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CLOUD S3 CONTENT DISTRIBUTION CASE STUDY
SUMMARY REPORT
CUSTOMER-AWS-PIXSPAN CLOUDMOVER PROOF OF CONCEPT
Overview of Problem Statement
A global production/post production house, identified here as the Customer, needed to reduce the current workflow limitations of terrestrial data transfer and speed up the overall delivery of content given the increasing size and quality demands of 4K-8K content by its clients (studios and new media players). Specifically, the Customer wanted to assess the savings in time and fixed costs as well as the benefits of near-real-time collaboration by using AWS Cloud storage combined with Pixspan's software for the overall delivery of content.
Executive Summary of Solution and Top Line Value to the Customer:
The results of this Proof of Concept (POC) show that cloud data transfers by Pixspan's CloudMover software enable production and post-production schedules not previously possible. AWS Cloud storage and Pixspan's products significantly improved the Customer's global media production operations by enabling rapid data transfers from the production house's AWS cloud storage from Europe and Asia to California, now served exclusively by terrestrial long-haul networks.
  • Uncompressed content was delivered in a few minutes, enabling near-real-time collaboration, versus twelve hours with the restrictions of a typical long-haul network, which delivers content two shifts later. The value equation is similar to being able to act the immediacy of email versus the pace of regular/snail mail -- enabling a work session to happen while the other party is online, as opposed to the next day.
  • The Customer can more effectively meet tight timelines for projects produced in remote locations by now using the Cloud and CloudMover as the "go to" alternative to terrestrial networks and physical shipments.
  • For transfers of full resolution video and imaging, Pixspan's Bit Exact Round Trip technology further reduced the effective time of transfers ~65%, while saving about two-thirds in S3 storage and EC2 charges, and decreasing its AWS cross-region transfer fees.
  • The Customer was able to add the transfer capacity within minutes without requiring capital investment, incurring only the costs of the transfers and storage used.
Customer Objective/Detailed Problem Statement
The Customer, Pixspan, and AWS conducted a Proof of Concept (POC) on a key part of the media workflow, by transferring their media production files over the Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure using Pixspan's CloudMover software. Their objective was to determine whether its global media production operations could be improved by rapid transfers from its AWS cloud storage from Europe and Asia to California, now served exclusively by terrestrial long-haul networks. Specifically, they wanted to assess if by using the Cloud it could reduce the current workflow limitations of terrestrial data transfer and speed up the overall delivery of content.
  • The current infrastructure does not allow distant locations to collaborate and review large multi-gigabyte and multi-terabyte sized files during the same shift because of the time needed to transfer the data.
  • As projects near their final stages, having additional time to meet deadlines can be critical. If time can be saved in the transfer/delivery of content during the post production process or in final delivery to the end customer, then more time can be dedicated to improving the quality of the work and/or increasing post-production worker and customer satisfaction.
  • With the Customer's current infrastructure, increased capacity for new projects requires incremental capital expenditures in fixed locations, involving months of lead time. Today's media demands add greater variability to their business, necessitating the flexibility of on-demand bandwidth and greater elasticity of storage.
  • There currently are delays in accessing master deliveries, digital intermediates, and camera raw files from remote locations. Accessing bit exact full resolution files over existing networks create delays in completing a project. A solution for moving any file of any size within the cloud quickly is desired.
Participants
The Customer is a worldwide technology leader in the media and entertainment sector, with billions of dollars in revenues. They provide creative services including VFX, production, post-production, and animation in many principal locations worldwide, serving all major motion picture studios as well as newer digital entrants.
Pixspan software provides the fastest way to move data to, from, and within the cloud. Pixspan also offers the option of Bit Exact Round Trip, the fastest mathematically lossless compression with 50% to 80% savings on uncompressed image and camera raw files. Pixspan is an AWS Standard Partner.
AWS enables businesses and developers to use web services to build scalable, sophisticated applications. Amazon S3 provides a highly durable storage infrastructure designed for mission-critical and primary data storage.
Proof of Concept Design and Results
The test was designed to measure data transfers from the Customer's international S3 storage locations in London, Mumbai, and California. Two sets of digital image files were used: 1) 5 Terabytes of full resolution image files, and 2) 5 TB of 4K digital intermediates compressed using Pixspan's Bit Exact Round Trip technology (.pxz file format). In this joint test, the Customer provided its S3 and EC2 resources, Pixspan operated its CloudMover software with its intuitive graphical user interface, and an AWS Solution Architect provided technical consultation.
Here is a summary diagram of the POC:
Results
  • Transfer times were measured using CloudMover's Ultra speed option from S3 bucket to S3 bucket for the cloud, while the leased circuit route was measured storage-to-storage over a dedicated one gigabit line, using common third-party network optimization software.
  • Pixspan's CloudMover software is powered by AMIs that run on the AWS platform. CloudMover offers customers the choice of three speeds – Ultra, Plus, and Express. Ultra, the fastest option, was used for this Proof of Concept. CloudMover Express is approximately 6 times faster than a one gigabit circuit, CloudMover Plus is approximately 18 times faster; and as shown in this POC, CloudMover Ultra is approximately 30 times faster.
  • Pixspan's CloudMover used AWS EC2 instances for the duration of the transfer, which took 5 to 18 minutes, depending on the speeds chosen.
  • Pixspan-compressed (.pxz) transfers of the Customer's content were measured as the effective speeds of the actual image data transferred. This included an additional ~65% savings in speed, in S3 storage and EC2 charges, and in AWS cross-region transfer fees.
Conclusions
This POC successfully demonstrated the advantages of cloud-based transfers on the AWS infrastructure with Pixspan's CloudMover data acceleration vs. traditional terrestrial network transfers:
  • The Customer's media workflows were accelerated in the cloud, even for remote city pairs. Large data deliveries of movie features or episodic series, which often range from 10 to 30 TB, can be accomplished in less than an hour or two versus one to three days. This enables quicker reviews and collaboration within the same shift, not previously possible.
  • With these transfer speeds, a project can be delivered in the cloud a day or two faster than current methods, picking up critical time at the end of a project when the delivery is on deadline.
  • The transfers in this test were made on demand, requiring no advance notice, no fixed or consistent geography, and scalable to the size of the transfers needed. The Customer was able to add the transfer capacity within minutes and incurring only the related to the transfers and storage used.
  • The speeds available with AWS S3 infrastructure and Pixspan's CloudMover software used in this test are much faster than what the Customer experiences with their current terrestrial methods. As a result, when timelines are important for projects produced in remote locations, or large content transfers produced anywhere, the cloud becomes the “go to” alternative to terrestrial networks and physical shipments.
  • With the use of Pixspan's Bit Exact Round Trip compression, transfers were further accelerated, while reducing the costs of compute, storage, and transfer charges approximately 65% or more.
Pixspan's CloudMover software is available on the AWS Marketplace platform. Once deployed, customers have immediate, easy access to all these benefits on-demand, without the need for an IT project, capital budget allocation, or special programming.
While this POC is with a global media and entertainment technology player, large files of any type can be accelerated for any industry that has a need to move large volumes of data from S3 bucket to S3 bucket, within region or between regions. CloudMover offers extra benefits for full resolution image files; however, its acceleration speed for large data files of any type are unmatched
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