AWS Partner TrackIt uses Amazon OpenSearch service to help Visual Data streamline media delivery
Television studios, movie distributors, and other entertainment companies face significant challenges with data sprawl. There might be multiple storage systems located all over the world that contain elements needed for editorials in order to meet distribution requirements, such as subtitles, language dubs, and curated video for network standards and practices. Individual companies format files differently, and there’s rarely a centralized solution to access data across the enterprise. In addition to storage management requirements, companies also have complex content delivery processes.
Needing a cost-effective way to manage media
Headquartered in Burbank, California, Visual Data Media Services (Visual Data) specializes in complete media services for major entertainment studios around the world, helping them deliver content to a global audience. Visual Data receives large volumes of orders from clients daily for postproduction, including subtitle creation in 26 languages and final edits to meet specific ratings guidelines. For example, Visual Data can deliver a program without smoking or violence to a designated country, while simultaneously delivering that same program, but including this content, to a different country.
Visual Data was looking to replace its data management solution, which was incompatible with cloud-based workflows and unable to scale. Plus, its cost-prohibitive pricing was based entirely on storage capacity. “For example, if you’ve got a 500 TB drive versus a 100 TB drive, the 500 TB drive is going to cost five times more to scan,” says Ken Spickler, Visual Data’s director of engineering. “And when storage capacity is theoretically unlimited in the cloud, you can see how it quickly becomes cost prohibitive to continue down that path.” Visual Data needed a scalable solution that could grow with the company and automate time-consuming and error-prone manual processes while reducing the time to initiate its customers’ orders.
Finding a solution to data workflow management in the cloud
Visual Data began to work with the data curation service Diskover Data, which provides indexing functionality in the cloud using Amazon Web Services (AWS). Diskover consolidated the unstructured data spread across disconnected repositories into a global index. It was stored in the cloud using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), an object storage service offering industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance.
Wanting greater cohesive communication among systems, Diskover introduced Visual Data to AWS Advanced Tier Services Partner TrackIt. Founded in 2014, TrackIt provides cloud management tools and professional services with special expertise in media and entertainment workflows. With its expertise, TrackIt could design and build plugins for Visual Data’s internal order management system. This resulted in significant reductions in time-consuming processes that previously relied on spreadsheets and physical searches of media storage. “The TrackIt team helped reduce the human error and labor involved in associating these files with large order volumes,” says Paul Honrud, CEO of Diskover. TrackIt’s API implementation provided a way for disparate systems to communicate, streamlining access to data and helping Visual Data’s clients become more efficient. “Our work wasn’t just installing the software,” says Brad Winett, president of TrackIt. “It’s also the ‘glue’ we developed using APIs.’”
To automate the manually intensive process of searching data files, TrackIt implemented Diskover’s backend search engine on Amazon OpenSearch Service, which makes it simple for businesses to perform interactive log analytics, near-real-time application monitoring, website search, and more. “Amazon OpenSearch Service provides the core functionality to sift and organize massive amounts of data,” Winett says. Amazon OpenSearch Service runs on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), which provides secure and resizable compute capacity for virtually any workload. Media companies using the solution can search, visualize, and analyze petabytes of text and unstructured data. As a result, Visual Data’s customers have significantly improved their ability to export and share search results and improve overall efficiency. “Diskover had the functionality that we needed to support our global operations by providing greater visibility and increased functionality with a single view into our data,” Spickler says.
Using its data management solution, Visual Data has also helped customers improve their time to market, a competitive advantage in an industry that needs media assets quickly. “Working quickly helps studios and the content owners improve their profits,” says Winett. “They will select those who can do the job the cleanest and the fastest.”
The combined effort by the TrackIt, Diskover, and Visual Data teams illustrates how companies in the media and entertainment industry can use AWS to gain complete control over their data. “There’s a good story to be told about how we worked with Diskover as a custom software developer to help augment its own products and capabilities specifically for customer requirements,” Winett says. “Another software vendor might put this kind of request in a backlog and get to it in 2 years, but we’ve shown that companies can come to TrackIt and rapidly get exactly what they need as part of the solution rollout.”
Continuing to innovate as an AWS Partner
In 2022, TrackIt became an AWS Migration Competency Partner. “From a cloud perspective, we’ve grown very rapidly alongside AWS,” Winett says. “We’ve been able to grow by honing our superpowers: media and entertainment workflows and cloud-native software development. We’re investing in our relationship and continue to grow alongside AWS.”
Visual Data plans to automate more of its processes, using cloud-based solutions to scale alongside the company’s growth. “Everybody’s interested in automating manual processes if they can, but most companies think it would be too hard,” Winett says. “But here’s a solution where three parties were able to create something for the end user—a cool workflow automation environment—with very little lift.”
TrackIt is a 7-year old cloud management, consulting and software development solutions company based in Marina del Rey, California. The company specializes in Cloud-Native, Modern Software Development; DevOps, Infrastructure-As-Code, serverless, CI/CD and containerization with special expertise in Media and Entertainment workflows, High-Performance Computing environments and data storage.