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Insights from Amazon Studios


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Albert Cheng, COO Amazon Studios, and Callum Hughes, Senior Solutions Architect' s presentation to the Media Supply Chain's track at the Media & Entertainment Cloud Symposium on November 4, 2016

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Insights from Amazon Studios

  1. 1. Amazon Studios: Clouds and Dams Albert Cheng – Chief Operating Officer Callum Hughes – Senior Solutions Architect November 4th, 2016
  2. 2. Agenda • Introduction: Framing the challenge • The plan: always evolving • The execution • Unexpected hiccups • The “Richard Dean Anderson” approach • The future
  3. 3. Introduction: Framing the challenge • As a new Studio, there was limited supporting infrastructure • Third party solutions were being used to support traditional approaches • Requirements for improved systems coming in • Marketing • PR • Legal • Post Production • Delivery • External factors also necessitated rapid adoption of new solutions • Huge growth of Original TV and Movie Content • Addition of international markets and growth
  4. 4. The plan: always evolving • Divide and Conquer: assess what was needed, determine approach • Set timelines: “phase one should take 8 weeks” • Post Production Workflows were prioritized • Digital Asset Management (DAM) was determined to be the priority • Understanding what that meant was crucial to phase one • Assessing workflows • Who needed access and why • Looking at assets themselves • How big, how many, and what was needed (thousands, hundreds of GB for UHD) • Metadata: understanding what we had and labeling it
  5. 5. The execution • Divide and Conquer • There were too many inputs and outputs to hit all at once • Existing processes were working, so we looked at archives first • Content was all on LTOs off-site (non-Amazon) and was expensive to store • We began to ”fill the lake” with this content • AWS Snowball was used to move up to 80TB at a time into AWS S3 • This took a longer time than anticipated • Mechanical tape devices fail: restores were slowed down • Early Snowballs (BETA) threw up errors with special characters • We had to work with AWS to get a patch Once the content was in S3, we needed to figure out what to do with it!
  6. 6. The execution • Enabling additional workflows • Once Archiving was underway, we needed to grow the project scope • Archived material was only one aspect • We needed to develop more workflows to ensure scalability and speed • Ingestion assets from third parties • Being able to receive assets from all over the World • Pushing assets to other parties • The assets were all added to the “lake” • The DAM began to grow taller • Additional AWS services were added • Snowball was just the first • EC2 and VPC quickly followed • Direct Connect facilitated connectivity and reduced delivery times
  7. 7. The execution • AWS provided the building blocks • We were able to procure infrastructure in minutes • Security was of paramount concern • Encryption at all stages • Bastion hosts • No internet connectivity • Standard AWS Best Practices augment internal InfoSec Policies • Levels Beyond “Reach Engine” implemented • Custom install • First ever 100% Cloud Deployment • Encoding provided by Elemental Technologies
  8. 8. Unexpected hiccups • Archiving to AWS took longer than expected • Mechanical Tape failures • Bugs within AWS Snowball (BETA) devices (all fixed now!) • Elemental Technology • S3 encoding snag for UHD • 200Gb file size limit • Caused by 20Mb chunk size, 10,000 chunk limit = 200Gb • Required an “on the fly” solution • Metadata definitions • What to label assets with • Has to be agreed and uniform with your customer
  9. 9. The Richard Dean Anderson approach Or “how to think like MacGuyver” • Your “plan” must adapt and evolve • Things can and will go wrong • Elemental file size issue: three stage adaptive approach • Bugs within AWS Snowball devices: plan in additional time • Your metadata may need to change: • Make sure your solution is flexible enough to adjust • AWS provides enough tools to rival a Leatherman AWS now powers our DAM 100%
  10. 10. What’s it look like?
  11. 11. The Future The DAM is the first stage of our growth as a modern studio • To ensure appropriate solutions, tenets have been defined • Technology is a solution, not the reason to do something • Security is paramount • Scalability has to be natural • Users have to enjoy using the solution • Something has to be shown to work in practice, not just in principle “Cloud City” is taking shape and will provide for as many Studio needs as possible
  12. 12. Q & A