Multi-site playout systemisation – across on-prem and cloud – takes a step forward with the launch of Imagine Communications’ Aviator Orchestrator platform. Combining capabilities for managing and maintaining redundant channel configurations, keeping multiple linear playout systems in sync, and managing the signal flow of live sources, the new Aviator Orchestrator platform enables the on-prem and cloud worlds to be joined together under a common deployment platform, managing the resources and relationships between channels and live streams in a cohesive fashion. Imagine is showcasing its on-prem and cloud management capabilities at the 2023 NAB Show (booth W2775).
The Aviator Orchestrator platform brings together the power of Imagine’s on-prem playout and automation and its public cloud Imagine Aviator Plan, Make and Monetize platform. In addition, it incorporates capabilities to deploy, manage, and connect Amagi’s CLOUDPORT cloud playout engine and THUNDERSTORM dynamic ad insertion platform – including the ability to reach OTT and connected TV (CTV) endpoints. The result is a highly potent, fully integrated solution to manage the complexity of broadcast workflows, the migration to the cloud, and the changing viewing habits of consumers. The partnership with Amagi brings with it support for Google cloud, along with AWS cloud platforms, further extending the reach of the combined solution.
“Many of our customers operate linear channels and live linear delivery systems in multiple locations in their country and around the globe,” says Brendon Mills, general manager of Playout and Networking at Imagine Communications. “Working with Amagi creates new compelling options that expand what is possible with a combined cloud and on-prem solution. Our customers reap the benefit with more effective ways to keep these multi-site systems in sync and ensure they can support the desired channel breadth and reach and redundancy and disaster recovery strategies that make operational and financial sense.
“A growing number of customers are using or planning to make use of cloud resources to further bolster these redundancy and disaster recovery capabilities. This creates added complications both logically and operationally. Aviator Orchestrator provides a much-needed rethink of what it means to establish, use, and maintain these systems.”
Aviator Orchestrator makes it possible to deploy new channels and associated resources such as content, live feeds, and routing, as well as set up the needed redundancy and disaster recovery relationships between channels within a physical location, between multiple physical locations, and with resources in the public cloud. It no longer matters whether channels are in two or more on-prem locations, two or more cloud regions, or a combination of on-prem and cloud systems. Aviator Orchestrator makes it possible to keep everything synchronised and make changes to live streams, content, and channels as needs change over time.
Rolling out during 2023, the Aviator Orchestrator suite of products works in conjunction with Imagine’s recently demonstrated Magellan Connect feature set, which leverages low-latency encoding and secure delivery techniques to enable ground-to-cloud routing control. On-prem sources such as SDI, SMPTE ST 2110 and MPEG-2 transport streams can be routed within a single facility, between multiple on-prem facilities, and from on-prem to the public cloud – all under an integrated routing control environment. Content destined for the cloud can be encoded for contribution using H.264 and/or JPEG XS and securely delivered using SRT, managed through Magellan Connect; once in the cloud, sources can be routed to their target destinations, allowing a single source to be shared by many destinations simultaneously.
Aviator Orchestrator reduces the time and effort required to deploy channels by using a template architecture, ensuring consistency when deploying the same types of resources, limiting per-instance configuration and reducing errors. Templates are managed centrally, versions tracked, and active and standby resources clearly visible to administrators. Rolling out new software versions, supporting rollbacks, and managing occasional use and 24/7 resources are made easy.
The Aviator Orchestrator platform supports critical functionality to synchronize playout channels, which feature live inputs, clip playout, graphic branding, SCTE decoration, scheduled playout and master control integration. It enables disaster recovery and business continuity leveraging redundant channels – regardless of the redundancy strategy applied or the physical channel locations – to be kept in sync. Key focus areas for synchronisation are content to all needed storage locations, updates to playlists, metadata changes, and channel status.
Under Aviator Orchestrator control, a logical channel is created that can have multiple simultaneously synchronised associated real channels and can pull from a pool of available channel engines to back up a primary on-air channel as needed. Aviator Orchestrator ensures that all content (clips, audio, graphics, captions, and other assets), all data (content metadata and dynamic operational changes to that data), and playlist status (playlists, event status and timing) are in sync.
Aviator Orchestrator works in conjunction with both Imagine’s and partners’ on-prem and cloud routing control and playout systems, including critical interfacing to channel automation. The underlying complexity is managed, keeping the operational focus on what is needed to maintain smooth operation and on-air stability. Under normal operating conditions, users see resources and logical channels deployed and managed by Aviator Orchestrator. Operators can drill down to the underlying real channel(s) and manage at that level if needed for situational recovery. These real channel instances can be geographically distributed and deployed on-prem or in cloud.
Mills adds, “Imagine recognises that media and entertainment businesses are taking many different approaches and routes to reach their consumers. This includes their adoption of the cloud, now or in the future, and how they want to manage and evolve their redundancy and disaster recovery strategies. With the launch of Aviator Orchestrator, we make it possible to take your own path and your pace to achieve those goals, as well as to change and fine-tune those decisions over time.”