It’s Time for the Media and Entertainment Industry to Virtualize

first_imgWhen it comes to virtualization, the media and entertainment (M&E) industry has lagged other industries. For 30 years, broadcast engineers have relied on bare-metal hardware and hard-coded applications, trusting that these solutions could deliver the performance and predictability required of a broadcast network.Broadcast engineers have been wary of virtualization. But for M&E, virtualization in private, public or hybrid-cloud environments offers many tangible benefits: streamlined workflows, increased automation, lower cost of ownership, reduced production time and much more. In fact, forward-thinking media companies are now realizing that virtualization is the only way they’ll be able to compete in a new and rapidly evolving digital marketplace.However, these benefits can only be realized if all components works seamlessly together. To ensure this, Dell Technologies is partnering with many of the world’s leading independent software vendors (ISVs) to test, qualify and prove the functionality of underlying VMware vSphere-based solutions and virtualized configurations.Advantages of Media Function Virtualization (MFV)Prior to VMware, broadcast engineers relied on single-operation hardware, which was limited to one job at a time, whether it was playout, transcoding or rendering. With MFV, media companies can execute multiple tasks on a single Dell EMC VxRail hyperconverged node – an integrated system co-engineered by Dell EMC and VMware.For instance, we have a qualified solution with an ISV that enables us to get 2 – 4 compute tasks, doing either the transcode or the renders on a single VxRail, versus running each job on a separate server. So, what used to take 20 or 30 physical servers is now handled on seven or eight 1U VxRail systems.VMware vSphere can also create robust automated environments. This enables virtual machines (VMs) to move between clusters and stretch clusters to provide higher availability and reliability. If an environment goes down or is taken offline, the application can seamlessly shift to another storage array or vSphere host without any interruption or impact to the user.Now, VMware vSphere advances also allow you to run OTT client applications in VMs, as well as host the core video streaming applications for many broadcast and media solutions.Virtualization’s expanding roleAs the industry progresses toward “IP Playout” delivery, the role for virtualization continues to increase. Broadcasters must compete for audience and advertising dollars by quickly offering new services and channels with specialized content.Easy-to-deploy integrated playout solutions accelerate channel deployment well beyond the capability of traditional installations by offering a flexible, software-based architecture. This enables broadcasters to only pay for what they need and easily add new features as their business evolves.Add to that the evolution of Dell EMC Isilon scale-out storage solutions, designed for high-performance and advanced production environments, enabling media companies to shape and configure resources to meet the demanding needs of each operation in the workflow.Time is moneyTraditionally, it would take 9-12 months for a customer to get their broadcast workload environment into production. They had to size the equipment, set it up, configure and test it extensively before going on-air.With Dell Technologies, the configuration is already qualified and tested when the VxRail nodes arrive. VxRail can be up and running in a couple of days once the networking is ready. Once VMware vSphere is configured, the ISVs – who are familiar with the vSphere configurations and images – can load the base VMs that very day.ISVs have tested and qualified this technology right in their labs, so they’re able to move your operation immediately into workflow customization. This is how environments that used to take 12 months to get running become operational – and collecting revenue – within three months. We’re talking about greatly accelerating revenue from ad sales and everything else that goes along with spinning up a new channel. It also can shorten their technology investment depreciation cycle.This kind of efficiency has caught the attention of ISVs, some of which are now adopting VMware’s solutions as their underlying technology, with huge OEM potential.Broadcast challenges Uncompressed video streams with an IP playout – usually associated with live sports broadcasts – can present a significant challenge for broadcasters, who can’t have dropped frames, jitter or black space, so the requirements are extremely high.The  ST-2110 standard requires 1.3 Gb/s bandwidth for an uncompressed UHD channel. To get multiple channels playing, we found it imperative to have the ISV engineering department working with our VMware vSphere Alliances & Performance Engineering team. It took a long time to solve these challenges, but we can now get two of these channels running on a single VxRail node.One of our ISV partners spent nine months working on a hardware solution to solve this problem. They had no success, because it wasn’t a hardware issue – it was a virtualization-engineering feat. They needed a virtualization solution and Dell Technologies’ expertise. When we brought our VMware vSphere performance engineers to the table, our partners were finally able to overcome this issue.Furthermore, when the next generation VxRail arrives with even more powerful CPUs, we expect to get up to four uncompressed live streams playing without any issue.Lower total costsVMware-powered solutions can help media organizations realize significant cost savings. A single VxRail – powered by VMware vSphere and vSAN – can do the work of multiple bare-metal servers. This results in less rack space, less power and a reduction in cooling requirements versus deploying server after server.Finally, we’re in the early virtualization stages with M&E, but not in other industries where we have employed this solution successfully for years. It took the banking industry, for example, a year or so to understand how well virtualization works. Once they understood the tools and their comfort level increased, the technicians’ work became more meaningful and interesting, and the possibilities of virtualization began to be realized.That’s where we’re heading with M&E, which is why it’s going to be such an exciting next phase in this industry.To learn more about recommendations and best practices, download VMware’s new whitepaper: “Media and Entertainment Workloads on vSphere 6.7: Best practices and recommendations for deployment and performance tuning,” co-authored by VMware’s Mark Achtemichuk, Bob Goldsand and Shak Malik. It is the definitive guide to successfully deploy and benefit from Media Function Virtualization.last_img read more

Monday Musings

first_imgCongratulations to the Batesville Bulldogs and the East Central Trojans for their football wins on Friday night.  East Central will play for their championship at Edgewood, and Batesville will go to Brownstown.  Good luck to both of these teams this week!On the cross country front, Brenner Hanna of Greensburg finished 26th at the state meet and Meghan Cole of South Ripley placed 63rd out of over 200.  Both young ladies are great local high school runners.Girls high school basketball will begin this weekend.  Check your local school websites to see when and where your team is playing.  At this writing, I am not sure if Batesville will play Hauser on Friday night because of the high school football game.  Check WRBI for information.The Boston Red Sox are the only team going into the off-season happy.  They defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 last night to win the 2018 World Series!  Way to go Sox!last_img read more

Disaster program will give Hoosiers better access to food assistance

first_imgStatewide— Indiana residents who need help feeding their families during the COVID-19 pandemic will have greater access to assistance from food banks and pantries through a Disaster Household Distribution program approved by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).The disaster distribution program uses commodity foods from The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which is administered by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), and is effective from today through May 14, 2020. The goal is to increase access to food assistance to those in need. Priority will be given to Hoosiers who are suffering significant economic losses.During the COVID-19 response, food banks and partner agencies have largely shifted to drive-through distributions. Through the DHD program, current TEFAP food banks will use the network of new and existing mobile pantries to distribute food packages to families in need. It is anticipated a total of 250 sites, including mobile pantries, will assist with food distribution throughout the state, primarily in rural areas. Marion County will use Indianapolis Public School buses, community centers and a drive-through location at Gleaners Food Bank to ensure that families have easy access to food resources.Each household receiving food through this program can receive one prepackaged 25-pound box that includes a variety of foods, including, but not limited to, canned and packaged fruits, vegetables, soups, sauces, noodles, beans, nuts, juices and meats. If frozen and/or refrigerated storage is available at a site, those items also will be distributed.Individuals should contact their local food bank or pantry to determine whether they are participating in the DHD program. For additional information, please visit wic.in.gov or find a food pantry near you by clicking here.last_img read more

One Year After Turtle’s Release, Satellite Tracker Continues to Operate

first_imgFLORIDA KEYS — An adult loggerhead sea turtle, released off the Florida Keys a year ago after it was treated at the Keys’ Turtle Hospital, continues to be tracked via satellite. “Mr. T” was named by staff at the Turtle Hospital in February 2019 after several surgeries to remove a fishhook. The marine reptile was returned to the ocean May 7, 2019, with a small satellite transmitter epoxied to its shell by Mote Marine Laboratory staff to track migratory patterns of male loggerheads. Since the release, the turtle has traveled more than 1,600 miles. It spent time in the Atlantic Ocean off the Keys, but also swam in Gulf of Mexico waters off southwest Florida. Currently Mr. T is near Key Largo.“We do not know much about the adult males,” said Turtle Hospital Manager Bette Zirkelbach. “The females come back to shore to nest.“The males never come back to shore, so we don’t have an opportunity to put satellite tags on them,” she added. “With this study, we are able to track the males and see where the boys go.” Zirkelbach said it’s unusual for a small transmitter to remain on a sea turtle for so long and to keep working. Typically, transmitters fall off in about four to six months, but because Mr. T is an adult his continued growth is very slow, she said. Younger turtles grow more rapidly and top layers of their shells shed more.“It’s unusual, but that satellite tag is still on Mr. T and it’s still transmitting good information,” she said.Eventually, the transmitter will fall off the turtle, Zirkelbach said.https://www.850wftl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Mr-T-tag.mp3Follow Mr. T’s progress here.last_img read more