Sony DADC New Media Solutions (NMS) has been at the forefront of the media supply chain since 2009. Under its Ven.ue brand, NMS provides digital supply chain solutions targeting major film studios, broadcasters, music labels, game companies, and other content providers. Ven.ue provides everything from over-the-top (OTT) content to companies like Funimation Entertainment; media processing and distribution to customers like Sony Pictures Entertainment; and smart-toy solutions to the broader entertainment industry.
Ven.ue, which enables consumer experiences and content delivery across all devices and more than 1,200 distribution points worldwide, is experiencing rapid growth. “We store 20 petabytes of motion picture and television content, and that’s growing at about 1 petabyte every quarter,” says Andy Shenkler, chief solutions and technology officer for Sony DADC New Media Solutions. Keeping pace with that growth, though, was difficult using the existing NMS data center. “When we considered the capex and functionality required to grow and update our on-premises environment, we really had to question whether that was the right model,” Shenkler says. “We also knew we were going to have to do a hardware refresh—for example, to expand our tape libraries. We didn’t know if it made sense to make another five-year commitment to new hardware.”
NMS also needed the elasticity to be able to scale Ven.ue based on peak usage. “We have busy seasons and slow seasons, and we didn’t want to have to build out our environment for peak capacity and then have it sit idle the rest of the time. We knew the cloud would give us the scalability and elasticity we needed for the long-term growth of our business,” says Shenkler.
After considering solutions from several different cloud providers, NMS narrowed the field to two: Amazon Web Services (AWS) and one other company. “We were impressed by the AWS team, and by the speed at which development and innovation were taking place in the AWS Cloud,” says Shenkler. NMS was also impressed with the overall AWS approach. “We met with a competing company for several months, and every meeting ended with them asking what was in it for their company. But in the first meeting we had with AWS, the question was, ‘How can Amazon help you?’ That really summarizes our experience with AWS, and it’s one of the intangibles that made AWS the clear winner.” After making its decision, NMS decided to go all in on the AWS Cloud.
NMS started its move to AWS by migrating its Ven.ue distribution workflows to the AWS Cloud, running on hundreds of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances. The organization then migrated its OTT broadcast playout services to AWS.
NMS is also in the process of moving its complete 20-petabyte video archive from LTO tape to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and the Amazon Glacier cloud storage service. Additionally, the company uses Amazon CloudFront as its global content delivery network (CDN) service to accelerate content delivery to NMS customers. Now, the Ven.ue platform’s supply chain distribution, broadcast playout, and white-label OTT offerings are all powered by the AWS Cloud.
Using AWS, NMS is delivering next-generation media services to content owners, broadcasters, and distributors worldwide. And AWS has given the company the scalability it needs to keep up with the fast-growing Ven.ue platform. “We have 20 petabytes of content on AWS, the equivalent of more than 800,000 hours of video, available on our platform,” says Shenkler. “We can only move all that content around the world with the scalability we’re getting on the AWS Cloud.” With its new cloud capabilities, NMS is able to better support new features such as a high-dynamic range (HDR) solution that requires storage for file sizes that are up to four times the normal video file. “We definitely have the bandwidth and storage capacity we need for HDR and other new features,” says Shenkler.
NMS has gained elasticity by using AWS. “Using AWS, we don’t have to set up an on-premises environment for peak capacity and then not use it all the time,” Shenkler says. “We might spin up hundreds of Amazon EC2 instances for our busy times, but we can just use them for minutes or hours instead of days.”
In addition, the organization has the agility to quickly set up large data analysis rendering environments. “Our developers no longer need to build a framework from the ground up to create something new,” says Shenkler. “Previously, if I wanted to test a project before putting it into production, it could take up to six months, largely driven by the high costs and large lead times involved in the procurement of infrastructure. Now, using AWS, our designers can build a high-resolution graphical interface that’s powered by a large image-rendering farm based on real-time data in just a few days.”
NMS can also spend more time on innovation. “By relying on AWS, our developers can focus on things that are specific to our business needs, as opposed to building a framework or worrying about managing the back-end IT environment,” says Shenkler. In addition, the company saves money by not having to refresh hardware. “We were storing over 9,000 LTO tapes, and when you look at the media lifecycle, those tapes are dead formats in just a few years,” says Shenkler. “You’re talking about capital investments of several million dollars every five to seven years. Now, by using AWS, we can store everything in the cloud and avoid those kinds of high capital costs.”
NMS plans to explore additional AWS services as the Ven.ue platform continues to grow. “We are fully committed to going all-in on the AWS Cloud—without hesitation,” Shenkler says.
To learn more about how AWS can help you manage your digital media content delivery, visit our AWS Digital Media details page.