Following VirtualQ | NAB 2020 with Quantum, we were confronted with a number of questions about working remotely in these times of home isolation. We’ve been gathering information from around the globe on this topic since the start of “stay at home” recommendations began. In the Media & Entertainment industry , this caused a flurry of activity to accelerate the remote users’ desktops for high performance applications to provide editing, color correction, VFX, and Animation to a vast number of users, now all located in their homes or some other remote site.
This idea of remote work is not a new idea. Companies have been searching for the holy grail of distributed workloads for years, with the idea of reducing footprints in the machine rooms, as well as in the editorial/colorist bays. The COVID-19 pandemic just accelerated it to the front of the line and to the forefront of everyone’s minds. During VirtualQ | NAB, we provided sessions on remote desktop workflows and high-level reference architecture (as shown in the diagram below). Our intent was to keep it generic, but at the same time, provide our insights and use case-based information as a leader in the Media & Entertainment industry for over 20 years.
Reviewing Remote Workflow Scenarios
In consideration of the interest in our sessions and the Q&A that followed, we thought it would be good to provide some additional information, which is consolidated here. There are several things to consider when reviewing remote workflows like cost, security, and performance just to name a few. Scenarios can range from one-to-one desktop connections, to cloud or hybrid cloud where some material sits in the cloud, or applications that are spun up in the cloud, to work on, with the rendered or completed media then passed back to on-prem facilities. Any cloud solution involves additional costs and can range greatly, depending on how you intend to work. There are several leading software companies that are making provisions for remote work styles. The best course-of-action is to contact these providers to examine what they are doing.
For Quantum StorNext customers, we find that these remote workflows do not have to impact the on-premise storage infrastructure. Little to no changes at all need to occur when working remotely with your shared file system. Many of you know the key players in the remote technologies industry, but we felt like it would be beneficial to share some of our knowledge and experiences in this area that we have acquired over many years.
- For instance, with Teradici , PCoIP windows and Linux, for Macs, you have additional options from Amulet, for GPU support you need Cloud Access software, bundled as Cloud for access with subscription. Also has privacy features with security options. They also have 4K support and dual monitor abilities.
- Another HP Remote Graphics Software (RGS), free license with HP workstation or licenses can be purchased for other workstations. Client software for only Windows and Linux OS. You can also try a 90-day trial for ZCentral including management software.
- Some others, ThinLinc , installed either on a single machine or in a cluster configuration, provides access to desktops, data, and software using a client/server configuration, via TigerVNC.
- TGX , sender only available on Windows and Linux, client available on Windows, Linux and OSX, with 4K support.
- Bebop allows access to industry tools for editing, 3D modeling and animation, VFX, etc. High level of security, all major cloud provider support.
- Let’s not forget about some of others that we’ve all used for years: Windows remote desktop, VNC on OSX, tightVNC, TigerVNC, etc.
Options for Color Accuracy Viewing
If you are looking to get support for SDI output with color grading or editorial workflows, you should check out Sohonets’ Clearview Flex or Pivot. Pivot supports up to 4K HDR in 12bit 4:4:4. Another solution we’ve heard about is Techstream that you may also want to evaluate.
High-Performance File Transfers
Many of you have been using fast file transfer solutions like Aspera , and Signiant for years, another that comes to mind is Bebop Rocket that may be advantageous if you’re looking for remote workflows.
I think by now most of us use some sort of VPN to secure traffic to and from our facilities. Most of the time this is provided by our IT teams. We’ve talked to several of our customers that had to make a huge investment in expanding their VPN service to support their media-centric locations. Just to name a few: OpenVPN, Cisco AnyConnect , Wireguard , Pulse Secure .
It’s clear to most that each facility has its own workflows and ways of conducting business. If you would like to explore more options for remote workflow operations, please reach out to your local Quantum Representative and we’ll be happy to help provide some answers. You can also work with one our partners to help assist you with your current and future needs with remote workflows.