- The Challenge: Developed as a merger between companies, this media conglomerate’s IT environment was very dynamic, and gaps existed between IT teams. They wanted the guidance of a cloud advisor to help with the migration of their datacenter-hosted applications to the most suitable cloud environment.
- The Solution: We assessed their application portfolio for cloud readiness, provided recommendations on target CSP environments for each app, and helped their IT teams navigate their way to working cohesively.
- The Outcome: 2nd Watch generated an operating and governance model for the company that created a foundation across all three CSPs and the company’s business units. With 2nd Watch serving as its cloud advisor, the company has a better negotiating posture with its Cloud Service Providers, can reduce financial commitments with optimization, and is able to focus on larger business goals.
About the Business
This multinationa media conglomerate, is one of the oldest and most revered film and television production companies globally.
The company’s use of technology & digital cloud solutions to serve their customers needs and deliver content is extensive. This engagement sought to further that relationship by leveraging centralized, cloud-based storage solutions to solve various issues in the content production and editing workflow.
The Business Challenges
This company, globally renowned in the entertainment industry, was struggling with its enterprise data management file storage layer’s latency issues. The on-premise system was geographically distant from the company’s AWS Workspaces, leading to slow data transfers and inefficient collaboration among the now merged teams. Moreover, the company was concerned about the potential data security breaches due to the gaps in their existing system. The company sought an upgrade that could offer secure, real-time collaboration and efficient data transfer for its globally distributed workforce, across all brands & logos.
Each organizational unit all had their own enterprise file storage solutions that largely included multiple large NetApp OnTapp deployments in addition to legacy persistent windows file servers. The editorial workflow existed entirely outside of these local networks making use of them impossible for high bitrate content. As the different content management & creative groups began to explore the shared intellectual property available to them, a collaborative, performant & available shared file storage solution that is centrally located would be required.
In response to the company’s needs, 2nd Watch stepped in with its expert cloud migration services. They proposed to migrate the client’s multiple enterprise data management file-sharing systems to the cloud and host it closer to the company’s collaborative AWS Workspaces. This proximity-based hosting approach was designed to mitigate latency, enhance data transfer speeds, and improve real-time collaboration regardless of geographic location or operating group.
Use of Amazon FSx allowed us to propose leveraging the existing active directory identity store and doing a lift & shift of the embedded data without forcing a re-permission of the objects or folders they are inheriting from. The velocity achieved would mean results instantly for groups as their relevant content was moved.
Furthermore, 2nd Watch fortified the security measures during the migration, closing multiple holes in permissioning of both shares and objects ensuring robust protection against potential data breaches with key pieces of intellectual property that would be stored.
How AWS was Part of the Solution
The on-premises workflow involved Censhare exporting static files via a Network File Share (NFS) which were imported into the next phase of the workflow, OneVision, via SMB. On-premises, an Isilon network-attached storage array exposed a common filesystem via both a Network File Share (NFS) and a Server Message Block (SMB).
Neither Amazon Elastic File Share Service (EFS) (a Network File Share) or AWS FSx mimic this dual functionality. In AWS, storage was split between 2 services: Amazon S3 for asset storage, and an Amazon FSx for Windows Server Message Block (SMB) share is used for hotfolders & scratch space.
Amazon Elastic Block Store Service (EBS) volumes are used for all block level storage for application servers, with default Amazon Elastic Block Store Service (EBS) encryption enabled.
The primary database platform for the Censhare application is Oracle Server. In the AWS environment, Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) is used. Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) has the benefit of being a managed service eliminating any operational footprint.
How AWS was Part of the Solution
The focus of the solution was on leveraging AmazonFSx as a high performant, centralized, shared filesystem for all distributed users & associated processes. Since AWS workspaces were already being leveraged for some of the impacted use cases, the same backend active directory identity store was leveraged for the Amazon FSx deployment making the users experience with the new shared storage cluster seamless.
Editors were able to use traditional toolsets on their AWS Workspaces to edit content or clips stored centrally on the Amazon FSx cluster providing real time feedback to other editors without the need to locally store, edit and remotely place changes in their workflow(s).
Outcome and Result
Post-transition, the client observed a remarkable improvement in its operations. The proximity-based hosting of the cloud-based shared storage solution significantly reduced latency, leading to faster data transfers and real-time collaboration. Teams were able to work synchronously on shared pieces of content in traditional tools like Resolve, Premiere, Illustrator etc boosting productivity and reducing production timelines.
The enhanced security measures provided the company the assurance of robust data protection. This transition underscored how thoughtful cloud migration, including proximity-based hosting, can substantially improve collaboration and data security in the entertainment industry. As a result of the new capabilities, creative outlets within the organization were able to explore new campaigns and revenue opportunities previously unknown or unachievable with existing workflow(s), on-premise inflexible storage layers & far-located editing workstations.
For HD and below content, editing workflows can be sustained using an affordable Amazon FSx cluster with reasonable provisioned IOPS & throughput. However, if there is a requirement to produce, edit or work with UHD (4k) or above content, use of Amazon FSx to achieve the required throughput can be cost prohibitive depending on the number of collaborating editors or users. Use of a storage partner like WEKA or having a pattern for using i3.en instance types on ec2 to provide similar performance at a lower price point & leveraging auto-parking as well when the storage cluster is not in use.
About 2nd Watch
2nd Watch’s team of experts works with global brands in financial services, retail, fast-moving consumer goods, media and entertainment, manufacturing IT, healthcare, and education. We have been an AWS Premier Consulting Partner since 2012, an audited Managed Service Provider since 2015, and an AWS Training Partner. We currently hold the AWS DevOps, Data and Analytics, Financial Services, Microsoft Workloads, Cloud Operations, and Migration and Migration Delivery Competencies.