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Avid at the 2011 NAB Show: Al Kovalick "Planning for the Cloud"

"Do you use the cloud? Raise your hand if you do," asked Avid Senior Fellow Al Kovalick. About half the standing room only NAB Session audience raised their hands.  "If you didn't raise your hand, you should have." Al then proceeded in his wonderful, precise, and humorous way to present his paper on the subject of "Planning for the Cloud" at one of Monday's first NAB Sessions. He provided attendees with an in-depth look at the current state of cloud computing and glimpse into the future of the newest, and perhaps least well understood technological revolution currently underway.

Al's presentation was entitled, "Essential Concepts and Apps for the Media Facility" and over the course of his talk he laid out the basic architecture of the cloud, examined the public and private adoption of three distinct cloud types, surveyed the benefits and drawbacks, and finished with a look to the near-future, defining the ways content creators and media managers could plan to take advantage of the maturing technology.

Cloud computing is any type of computing in which services and computational resources are provided over the internet. Al explained how there were three types of cloud computing: platform services (such as,) software services (such as Google Docs) and infrastructure services (from simple file storage to complex, expandable cloud networks like Amazon EC2 AWS.) The main benefits of providing services and platforms entirely over the internet are it's ease of scalability, it's agile and dynamic provisioning, the heavy use of automations and virtualization, trade offs of Capex for Opex (the accountants reading this just perked up) and the savings of hard costs related to running large networks (power, cooling, space, management, reliability, etc.) Power and cooling alone account for a third of a network's cost according to a graph shown. So the increase in efficiency is welcome in many ways.

The solutions cloud computing can provide media professionals are profound. From offline archiving to transcoding, development and distribution, the cloud can offer an enormous return on investment, allowing companies to free up valuable resources while benefiting from networks far more reliable than any hardware array.

"So, what are the threats, the downsides?" Al asked. Security was first and foremost amongst them. This included securing your data from loss, protecting your networks from being hijacked, and the unknowns presented by putting so much of your business in the hands of a company you might not know enough about.

And perhaps the two greatest hurdles facing the rapid expansion of cloud computing Al explained were the same old digital nemeses that have plagued computing and networks from the very beginning. "Latency and bandwidth" he announced. However with so many resources being contributed to broadly addressing those issues, Al was confident that in the future the cloud would be "an integrated part of not only media enterprise, but of our daily lives as well."

"By 2020 most people will be using cloud based applications daily," he concluded, "and will be living a digital hybrid life."  The market is already exploding he noted, with cloud computing revenues expected to exceed $150 billion by 2013.


Many thanks to Avid Fellow Al Kovalick for an informative and insightful presentation. Keep an eye on Avid Buzz, a blog composed, distributed and viewed entirely in the cloud, all week for more news and updates.


And don't miss the opportunity to catch Al tomorrow, Wednesday the 13th at 12:30 and 1:00 for his presentation of "FIMS is Heating Up" at the FIMS booth N3134.


At NAB 2011, Avid is participating in a joint technology demo along with Sony, IBM, Cinegy, Radiant Grid and Cube-Tec, who are are working cooperatively and showing file-based camera capture, ingest, transcoding, audio processing and final display in a Media Composer timeline. "This is the world’s first demo of FIMS and promises to be the start of a new way to build efficient media workflows." Al said in his Inside Out blog post on the presentation. "Come hear what all the buzz is about."



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