Cloud Economics in M&E 

We all know workflows in M&E can be challenging. Especially considering aspects such as project shooting ratios and the necessity of rapid content ingest to cope with project deadlines. These can be compounded further with other factors including new acquisition and deliverable formats, as well as the geographies that many projects straddle. Bringing tremendous pressures to a business.

Often the simplest route has been a capital purchase of on-premise hardware solely to achieve a project requirement. This not only increases the project’s cost base but also increases engineering resources, potentially reducing margins. Once these new on-premises solutions have been implemented, an increase in planning and resource management is required as an on-going overhead to the business. There is an alternative economic and technical model for M&E and that is the public cloud.

The cloud can help address this constant project resource allocation battle vs profitability. One of the major benefits of using public cloud is the massive economies of scale. Cloud providers invest vast sums in infrastructure, storage and compute. By letting them take the strain of high-cost CAPEX infrastructure investment means these economies of scale can be applied to an organisation’s own infrastructure demands and allow granular accounting and technical planning at a project level.

Beyond the tremendous efficiencies and cost savings of cloud computing, there is another economic benefit; business agility. Businesses can utilise cloud computing resources to deploy workflows faster and ramp up storage and computing power on demand. This I.T. agility allows businesses to respond quickly to market and project changes as well as customer demands. Leading to more efficient working and faster routes to revenue.

There is an obvious and warranted concern over run-away costs when considering the leap to the cloud. Businesses should analyse the economic pros and cons to get a detailed picture of costs and savings and ask whether it will lead to long-term savings and efficiencies. This type of question is often difficult to answer and will differ depending on the organisation’s needs and circumstances, as well the cloud solution that is being considered. The goal is to avoid a cloud adoption strategy that drives up cost, complexity and staffing resources.

Testing the waters with a smaller piece of the workflow puzzle is a good way to run an analysis to help identify and rationalise these costs. Migrating a component such as an integral file transfer facility to a cloud hosted infrastructure may seem illogical, even with the ominous cloud egress data charges, but on-going running costs can decrease. Service uptime is also significantly increased, as there is a separation from the underlying infrastructure that you’re no longer responsible for.

Fringe benefits such as massive cloud backbone network bandwidth can further enable decreased project processing times. Gone are the bottlenecks of an on-premise ISP connection which is often saturated during day-to-day operations.  Locating a core capability on the public cloud can lead to many more efficiencies with downstream workflows being more easily constructed for specific projects or more of a company wide technical standardisation.

Another migration opportunity to consider is locating backup, DR or archive to the cloud. If carefully planned with a well-managed process, infrastructure costs and management overhead can be greatly reduced. Cloud egress or Data Transfer Out (DTO) is a very hot topic in the industry right now. Migration to cloud storage does require analysis to fully understand the operational and technical use cases. Each will require clearly defined success and failure criteria, so that any implemented workflows won’t prevent the business from moving forward. Designing processes and workflows can be factored and optimised so when DTO is required the capacity of data transferred out is greatly reduced.

The last 20 months have shown us that we constantly need to re-evaluate the agility of our businesses. Our economic and technical strategies will be affected by how well we adapt to the rapid changes that are taking place in the industry. The cloud presents us with amazing potential and although cloud adoption and migration of key workflows is a progressive one, the rewards are clearly visible.



Nick Soper, Tyrell Cloud Platform Manager