In recent years, the broadcast sector has witnessed a radical shift driven by digital technological advancements. As patterns of media consumption evolve, broadcasters are progressively adopting Cloud Native technologies to enhance their media supply chain efficiency. Nonetheless, the integration of Cloud Native solutions, such as Kubernetes, into broadcasting infrastructures encounters obstacles due to a lack of development catering to the specialized needs of real-time media workflows. This discussion aims to elucidate the challenges broadcasters face in adopting Cloud Native technologies and to explore viable solutions.

The Promise and Challenges of Cloud Native Technologies

Cloud Native technologies present a significant opportunity for broadcasters to refine their media workflows, augment scalability, and increase agility. Kubernetes, notably, stands out as a premier container orchestration platform, offering a scalable and robust framework for the deployment, management, and scaling of applications.

Despite its benefits, the integration of Kubernetes within the broadcast industry faces impediments. Conventional solutions, such as service meshes and load balancers, which were predominantly designed for web traffic (TCP & HTTP), do not fulfill the specific requirements of media workflows. Media workflows demand specialized solutions adept at managing high-throughput, low-latency media streams (UDP & RTP), something beyond the capabilities of typical solutions, while simultaneously ensuring reliability and service quality.

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Addressing the Gap

To bridge the existing gap between Cloud Native technologies and the requirements of real-time media, urgent collaboration and the development of open-source solutions tailored to media workflows are essential. Collaborative efforts among broadcasters, technology providers, and open-source communities can spearhead innovation and expedite the development of Kubernetes-based solutions tailored for the broadcast industry.

A strategic approach to narrowing this divide is the creation of specialized service meshes specifically engineered for real-time media workflows. These innovative solutions could integrate features such as low-latency UDP, Quality of Service (QoS) prioritization, and zero memory copy, ensuring the high-performance handling of media streams. Utilizing the flexibility and scalability of Kubernetes, broadcasters can establish resilient and efficient media supply chains that respond effectively to fluctuating workload demands.

Moreover, open-source initiatives are pivotal in fostering innovation and standardization within the broadcasting sector. By actively contributing to and collaborating on open-source projects, broadcasters can shape the development of Cloud Native technologies to more closely match their operational requirements. Prominent open-source projects like Open Broadcast Stack (OBS) and FFMPEG are aimed at providing an extensive array of tools and frameworks designed specifically for broadcast needs. Enhancing this toolset through contributions of libraries and toolsets could facilitate the broader adoption of Cloud Native technologies in existing industry applications.

Another challenge to navigate is the orchestration of workflows and business processes. Ross Video Catena emerges as a robust platform engineered to optimize the communication and orchestration of media applications within Kubernetes ecosystems. Employing Catena’s capabilities can significantly advance the standardization of communication and business logic orchestration for media applications leveraging Kubernetes.

Your trusted technology partner

Cloud Native technologies offer immense promise for revolutionizing the broadcast industry, delivering scalability, agility, and efficiency in media workflows. Nevertheless, the seamless integration of Kubernetes and other Cloud Native solutions into broadcasting infrastructures necessitates specialized development to meet the distinct challenges of media workflows. Through concerted collaboration and the embracement of open-source initiatives, broadcasters can lead innovation and hasten the development of Kubernetes-based solutions designed to meet their specific needs. Collective endeavors can unlock the full potential of Cloud Native technologies, heralding a new epoch in digital media distribution.

You can see how Cisco is helping with this transition by checking out Media Streaming Mesh or visiting our NAB Booth #W2743 in the West Hall.


Chris Lapp

Technical Solutions Architect

Media and Entertainment