Video: Media’s Brave New World of Interop Microservices

‘Microservices’ can have several meanings, but centres on the ability to create a workflow from individual building blocks using very simple, individual services/programs running on a number of computers. Microservices are generally understood to improve interoperability, which is one of the many benefits of a microservices environment that this panel explores.

Splitting your work into microservices promises to allow your products to be deployed in a more automated way and may help them work with a decentralised structure (where such structure makes sense). Because microservices are intended to be very simple, self-contained programs, you can be very specific about what you run and therefore only pay for the compute you need, in a cloud context.

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Indeed, the cloud is pushing software architects in the right direction. Whilst cloud isn’t intrinsically microservices-based, it’s highly modular which promotes similar coding practices in developers as they would need working directly with native microservices. For instances, many programs have an Amazon S3 interface. Working to this type of standard API is exactly what is needed for microservice architectures.

One of the benefits to splitting everything into the simplest building blocks is time to market. This can be considered in two ways, how long take it takes to update/change an existing workflow and how quickly you can iterate. Both linked, being flexible in the workflow means you can quickly iterate when necessary; you don’t need a two-year project in order to update your way of working and the cost of failure is low.

What’s the alternative to microservices? Often referred to as a monolithic, it’s actually more about a having about mono-workflow. When your workflow is wrapped up into one product or binary, you can’t easily integrate new elements into this workflow. Microservices allow data to flow in the ‘open’ and allow the workflow be rerouted. Data at all different parts of the chain is available to any program that needs it.

The aim of the OSA looking at fundamental issues that can’t just fix unilaterally by one customer leading the roadmap with a vendor, rather it is seeking a wider agreement on how to interoperate between all these services.

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Speakers

Loic Barbou Loic Barbou
Bloomberg Television
Wes Rosenberg Wes Rosenberg
CTO,
Levels Beyond
Ankur Jain Ankur Jain
Prime Focus Technologies
Shawn Maynard Shawn Maynard
SVP & General Manager,
Florical Systems
Chris Lennon Moderator: Chris Lennon
Executive Director
Open Services Alliance

Video: Investigating Media Over IP Multicast Hurdles in Containerized Platforms

As video infrastructures have converged with enterprise IT, they started incorporating technologies and methods typical for data centres. First came virtualisation allowing for COTS (Common Off The Shelf) components to be used. Then came the move towards cloud computing, taking advantage of scale economies.

However, these innovations did little to address the dependence on monolithic projects that impeded change and innovation. Early strategies for Video over IP were based on virtualised hardware and IP gateway cards. As the digital revolution took place with emergence of OTT players, the microservices based on containers have been developed. The aim was to shorten the cycle of software updates and enhancements.

Containers allow to insulate application software from underlying operating systems to remove the dependence on hardware and can be enhanced without changing the underlying operational fabrics. This provides the foundation for more loosely coupled and distributed microservices, where applications are broken into smaller, independent pieces that can be deployed and managed dynamically.

Modern containerized server software methods such as Docker are very popular in OTT and cloud solution, but not in SMPTE ST 2110 systems. In the video above, Greg Shay explains why.

Docker can package an application and its dependencies in a virtual container that can run on any Linux server. It uses the resource isolation features of the Linux kernel and a union-capable file system to allow containers to run within a single Linux instance, avoiding the overhead of starting and maintaining virtual machines. Docker can get more applications running on the same hardware than comparing with VMs, makes it easy for developers to quickly create ready-to-run containered applications and makes managing and deploying applications much easier.

However, currently there is a huge issue with using Docker for ST 2110 systems, because Docker containers do not work with Multicast traffic. The root of the multicast problem is the specific design of the way that the Linux kernel handles multicast routing. It is possible to wrap a VM around each Docker container just to achieve the independence of multicast network routing by emulating the full network interface, but this defeats capturing and delivering the behaviour of the containerized product in a self-contained software deliverable.

There is a quick and dirty partial shortcut which enable container to connect to all the networking resources of the Docker host machine, but it does not isolate containers into their own IP addresses and does not isolate containers to be able to use their own ports. You don’t really get a nice structure of ‘multiple products in multiple containers’, which defeats the purpose of containerized software.

You can see the slides here.

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Speaker

Greg Shay Greg Shay
CTO
The Telos Alliance

Video: Microservices & Media: Are we there yet?

Microservices split large applications into many small, simple, autonomous sections. This can be a boon, but this simplicity hides complexity. Chris Lennon looks at both sides to find the true value in microservices.

By splitting up a program/service into many small blocks, each of those blocks become simpler so testing each block becomes simpler. Updating one block hardly affects the system as a whole leading to quicker and more agile development and deployment. In fact, using microservices has many success stories attributed to it. Less vocal are those who have failures or increased operational problems due to their use.

Like any technology, there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ times and places to deploy it. Chris, from MediAnswers, explains where he sees the break-even line between non-deploying and deploying microservices and explains his reasons which include hidden comlexity, your teams’ ability to deal with these many services and covers some of the fallacies at play which tend to act against you.

A group has started up within SMPTE who want to reduce the friction in implementing microservices which include general interoperability and also interoperability across OSes. This should reduce the work needed to get microservices from different vendors working together as one.

Chris explains the work to date and the plans for the future for this working group.

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Speakers

Chris Lennon Chris Lennon
President & CEO,
MediAnswers

Video: OTT Moves Toward Microservices


 

Using microservices is a way of architecting your software platform to be nimble, simple and is just as applicable to on-premise platforms as cloud. As scaling is important for OTT providers, it’s not surprising that much work is being done in the OTT sector to utilise microservice architectures.

Even companies that are not yet actively operating on a microservices architecture are looking for vendors who at least have a strategy to cater to it for the future. This session will examine the core benefits (including redundancy, dev ops, scalability, and self-healing), the different approaches (including containerisation and orchestration via Docker, Kubernetes, and Mesos, as well as native microservices models like Erlang), and the complexities of migrating a generic architecture to a microservices architecture.

This panel covers:

    • Why is OTT so suited to microservices?
    • How microservices enable companies to be flexible to changing customer demands
    • How microservices reduce complexity
    • Benefits of continuous deployment

plus much more!

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Moderator: Dom Robinson, Director and Creative Firestarter – id3as, UK & Contributing Editor, StreamingMedia.com, UK
Stefan Lederer, CEO & Co-Founder – Bitmovin, USA
Steve Miller-Jones, Vice President of Product Strategy – Limelight Networks, UK
Xiaomei Lio, Senior Software Engineer, Netflix
Mark Russell, Chief Technology & Strategy Officer, MediaKind
Olivier Karra, Directory of OTT & IPTV Solutions, Marketing, Harmonic Inc.