenge is comms,” Savello says. “You can't really do comms very effectively through the cloud today in a way that works efficiently for your audio team in general. There's a lot of parts of your production environment that haven't completely migrated to the cloud yet.”

Ben Ratner - Live Operations Manager, CNN, Warner Bros. Discovery, remarks that “There's the expectation for people like me who worked in physical, on-prem stuff prior to getting the opportunity to work in the cloud, where I expect things to look perfect in real-time--no frame latency between when I press a button and when I see something happen on a screen. So I don't think that will be a deterrent, but I'm not sure how physically possible it is to resolve this, just because of the amount of time it takes for things to go around the internet and come back to you.” He jokes that, “We need alternate physics.” In his view, “We're five years away from having all of these pieces work a lot better than they currently do.”

Mike Savello isn’t quite as doubtful about the speed of cloud progress as Ratner. “I don't know about the five years,” he says. “I think things will keep getting better for sure, whether they get to the 'Ben Ratner necessary' level in the next couple years, I don't know.”

“I want a lot of things!” Ratner says with a smile.

Despite the differences in perception of how well cloud technology is presently positioned for on-prem workflows, it is clear that the cloud has already been a major influence on the ways that producers view hardware purchases and usage, along with a general acknowledgment of the necessity of adapting to cloud usage from a business and user experience perspective. With the cloud, “You can kind of light things up quickly, test them, use them, and adapt much more quickly,” Finegold remarks. The biggest challenge for producers at this time is finding effective ways to sync their business and production practices to the constantly evolving agility of cloud technology.

Learn more about cloud production at Streaming Media West 2022.

Watch full-session videos from Streaming Media East 2022.

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