'The Third Wave' by Steve Case is a good read from a discernibly credible individual (AOL being a key disrupter of its time) where he analyzes the evolution of the internet and how companies wanting to do business in today's connected world need to adapt and re-think where & how it is done. This got me thinking about where & how the media processing has evolved over the years and has rode its own 'waves' to where we are today.
For the most part, the reasons WHY media processing is required have remained relatively unchanged. Sure, codecs have evolved, new & better containers are introduced, and a paradigm shift from voice to video continues but the use-cases I hear most often are: recording, playback/prompting, transcoding and multi-party conferencing. However the WHERE & HOW media processing occurs has drastically changed over the years. I like to think of theses as media processing waves:
First Wave: purpose-built hardware boards with on-board DSP's. For the most part were highly reliable but were expensive, lacked scalability (scale = more hardware), and were slow to deploy.
Second Wave: shifted the purpose-built hardware with on-board DSP's to software host-based processing on hardware agnostic (COTS) servers. Increased scalability (scale = more CPU) but typically required a single tenant per host.
Third Wave: introduced hypervisor-based virtualization (and eventually containers) with multi-tenancy per host, thus reducing total cost of ownership, application compartmentalization, and faster provisioning. But the tenants still need to share the same underlying host so the same (or less) scalability.
Fourth Wave: cloud-based virtualization with endless, global, reliable scalability matched with cost effective pay-as-you-grow models. This seems to be the wave everyone wants to ride.
That said, the cloud-era is upon us and as with Steve Case's perspective, adapting business to ride the upcoming waves is a must if you want to succeed. To that end, a lot of work has been put into the latest PowerMedia XMS 3.2 release toward cloud performance and optimization in preparaton for this fourth wave. In the cloud-era, what was once only possible with purpose-built hardware on dedicated boards, can now easily be deployed at scale in a matter of minutes.
How easy?.... Check out my 'How to deploy PowerMedia XMS into the AWS cloud' video for getting started.
//Vince - @vfpuglia