AWS for M&E Blog

AWS holds second CDI interoperability workshop for highest-quality live video production

AWS Media & Entertainment (M&E) customers continue to seek ways to re-invent their businesses to be more flexible and efficient in a rapidly changing media environment. Cloud processing and distribution of file-based media are now mature workloads; however, the cloud-based production of the highest value live content is a relatively new concept.

Many large broadcast facilities and Outside Broadcast trucks have realized tremendous efficiency in their video routing systems by moving from SDI to IP with on-premises networks using standards such as SMPTE ST 2110. However, cloud networks are a very different environment than on-premises networks, and require a special mechanism to ensure that live uncompressed media can be transported over them with low latency and high reliability.

AWS Cloud Digital Interface (AWS CDI) provides a solution by using the Scalable Reliable Datagram (SRD) protocol designed specifically for cloud networks. Implemented using the Elastic Fabric Adapter (EFA) on the AWS Nitro System, CDI allows developers to have a common way to reliably exchange uncompressed media on the cloud with sub-frame latency required for live production. The AWS CDI SDK is freely available as open source on Github.

In order to develop a mature community of major technology players implementing AWS CDI, in June 2021 AWS hosted a two-day virtual AWS CDI Interoperability Workshop with participation from thirteen production technology vendors, resulting in  more than 100 successful integrations. As the response to the first workshop was overwhelmingly positive, AWS recently hosted a second virtual CDI Interoperability Workshop.

On December 8 – 9, 2021, fifteen vendors took part in a second interoperability workshop with the newest CDI SDK version integrated in their products, resulting in more than 200 interoperability tests. AWS thanks ChyronHego, Drastic Technologies, EEG Ai-Media, Evertz Microsystems, Gallery SIENNA, Matrox Graphics, Nevion, Pixotope, Port 9 Labs, Ross, TAG Video Systems, Techex, Telestream, and others for making this event a success.

During the first CDI Interoperability Workshop, some participants mentioned that their customers would prefer smaller CDI-capable instances to optimize the costs of supporting less intensive live media workloads. To meet that need, AWS extended CDI support to smaller Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance types that support Elastic Fabric Adapter (EFA), and during the second CDI workshop, participants used g4dn.8xl and c5n.9xl instance types that are less costly than the largest or metal sizes of their instance families that had previously been required for CDI.

The response to the workshop series was overwhelmingly positive. James Brooks, CTO of Drastic Technologies says, “The CDI interop is invaluable, especially for cutting-edge companies, in ensuring everyone can co-exist in CDI’s uncompressed, broadcast and production workflows. These events are the best way to achieve compatibility before the customer even tries our solutions”.

Peter Wharton, director of corporate strategy at TAG Video Systems, says “AWS CDI brings live media workflows to life in the cloud with the ultra-low latency and pristine quality that premier media companies demand. TAG is pleased with the cloud enablement AWS CDI brings to our customers for live production and playout.”

When transitioning live production workflows to the cloud, customers demand the same level of performance in terms of latency, video quality, and cost as with on-premises infrastructures. AWS CDI interoperability allows media products from multiple vendors to be composed into a compelling cloud solution that delivers on M&E customer requirements.

For more information about AWS CDI, reach out to your AWS account or partner manager.

Thomas Edwards

Thomas Edwards

Thomas is a Principal Media & Entertainment Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services, specializing in broadcast. He previously worked on advanced technology projects for broadcasters PBS, Fox & Disney. He is a board member of the Video Services Forum and the Streaming Video Technology Alliance, a SMPTE Fellow, was awarded the SMPTE Workflow Systems Medal, and received an Innovator statue for contribution to VSF's Technology & Engineering Emmy® Award for "Standardization of SMPTE ST 2110".

Ali Jerbi

Ali Jerbi

Principal Product Manager, Video Quality

Patrice Watson

Patrice Watson

Patrice is part of the Discovery Inc. Global Account Team at AWS dedicated to digital innovation in Media & Entertainment. With international experience, her focus is moving the needle forward in live remote production to enable economic opportunity globally.