HPA Tech Retreat: MovieLabs 2030 Vision For Cloud’s Future

A half-day program focusing on the principles detailed in MovieLabs 2030 Vision white paper began with a look at the future of cloud fundamentals and workflows in the cloud. The conversation, moderated by ETC’s cloud lead Erik Weaver, featured representatives from cloud-native companies such as Cloudian and RStor as well as veterans in the storage arena Spectra Logic, StorageDNA and Quantum. Weaver asked the participants to detail the biggest hurdles to the widespread evolution to cloud-based solutions.

RStor chief technology officer Tony Gaughan described the motivation of moving to the cloud. “The key promise is that it’s going to be cheaper and offer easy access to data that is inherently better than a single on-prem capability,” he said. “Major cloud providers have done a good job at making it easy to transition and enter the cloud cheaply but once you’re in the cloud, there’s a tax — all the fees associated with touching your data. That makes it complicated to predict what it will cost to be in the cloud, and predictability in budgeting is essential for a business to operate. We need to change that paradigm.”

Spectra Logic’s media and entertainment executive Todd Arnold noted that, “there will always be a need for on-prem storage.” “The hybrid solution in conjunction with object-based workflow will be the way most people will define moviemaking,” he said. “The way of the future is leveraging all those applications in the cloud and seeing the data in one global name space through an Internet interface.”

StorageDNA present/chief executive Tridib Chakravarty spoke about the ramifications of using different cloud services for different purposes. “In that case, you’re going to have to move your data, but there’s no way that one service will let you use another,” he said. “You need visibility for what’s going on, but the question is how do we maintain control of that data when we go from a centralized on-prem set-up to distributed data? That’s a central challenge we have to look at.”

At Quantum, senior director of product and technical marketing Eric Bassier noted that a lot of his company’s customers are “using the cloud for steps in their workflow that require some type of compute burst” such as rendering or transcoding. “The biggest technology barrier is network latencies,” he explained. “Right now, there are processes that just can’t be done in the cloud because of that. We’re looking closely at 5G that may open up some things.” He added that, “The cloud providers’ business models make it prohibitive to do all steps in the workflow.”

“The cloud will play a bigger role, but we see a hybrid and multi-cloud solution going forward,” he predicted.

Cloudian M&E principal solutions architect David Phillips introduced the idea of “data gravity.” “Big data is heavy,” he noted. “In 2020, we’ll create 35 zettabytes of data. In 2025, it will be 175 zettabytes of data. We see this as a physics problem. There is literally not enough fiber optic in the ground to transmit all these data to the cloud centers. Data gravity reinforces the idea of bringing the application to the data, with a common storage interface.”