The Production Media Data Center – End-To-End Monitoring and Orchestration for all-IP Broadcast Infrasructures

Vortrag 04

Which are the main challenges on the way to an ALL-IP uncompressed video infrastructures and how a latest generation NMS/OSS system helps solving them.


With the ongoing migration in the broadcast industry towards an ALL-IP infrastructure media companies are facing tremendous new challenges. The move to ALL-IP is not only another shift in technology like it was with the migration from SD to HD for example. This time it is not about replacing boxes and SDI with ethernet cables, media over IP enables companies to leverage new technologies and redefine operational practices. COTS hardware that supports multi-format media can be implemented, both the network and the applications can be virtualized and with that there is a logical next step to deploy those media solutions in the cloud. But the faster technology evolves, the more flexible media companies will have to act and adapt their operational procedures, the better such a transition has to be managed. End-to-end visibility of your operational environment and the possibility to orchestrate resources and services dynamically are key to make such a transition successful.

Challenges in ALL-IP Live Production

SMPTE 2022-6 is out there since a while and SMPTE 2110 set of standards have been published recently, the data plane interoperability has been adapted well in the media industry already. However there is still a lack towards the orchestration part. NMOS IS-04 to discover and register compliant streams is not finished, the other NMOS standards (IS-05 and IS-06) for connection management and network control to reserve and secure services are not there yet.

The fact that linear media flows which need to transmit in real time and switch fast and frame accurate use a network which has a non linear nature leads to a situation that those network technologies and topologies do not always behave as they should. Frame drops, packet delay variation, bursts, latency and overhead have to be measured carefully, also new tools are required to identify signals within multicast streams.

Content and network security is another topic which has to be addressed in an All-IP world. Ecosystems are not closed any more, on-premise, off-premise and hybrid installations are the new default setup. Fine grained authorization and authentication mechanisms and the need to adopt IT cyber security guidelines are key to achieve a high level of protection for high value media content.

Today there is no “one-fits-all” workflow to switch uncompressed IP streams. The industry still settles on best practices. IGMP or static multicast routes with either source, destination or switch based signal switching lead to a vast variety of technical solutions. Vendor proprietary SDN controllers create new silos in operations and most often only support non-blocking spine/leaf network topologies.

A true end-to-end orchestration layer is required to address those challenges to make media companies truly benefit from a real-time production media data center.

A solution - media workflow orchestration for ALL-IP live production

Media flows and services need to be orchestrated end to end in multi-vendor environments. For maximum agility, such overlying layer needs to run unconditionally and fully transparently across any vendor and technology boundaries and must be aware of all resources, their capabilities, availability and constraints. To orchestrate a modern SMPTE 2110 environment, capacity needs to be managed in both blocking and non-blocking network topologies to avoid any oversubscription of the available network bandwidth. Security and access control mechanisms need to be implemented together with policies and a centralized management of pools of IP addresses.

Whereas a controller sends commands to physical or logical devices with no guarantee that the actions can and will happen, an orchestrator is deterministic in such way that it guarantees capacity and resource availability. An orchestrator also books and guarantees capacity ahead of time and manages the full stack of applications and all underlying network elements and physical layers.

The presentation will also show ways how to combine the best of both worlds: thoughtful decision making of an orchestrator in combination with a SDN controller that executes fast and frame accurate for well-defined scenarios (for example a live studio production). Best practices how an orchestration layer works in conjunction with other SDN controllers will be presented.

For a successful operation in ALL-IP, it is key to identify the video and audio signals in a media network, a multi-layer approach is required to visualize those streams. NetFlow / SFlow flow management to detect streams in combination with edge device information and routing tables from the switch fabric must be combined into a single solution and user interface to easily show the flows and to allow to investigate the root-cause of a potential issue with those streams.

For a true 360° visibility and management of a media facility the operations and business layer must be taken into account as well. An uncompressed video network does not stand for its own any more, it needs to be integrated with ingest and playout, media asset management systems, job management, as well as ticketing and billing platforms to truly allow operations end-to-end.

More than ever, a single consolidated, fully independent and agile NMS/OSS platform is a strategic key to successfully make the transition to media over IP in the broadcast industry. It is an effective response to all key challenges any broadcast & media operation has ahead of it.

Über Thomas Gunkel - Skyline Communications

Thomas Gunkel is Market Director Broadcast for Skyline Communications and is globally responsible for the broadcast customers within the company. With more than 15 years of experience in product marketing, solution design and engineering of broadcast and video solutions for broadcasters, network providers and service providers, he joined Skyline Communications in April 2017.

Previously he has held several technical and sales positions at Imagine Communications, Harris Broadcast and EVS. Thomas holds a master’s degree in media technology from the Stuttgart Technology University of Applied Sciences.