IT for the creative professional.

Is Your Company on Board with the Media Service Bus?

Enterprise Service Bus

Have you ever found yourself with what seems like 50 million things on your plate? Perhaps you wonder what you’ll do first, if you can get it all done and how all the pieces will come together.

Those in the media world involved in production, post production and distribution of video probably often feel the same way. Video editors are seeing more file formats than ever before, with no sign of that slowing down. There is more and more software available to manipulate and craft media. There are more and more systems available to collaborate around media in the creative process. There is an explosion of outlets on which to distribute media.

With so many pieces that need to come together, the question becomes how do you properly architect file-based workflows that take full advantage of IT systems? To help answer that, let’s take a look at an industry that’s doing it well.

The package shipping industry seems to have their system down pat. From the moment you go through your computer to create and print a mailing label for your USPS or FedEx package, the shipping company is made aware of that physical asset and proceeds to track it through an elaborate system. As the package travels across state lines to different distribution centers, every single step of its journey is tracked, right down to you signing for it with that electronic pen. This intricate shipping workflow happens millions of times every day as the software and IT platforms connect every little facet.

I always tell people in the media industry, “Imagine if someone had to complete every step of that workflow by manually moving files between folders on a hard drive.” In a word, that would be ludicrous. In two words, it would be what we at Chesapeake Systems would describe as, “banana pants.” Just the idea that you could have humans moving little data files around for this complex workflow is unimaginable. It would require way too much manual labor and leave the system susceptible to human error.

Yet ask any video editor or media manager how aware they are of every last little move a file goes through as it moves through their system, and chances are they are very aware. The reason for this is because they are likely the ones who moved it. Something does exist, though, that can help with automation, integration and organization.

In the world of enterprise software technology, there is an architecture pattern known as an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) that is capable of integrating heterogenous applications. A computer bus is a communication system that transfers data between components inside a computer or between computers.* It acts as a communication hub that various sorts of subsystem communications flow in and out of.

The ESB is “a software architecture model used for designing and implementing communication between mutually interacting software applications in what’s called a service-oriented architecture (SOA).”** It is not one piece of software, but rather software technology that ties all the other software subsystems together – improving efficiency and allowing you to scale.

If the shipping industry can successfully incorporate an ESB, then the question becomes, “Is there a Media Service Bus (MSB) for the media industry?” Before answering that, I should clarify that a MSB should not be confused with scripts, which can be quite sophisticated and assist with automation, organization and ingesting. While scripts are helpful, in the end, you end up with a bunch of scripts each responsible for their own thing, with no central authority or cohesion.

The whole point of the MSB is to look at workflows associated with creating content, manipulating content, reviewing content, archiving content or distributing content and think of them as a set of interconnected and actually integrated services. A MSB would be a truly orchestrated architecture that sits in the middle of your platforms and enables them to communicate directly to each other through it and to see each other as services that can be automated.

This level of automation is possible. Chesapeake Systems works with Enterprise Service Bus platforms that are specifically tailored to the media industry, and we have experience rolling them out.

Want to talk about how implementing an MSB can help you? Give us a call at 410-752-7729 and we’d be happy to chat.

* Wikipedia, “Bus (computing)”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bus_(computing)
** Wikipedia, “Enterprise service bus,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_service_bus

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