Media and the Virtualized Network

Virtualization is the process of consolidating hardware and software resources into a software-based, virtualized network. Instead of purpose-built hardware, commercial off-the-shelf hardware (COTS) servers are used, driving cost down while boosting flexibility. This approach transforms the network from static, inflexible and inefficient to dynamic, agile, and optimized.

The transition from highly specialized and expensive hardware to virtualized network functions and software-defined solutions is happening throughout the production, broadcast and distribution chain. Leveraging standards-based software architectures, the virtualization of management plane, control plane and data plane consolidates network and processing resources into a hyper-scalable application defined platform. Maturation of virtualization technology is leading the transition from legacy content creation and delivery systems to IT, Cloud and IP as well as meeting the evolutionary needs of content creation and delivery.  

Network virtualization makes it possible to programmatically create, provision, and manage networks completely within software. When media organisations have moved systems to software and solutions can be deployed in the cloud or on COTS hardware, they can start to benefit from superior operational and economic flexibility. 

Benefits of network virtualization software

In essence, network virtualization software enables you to do more with less. The flexibility provided by virtualized networks supports broadcasters in their mission to deliver agile production and distribution and monetization strategies while reducing cost.

React with Speed: Instant deployment by starting and stopping software applications using lightweight virtual machines. There’s no need to adapt or change the underlying COTS compute and switch platform.

Elasticity on demand: Spin new channels and workflows up or down as needed to capture viewers in a matter of minutes, not months. New function and format innovations are delivered at the speed of software, thanks to the generic and open server-switch platform and an active app developer community.

Save costs: Rather than static, high-cost bespoke hardware, you pay only for what you need, when you need it, and resources can be redirected easily. A pay-per-use model based on as-needed licensing allows the smartest use of resources and eliminates up-front investment.

Future ready: Reach consumers wherever they are—on mobile devices and tablets—with a format-agnostic design that accommodates new and emerging formats without any hardware changes.

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Virtualized functionality: Media function virtualization allows for resource pools of function-agnostic hardware to be fully redefined via apps. These can be dropped into any IP infrastructure to configure workflows of any complexity.

Resource orchestration: Legacy broadcast equipment was massively underutilized, idle in a rack or traveling in OB vans. Software-defined solutions running on COTS can be turned on and off or redirected at will to fit current need resulting in lower TCO.

Maximal functionality: Easily switch functions on the same COTS hardware using software modules to perform multiple tasks on demand. You have a production with bandwidth constraints? Select a higher compression MPEG4. The next production has unlimited bandwidth? Select JPEGXS. At the click of a button.

No rip and replace: A microservices approach to development and deployment allows broadcasters to upgrade equipment and introduce new features fast, economically, dynamically. Formats and standards such as HD-SDI, 4K/UHD, HDR flavors, 5.1 and 22.2 audio can coexist and be switched within the same virtualized network, eliminating the need to build and operate separate parallel networks.

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Net Insight’s Network Virtualization Solutions

Net Insight network virtualization solutions provides a seamless migration from SDI to a true native IP live production architecture through Media Function Virtualization (MFV). The platforms provide broadcasters and service providers with extremely low latency software-based virtualization for mission-critical media processing and transport functions in live sports, entertainment, and news production.

Our network virtualization solutions offer the processing, networking and monitoring of premium content to any audience globally. A fully programmable and adaptable IP Media core can handle high data volumes for the most demanding live events and production workflows. Unrivaled service and IP Media network monitoring capabilities ensure full control of the performance and quality of your services. The open, virtualized architecture ensures service flexibility and enables you to utilize your network and appliances for many different customers. Broadcast grade reliability and timing-aware synchronization of media feeds enable expansion from smaller events into global networks.

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Nimbra Edge is built on Kubernetes, a modern, open-source container-orchestration system for automating computer application deployment, scaling, and management. It implements a multi-region structure that can be adapted to any distributed architecture. Regardless of the regional distribution the routing between users and/or production resources in the cloud, can be managed with simple direct commands.

Through IP-based MFV, FPGA technology and off-the-shelf hardware, Aperi provides truly native live IP video infrastructure. Aperi’s supervisor is the endpoint for spinning up and down virtualized resources on a microserver. Aperi exposes its infrastructure via a simple and highly integrable RESTful API. Gone are the days of writing highly complex and proprietary drivers. With this battle-tested approach, operators can fully automate tasks in-house with little effort, or enjoy the rapid integration of new Aperi virtualized media functionality in the orchestration/management system of choice.

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Why choose MPEG-4 / H.264 / AVC (Advanced Video Coding)

H.264, also known as MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding), is the most world’s widely used video compression standard for HD content with billions of devices capable of supporting it.

Production or distribution quality SD and HD MPEG AVC H.264 encoding and decoding delivers optimal image quality, reduced bandwidth usage and maximum workflow interoperability. Net Insight’s implementation offers 4:2:0 8-bit support and flexible parallel encoding and decoding capability in combination with industry-leading internet transport reliability.

Although standardized as far back as 2003, its forward-looking design, has seen MPEG-4 H.264 become the preferred compression standard for streaming video services. Compliance with SMPTE ST 2022-2 allows for IP interoperable content exchange and multi-vendor deployments.

MPEG-4 is ideal for all bandwidth-efficient high-quality video workflows.

Related Resources

White Paper

Cloud Ingest of Live Video

As cloud production becomes an integral part of broadcasters’ live workflows, the corresponding cloud infrastructure becomes an integral part of the media transport network.

Case Study

World’s largest Nimbra networks to HD

Since 2004, when the EBU selected Net Insight’s Nimbra platform, the EUROVISION Fibre Network (FiNE) has evolved with Net Insight’s latest products and features.

Blog

Open Insight #2 (English)

Welcome to the second edition of Open Insight, where I will share thoughts and updates with our shareholders, other stakeholders and anyone with a general interest in the company.