Dan Goman is the Founder and CEO of OWNZONES Entertainment Technologies, a pioneering technological force that’s transforming the Post Production and OTT industries with ground breaking innovations, from digital supply chain solutions to unique, customizable video apps.
As 2018 comes to a close, one main shift in the world of content storage and delivery sharpens into focus — 2018 was a mad dash to the cloud.
According to Forbes Enterprise and Cloud contributor Louis Columbus, “77% of enterprises have at least one application or a portion of their enterprise computing infrastructure in the cloud.”
But before packing your bags to catch the next flight up to the cloud, it’s important to ask yourself, is the cloud the right option for your business? Why move to the cloud if storing your content locally has worked out just fine so far?
Today, most technology-dependent industries are trending towards becoming 100% cloud. If you haven’t yet made the move, you’re probably thinking about it.
Here’s what you need to know about handling your data on-prem versus in the cloud so you can get ahead of the competition.
What is a cloud solution?
Whereas an on-premise solution (nicknamed “on-prem”) involves storing and handling data on local servers, a cloud solution involves managing data on remote servers that are maintained by a third-party service provider that sells usage (i.e., storage space, bandwidth) to customers.
The decision of whether to store and work with your data using a cloud solution compared to an on-prem solution can make or break the future success of your business.
To determine whether storage on-prem or in the cloud is best for housing your content, take a look at your business’s needs in terms of these four factors: cost, performance, accessibility, and security.
COST: Isn’t the cloud more expensive than on-prem servers?
An on-prem solution requires servers, licensing, staff, training, server rooms, utilities, and IT support, not to mention the amount of maintenance required during system failure or upgrade cycles. These maintenance fees alone end up costing approximately 20% of the upfront cost per year.
A cloud solution reduces those needs, and in the long run, will cost you a lot less money, time, and energy than an on-prem solution.
Choosing a cloud solution also eliminates the fat price tag tacked onto operating an on-prem data center.
An on-prem solution is a capital expenditure, priced under a one-time perpetual license fee. A cloud solution is an operating expenditure, priced under a monthly or annual subscription. This gives the cloud a lower cost of entry, making it more wallet-friendly than an on-prem data center.
The scalability of the cloud also makes it a more cost-effective solution for managing your content. You pay for the amount of storage you need when you need it, sizing up or down as you see fit.
With an on-prem solution, you’re always paying for your servers whether you’re using them or not.
At the IMF Panel at IBC 2018, Chris Fetner of Netflix remarked, “Elasticity is a big thing…rather than build an on prem facility that’s busy 80% of the time, [with the cloud] you can actually get to a place where you’re very, very efficient and you’re only using what you need, when you need it. That’s very good for businesses.”
You also find additional support for the dynamic way you can use the cloud with the providers themselves. For example, the cloud service provider AWS allows customers to increase or decrease their use of AWS’ services to fit seasonal requirements, new service or product launches, or new business strategies. They provide what you need, when you need it, which lowers your overall costs.
PERFORMANCE: How do I ensure performance of the cloud if I can’t directly control it like I can with on-prem?
On-prem data centers require a team of software engineers and IT support technicians to ensure quality performance. While that means all your data can be housed by your business, it also means your business must invest enormous quantities of time, energy, and money into performance maintenance.
Cloud service providers make it easier on you to meet your high business standards. It’s their job to make sure the performance of their cloud services fulfill your needs.
There are three important aspects to consider when evaluating the quality of performance of both on-prem and cloud solutions: volume, customization, and execution.
With the cloud, you don’t have to plan in terms of infrastructure because it’s essentially unlimited.
That’s not the case with an on-premise server.
You always have to plan to have enough room on your server for disaster recovery purposes. Due to capacity planning standards, the typical data center server only operates at 12 to 18% of its capacity, yet outages related to capacity and increased traffic are still common.
Forget about capacity issues when you’re operating in the cloud.
Some businesses prefer on-prem solutions because they can pick and choose how to build their own individual infrastructure.
But today, cloud service providers have many tools to customize your cloud services through applications built for archiving, content delivery, database migrations, and much more. So even though you are using their pre-built infrastructure, odds are you’ll find what you’re looking for.
There is a common belief that on-prem servers function better than a cloud service because the cloud relies on an internet connection, and if that’s down, you aren’t able to access your data.
This is where the Service Level Agreement (SLA) steps in.
Cloud service providers have SLA’s which contractually oblige them to meet the performance standards which they advertise.
In addition, cloud service providers have reliable and fast-acting customer support systems in place to help keep your channel of access to your content wide open 24/7. If there’s ever downtime, you can be sure someone on their end is on it working to solve the problem ASAP.
ACCESSIBILITY: If anyone can access the cloud, doesn’t that make it unsafe for my content?
One of the great features of storing your content in the cloud is that you can access it anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. But this is a scary thought for many people–doesn’t greater accessibility usually mean greater security risk?
Not in this case.
In actuality, cloud storage is a safer bet than on-prem storage. It is the top priority of several cloud service providers to comply with rigorous regulatory measures and, as such, provide security capabilities and services that increase privacy and monitor access.
So, greater accessibility doesn’t pose greater risks for security. Greater accessibility gives you control over your assets and complete transparency into how they’re being handled–because you’re the one handling them.
SECURITY: Why is it safer to hand my content over to a third party storage service provider than to use my own servers?
Seems counterintuitive, right? But the answer is simple: history.
In our experience, we’ve seen a great deal of on-prem facilities that haven’t updated their security measures in years. The cloud, on the other hand, updates them constantly.
There is no question which is safer.
When companies get hacked, it’s usually because of legacy IT environments, which make maintenance to meet security standards more difficult. It’s much harder to secure data in those environments than in the modern environment of the cloud, which is updated consistently to meet the most recent security standards.
As an example, AWS operates world-class, highly secure data centers and uses state-of-the-art electronic surveillance and multi-factor access control systems. Trained security guards protect the data centers 24/7 and access is strictly monitored. They have designed their environmental systems to be resilient to disruption or damage by potential disasters.
Richard Crowley, the Director of Operations at Slack, confirmed the security benefits of the cloud when he said, “The fact that we can rely on the AWS security posture to boost our own security is really important for our business. AWS does a much better job at security than we could ever do running a cage in a data center.”
In addition to considering security in terms of everyday maintenance, it is equally important to think about security in terms of disaster recovery. When disaster, natural or human-induced, strikes, using the cloud as a disaster recovery strategy is safer and more sustainable than traditional on-prem disaster recovery strategies.
Conventional on-prem strategies are more expensive, time-consuming, and resource-draining than cloud strategies. They generally only implement a single level of security, whereas cloud strategies implement several levels of security.
When it comes to ensuring the security of your content today, tomorrow, and years from now, on-prem solutions tend to pale in comparison to cloud solutions.
How can OWNZONES help?
Simply put, we’re disruptors.
We’re cloud-native, and our engineers are cloud engineers, not hardware engineers. Creating software in the cloud is fundamentally different from doing so for on-prem. Whereas others in our industry might need to change their technical team’s expertise to even begin to tackle true cloud solutions, we’ve already hit the ground running.
Ownzones is less expensive than any on-prem solution for content storage and distribution. Our solution doesn’t necessitate overhead–you only pay for what you use. Additionally, our infrastructure can handle any volume of content and we give you complete control over your assets. You can go in and do it yourself from anywhere in the world.
Our secret sauce is that we are the only ones out there right now transcoding your content to IMF entirely in the cloud, making the process of content distribution better, faster, and cheaper than any other solution out there.
And because we use top of class cloud service providers, you can trust that your content will be secure. Their security measures are state-of-the-art, as they have to meet several compliance measures.
Additionally, within our Connect™ platform we’ve built in user roles and permissions to ensure that you have control as to who accesses what. We’ve also implemented OWASP protocols (Open Web Application Security Project) and are in the process of becoming MPAA Certified.
So I’ve decided to move to the cloud…but how do I actually get to the cloud?
Glad you asked! Most companies use either the tools that their cloud service provider offers or third party tools to get their content up to the cloud.
OWNZONES does both.
- CLI: Least Expensive & Fast Upload
AWS provides us with a free tool called the CLI (Command Line Interface). If you supply us with a hard-drive or a computer with your content, we can send it up to the server using the CLI. It’s simple, straightforward, cost-effective, and perhaps the option that’s most popular among our clients.
We also often use third party tools that are up to industry standard to transfer your content to the cloud.
- Aspera: Fast Upload & Good for Smaller Volume
We can use Aspera to connect our Amazon S3 bucket to someone else’s storage location, whether that’s another S3 bucket, a computer, hard-drive, or another form of local storage. In terms of migrating content to the cloud, Aspera is a popular option because it is considered the industry standard, and because of this, our proprietary software is closely integrated with it.
But Aspera isn’t the only third party options available. You might find that Amazon’s Snowball service is a better fit, especially if you have a large library of content you wish to migrate.
- AWS Snowball: Competitive Price for a Larger Volume
While Aspera is popular, it works best with a smaller volume of content, as the cost of file transfer can be pricey. With Snowball, you can transfer a large volume of content at a lower price point. With this service, Amazon will handle the delivery and pickup of a hard-drive that can hold either 50TB or 80TB of data. All you have to do is upload your content to the hard-drive and Amazon will do the rest.
Because they have a direct line to the S3 buckets, the actual file transfer is lightning fast. But the delivery and pick-up transport time is a factor that will add time to the overall cloud migration process. Typically, the end-to-end transfer time of data into AWS using a 50TB Snowball takes about a week.
- Files Locator: No Transfer Required, But Not as SustainableYou also have the choice to not move any files at all. Our product Connect™ has the ability to simply point to files located on the CDN (Content Delivery Network) without ever transferring the content. It can bring in files that are already conformed to IMF specifications or files that need to be conformed, and Connect™ will use our proprietary tools to convert them to that specification.
While this is an option, the security of your content will still be subject to the security compliance measures of the storage location where it lives. Migration to the cloud will benefit your business in terms of cost, ease of access, increase in control, performance optimization, and overall security of your content.
The Future of Post is Now
You’ve had an opportunity to look behind the curtain.
Will you make the move to the cloud?
Moving to the cloud means futureproofing your media management and distribution. It means cost savings, stronger integrations with modern partners, and the most reliable security in the world.
We understand that shifting from on-prem to the cloud is a major decision. Our goal is to help you make an informed decision.
If you’re still wondering how to best leverage the cloud for YOUR business, we are happy to offer guidance.