By Mike Nash, Director, Product Management, Signiant
The option to deploy Media Shuttle – Signiant’s cloud-native SaaS solution for hands-on movement of large files – with cloud object storage was first announced almost exactly two years ago. Available utilizing storage from Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, this option allows Media Shuttle customers to utilize on-premises storage for some asset classes and cloud storage for others.
Of course the popular online file sharing platforms like Dropbox and Box have been offering solutions utilizing cloud storage for a long time. But these come with many serious downsides, especially for Media & Entertainment, and none of them support using on-premises storage. Read our recent article “The Pitfalls of Online File Sharing and Sending Services for the Media & Entertainment Industry” to learn more about these.
By eliminating the need to procure and deploy on-premises hardware, and minimizing network configuration complexity, cloud storage Media Shuttle portals can be up and running very quickly. This makes them ideal for fast-turnaround projects and situations where spiky demand means that the elasticity of the cloud can provide material cost benefits. Cloud storage and on-premises portals look and behave identically to the end user, and can be established within a single Media Shuttle deployment.
There are no charges for creating additional portals, so customers are provided with maximum flexibility without any additional costs or complexity in terms of monitoring, managing, training or budgeting.
Over these last two years the cloud has continued to evolve as a serious alternative to on-premises solutions for the M&E industry. The cloud is no longer perceived as just an option for cheap and quick storage during peak demand, or for back-up or archiving of less-utilized content. Rather the industry is witnessing an ongoing explosion in cloud-based, media-centric, tools and services taking advantage of the scalability, flexibility, low cost and rapid deployment benefits of the cloud.
Increasingly cloud storage is being seen not only as a place to park excess content, or as a home for short-lived projects, but also as a foundational component of brand new cloud-based operations and interactions.
When talking about the cloud it is always easy to confuse hype with reality. Cloud-adoption within the M&E industry remains uneven, particularly when it comes to content storage and processing. While SaaS delivery of solutions, where the content and core operations remain within the facility, has been largely embraced, concerns around security, cost and performance have all been barriers to many to moving their content to the cloud.
In this regard it is interesting to look at Media Shuttle, with its large and growing global footprint within M&E businesses of all types and sizes, as a window into where the industry is with respect to these two tendencies: to embrace the cloud for content storage and workloads, or to prefer to keep these on-premises.
As a cloud-native hybrid SaaS (hybrid in the sense that it supports on-premises storage), all Media Shuttle customers are already embracing the cloud to some degree. In all deployment modes all the end-user interfaces, as well as other functions, are always delivered as SaaS. When we look at the storage choices our customers make, however, we see a mixed picture.
Since we first introduced the option, there has been a constant and accelerating month-over-month growth in the number of customers deploying portals with cloud storage. While not yet at parity with the number of customers deploying on-premises storage, it looks to be more a question of when rather than if we see this happen.
Equally interesting, however, is the proportion of customers we see deploying both on-premises and cloud storage portals.
Looking ahead it is hard to imagine a time when all our customers are deploying only cloud storage portals. On-premises content storage and operations are very far from going away, at least in the foreseeable future. But it is possible to imagine a time when most Media Shuttle customers have a mix of portals – some portals using cloud storage and others using on-premises storage.
What we can say with certainty, however, is that more and more businesses are embracing the possibilities offered by our commitment to storage independence. All our customers are using Media Shuttle’s inherent flexibility to find the storage approach, or approaches, that work best for their needs – always secure in the knowledge that if the approach needs to change, and they wish to switch to another type of storage at a later date, Media Shuttle makes this simple too.
Read our recent article Freedom in Cloud-Based File Sending and Sharing – It’s All About the Storage for a deeper dive into what storage independence in Media Shuttle is all about, how it differs from other approaches, and why it matters.