iStreamPlanet’s Aventus Cloud-based Delivery Platform Goes Beta with Microsoft for NBC Sports
iStreamPlanet may not have a booth at the NAB Show this year, but that didn’t stop the company from breaking some big news this week. It announced the beta release of Aventus, its new cloud-based automated platform for delivering live events and linear channels over IP. The Aventus beta partners include Microsoft (in order to service NBC Sports Group), Turner Broadcasting, thePlatform, and Hibernia Networks, all of which will be testing the live-video–workflow platform to power multiscreen, multichannel live linear deployments. Aventus is set for an official launch late in Q2 of this year.
“Aventus is all about getting us from this traditional hardware infrastructure into cloud- and software-based infrastructure,” says Jennifer Baisch, senior director, product and services marketing. “When we talk about scalability, we want you to be able to scale up as well as scale down. That means getting away from dedicated hardware and getting into more commodity hardware and software-based resources.”
As part of the beta, iStreamPlanet will team with Microsoft’s Windown Azure Media Services to service NBC Sports Group’s portfolio of digital platforms, including NBCSports.com, NBCOlympics.com and GolfChannel.com. Through the agreement, which rolls out this summer, Microsoft will provide both live-streaming and on-demand viewing services for more than 5,000 hours of sporting events. Aventus will integrate with Windows Azure Media Services to provide a scalable, reliable, live video workflow solution to help bring NBC Sports Group programming to the cloud.
Developed in conjunction with NBC Sports and other iStreamPlanet clients, Aventus includes a full set of capabilities for creating, configuring, managing, and monitoring multiple live-streaming channels. Aventus uses cloud-based virtual machines running on commodity x86 hardware to power the media workflow so that resources can be deployed dynamically, scaling workflow infrastructure depending on resource needs.
iStreamPlanet believes this software-based platform will provide a leg up for broadcasters because it will reduce the cost of delivering live video compared with dedicated, hardware-based infrastructure.
“There is going to be a lot of cost saving [with Aventus],” says Baisch. “Moving to commodity server hardware and virtualized environment is going to be a lot less expensive and a lot more efficient.”
In terms of reliability, Aventus provides telemetry across the live-video workflow, with automated error detection, correction, and notification, as well as full redundancy and automated recovery in rare cases of catastrophic software or hardware failure.
Although iStreamPlanet will provide a custom user interface for Aventus, it has constructed the platform around an open API so that clients can integrate it with a third-party UI plug-in or a third-party content-management system.
“Many customers have content-management systems that are tightly integrated into their workflow,” says Baisch. “So we want them to be able to continue to use those and be comfortable.”
iStreamPlanet has also signed on several technology partners to help power the Aventus platform. Windows Azure’s flexible cloud services will help power content acquisition, media processing, and management of live-video workflows for premium content providers. In addition, Rovi’s MainConcept SDKs will provide primary format support in Aventus, including support for H.264, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 video codecs and a range of Dolby audio codecs.