How to consolidate video infrastructure and data

An International media company wants to consolidate its video editing operations in New York and London. This will split their video data between their offices in the two cities. In London 60TB will be stored there, and the same amount of data will be stored in New York. Yet the company needs to have the capacity to move this data in between their two datacentres in these locations.   

It’s not just a consolidation exercise, but a data synchronisation one and the challenge is to mitigate the impact of data and network latency, which usually increases the further apart datacentres are located from each other. The response has traditionally to place each datacentre in close proximity to themselves. Such as strategy for reducing latency is risky, because if a natural disaster were to occur the two datacentres could be affected and this would put your organisation’s ability to operate in jeopardy. Not only that, it could damage your reputation and lead to downtime and financial losses.   

So, if your company or its products are reliant on video data, then there is a need to seek an approach that permits both datacentres to be placed outside of their respective circles of disruption – at a distance from each other. The answer isn’t to use WAN optimisation as this can’t deal with data compression efficiently. Instead data acceleration tools such as PORTrockIT should be deployed to allow encrypted and compressed video data to flow without being hindered by data and network latency, and it can reduce jitter that can spoil the viewing experience.   

Engaging with video 

Research by Tubular Insights finds that Facebook users consider video 5 times more engaging than images. Facebook and Kantar found in their joint study that participants are 1.20x more likely to watch video on a smartphone than on a computer at least once a day. They also found that the study’s participants prefer to watch videos that of no more than 10 minutes with millennials being 1.36x more likely to watch it on a mobile device than on a PC.    

Tubular Insights also says: “There were 3.1 Trillion Facebook video views between November 2015 and November 2016; that’s a staggering increase of 94% year-on-year! With Facebook users spending an average of 50 minutes per day on the site, and over 100 million hours of daily video watch time being generated, the reach and influence of Facebook video content is only set to increase.” The significant year-on-year growth of Facebook video viewings clearly shows that video data is set to increase to many zettabytes of the next decade as video will be increasingly used in social media, digital broadcasting, marketing and advertising, as well as by autonomous vehicles by 2025. 

5G: Video demand to increase 

In June 2017, Total Telecom wrote: “With 5G likely to become commercially available in 2020, operators have three years to lay the foundations of a network that will change the way people interact forever. The sheer volume of devices and data that will be created by 5G – some 25 billion, creating two zettabytes of data by 2025 according to Machina Research – means the network build-out will need to be of a scope unlike anything that has been done before.”   

To meet the challenge of managing, streaming, back-up and restoring ever large amounts of data, large vendors such as Intel will no doubt tell you that there is a need to upgrade your existing infrastructure – particularly when 5G mobile networks are just around the corner. “Find out what it takes to envision, plan, and deploy critical service, performance, and IT management upgrades”, says Intel’s website. It suggests that network transformations are required to manage rich media, provide high-speed wireless connectivity, to manage hybrid cloud, to offer a 5G communications cloud, and to offer a Virtualized IP Multimedia Subsystem.   

This may be excellent technology, but the question should be about whether you really need to upgrade your network to cope with the challenges that big data and increasing video data volumes pose. With data acceleration, there may be no need to upgrade your network infrastructure to cope with the demands of video data. It is possible to consolidate it and to synchronise it with a data acceleration tool.   

What’s also important to remember is that quite often is that the data may also need to travel across a fixed line connection at some point. The fact there the speed of light has its limitations is often hidden too, and so buying more bandwidth doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to deliver more and faster streaming video data. However, it is important from a viewer’s user experience perspective to find ways to reduce latency.   

Grab attention 

People won’t stay around long if it affects their ability to view some video footage – whether it is used in broadcasting, advertising, video conferencing or on social media. They want access now, and if that capability is not provided they will quite happily jump to one of your competitors. The opportunity to capture their attention, and in the case of advertising the chance to sell to them will have been lost for good. In scientific circles, video and still images are being used to further medical research and if the devil of latency arises, their ability to use analytical engines or to retrieve the data they need to further their studies might negatively be affected too.   

Support collaboration 

In broadcasting, there is another requirement: Footage may be taken for a digital TV programme in one country, but it may need to be edited in another country or location far from its original source.  Some of it may be uploaded to some form of database to allow people to work collaboratively on a filming project without being delayed by latency, and without files being corrupted by packet loss. The video they are creating is very data heavy, and so data acceleration is needed to ensure that it can be accessed instantaneous by a multitude of people in many widespread locations.   

Time to intelligent 

Netflix, for example, knows that this is important too. But the ability to view a film doesn’t just depend on having a subscription. Much also depends on the network speed being used by each viewer’s broadband. However, this doesn’t mean that company shouldn’t invest in data acceleration. It should certainly have the right network infrastructure solutions in place, because latency can begin at any point along a local area or wide area network.   

By investing in their network infrastructure, they are investing in customer experience and customer loyalty – as well as in the potential present and future profitability of the firm. They can also use artificial intelligence and machine learning to present movies and TV programmes to their subscribers that they might just want to watch. So time to intelligence must be built into this capability, allowing fast, timely and real-time big data analysis. All of this can be achieved with data acceleration tools.   

David Trossell, CEO and CTO of Bridgeworks 

Image Credit: Ekaphon Maneechot / Shutterstock