What is Cloud Computing?
As technology continues to become more and more embedded in our business work-flow; cloud computing is quickly becoming a vital part. Whether you are a college student, producer, or even a lawyer, aspects like data storage and bandwidth always will either hinder or facilitate our work-flow. Cloud computing is described by Bright Hub as
‘a computing system in which tasks are assigned through a combination of connections, service and software shared over a network. This collective collection is known as ‘the cloud’.” (Rhonda Callow, Bright Hub)
In short, cloud computing allows for the workload to be taken off of a single computer and applied externally (the cloud), allowing for the computer to still use the applications or data, but through interface software. One of the most adopted forms of cloud computing is email. If you have something like a gmail, hotmail, or a yahoo email account: you are cloud computing. As the account holder, we access the cloud via a browser and through the gmail or yahoo interface design, this is also known as the ‘front end‘. The data or in this case email, is stored on the ‘back end’, which is described as
“the various computers, servers, and data storage systems that create the ‘cloud’ of computing services.” (Jonathan Strickland, How Stuff Works.com)
When the front and back end are combined we get a very efficient and productive business practice that can have some substantial results.
A form of cloud computing that is part of my job work-flow is the Final Cut Server. As a video production studio it is absolutely vital to have access to files, assets, and media in an organized and reliable fashion to ensure the fastest turnaround time as possible for our clients. Because of this, our studio installed the FC Server seven months ago. Since the FC Server was installed, we have been able to increase our productivity while lessening the strain on our editing systems. Apple does a good job describing their product;
“with faster performance and a more robust edit proxy work-flow, Final Cut Server 1.5 delivers powerful tools for media asset management, review and approval, and job traffic/work-flow automation.” (Apple.com)
Like the other cloud systems, the FC Server has a front and back end. The front end, or shared side, as we call it, is the the software aspect of the FC Server. A very simple GUI, and functionality, the shared side of the server serves as our resting spot for client review and indexing of current media that is being broadcast. The shared side is also designed to have a web-based outlet for review, in the same way as email. Our clients can punch in a specific web address and see their video, all without having to be at our studios. The back end, or root side, serves as the hardware aspect of the server. The data ultimately has to be stored somewhere, and that is the purpose of the root side. A 20 terabyte drive was installed in order to meet our needs which houses our scrath and working projects.
This creates a centralized place where all of our current media is housed. This allows for any of the five edit stations to connect to this drive at the same time, creating a streamlined workflow and
“provides creatives with more time to be creative, and lets the software worry about doing much of the grunt work of organizing, version management, transcodes, and notifications.” (Charlie Hill, O’Reilly Media)
It eliminates worrying about harddrives filling up, reserves processing power, and foremost, it allows for uniform and consistent way of maintaining data.
Admittedly, the Final Cut Server has its flaws, as I am sure most cloud computing systems do, but the upside far outweighs the downside from my experience. The studio now has a consistent way of storing and cataloging our media as well as our entire projects. There is no doubt that cloud computing is going to continue to grow and be a part of our lives. More than just email, but with the growing trend of cloud based storage and disaster recovery, the popularity is only going to grow. I am excited for what the future is going to hold, this technology is increasingly getting smarter and smarter and in turn, increasing productivity. Which is the point…Right?