Optimising cloud and edge resources in the video industry

Optimising cloud and edge resources in the video industry


Olga Kornienko explains how EZDRM is leveraging its extensive experience in digital rights management and cloud-based architectures to deliver innovative solutions to help its video industry clients overcome the challenges they face

Guest contributor |

The video industry has, over the last several years, been transformed by the availability and flexibility of cloud-based applications and resources. It seemed unthinkable 20 years ago to consider any video processing application that did not rely on rooms full of dedicated hardware, specialist high-bandwidth connections links, and an army of engineers to configure and service the equipment.  

Those days are clearly behind us now and, in most applications, we take for granted the vast resources available at the other end of a broadband connection. But there are still some application deployments where such a simple view of video architecture is not yet necessarily the optimal solution.  

For a company like EZDRM, the idea of leveraging centrally managed, shared software security resources was both an early call to action and an easy technical decision to take. At the time, digital rights management (DRM) for video services represented an esoteric technical challenge where proprietary technology and secrecy were the name of the game. 

On the one hand, the application of DRM to video streams – especially packaging and encryption – requires standardisation. On the other hand, the management of encryption keys, consumption rules and business logic implementation must remain distinct and secure. It must also be able to be continuously updated to match the challenges of an evolving attack surface from commercial piracy and individual content sharing. 

The solution for EZDRM was the invention of digital rights management as a service (DRMaaS). Such a software-as-a-service approach right from the beginning was novel from both the technology standpoint and business perspective. Offering DRM key management through a simple remote application programming interface solved neatly the separation of the standardised, high-bandwidth video processing workflow from the secure control plane application of license creation and delivery. 

The cloud’s scalability, accessibility and centralised management are also highlighted in this solution, allowing developers to implement updates, security measures and improvements seamlessly across an entire streaming delivery ecosystem. 

The EZDRM team is justifiably proud of its ability to solve real-world content security problems for our clients. Although we believe firmly in our cloud-centric DRMaaS architecture, there are a number of customer configurations that require creative solutions due to real-word constraints. 

In such instances, we must be innovative as a company. Edge compute resources can help handle less-than-stable connectivity, time-sensitive and latency-critical tasks, ensuring robust availability where audiences are unforgiving about service glitches. But our preferred approach is a cloud-hybrid architecture, where we can best leverage the foundation stones of our technology. Here we can offer options that beat any DRM-in-a-box compromises – which can be hard to deliver, maintain, and integrate into a broader systems approach.  

One such use-case challenge arose for one of our telecommunications clients, which operated a new video service on an island that had constrained connectivity to the global internet. The client was able to process, package and deliver high-bandwidth video streams reliably to customers across the island using the local network connections, but experienced intermittent failures in access to cloud resources based in global data centres remote from the island’s network. 

The EZDRM team wanted to ensure this client was able to take advantage of all business benefits of secure video delivery and associated cloud DRM service to its customers both on and off the island, while also improving availability of the DRM license delivery service to customer devices. 

The resulting deployment configuration has come to be termed DRMaaS Cloud On-Prem and has just a few components. These include a standard customer service configuration in the EZDRM cloud infrastructure and a local telecommunications server which acts as the primary EZDRM service instance, managing content packaging and client license delivery.  

Meanwhile, an innovative domain name system configuration enables client devices on the island network to take full advantage of local high bandwidth and low latency while also enabling a fallback service that is supported by the EZDRM cloud instance. Finally, a point-to-point resilient VPN connection that links the two EZDRM service instances to synchronise the data. 

The deployment of the EZDRM service, enhanced by Cloud On-Prem components, has enabled our client to provide a rich, reliable video service that is not wholly dependent on a connection to global cloud infrastructure, but takes full advantage of such a connection when it is available. 

Over the course of this and similar projects, the Cloud On-Prem solution has evolved into a versatile, highly effective cloud-hybrid option. It has proven to be an ideal solution for video service networks with limited or intermittent global connectivity, as well as for places where the latency of global connection would potentially have an impact on the consumer experience.  

Olga Kornienko is chief operating officer and co-founder of EZDRM 

This article was originally published in the Winter 2023 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription. 

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