Haivision Hub Azure

Haivision Hub is Bigger than Cloud Media Routing – a Conversation with a Microsoft Azure Cloud Architect

Editor’s note: This interview was conducted when Haivision Hub was known as SRT Hub. The interview below reflects this, but is in fact referring to the same product, Haivision Hub.

Full disclosure: Like many industry watchers, I’m a huge Satya Nadella fan. He’s led a brilliant M&A strategy; he’s opened the company’s culture, embracing not only open source technologies (like SRT) but also deep technical partnerships with companies that, in the past, have been seen more as competitors than collaborators. And all of that is just scratching the surface compared to his triple-down bet on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

So I knew my phone call with Microsoft’s Lutful Khandker would give me spectacular cloud video views. Lutful’s been with Azure since its incubation and launch in 2010. Today, he’s focused on the media vertical, working with global partners and customers to build best-in-class video solutions.

Lutful’s view of the state of cloud adoption in media raised my eyebrows. My own view is that many vendors – and their customers – have been slow in adopting cloud. Lutful conceded that might be true historically, but that it was certainly not the case any longer.

“We are a bit late, you are right, but, as we see it today, I think the hockey stick in media and entertainment is much steeper right now than in other industries. It’s actually the industry that’s most ready. We have architects in the automotive, finance and healthcare sectors who are my friends and colleagues, and we talk about cloud adoption. And as I talk with them across the company, I would say we are seeing the media vertical become one of the leading industries in the transformation to cloud. The difference between the presence of cloud stories in the IBC and NAB a couple of years back and now are night and day”

He went on to explain the phenomenon in stark terms. In media, the upstarts (The FANGS- Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google etc.) challenging the legacy ecosystem are essentially cloud-native companies. They’re showing the path to cloud migration from top to bottom. And according to Lutful, they are seeing a complete shift where broadcasters and studios are totally converted in terms of a cloud mentality.

I wanted to get a bit of background on the relationship that Haivision has with Microsoft. Where did that come from?

As it turns out, from a group of ambitious video tech people that discovered the SRT protocol and deployed the open source code on GitHub. Since RTMP’s unreliability increases with distance, the team at Microsoft Studios needed a secure, reliable way to route live video globally and SRT was a perfect fit.

“Microsoft Studios produces our partner and customer events. For example, a conference like Microsoft Inspire, this is a global event for our massive partner ecosystem and Microsoft employees. There are something like 30000 – 40,000 attendees. That event has so many sessions and rooms. So they’re supporting 1,000s of feeds over the course of a week and routing them to a central region where the playout solution is located. Microsoft Studios discovered SRT, baked it into their use case, and from there it has grown into a one plus one equals five scenario. Microsoft has placed a huge focus and investment on the Azure cloud’s ability to ingest SRT.”

I asked Lutful about the recent soft launch of SRT Hub at NAB Show last April. Why was there so much buzz and foot traffic around the SRT Hub demo in the Microsoft Azure booth?

“Yes, it got huge attention. You see, it’s not just the media routing that’s making this so attractive. We’re not just building a routing service. We are showcasing the additional value-add capabilities of all these diverse partners.”

“So not only will SRT Hub will manage the route for you, and the infrastructure. You just subscribe, you say, I want 20 channels, 200 channels, 2,000 channels, and you can do it on demand and then turn it off when you’re done. So, you start with this classic on-demand benefit of cloud. But what is fueling the buzz is that you have this additional component to the SRT Hub story which is about the Hublet ecosystem. It’s not just that our customers that are realizing value, it’s the fact that our partners are also seeing value.”

Lutful carefully articulated the importance of an open partner ecosystem.

“Haivision offers a media solution, but they are also part of other media solutions. Imagine offers a media solution, but they are also part of other media solutions. And so on with Telestream, with Harmonic, and AVID, for example. If you think about any vendor, they all offer solutions but they also offer part of other solutions. With SRT Hub, what we are doing is building native integration to those particular, downstream partner services that my colleagues across Microsoft are working on.

Those systems include everything from editing, to encryption, to transcoding, playback, ad-insertion or maybe adding five different languages and archiving in five different locations.

It’s becoming something of an orchestration hub amongst these partner components, and I think that is what creating the buzz, and not just the media routing component.”

SRT Hub at IBC2019

Heading to IBC? If you’re a broadcaster interested in learning more about SRT Hub, register to attend our panel: Broadcast Production in the Cloud and discover how delivering breaking news and live events can be accelerated using SRT Hub and Microsoft Azure cloud services.  If you’re a developer or integrator and want to find out more about SRT Hub’s open partner ecosystem,  join us at the SRT Hub Technical Overview.

Not going to IBC? Register to attend either panel discussion and we’ll send you a link to the video recording after the show.

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