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Video _ Cloud-based Computing

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					BLUEBIRD TV White paper                                             

     Video & Cloud-based Computing
     What are content delivery networks?
     A content delivery network (CDN) is a system of servers, or computers interconnected over the
     Internet, that are placed closer to users across the globe to reduce the distance content travels
     across long-haul networks, like WANs. These servers contain duplicate content of the
     originating network. CDNs dynamically provide data to clients by calculating which server is
     located nearest to the client and delivering content based on those calculations. This not only
     eliminates the distance that content travels, but reduces the number of hops a data packet must
     make. The result is less packet loss, optimized bandwidth and faster performance -- improving
     overall user experience.

     Content Delivery Network (CDN) companies have invested a great deal of time and money into
     the solutions that are used today. The solution is to store content as close to the end user as
     possible, a technique known as edge caching. It allows users to access cached versions of the
     web or applications for faster, easier access. In addition to edge caching, some of the more
     sophisticated CDNs have gone one step further and developed unique algorithms and massive
     distributed networks that can help them proactively identify trouble spots over the public
     Internet, and reroute content around them. While this additional technique allows websites to
     deliver asymmetrical traffic a little more efficiently, applications like streaming video and audio,
     and even software downloads, are still cached at the edge of the network despite this routing

     Page 1 of 10                                                  Video and Cloud Computing
BLUEBIRD TV White paper                                          

       he                                      cousin,
     The CDN's newer, more sophisticated cousin cloud acceleration, does what CDNs do, but
     faster, and is more able to deal with dynamic content. Cloud acceleration is best suited for
     dynamic content because it does not rely on edge caching In fact, it works best without edge
     caching. In addition, it is more cost effective as users are not paying for a decade's worth of
     infrastructure designed and built-                        caching
                                       -out to enhance edge-caching capabilities. And last, but not
     least, it can fight common Internet problems, not only by working (routing) around them, but by
     actually fixing the core problem associated with long distance networks. There's definitely
     something to be said for a solution that addresses the real issue, performs better, costs less and
     results in happy website visitors and increased revenues.

     Video can sometimes require a large amount of resources. So it’s no wonder that the ever
     increasing popularity of cloud-based computing is being extended to online video.
     FierceOnlineVideo recently published a informative post that looks at how “cloud computing,”
     can be applied to support online video destination sites.

                                       computing,                                   g
     If you’re not familiar with cloud computing read on to find out how it’s helping some online video
     businesses keep things flowing freely in streaming media.

     Problem Domains & Challenge

        •                           ta
            Scalable large scale data processing
        •      meshing
            Re-meshing with Adaptive Refinement of unstructured mesh for transient problems
        •   Very large scale data processing, up to gigabytes, terabytes & petabytes

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                                                                 Video and Cloud Computing
BLUEBIRD TV White paper                                               

         •   Scalability
         •   Cost-effective of computing resources
         •   ‘Pay per use’ flexibility

     Problem Domains:

         •   Video files are among the data that is proliferating most rapidly
         •   Millions of searches per month
         •   Growing trends of terabytes/petabytes of data generated per day!
         •   Just reading 100 terabytes of data can be overwhelming

     What is Cloud Based Computing?
     Cloud computing is when a group of computers are tasked with sharing the load for a particular
     service. Many common applications are in the SaaS (Software as a Service) industry where
     thousands or perhaps millions of users could simultaneously be wanting to use the service. One
     server simply would not be able to handle that and so they take their service and spread it over
     multiple servers utilizing the power of them all. To the users there is only one interface or portal
     but on the backend there could be dozens or even hundreds of servers all working in unison to
     keep the flow of information from getting bogged down in the mire.

     Taking that and applying it to online video is a tricky task as there are multiple things that need
     to be considered including where the video is going to be stored, how it will be delivered, where
     it will be delivered from and to, and transcoding (which not everyone will use). First and
     foremost in everyone’s mind of course is going to be storage space and bandwidth (i.e.

     Cloud Computing refers to both the applications delivered as services over the Internet and the
     hardware and systems software in datacenters that provide those services. The services
     themselves have long been referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS). The datacenter
     hardware and software is referred to as the “cloud”. When a cloud is made available on a pay-
     as-you-go basis to the public, it is referred to as a “public cloud”; the service being sold is “utility
     computing”. Current examples of public utility computing include AmazonWeb Services, Google
     AppEngine, and Microsoft Azure.

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BLUEBIRD TV White paper                                          

                            Figure 1. Cloud computing user and provider roles

     We use the term “private cloud” to refer to internal datacenters of a business or other
     organization that are not made available to the public. Thus, cloud computing is the sum of
                       omputing,                                          louds.
     SaaS and utility computing, but does not normally include private clouds. We’ll generally use the
                             ,                                   erms
     term “cloud computing”, replacing it with one of the other terms only when clarity demands it.

     Figure 1 shows the roles of the people as users or providers of cloud computing layers. The
     advantages of SaaS to both end users and service providers are well understood. Service
     providers enjoy greatly simplified software installation and maintenance and centralized control
     over versioning; end users can access the service “anytime, anywhere”, share data and
     collaborate more easily, and keep their data stored safely in the infrastructure. Cloud computing
     does not change these advantages, but it does give more application providers the choice of
     deploying their product as SaaS without provisioning a datacenter: Just as the emergence of
     semiconductor foundries gave chip companies the opportunity to design and sell chips wi   without
                                                                    and             demand
     owning a fab, cloud computing allows deployment of SaaS—and scaling on demand—without
     building or provisioning a datacenter. Just as SaaS allows the user to offload some problems to
     the SaaS provider, the SaaS provider can now offload some of his problems to the cloud
     computing provider. From this point, we will focus on issues related to the potential SaaS
                                      cloud providers, who have received less attention.
     provider (cloud user) and to the c

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                                                                 Video and Cloud Computing
BLUEBIRD TV White paper                                             

     Video Storage
     Today, storage space is extremely cheap when compared to its cost even just 10 years ago. So
     the amount of storage space is less important since it’s quick, easy and cheap to get more. But
     what is more important in regards to storage is where that storage is physically located. If you’re
     serving videos mostly to Europe you will definitely want a European-based storage solution.
     However, if you want to expand your audience into North America, for example, that storage
     solution is not going the best idea. You’d also want to have an N.A.-based storage solution.

     Video Delivery
     To continue our example above, once you have content stored in two storage areas, in Europe
     and North America, we need to talk about delivery. You don’t want potential viewers to have to
     do anything extraordinary to view your videos and you want those videos delivered to them as
     quickly as possible. That means your delivery system is going to have to “know” where those
     viewers are and then deliver the video to them in the fastest possible way by utilizing the closest
     server. Video hould not be served to a person in the Czech Republic from your North American
     server just like a viewer in Idaho shouldn’t receive video from the European server.

     Many SaaS and content delivery networks (CDN) like Akamai take this into account and through
     both geo-locating (via IP address) and reading the browsers settings can determine what is the
     best place for them to get the video from. Users do not even knowing that this is being done. If
     you’re hoping to go global and serve a lot of video to a lot of people in a lot of places, then all of
     this should be taken into consideration. Cloud computing can help.

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BLUEBIRD TV White paper                                            

     On the flip side, if you want to run a video service that is going to accept user submissions the
     same storage servers will also act as receptacles for incoming video. Again in order for uploads
     to be successful and as fast as possible you’ll want them to upload to the closest server. The
     CDN will then take that video and propagate it to your other storage servers so that it too can be
     fed out to the masses in the quickest possible fashion.

     Service Layers of Cloud Computing
     The Cisco view of cloud computing is all encompassing, in terms of the architectural stack in a
     typical service value chain. These are services that are offered in a traditional IT data center. In
     a cloud value chain, they are virtualized and delivered on demand.

     The four major layers in the cloud computing value chain are as follows:

     Software as a Service (SaaS) is where application services are delivered over the network on
     a subscription and on-demand basis. Salesforce, Microsoft, and Google are a few providers in
     this layer.

     Platform as a Service (PaaS) consists of run time environments and software development
                                                                 pay-as-you-go basis. PaaS
     frameworks and components delivered over the network on a pay             go
     offerings are typically presented as API to consumers. Examples of this are: Google Apps
     Engine, Amazon Web Services,

     Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is where compute, network, and storage are delivered over
                                   go                           this
     the network on a pay-as-you-go basis. Amazon pioneered this with AWS (Amazon Web
     Service). IT foundation is the basis of the above value chain layers. It provides basic building
     blocks to architect and enable the above layers.

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                                                                   Video and Cloud Computing
BLUEBIRD TV White paper                                             

     Benefits – Reliance
     Of course, there’s far more to it than just that. For example you might have a video that
     suddenly goes viral and starts receiving massive amounts of hits and thousands of
     simultaneous streams. A single server or even a single location could very well not be able to
     handle all of that traffic. With a CDN or some SaaS backup these spikes will be managed
     without fail. There are some phenomena on the web that have been termed things like ‘Digg-
     ified,’ ‘slashdotted’ and TechCrunched where some article, webpage, video, piece of information
     becomes extremely popular and the influx of traffic crashes the target of the popularity due to
     the sudden and unexpectedly heavy load of traffic.

     With cloud-based computing, a spike like that can be handled by simply enlisting more servers
     and bandwidth to handle it. Of course, models like this can create an astronomical bill at the end
     of the month as well so you need to do your research prior to getting something like that setup.

     Transcoding Video Content
     Transcoding is another area where cloud computing can really do wonders. We all know that
     when we upload a video to YouTube they take the video and then process it into a format that
     they can then use to stream to the masses. This is basically transcoding as they’re taking it from
     the originally encoded format and changing it (when necessary) into a format that their system
     understands. If you’ve uploaded any number of videos to YouTube you know that some days
     this can take more than an hour for just a short 5 minute video.

     If you’re going to run your own video sharing platform then you might have a lot of transcoding
     that needs to be done. This is especially true if you’re going to syndicate content out to other
     sites and each site has their own format and specifications. At this point you’re looking at either
     having to set up a farm of servers to get all the work done in a timely (i.e. real time) fashion. Of
     course you might setup your own cloud or transcoding farm to handle this. This will help to

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BLUEBIRD TV White paper                                            

     reduce your bandwidth and other expenses as you shuffle large files around getting them ready
     for viewers.

     An alternative is to have a video platform that will do all of the transcoding for you so you
     needn’t worry about setting up all the hardware, software, etc. While this might save you in initial
     outlay of cash and resources it could cost you in the end, depending on the terms of your

     Cloud-based transcoding can even be achieved on a ‘for hire’ sort of basis. There are now
     places like Amazon Web Services (AWS) which allow you to hire out some of their idle server
     time and have it work for you. This is great if it’s both random and infrequent usage, as
     contracts and prices vary widely and are often based on file sizes, bandwidth and time used.

     Advertising & Revenue
     Finally, you need to think about your advertising and revenue channels. With all the data,
     metrics and analysis of views you really need to be able to trust those that are handling that
     data without fail. Ad data and revenue channels need to be considered as private and sensitive
     since they are part of your financials. That means the data can’t be in any way compromised or
     misinterpreted. You need to maintain as much control over the infrastructure that is being used
     as possible or deal with highly trusted partners.

     Things to Watch Out for
     When you use a service to handle some of the facets of your business you become dependent
     on it…and any services that they, in turn, use. For example, if you use a CDN and they use
     AWS, that means that if something goes wrong on the AWS side your CDN may not be able to
     do anything about it. In fact you might not even be able to get any type of satisfaction depending
     on the contract between AWS and the CDN, and the contract between you and the CDN.

     Other things to watch out for include conflicts of interest and usage of your data and metadata.

     Certainly you will need to have some form of contract in place with all companies to which you
     outsource or that you hire to perform aspects of your online video delivery, tracking, reporting
     and content management. You must make sure that the contract will work in your favor in the
     event of catastrophic failure or unforeseen events like data loss or compromise

     Benefits of the Cloud
     Cloud computing fundamentally changes the way that IT services are delivered to organizations.
     Instead of both owning and managing IT services for themselves, or using an outsourcing
     approach built around dedicated hardware, software, and support services, organizations can
     use cloud computing to meet their IT requirements using a flexible, on-demand, and rapidly
     scalable model that requires neither ownership on their part, nor provision of dedicated

     Page 8 of 10                                                 Video and Cloud Computing
BLUEBIRD TV White paper                                           

     Some of the benefits of cloud computing are as follows:

     Reduced Cost: Cost is a clear benefit of cloud computing, both in terms of CapEx and OpEx.
     The reduction in CapEx is obvious because an organization can spend in increments of required
     capacity and does not need to build infrastructure for maximum (or burst) capacity. For most
     enterprises, OpEx constitutes the majority of spending. Therefore, by utilizing a cloud provider
     or adopting cloud paradigms internally, organizations can save operational and maintenance

     Flexibility: Flexibility benefits derive from rapid provisioning of new capacity and rapid
     relocation or migration of workloads. In public sector settings, cloud computing provides agility
     in terms of procurement and acquisition process and timelines.

     Improved Automation: Cloud computing is based on the premise that services can not only be
     provisioned, but also de-provisioned in a highly automated fashion. This specific attribute offers
     significant efficiencies to enterprises.

     Focus on Core Competency: Businesses and government agencies that reap the benefits of
     cloud computing can focus on their core missions and core objectives and use their IT
     resources as a means to provide essential services to consumers/citizens.

     Sustainability: Most existing data centers have poor energy efficiency, due to poor design
     and/or poor asset utilization. As a result, they are now understood to be environmentally and
     economically unsustainable. By leveraging economies of scale and the capacity to manage
     assets more efficiently, cloud computing consumes far less energy and other resources than a
     traditional IT data center.

     Public Clouds
     Public clouds are “stand-alone,” or proprietary, clouds that are mostly off-premise and run by
     third party companies such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and others. Public clouds are hosted
     off customer premises and usually mix applications (transparently) from different consumers on
     shared infrastructure.

     Private Clouds
     Private clouds are typically designed and managed by an IT department within an organization.
     A private cloud is usually built specifically to provide services internally to an organization.
     Private clouds may be in a co-llocated facility or in an existing data center. This model gives a
     high level of control over cloud services and the cloud infrastructure.

     Virtual Private Clouds
     Virtual private clouds allow service providers to offer unique services to private cloud users.
     These services allow customers to consume infrastructure services as part of their private
     clouds. The ability to augment a private cloud with on-demand and at-scale characteristics is
     typical of a virtual private cloud infrastructure. Private cloud customers can seamlessly extend

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BLUEBIRD TV White paper                                           

     the trust boundaries (security, control, service-level management, and compliance) to include
     virtual private clouds. The virtual private cloud concept introduces the complexities of migrating
     workloads and related data from a private cloud.

     Cloud computing is certainly an ideal option. Whether you create and maintain your own cloud
     or use the power of pre-existing clouds is up to you. Just remember that the point of these
     clouds is to project you, your business and your profits. When properly utilized they can help
     your business soar.

     To learn more about BLUEBIRD TV products and services, please visit or
     contact us at:

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