WORLD CONFERENCE 2013
OCTOBER 25-282013 DUBAI, UAE
G. Dimino et al. (2013). Out-of-the-box interoperable components for th...
G. Dimino et al.

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)[1] has become the reference design paradigm for
system integration i...
Out-of-the-box interoperable components for the design of digital media archives

FIMS works on a voluntary basis and all ...
G. Dimino et al.

time or upon specific events occurrence. A job in a queue can be canceled or its priority can
be modifie...
Out-of-the-box interoperable components for the design of digital media archives

Figure 3. The BMContent object

The FIMS...
G. Dimino et al.

THE REPOSITORY SERVICE

The Repository Service is certainly the most relevant addition to FIMS. It provi...
Out-of-the-box interoperable components for the design of digital media archives

relations between objects, typical of MA...
G. Dimino et al.

The approval process set up by AMWA requires that a reference implementation be
provided together with a...
Out-of-the-box interoperable components for the design of digital media archives

platforms. The reported benefits of the ...
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OUT-OF-THE-BOX INTEROPERABLE COMPONENTS FOR THE DESIGN OF DIGITAL MEDIA ARCHIVES | Giorgio DIMINO, Jean-Pierre EVAIN, Brad GILMER, Neil DUNSTAN, Abbe WIESENTHAL, Dan SHOCKLEY, John FOOTEN, Paul GARDINER, Loic BARBOU,Richard CARTWRIGHT,Tony VASILE,

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OUT-OF-THE-BOX INTEROPERABLE COMPONENTS FOR THE DESIGN OF DIGITAL MEDIA ARCHIVES | Giorgio DIMINO, Jean-Pierre EVAIN, Brad GILMER, Neil DUNSTAN, Abbe WIESENTHAL, Dan SHOCKLEY, John FOOTEN, Paul GARDINER, Loic BARBOU,Richard CARTWRIGHT,Tony VASILE,

  1. 1. WORLD CONFERENCE 2013 OCTOBER 25-282013 DUBAI, UAE G. Dimino et al. (2013). Out-of-the-box interoperable components for the design of digital media archives. OUT-OF-THE-BOX INTEROPERABLE COMPONENTS FOR THE DESIGN OF DIGITAL MEDIA ARCHIVES Giorgio DIMINO*a, Jean-Pierre EVAINb, Brad GILMERc, Neil DUNSTANc, Abbe WIESENTHALd, Dan SHOCKLEYd, John FOOTENe, Paul GARDINERf, LoicBARBOUg,RichardCARTWRIGHTh,TonyVASILEi a b c RAIRadiotelevisioneItaliana; European Broadcasting Union; Advanced Media Workflow Association; e f g h i Turner Broadcasting; Cognizant; Sony; Triskel& Bloomberg; Quantel; Signiant d The FIMS Task Force is a joint effort of the EBU and the AMWA to seek out a common approach to the system integration in file based media production. FIMS is a vendor-neutral common framework for implementing Interoperable Media Services using a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) based system for use in broadcast, audiovisual production, post production, media distribution, and media archive applications. The framework supports agility, interoperability, interchangeability and reusability of media related services.This paper reports on the current achievements of FIMS and provides a preview of the ongoing developments. Keywords: Media archive design | SOA | Interoperability INTRODUCTION The current media landscape shows a constant acceleration in the rate of change of technologies for media consumption and production, with increasing user expectations and proliferation of delivery platforms and formats. Business models need to be easily adaptable to sustain the change and support content creativity and technical innovation.Integrated supply chain processes must be put in place for generating and handling large quantities of video and audio in different formats to suit the requirements of different regulatory environments, regional and cultural audiences anddistribution platforms. The archive plays a pivotal role in this scenario as both a provider and a recipient of contents. The flexibility to support operations involving heterogeneous video and audio formats andever-increasing amounts of descriptive and technical metadata and a plethora of languages cannot be provided by the traditional approach based on vertical silos, where a platform is designed to accomplish a well-defined, specific task and few efforts are devoted to open it to the external world. Common and repetitive operations on media like transcoding, quality check and ingestion need to be factored out and consistently updated throughout the supply chain to respond in real time to the user’s demand without disrupting the existing system design and workability. Future platforms must suit an agile business environment, using lower-cost commoditized IT technology where possible and allow for seamless addition or adaptation of new services to facilitate a low “cost of entry” into new revenue areas. They must be easily scalable and able to quickly redeploy assets to the most successful and profitable environments to ensure efficient use of technical resources. * Correspondingauthor: RAI CRIT Corso Giambone 68 | Torino/10135 | Italy e-mail: giorgio.dimino@rai.it Copyright © of this paper is the property of the author(s). FIAT/IFTA is granted permission to reproduce copies of this work for purposes relevant to the above conference and future communication by FIAT/IFTA without limitation, provided that the author(s), source and copyright notice are included in each copy. For other uses, including extended quotation, please contact the author(s).
  2. 2. G. Dimino et al. Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)[1] has become the reference design paradigm for system integration in many business environments and is becoming popular in the media environment as well, as many success stories can attest to. SOA is a design methodology focused on guiding implementers in the realisation of lean systems that are easy to manage and re-configure, despite their intrinsic complexity. Great attention is devoted to the decomposition of systems into business processing units that possess a potentially high degree of reusability. These business processing units in SOA terminology are called services, and represent any functionality in the system that adds business value to the product, or in other words that is part of the value chain. A service must publicly expose a well-defined interface and behaviour, the service contract. The service contract contains all the information needed by a consumer to use the service and it represents the only link between service producers and service consumers. Interfaces must be kept separate from the implementation and kept stable as much as possible. Two services that expose the same interface are to be considered interchangeable from the consumer perspective and equivalently two services that implement the same business function must expose the same interface. This greatly reduces the number of interfaces that must be implemented to interconnect different components on a composite system. Another important prescription of SOA is to keep business process logic separate from service implementation[2]. THE FIMS TASK FORCE In 2009 the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) and the AMWA (Advanced Media Workflow Association) decided to join forces and established a Task Force called FIMS (Framework for Interoperable Media Services) with the goal of defining a framework based on SOA that can simplify the interoperability of software based components for the processing of media through standard interfaces. After the issue of a Request for Technologies in 2010, a first specification waspublished in 2011. Itprescribes the common behaviour of services, including job management, queuing and message exchange patterns and a simple data model to describe media content. A first set of three services (capture, transfer and transform) has also been included. In 2012, FIMS was awarded the IBC Judges’ Prize. In 2013 a new set of services was defined to interface media repositories. It will be included in the new revision of the FIMS specification, to be officially released in 2014, after clearing the approval process prescribed by the two sponsor organizations EBU and AMWA. The FIMS project has a formal governance structure and is managed at two levels. The Business Board evaluates the business relevance of new project proposals and defines the requirements. It also has the task of prioritizing the work between different projects which may compete for the same resources. The Business Board represents the interests of the end users. The Technical Board estimates the scale of resources required to deliver a project and provides technical guidelines and requirements to ensure a consistent approach in the development of products. The Technical Board represents the interests of the developers for the projects. The Project Teams are composed of technical experts from a wide rangeof companies andresources. Anyone who has interest in any specific project is welcome to join the development team to create the requested deliverables based on the project requirements. Members of the project team must sign the Participation Agreement (PA) before contributing to the project. The PA prescribes the rules that each FIMS participant must follow to comply withthe FIMS copyright policy; that is all resulting products are compensation/royalty free.As of today, more than 90 companies have signed the FIMS PA, including manufacturers, system integrators and broadcasters. 2 FIAT/IFTA World Conference 2013 in Dubai
  3. 3. Out-of-the-box interoperable components for the design of digital media archives FIMS works on a voluntary basis and all the efforts are freely funded by the participants through provision of manpower or donations to hire experts when needed. THE FOUNDATIONS: SPECIFICATION 1.0 The FIMS 1.0 (v1.0.7) specification was formally approved by the AMWA and the EBU in September 2011, and comprises Part 1, the General Description[3], and Part 2, a multisection document describing the Base Schema[4]and the Transfer[5], Transform[6] and Capture Services[7]. An accompanying package of schema files [8]is also available. This specification defines a common approach to the integration of software components in modern media production facilities, based on an overall framework for integration of reusable components for multimedia content production. This framework for media services includes specific detailed definitions of common media service interfaces. Figure 1 shows the overall reference model of the FIMS framework. In simple words the role of FIMS is to provide an abstraction layer between media processing components and the orchestration engine that implements the business processes required by the users, who interact with the system via an application layer, out of scope from the FIMS perspective. Figure 1. The FIMS Reference Architecture SOA-based media workflows are often long running processes, sometimes active for hours, days, or even weeks. Therefore, the FIMS specification defines two different service invocation patterns: Job management services, that run fast, can be invoked synchronously, that is the service response is issued immediately after the request Processing services, that usually require considerable time to run, are invoked asynchronously, that is the reply contains only an acknowledgement of the request, while the response due at the end of processing will be autonomously issued by the service at the address provided by the client in the request to notify of process completion or failure. A command is called “job”. All the services must implement the same job management lifecycle, that includes queue management, prioritization and execution at specified points in FIAT/IFTA World Conference 2013 in Dubai3
  4. 4. G. Dimino et al. time or upon specific events occurrence. A job in a queue can be canceled or its priority can be modified. While in running state it can be paused and resumed or cancelled. A job request contains all the parameters needed for its execution, that is a reference and optionally, a description of the media content on which the command operates, and the execution parameters grouped into profiles. An extension mechanism allows for the inclusion of vendor-specific parameters where needed. This is schematized in Figure 2. Figure 2.The data model. As the FIMS approach is to be media format independent,system integrators are responsible for choosing service implementations that support the required media formats. To simplify the interaction between services and orchestrators and for early detection of format mismatch, the FIMS data model allows for a complete description of video, audio and container technical parameters, so that services don’t have to download bulky content files before realizing that the user is requesting an operation on a media format that is not supported. Also, services are required to announce on demand the list of features that are actually implemented, to simplify dynamic binding of services. Profiles are a nice feature of FIMS: a set of parameters needed to execute a specific operation, e.g., transcoding some content to a given format, can be included in a profile and referenced in subsequent usage via the profile name. This can be used to provide presets for operations that have to be executed often or to hide vendor specific extensions. The Business Media Content (BMContent) provides the basic information to reference and locate media files together with their technical parameters. It can also contain descriptive information about the content, using a subset of the EBUCore [9] set of descriptors.The EBUCore is a standard defined by the EBU by adapting the Dublin Core [10] descriptors to the media production, publishing and archiving needs. See Figure 3. 4 FIAT/IFTA World Conference 2013 in Dubai
  5. 5. Out-of-the-box interoperable components for the design of digital media archives Figure 3. The BMContent object The FIMS Data Model has been designed to be protocol agnostic, allowing either SOAP/RPC or REST approaches to implementation, howeverin FIMS 1.0 only SOAP and XML are fully supported. The mapping to REST and JSON will be included in FIMS 1.1. As well as defining a core set of common Base schemas, FIMS 1.0 includes definitions of the interfaces for three basic media services: Transfer Service: to copy or, optionally, move one or more files to another location (or to several locations). Five different transfer protocols are permitted: HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, SFTP and FILE. A Transfer Service may implement one or more of these protocols. Transform Service: to alter essence and container formats. This interface builds on the Transfer Service interface, adding elements of transformation. The main intended usage is transcoding/transwrapping of media files but it can be easily extended to provide other types of transformations, like cropping, filtering or color grading. Capture Service:to convert stream-based real-time input such as HD-SDI or RTP to one or more files. It is based on the transform service adding provision for real time input handling, including manual start/stop or bound-to-time events. The original reason for the inclusion of these three services in the specification was that of testing the Base schema on some representative real life services. Besides that, it has soon become evident that they are already sufficient, maybe complemented with some custom extensions, to cover a useful set of use cases in the media production environment. THE NEXT STEP: SPECIFICATION 1.1 As of time of writing, the new version of the FIMS Specification is in its final draft form. It will be officially published in the first half of 2014, upon clearing the formal acceptance process in the sponsororganizations, EBU and AMWA. Meanwhile, advanced preview drafts can be found on the project wiki[11]. This new version contains, besides some minor updates of the Base schema, a new set of services for the interfacing of media repositories and the mapping of the full FIMS schemas onto the REST protocol. FIAT/IFTA World Conference 2013 in Dubai5
  6. 6. G. Dimino et al. THE REPOSITORY SERVICE The Repository Service is certainly the most relevant addition to FIMS. It provides the basic functionalities needed to manage persistent contents and their related metadata. It is not meant for exposing all the features that can be expected from a Media Asset Management system, but rather to interface generic repositories that can be found at any stage of the production/archiving chain in any media organization as shown in Figure 4. FIMS Repository Service Federation Service FIMS Repository Service FIMS Repository Service Media Asset Management FIMS Repository Service Broadcas t System Metada ta databas e Video Editing System Media Workflow FIMS Repository Service Near Line Storage Metada ta databas e FIMS Repository Service Archive Storage Metada ta databas e Figure 4. The role of the Repository Service The main features of the Repository Service are: – Provide interface for basic media operations, like Ingest, Create, Read, Update, Delete (CRUD) – Expose a way to manipulate content and metadata – Enable a query interface to retrieve media assets – Represent a service interface to be consumed by a workflow engine Media Objects are identified and referenced within a repository via their GUID, a unique identifier provided by the user or generated by the repository itself. Each Media Object is made of two parts, the BMContent(a descriptor that carries all the metadata related to the object) and the set of files that contain the media essence. A repository therefore must implement at least a database to store and index the BMContent descriptors and a file system to persist the essence files. Any CRUD operation takes as an argument either a BMContent or a reference to one or more essence files. The interface is deliberately modelled at a rather low level as it is meant to be used to interconnect repositories to workflow engines and not be exposed to the users at an application level.The creation of a new object happens in two steps: first the BMContent descriptor is ingested, then all the related media files are uploaded. The deletion goes in the reverse order, first all the media files are deleted, then the BMContent is cancelled. Read and update operations can be applied to either of them. Events can be automatically generated to notify when the status of any object in the repository changes.In the FIMS repository model any object is an entity on its own; the 6 FIAT/IFTA World Conference 2013 in Dubai
  7. 7. Out-of-the-box interoperable components for the design of digital media archives relations between objects, typical of MAM systems, have to be handled at a higher level. Events notifications help to keep in synch the repository status with external sources of information about the contained objects. As the configuration and management of a repository, even a small one, is a complex operation, a Repository Capabilities Registry (RCR) has been defined to store information about the behavior and implementation level of the FIMS interface. Querying the RCR it is possible to know the implemented capabilities of a repository, its status, available storage space, performance and all the vital information needed to properly monitor the health state of the system. Vendors can leverage the flexible and generic FIMS interface to expose their products’APIs as a standardized and robust interface that seamlessly integrates with other compliant products for media exchange.Media organizationscan minimize integration costs and system complexity through standardizing operations for storing media assets in a vendor independent way. EXTENDED DESCRIPTIVE METADATA SET In the context of the Repository Service, the FIMS data model role changes. While in version 1.0 it was used only to convey transient information needed for the service execution, now it will carry also persistent information about the media object, whose usage may be in the future. Therefore the data model has been extended to cover all the elements defined in the EBUCore standard. Namely, the most relevant extensions are about the element parts that is used to attach metadata related to a temporal region identified on the essence timeline and the element relation that describes relations between resources like is-part-of, is-replaced-by or is-version-of. With these additions the FIMS data model becomes suitable to the exchange of media objects between archives including their attached documentation. If custom descriptors are still needed, the extension element allows for the inclusion of any size of “dark” metadata. REST REST (REpresentational State Transfer) is an architectural approach for the design of web services that is consistent with how the web works, and is becoming widely adopted within the IT industry. For example, many web streaming and cloud-based transform services provide a REST API. It is beneficial to both users and manufacturers if FIMS can be consistent with such an approach, and make use of commodity web development tools and frameworks. Services can be scaled using off-the-shelf Internet technology, and can be tested simply with a web browser. In a RESTful system, a service provides its clients with representations of resources. The Task Force has from the outset planned to provide REST bindings and so the data model was designed with resource representation in mind. Examples of resources in FIMS are a description of video clips and a transfer job. The service makes available common and limited HTTP operations for creating, reading and modifying resources dependent on their state. While using a different syntax the REST version of the FIMS services is fully equivalent to the SOAP one. As the REST approach is generally paired with the use of JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) instead of XML, the FIMS data model has been mapped to JSON, allowing consistent operation with the XML version of the SOAP implementation. SUPPORT FOR PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT Correctly implementing the FIMS specification, as any other of the same kind, is certainly not a trivial task. Therefore the FIMS work is not limited to drafting and publishing the paperwork but a number of side actions are being undertaken to help implementers to smooth the learning curve and to test their implementations. FIAT/IFTA World Conference 2013 in Dubai7
  8. 8. G. Dimino et al. The approval process set up by AMWA requires that a reference implementation be provided together with any candidate specification. FIMS 1.0 provides with open source license a reference implementation of the interfaces based on the SOAP/XML protocol. It can be downloaded from the project wiki. The new version 1.1 will include a new reference implementation based on REST/JSON, again provided with open source license. The FIMS Test Harness is a simulator for both FIMS clients and FIMS services. It allows FIMS orchestration systems and FIMS vendors to create “simulated” clients and/or services for testing without having actual vendor’s hardware and/or software. The FIMS Test Harness is configurable and data driven, in that the simulations can respond and behave differently based on configured data in requests and request types. It also validates submitted FIMS requests and provides samples for various job types that can be used as a reference. It can be obtained from the project wiki. As several manufacturers have announced products that implement the FIMS interface, the Task Force is debating which level of certification of compliance can be provided. A first attempt will be the organization of plugfests, where manufacturers can check the interoperability of their products under the guidance of the FIMS Technical Board team. Based on this experience the Group will decide if there is the need to move to a more formal certification process. Finally, an Implementation Guidelines document is being compiled, containing several examples of message exchange and of implementation scenarios. WHAT’S ON THE HORIZON A new technical activity has just been started on the definition of an interface for Quality Analysis of media content. The Quality Analysis Service Interface will expose capabilities oriented around analysis and reporting of asset properties. The FIMS Business Board has completed a draft of the Quality Analysis Service Charter, which was sent to the FIMS Technical Board to begin work on the specification. Currently, the FIMS Business Board is evaluating several options for the next service to be chartered. The initial list of 20+ proposed services has been narrowed down to five; this discussion is one of the main agenda items for the FIMS Business Board call in September. FIMS believes that media industry input on FIMS activities is critical. In order to promote, recommend, and contribute to FIMS activities we welcome new members to the FIMS Business Board, for which membership is limited to end users. The Business Board, which has global representation, evaluates the business relevance of new project proposals and defines the high-level service requirements. It also has the task of prioritizing the work between different projects which may compete for the same resources. The Business Board’s mission is to represent the interests of the industry as a whole. The board meets regularly the first Thursday of every month; ad-hoc meetings are scheduled as needed. If you are interested in joining the FIMS Business Board, please send an email to abbe.wiesenthal@turner.com. More information can also be found at the FIMS web site [12]. CONCLUSIONS Software-based media production and archiving system integration is still providing challengesforboth users and vendors due tolack of interoperability between products. FIMS is finally bringing standards for the interfacing between orchestration engines and processing components. Some important achievements have already been reached with several companies that are already successfully implementing the FIMS specifications.As an example, Bloomberg Television, together with their technology partner Triskel, have based on FIMS the integration of their corporate production, rundown and archive 8 FIAT/IFTA World Conference 2013 in Dubai
  9. 9. Out-of-the-box interoperable components for the design of digital media archives platforms. The reported benefits of the FIMS approach sum up to a reduction of 80% in the time required to integrate in their platform a new third party component, thanks to the use of standardized and well known interfaces that shield the implementation peculiarities of each product. FIMS 1.0 and shortly 1.1 is immediately usable for the design of file based archives. The new Repository service is a cornerstone for the interoperability of storage subsystems of any size, providing flexibility and uniform access between vendors. Transfer, Transform and Capture services provide a generalized interface for the main components needed to implement ingest and delivery functionalities together with the forthcoming Quality Analysis service. The main short term advantages of FIMS for the users are clean, consistentand vendor-independent design of component interfaces. More substantial advantages are expected in the midtermwith the growing of the market adoption of FIMS.Standardized interfaces provide ease of maintenance, scalability and repurposing of systems with the freedom to always choose best of breed products. FIMS is gaining a growing interest in the industry but there is still a lot to do as the media production world is vast and manifold. User support and active participation is crucial for FIMS success.To see how to contribute please visit the FIMS web site [12]. REFERENCES [1] Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS).2006. Reference Model for Service Oriented Architecture v1.0http://www.oasisopen.org/committees/soa-rm - 2006 [2] J. Footen, J. Faust.2008. The Service-Oriented Media Enterprise: SOA, BPM, and Web Services in Professional Media Systems.FocalPress [3] European Broadcasting Union. 2012. EBU Tech 3356: FIMS Media SOA Framework V.1.0.7, Part 1: General Description [4]European Broadcasting Union. 2012. EBU Tech 3356: FIMS Media SOA Framework V.1.0.7, Part 2 S0: Base Schema [5]European Broadcasting Union. 2012. EBU Tech 3356: FIMS Media SOA Framework V.1.0.7, Part 2 S1: Transfer Service [6] European Broadcasting Union. 2012. EBU Tech 3356: FIMS Media SOA Framework V.1.0.7, Part 2 S2: Transform Service [7] European Broadcasting Union. 2012. EBU Tech 3356: FIMS Media SOA Framework V.1.0.7, Part 2 S3: Capture Service [8] European Broadcasting Union. 2012. EBU Tech 3356: FIMS Media SOA Framework V.1.0.7, Schemas [9] European Broadcasting Union. 2013. EBU Tech 3293: EBU Core Metadata Set (EBUCore) V1.4 [10] Dublin Core Metadata Inititiative (DCMI).2012.Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, Version 1.1 [11] FIMS Technical Board Wiki.http://wiki.amwa.tv/ebu [12] Framework for Interoperable Media Services official web site.http://www.fims.tv FIAT/IFTA World Conference 2013 in Dubai9

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