Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


IaaS: A future-proof solution for media production companies

Sean Baker, managing director at ERA Ltd, explains why media production companies must find faster, more efficient hardware and software systems to support flexible working and mass data volumes

As the quality of media content improves and the technology required to create it grows more sophisticated, production, post production, VFX and other creative houses face unprecedented IT and data storage challenges. 

The media and entertainment (M&E) industry handles some of the largest and most complex content files out there, meaning companies in this sector must have more secure, flexible IT architecture than ever before to ensure capacity for demanding projects.

Additionally, as the industry shifts to a work-from-anywhere model in the wake of the pandemic, remote technicians need access to the same efficient hardware and software systems that can manage bandwidth-hungry technology with significant power, cooling and connectivity requirements.

So, how can media production companies ensure they have high-speed internet connectivity and high-performance infrastructures to process, store and analyse large volumes of data? How do they scale? And is there a way of doing so that allows these companies to meet project demands and ensure no resources are underutilised?

For many businesses, the answer to these questions lies in one flexible cloud solution: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Tackling M&E computing challenges with IaaS

These days, media and post production companies often struggle to keep up with high-resolution content requirements using legacy on-premises systems, with some files reaching hundreds of gigabytes — or even terabytes — for a single job. 

In a standard environment, these large pieces of content can lead to lengthy upload and download times, system failures and slow productivity — limitations no modern business can afford.

To keep up with increasingly sophisticated CGI, rendering, workstation and other computing requirements without breaking the bank, M&E companies must find faster, more powerful solutions that allow them to ramp up for major projects without delays.

That is where IaaS comes in.

An IaaS model allows businesses to seamlessly migrate physical infrastructure to a hosted environment managed by an expert provider.

This solution is growing increasingly popular, with Gartner revealing the worldwide infrastructure services market grew by 29.7% to reach a total of $120.3 billion (£98.3 billion) in 2022, up from $92.8 billion (£75.8 billion) the previous year thanks to growing cloud adoption and demand for low-cost IT infrastructure.

The main selling point of IaaS is that it delivers essential resources such as servers, storage and networking on a pay-as-you-go basis, meaning companies need not make a capital investment to access dedicated hardware.

In the M&E sector, this can prove particularly valuable for handling complex renders and files as they consume more data, requiring extra power and storage. 

IaaS customers can rent servers, storage and workstations instead of purchasing additional architecture upfront — and then turn them off when the job is complete. As a result, media companies can take on more work at shorter notice without making long-term financial commitments to maintain surplus hardware. 

Taking IT performance to the next level

In the post-pandemic landscape, many M&E businesses have embraced the IaaS model to provide media professionals with everything they need, no matter where they are.

For example, as the demand for skilled VFX artists grows and VFX technologies evolve, we are witnessing the globalisation of this industry’s workforce, with VFX houses spreading worldwide and embracing remote work to cater to international projects. 

By harnessing IaaS solutions, VFX companies can enable distributed employees to work on centralised servers and get rapid access to state-of-the-art hardware and operating systems on demand with no upfront expenses — minimising unnecessary spending for the ultimate cost-effectiveness. 

Not only is this good for innovation and productivity, but it can also help improve security whether teams work onsite or at home. 

With robust defensive protocols and incident response implemented to control remote access and secure data centres, companies can be assured that their resources are safe from downtime.

As a result, M&E houses can continue delivering quality content and meeting SLAs whilst saving money on powering, cooling, maintaining and storing the necessary software and hardware for their projects — reducing the need for additional office space, the costs associated with maintaining equipment for remote workers and the energy emissions generated by on-premises servers. 

Plus, IaaS solutions offer much-needed scalability to suit the needs of growing businesses. M&E teams often need to scale IT infrastructure up or down to meet the requirements of different projects, and hosted IaaS solutions allow studios to quickly and easily spin up additional resources wherever needed — or cut them back to save on costs.

With these flexible capabilities, content houses of all sizes and sectors can keep delivering seamless user experiences and optimising workloads, freeing creatives to concentrate on what matters: producing high-quality work that continues to push boundaries.