AWS Video Conversion, Streaming & Delivery Cloud for Canto Cumulus

AWS Video Conversion, Streaming & Delivery Cloud for Canto Cumulus 960 640 Nextware Technologies

Challenges

Today, uploading, streaming, converting and delivering videos is something that’s considered ubiquitous and trivial. On the surface, that is certainly true: just look at the ease of Youtube, Vimeo and similar video content platforms around. However, enter the world of enterprise digital asset management and the story isn’t quite as straight-forward, especially if company policy does not allow the use of generic video content delivery platforms. Nevertheless, clients want what they are used to from aforementioned platforms, but often don’t realize that each video asset lifecycle step (uploading, streaming, converting and delivering) poses significant challenges if the underlying hardware and software for video assets need to be replicated in an enterprise environment.

For one of our clients, for which generic video content platforms were simply not an option, the remaining choices included:

  1. Build the entire video asset workflow with all supporting hardware and software components and maintain full control over all video data
  2. Build out the workflow, but use the power of AWS services to tackle streaming, converting and delivering of video assets

Since their entire Cumulus solution is already hosted in the AWS Cloud, the logical and much more cost-efficient option was #2. Why build something that already exist?

Solution & Benefits

Nextware used the power of Canto RoboFlow in combination with custom catalog triggers to push out new videos (as well as new video versions) to AWS S3. There, an AWS Lambda script will call AWS Elastic Transcoder to convert the videos, before the output files are stored in AWS S3. From there, they get delivered to endusers via AWS CloudFront URLs. The only data returned to Cumulus are the URLs for preview and download derivatives, which are stored in catalog fields and then used by the Cumulus Web Client (CWC) for previews and basket downloads.

The beauty of this approach is that absolutely no new servers had to be added to the existing AWS-hosted Canto Cumulus DAM solution, keeping costs very low for a video asset solution of this scope. The only additional cost for the client are the monthly AWS fees for storing and delivering video content, but not for additional servers that might never be fully utilized.

Even on the software side, the only additions include:

  • Canto Cumulus
    • A couple of catalog triggers
    • A couple of RoboFlow workflows
    • A couple of new record fields
    • Slight modifications of CWC (basket and preview)
  • AWS
    • A couple of AWS S3 buckets
    • An AWS CloudFront CDN
    • An AWS Lambda Script

It can thus easily be ported to other Canto Cumulus solutions, even if your installation is not hosted in the AWS Cloud.

Architecture

The final solution utilizes the following AWS Services:

  • AWS S3: for temporary and permanent storage of video preview and download derivatives
  • AWS Lamba: for running code without the need for a server and thus automating the preview and download derivative conversion of new videos and new video versions
  • AWS Elastic Transcoder: for converting the original high-res videos into preview and download derivatives using standard and/or custom presets
  • AWS CloudFront: for video preview streaming as well as delivery of video download derivatives using its global content delivery network (CDN)

This solution doesn’t stop here! Further AWS Services for expanding this workflow include:

  • AWS Rekognition, which can identify the objects, people, text, scenes, and activities, as well as detect any inappropriate content in videos.
  • AWS Transcribe, which can analyze audio files stored in Amazon S3 and have the service return a text file of the transcribed speech.

Interested?

Thanks to the very modular approach, our solution is not only flexible, but can easily be expanded to include further AWS services or different types of content delivery. It can also be made to work with Cumulus Portal or Sites.

Please contact us for more information. We’d be happy to advise you on the best strategy for your Cumulus DAM solution.