Video Storage and Cloud DVR: Complex considerations, big payoffsMarch 31, 2020
For operators to deliver longevity in the current media landscape, each provider must be able to generate ancillary revenue. But the reality of what we see today is quite another story. New, incremental revenue streams are lacking and there are few viable mechanisms to offset this margin erosion. However, Cloud DVR offers the promise of one such revenue stream, with adoption rates continuing to show steady incremental growth.
Conversely, we must consider Cloud DVR as an enabler for other revenue drivers. For example, Cloud DVR systems are well suited to ad substitution, and dynamic, targeted re-insertion. From a measurement perspective, Cloud DVR systems are also well-positioned to generate consumption data that operators can leverage, either through direct sales or employed in the context of future programming negotiations. And it is vital that these functions are integrated – being able to able to converse fluently with leading business intelligence, visualization, and business analytics platforms.
The recent report “Best Practices in Cloud DVR design and implementation” report from Merrick Kingston, Associate Director, Research & Analysis, Digital Media & Video Technology, Omdia, is one of those rare documents that anybody preparing to expend significant budget on Cloud DVR must really read. It’s probably the most well written and comprehensive cDVR report I’ve seen in years – articulating Cloud DVR benefits and weaknesses from both a business and technical perspective, while still remaining 100% non-partisan.
At the heart of any Cloud DVR solution is content storage and processing. As the market has matured, different vendors have approached these two interlinked elements in different ways. In essence, different types of storage architecture provide varying levels of benefit and corresponding trade-offs. This is not a case of ‘X’ always being better than ‘Y’ but there is a nuanced case for both software defined storage (SDS) and Object Storage. The choice is dependent on market size, competitive landscape, use case and regulatory requirement such as the need to deploy single copy.
Merrick’s report outlines the case for both technological directions. In summary, he believes high-ARPU, competitive and saturated Pay-TV markets where QoE is paramount, SDS architectures offer unparalleled responsiveness. In private-copy markets, SDS architectures strike an effective balance between regulatory compliance, and system performance. However, the analysis also shows that while SDS offers significant economies of scale, efficiency and responsiveness, it cannot match the low, long-term storage cost of Object Store.
The report neatly outlines a situation that is summarized by this graph below:
Cloud DVR: A complex landscape for operators
Clearly Cloud DVR is not a zero-sum game – it must fit the needs of each operator. And this is where we believe that a hybrid approach should also be considered. Although a relatively new concept for Cloud DVR, the idea of having a performant SDS as nearline and Object Storage as archival has been used extensively in enterprise IT and fits neatly with many of the Cloud DVR use cases.
Object Storage makes for an excellent repository for data – but is imperfect for video. It is not capable of achieving content awareness, or of storing information on video and video-frame sequencing. Yet their ease of deployment and low cost per TB are hard to ignore.
Instead, I would contend that a hybrid approach with SDS based solution such as MediaKind’s Video Storage Processing Platform (VSPP), is the ‘intelligence’ and an S3 style object stores as the archival layer could be seen as the “muscle”. A potential solution that balances cost versus performance, while retaining the ability to more easily deliver critical new revenue streams across a across a diverse range of scenarios.
Join me on Tuesday April 7 for a Cloud DVR webinar deep dive!
Next week I will be joining an exciting webinar, jointly hosted by MediaKind, Omdia and Digital TV Europe. The session will take an in-depth examination of today’s Cloud DVR webinar market, and how these factors will influence decision making in this space. I’ll be presenting a 10-minute overview which will address:
- The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on media habits through remote-working and remote-learning from the home
- Imminent changes to media viewing through the growth of 5G – and the creative challenges that technology and service providers must make to evolve and adapt
- The way CPE suppliers are adjusting to new consumer lifestyles – and the challenges of delivering high quality content to connected devices at scale
- The future of next-generation cloud DVR, on-demand and time/place-shifted service
The webinar will also feature Merrick Kingston, who will providing an in-depth analysis of his key findings from his latest report, while my MediaKind colleague, Stuart Boorn, Vice President, Product Management, will be joining Stuart Thomson, Editor, Digital TV Europe, for a fireside chat – and to take questions from you, the audience! Get ready to grill him 😉
Missed the live webinar? Watch it On Demand by clicking here: Watch Here