Showcasing a Global Collaboration Platform for Media Workflows

Hybrid Cloud Environment with a Distributed Database and Revolutionary Inter-Site Connectivity

Date
Author
Filip Milovanovic
Post-production expert,
ELEMENTS
Category
Solution

At ELEMENTS, we design cutting-edge solutions that meet the uniquely high demands of the Media and Entertainment industry. These solutions allow our customers to reach new levels of efficiency while executing the most advanced media workflows.

We start this series of blogs, in which we will showcase a number of these advanced solutions, by presenting our state-of-the-art global collaboration platform that has revolutionized the workflows of several of our clients. It combines the strengths of cloud and on-premise technologies and binds multiple geographically separate production sites into one environment.

Our global collaboration platform can be accessed quickly and securely from anywhere worldwide while simultaneously offering the ultrafast storage connection required for working with the most demanding video formats.

Your global teams will be able to:

  • Preview all assets and access them within seconds, no matter where they are stored.
  • Rapidly exchange media files between locations.
  • Enjoy easy and secure worldwide access to your footage.
  • Enjoy cutting-edge performance needed for working with the most demanding video codecs.
  • Work efficiently in a global team of any size without per-user licensing.

Quick Facts About the Global Collaboration Platform

  • A hybrid solution that combines the strengths of on-premise and cloud technologies.
  • A solution that connects any number of production sites into a single environment.
  • A cloud-based, shared database that synchronizes the connected production sites.
  • Interconnected on-premise storage nodes provide performance for even the most demanding media workflows.
  • High-speed media exchange between connected storage nodes.
  • A collaboration platform with worldwide access that allows for easy content previewing, editing and exchange.
  • Best suited to companies with production sites across multiple locations.

Overview

The platform consists of infinite interconnected, on-premise storage environments in different geographical locations and a shared cloud environment that houses a shared database. This approach binds the on-premise nodes into one environment and gives users direct access to all media across all connected production facilities.

This media-editing and exchange platform can be accessed globally by any number of users. Yet, usage and management remain easy.

Access Performance

While cloud storage offers many benefits for media workflows, the high latency and often inconsistent connection speeds make it unable to meet the demands of high-end editing, color grading and VFX workflows. Performance is the area in which on-premise storage solutions shine.

Any number of on-premise storage nodes are fully integrated into the global collaboration platform. Each of these on-site storage nodes provides all the performance you need for even the most demanding workflows – all while being scalable in capacity and performance to accommodate your growth.

Collaboration Platform

A device with an internet connection and a browser is all you need to access your collaboration platform based on the ELEMENTS Media Library. The platform displays all of the footage the company has ever made, regardless of the production site, whether online or in the archives. A powerful search function helps you find footage by combining multiple criteria – all footage of Paris in wet weather made in the last two years.

It provides you with a wide array of tools for screening, editing, sharing and presenting your footage and allows for easy collaboration inside your team, no matter the location. Add frame-accurate comments and even on-screen drawings. Easily create editing timelines in the integrated Rough-cut Editor and import them into your favorite NLE.

The platform can also serve as a delivery portal, allowing you to receive files from external providers and share your assets with anyone inside or outside of the organization – you decide which functions the recipient will be able to use. Advanced permission management, password protection and two-factor authentication keep your files safe from unwanted access, and no per-user licensing means you can add any number of users to the team without additional licensing costs!

Inter-site Connectivity

No matter how many storage nodes your environment has or where they are located, they will all be accessible through a single user interface and can be centrally managed. The Media Library, a.k.a. the collaboration and media exchange platform, lets users find and preview all media in the organization across all locations. If satisfied with the previewed footage, the user can pull the full-resolution file from any connected storage node to their on-premise storage with the click of a button.

A high-speed UDP-based connection between the storage nodes means that high-resolution footage and other large files can be easily shared between the on-site storage nodes. Through accelerated transfer technologies, files are transferred over the internet up to 5 times faster!

Technical Implementation

The environment is designed as a hybrid solution, combining on-premise storage with a cloud-based central database. Each production site has its own on-premise ELEMENTS storage environment for direct, high-speed file access. Primarily used for video editing, the on-premise system can be scaled in capacity and performance according to the requirements. Enabling the users to mount workspaces (shares) on their workstations and work directly with the media files stored on the local ELEMENTS storage system.

To enable effective collaboration between the sites, the local ELEMENTS storage systems are tied together by a global database, effectively creating one large environment. The global database contains information about all workspaces and assets across all local ELEMENTS storage systems. Users can search, preview and manage content across all sites.

Our global database runs as a MariaDB MaxScale service in the cloud, for example in Azure, to ensure maximum uptime and accessibility across all sites. Each local ELEMENTS storage system is connected directly to the global database via a dedicated Azure ExpressRoute / SD Wan for low latency and reliable performance. Alternatively, Amazon AWS can be used for the cloud infrastructure.

All assets and files in workspaces with an assigned Media Root are browsable via the Media Library section of the ELEMENTS WebUI. All assets and files within Media Roots automatically have low-res proxy files created for previewing the footage in the ELEMENTS WebUI. The proxy files are created by GPU-accelerated Worker Nodes attached to each local system and stored in a dedicated global filesystem in the cloud.

Dedicated Automation tasks are set up to allow selected users to trigger copies of assets or workspaces to other locations (other on-premise nodes). The Azure ExpressRoutes / SD Wan transfer data between the systems. „ExpeDat“ from Data Expedition is implemented as an accelerated UDP transfer protocol to mitigate the penalties of high latency of the internet connection.

Virtual ELEMENTS Gateways are deployed in the Azure tenant or AWS to serve the global user interface and allow for the upload and download of high-res media and original footage.

Uploaded footage is stored temporarily on a small, dedicated cloud filesystem before being transferred onto a local ELEMENTS system by an Automation task. This behavior can, for instance, be controlled by a mandatory metadata field in the upload window, allowing the user to select a destination for the uploaded assets. The cloud file system also allows for a virus scan of files before they are transferred to a local system.

Keep an eye out for more exciting content and technical showcases, and if a global collaboration platform is just what you need, get in touch.

Solution

An Introduction to RDMA – Remote Direct Memory Access

Solution

How to achieve 4K Real-time transfer speeds in a 2K environment

MAM title Solution

Is there a comprehensive, yet simple MAM out there?

Glossar

COBIT

COBIT ist ein international anerkanntes Rahmenwerk für das Management und die Governance von Informationstechnologie. Es bietet ein umfassendes Regelwerk von Prinzipien, Praktiken und analytischen Instrumenten und Modellen zur Steuerung der unternehmensweiten IT.