In addition to offering discounts on high-density computer costs, cloud computing promises to provide a seamless real-time collaborative experience between creative contributors located around the world. Creators with production centers and vendors scattered over a wide geographic scope now can “follow the sun” by passing labor-intensive tasks in opposite time zones. Cloud computing allows maximum production efficiency.
Jean-Luc Chatelain, EVP of DataDirect Networks, in Chatsworth, Calif., a manufacturer and integrator of private and public cloud networks for such notable clients as the CIA, NSA, MTV and FOX, notes that there’s a large difference between the “classic” cloud platforms employing a simple application of RAID arrays with a robust file system and the kind of platform required to serve the entertainment community.
“Classic cloud platforms are adequate for some enterprises with limited data and geographic demand, but classic platforms aren’t scalable to the needs of the entertainment industry,” says Chatelain. “The 128 billion assets deployed throughout the entertainment business space require an entirely new philosophy of design that addresses several new criteria. These criteria include Width, or total availability of all data to all points simultaneously; Resiliency, the ability to efficiently handle very high volumes of throughput; Security, because entertainment executives are extremely concerned with copyright theft; Hyperscalability, which allows the cloud to adjust all of these parameters dynamically to provide the highest user satisfaction; and finally Cost, because the cost of a data center increases exponentially with the size and speed of data.”
Comparing the cost of a cloud data center, Chatelain notes, “The cost per square foot is higher than that of a Class A office space in midtown Manhattan.” Chatelain knows of what he speaks. His firm is currently in the feasibility-study/beta-testing phase with over 12 entertainment industry clients, and expects to have operating private clouds for several within 18 to 24 months.
“Today, we’re already providing ‘attached devices’ or in-house cloud systems that deliver a full collaborative, highly reliable ‘sandbox’ environment,” he adds, “but the key is building a global system that delivers the five critical qualities that Hollywood demands. That will be Stage One of real-cloud computing. Stage Two will be a ‘one-play-many-view’ system that will allow immediate distribution to customers and monetization of the assets developed in Stage One.”