How to Leverage SD-WAN for Secure Remote Media Production

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Today’s media content production spans the globe, from the windswept desert of Namibia that served as the backdrop for the blockbuster “Mad Max: Fury Road,” to Rio’s beaches for the Summer Games, to less exotic locations like Tennessee’s Bonnaroo Music Festival. All of these productions share a common need: access to secure, reliable, neutral IP transports to move content all over the world.

Many companies are looking toward software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) solutions to make that critical interconnection. Gartner forecasts that by 2019, 30% of enterprises will have deployed SD-WAN in their branches, up from less than 1% in 2015.

Data center virtualization has helped reduce hardware and costs while adding agility to IT environments globally. SD-WAN is now bringing those advantages to the enterprise’s WAN edge and, in particular, to those businesses participating in an interconnected media and cloud ecosystem that leverages an Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA™).

The Equinix white paper, “IOA Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Entertainment Media Cloud Ecosystem”, discusses how businesses in the media and entertainment (M&E) industry are harnessing both SD-WAN and an IOA for secure remote media production.

Interconnection with SD-WAN and an IOA for Secure Remote Media Production

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Among the benefits of SD-WAN:

It’s Transport Agnostic – Media production takes place in myriad locations, with shoots lasting from a few hours to years. Depending on the location, traditional services such as MPLS or Metro Ethernet services may not be available or require long lead times. SD-WAN architectures overcome these limitations by being transport-agnostic. By supporting dedicated or mixed network access methods, such as 4G/LTE, high-speed Internet, MPLS and dark fiber, this transport flexibility allows media productions to right-size network connectivity and cost.

Ease of Deployment – SD-WAN solutions are available as x86 software or traditional multiport hardware switches featuring an automated “zero touch” provisioning model that can be configured ahead of time by IT staff. They simply need to be plugged into the desired network by the remote production staff. Once the edge device is online, it “phones home” to a pre-programmed SD-WAN controller to download any required configuration. This also allows network staff to remotely administer and monitor the network at the remote production site via the controller, which frees creative staff to fully focus on content production.

Increased Security – Studios and post-production houses dedicate significant time and resources to meet client and Motion Picture Association of America network security guidelines and corporate security policies. However, the traditional concept of the network security perimeter logically defined by corporate firewalls is rapidly evolving in today’s mobile world. SD-WAN technologies offer a way to extend network security and other security policies to remote production locations that can be centrally managed and monitored by security staff.

Additional security benefits of SD-WAN include:

  • Advanced security for electronic data via AES-256 encryption of network overlay tunnels
  • Push-button management of public key infrastructure via built-in Trusted Platform Module chip
  • Increased application awareness by defining security policies based upon applications in conjunction with packet-filtering provided by firewalls
  • Ability to define independent security zones and policy on a per workflow basis
  • Ability to integrate with additional SaaS-based security services
  • Increased visibility and monitoring of traffic
  • Ability to centrally manage security policies via the SD-WAN controller

Networking Out to the Edge with an IOA

As mobility and media content data set sizes increase, media content players can optimize their network edge by leveraging an IOA with Equinix Performance Hubs. This allows them to tie their remote productions to the network service offerings of both their studio facilities and content production partners. Application performance and network latency can then be improved by adopting a peering and interconnection strategy in key geographical areas that are local to production sites. Cross connecting directly with network services providers at Internet exchange points reduces their network latency and increases application performance for off-location staff collaborating with remote productions.

Internet exchange points also serve as the physical glue for the Internet, network service provider backbones and content delivery network services. In addition to being network carrier-dense, Internet exchange points are where cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure can provide optimized services to their customers. Placing Performance Hubs in these key locations allows content producers to securely store pre-release content, as well as provide access to low-latency, private connectivity to cloud providers via Equinix Cloud Exchange.

It’s an exciting time for both content creation and network technology as new formats such as Dolby Vision, 4K, live broadcast and mobile entertainment become a reality. To truly unlock the promise of content production and delivery in this new world, media content producers need to adopt new network architectures and workflows. The powerful combination of SD-WAN and IOA offer one potential path to unlock the full potential of remote media production.

Download the Equinix white paper “IOA Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Entertainment Media Cloud Ecosystem” to leverage both SD-WAN and an IOA for secure remote media production.

Visit Equinix (Hall 3, Stand B25) at the International Broadcasting Convention 2016 in Amsterdam. The exhibition runs from Sept. 9 – 13.