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5 tips for Successfully Migrating Post-Production to the cloud (Part 2 of 5)


Tip #2: Determine if work is persistent or project-based

 undefined Author:
Denise Muyco
CEO & Co-founder

Part #2 of this 5-part Blog series addresses the fundamental issue of how persistent work or intermittent work will affect the path you make in your migration to the cloud.

Let’s start with Security - do you have clients who require certain security measures?

  • If no, then you are in good shape, and you will be able to use your cloud infrastructure and data flows with limited to no adjustment, however, you may be limited in who your clientele could be. Something you may want to consider in the not-too-distant future.
  • If yes, note that most Studios (film, game, animation, or otherwise) generally require you to have some level of security for data at rest, motion and storage. It is critical to understand these requirements and to address early in your cloud migration and make adjustments prior to your integration. When you are choosing infrastructure, creative software, and other software solutions – share you plan and general architectural approach with your cloud partner. This will likely reduce time and unnecessary/costly mistakes. Consulting firms such as Convergent Risks are great resources for risk assessment and compliance services should you need additional reviews.

Persistent vs Intermittent work

  • Persistent work: The definition of persistent work is that you have clients who are usually the same and you/your team are working more than 80% in a given calendar year. The more persistent the engagement and the higher the touchpoints with multiple parties, the higher the level of security will be beyond the aforementioned. Your workflows and general architecture will be established and your infrastructure and creative software utilization should be understood. Always leave room for scaling and an N + 1 situation. Not all projects are created equal and the ability to burst and scale up and down is one of the many attributes of the cloud, but you want to optimize on cost. Therefore, examine what you have consumed for your workstation, storage and render needs over the last few years (if you are new, just estimate). You will have options to secure cloud infrastructure at different prices: mainly Fixed amounts of infrastructure for a certain period (the least expensive), Reserved (the infrastructure is not on, but it is reserved), then On-demand (this is most expensive).
  • Intermittent work: The definition of intermittent work is when you may have a few clients to several clients, however, the amount of work you and your team have is either undetermined relative to annual capacity and/or your work is usually 60% or less confirmed in a given calendar year. Although this may be good for leading a balance life and you/your team may only want to work when a project suits you, choosing a solution and migrating to the cloud can be tricky and expensive. However, there are solutions you/your team can adopt to interoperate and leverage cloud storage – an essential part of the content creation workflow.

The content creation industry is the original gig-economy. The way projects are managed and maintained are generally separate and distinct with their own individual budget with project-based teams. This means we must be flexible and have lots of burst capability. Remember to consider the following when determining if your work will be short-term or require longer-term resources--those resources being:

  • Technology infrastructure and creative software tools burst-ability. Make sure you review your software licenses and confirm that they are interoperable with the cloud software with the correct operating system. Some commercial software companies have enabled the use of their software in the cloud. This may require you to contact the software company to exchange your license for a cloud license. As an alternative, there are ecosystem solution providers that enable micro-renting of creative software--for smaller companies or intermittent teams, this is highly recommended. As described above, Virtual (cloud) infrastructure including storage, compute resources (workstation & render nodes), and networking have more favorable pricing for those work teams and organizations that make a long term commitment (one to three years) and even a deeper discount if you have higher unit quantity – more common for persistent work groups. On-demand pricing is available and generally is more expensive, but the value in this is that you do not have to pay for infrastructure that is idle. When opening up new geos, be mindful of price variants, as large swings happen.
  • Your team - People that do the work - Artist/Producers/IT/Game developers/Architects/Visual effects artists. Sourcing the right teams and providing both a secure and easy-to-access virtual environment (including the right infrastructure and software creation tools) is paramount to be successful in both coordination efforts and final work product.. The cloud provides remote teams the ability to work in multi-region/time zones, but managing the coordination of both project teams and assigning technical resources requires the right solutions. Make sure you either choose a solution to enable solid identity management as well as allocation of both software and infrastructure OR find a solution or tools that manage all of this orchestration and allocation. The ability to quick start and scale technical resources to your team is important for maintaining and managing costs. The ability to easily scale and add/remove team members to your secure environment is equally critical.

Overall, if the nature of the work is persistent and the workforce is in fixed region(s) and there is predictability in your projected forecast, having a direct relationship with a cloud provider is important. There are infrastructure orchestration solutions that enable you to leverage your own cloud tenancy.*

*Tenancy - cloud tenancy is a specific account dedicated to you that you pay monthly for a period of time. You have control over the          infrastructure, networking and ways to deploy 3rd party software. If you are deploying your own code into your tenancy, generally speaking there are development operations tools that can support this effort.

If you are unsure about your clientele and work variability, you may want to pursue solutions that support full orchestration of infrastructure, software marketplaces, or various point solutions that will enable you to create efficiencies with both cost and time.

Are you ready to migrate your creative projects to the cloud? Want to learn more about solutions that are enabling secure project environments and how to collaborate with persistent and project-based teams to produce efficiently in the cloud? Let’s talk!

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5 tips for Successfully Migrating Post-Production to the cloud (a 5-part blog series)


Tip #1: Managing your Relationship with your Cloud Provider

 undefined Author:
Denise Muyco
CEO & Co-founder

In this 5-part weekly blog series, we will explore some of the most important steps that Post-Production entities should consider in their migration to the cloud. As more Studios, Animation and VFX companies adapt to distributed and remote teams, the need to explore cloud-based software and orchestration technology is a must. New budgets are being established with a major focus on reducing capex for on-premise infrastructure in favor of secure cloud environments which enable all the content creation tools and infrastructure required to make simple content to the most complex motion imagery. Therefore, it is critical to consider what it takes to be successful in this new normal of the COVID and post-COVID era.

As a jumping point, let’s start off with an overview of what it takes to successfully manage your relationship with a Cloud provider.
Cloud providers can be very helpful in the following ways:

  • They can offer discounts*
  • They can offer integration funds*
  • They can help you determine what service(s) you should migrate first (In general, it is smart to start with storage or a point solution and work your way through the workflow).
    *A consumption commitment is generally required.

What to be mindful of when working with a Cloud provider:

  • Hidden expenses: Egress fees, intra-networking fees, different types of storage and its varying performance. Make sure you watch the pricing per region for each set of infrastructure services you require. Price swings are real!.
  • Tech gotchas:
    • Be sure to understand the I/O (input/output) velocities for your entire workflow. Goal being to identify parts of your workflow that cannot afford latency or other performance impedances.
    • Be sure to choose the right kind of Storage & Networking as this has huge impacts on performance and cost.
    • Simplify your code when connecting to your cloud partner’s APIs, then extend your code to develop easy error-trapping. Public clouds are complex and run conditions do occur – error trapping and logging will be must-haves in identifying problems.
    • Make sure you are clear about your projects’ and clients’ security needs. Many projects in our industry require dedicated infrastructure resources (single tenancy) whereas others will allow you to use the same infrastructure resources, but will assess your data at rest, motion and storage architecture to confirm that the project work is secure and separated from all other works.

Relationship management with your Cloud provider:

  • Get to know your cloud thought-partners & team - this usually involves the account manager, a SME (subject matter expert) per your industry, and a technical lead or architect.
  • Have your workflow ready to share - the gory details are not required, but general data workflows should be supplied. This will help troubleshoot issues with your Cloud partner and determine if it is code you need to refactor/streamline) or if it is the cloud partner’s API or infrastructure issues.
  • Do not be afraid to ask bold questions and make requests. Cloud providers want you to succeed and are generally willing to help in any way they can, but be careful of the upsell. The new shiny object is tempting to play with and try out, but make sure you have your requirements ready to share and make sure you ask to see more than one option. I advise you to make time in your sprint cycle to test and benchmark performance, but if you need to move quickly, make sure you get in writing what the performance and costs are and confirm the expected outcome.

Working with your Cloud partner’s Support Teams: 

  • Organize all of your trouble/support tickets and request a 15-minute weekly stand up to resolve any issues. Last thing you want to do is to become the Cloud provider’s QA/test organization. Create a schedule and timeline for when you expect the items to be resolved. Do not be afraid to escalate and use those logs and error-trap records you implemented to provide an increased sense of urgency and expectation. Speculation of what an issue could be halts progress. Get the info!
    • COMMON MISTAKE: Do NOT rely on your Cloud provider to be your integrator. Although they may have some subject matter expertise, they usually will require a consumption commitment of cloud services. This CAN be good if you know you will have on-going productions and/or you have long-standing customers. Commitments to infrastructure consumption may be a bit too risky if you are a small company. Your Cloud partner is generally willing to invest in your transformation or strategic client efforts on a ratio that is commensurate with your spend.

Are you ready to migrate your creative & design projects to the cloud? Want to learn more about solutions that are enabling global teams to operate more efficiently in the cloud? Let’s talk!

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