How Can Hollywood Utilize the Cloud?

Cloud computing, as touted by its evangelists, is going to revolutionize the way organizations do business and leverage technology. The ultimate potential of the cloud remains to be seen, but one industry that is in a unique position to take advantage is the media and entertainment industry. With massive data sets, 24×7 workflows, daily terabyte-level transfer and storage needs, and global collaboration, cloud computing is enticing to virtually every professional media organization. Many are already using the cloud in some form, and a handful of promising startups are making a business model out of it.

Given the shift of media consumption and how many consumers expect to be able to access content anywhere, anytime, cloud computing should be synonymous with entertainment. Netflix and other providers are already working to use the cloud to change the way we access content. But how can media organizations use the cloud on the back end?

Drilling down into the process of media production, there are many important but tedious processes the cloud can expedite. Transcoding, rendering, watermarking, quality control and distribution — while fundamental to media production — are time- and resource-intensive processes that can be tackled easily and cost-effectively by using public cloud infrastructures (such as Amazon Web Services) or building private clouds (such as EMC Atmos). Besides, automated post-production services provide a winning value proposition for professional media organizations. Startups like AdCast, Axceleon, Panvidea and a host of others are offering legitimate on-demand services in the cloud.

Of course, the elephant in the room when it comes to data sharing in the cloud is reliable movement of data. Before entertainment organizations — or really any organization— exports their valuable data to the cloud, they need to be sure they can easily, quickly and reliably access it, from anywhere. Amazon, IBM, and a host of startups have adopted high-performance file-transfer technology or other methods of ensuring data movement reliability. Today, broadcasters are using such technology to bring the 2010 FIFA World Cup games to consumers worldwide -– the ability to transfer video files quickly from South Africa over commodity Internet connections has allowed companies to limit their investment onsite and leverage their existing local resources, while providing viewers with an even richer experience.

The power of cloud computing is virtually limitless. Media organizations stand to gain immensely from the cloud, provided they can ensure fast, safe and reliable access to their precious data.

Michelle Munson, co-founder, president and CEO of Aspera, will be onstage at the GigaOM Network’s cloud computing-focused conference, Structure, this Thursday.