AOL Deploys IBM Aspera Software to Accelerate and Automate Global Media Production and Distribution

By CIOReview Team

IBM (NYSE:IBM) recently announced that AOL, a global digital media and technology company, has deployed a full suite of high-speed transfer and automation software from Aspera, an IBM company, as the backbone for its new media management platform, to deliver high performance transfers between bi-coastal production facilities and to and from their cloud-based media asset management system, to enable large scale global collaboration and content distribution between creative teams worldwide.

AOL properties such as AOL On, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and Engadget, are available on 19 OTT devices, and provide editorial and video content at a caliber unlike any other in their spaces. Providing content for their digital properties, AOL’s in-house video production through AOL Studios has continued to expand, producing a slate of over 75 Originals, and earning four Emmy nominations while generating between 2 and 4 TB each day. 

To support this rapid growth, AOL recognized the need to advance their existing production infrastructure and toolset, and embarked on a comprehensive multi-vendor evaluation including the option of developing the new system in house.  At the end of the evaluation, AOL selected high-speed transfer and automation software from Aspera to power the movement, sharing and exchange of content.

As a key component of AOL’s new integrated media production and management system, Aspera‘s FASP high-speed transfer software enables AOL to quickly share and exchange large media files between its production facilities in New York and Los Angles. Aspera Connect and Faspex servers are deployed at the AOL Studio’s Los Angeles and New York production facilities, and used for collaboration including ad-hoc content ingest and sharing with 3rd party partners.

AOL also uses Aspera Shares On Demand to transfer large video files and metadata, from each on-premises 1.5 PB data center SAN directly to the cloud. All of the media created in the production facilities is immediately moved to the cloud upon creation and integrated with the media asset management (MAM) system so it can be shared as quickly as possible. The MAM also generates proxies and thumbnails, and accepts all incoming metadata so that content is processed and categorized correctly. The entire workflow is automated by Aspera Orchestrator, and the production teams have complete visibility into the status and progress of the transfers and workflows with Aspera Console centralized management and reporting.

“All of the software solutions we deployed offer some form of workflow automation and only Aspera Orchestrator has the power to integrate all the components into a single system while operating with the speed, efficiency, and reliability we need.” said Vitali Bystritski, Post Technology Lead at AOL Studios. “The scope and breadth of the project was unmatched, and we needed industrial strength tools and someone willing and able to work directly with us to understand our requirements, and that was Aspera.”

To help build, configure and deploy the new system, AOL enlisted the services of digital asset management consulting group XPlatform Consulting to develop the comprehensive solution supporting the strategic shift of their media management system to the cloud.

“AOL selected a full suite of software from Aspera after witnessing the technology’s capabilities during the evaluation”, said Nicholas Stokes, founder at XPlatform Consulting. “They are now able to centralize their compute resources where needed, and scale the infrastructure to meet future demand.”

“We’re excited to be a part of this integrated solution for content management and distribution with next generation technologies, combining on-premises and cloud, that will enable AOL to scale out and continue to grow their content generation and advertising business ”said Michelle Munson, CEO and co-founder of Aspera.

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