FileCatalyst & Aberdeen Case Study

posted in: Case Studies | 0

Profile

Since 2001, Aberdeen Broadcast Services has delivered programming and content services to broadcast networks and stations globally. Aberdeen specializes in digital file delivery, captioning, language translation, subtitling and voice-over services. Operating in an industry where delivery time is crucial, Aberdeen routinely receives full resolution video files from producers around the world for post-production, and the video files they receive are typically very extensive in size. After processing and transcoding the video files to their required station formats, Aberdeen digitally delivers the final content to receiving stations around the world, completing the workflow.

Challenges

Aberdeen originally used the FTP protocol as their main transfer method for sending and receiving client’s large video files. Inevitably, Aberdeen experienced the many common pitfalls inherent to FTP, such as latency and packet loss. Along with slow transfer speeds, delivery failures and corrupt files became common occurrences when sharing content with external parties.

The steady growth of file sizes caused by the increasing adoption of HD video formats has resulted in substantially more frequent slowdowns when using FTP-based transfer methods. The geographic dispersion of Aberdeen’s clients further slowed transfer speeds, adding to the challenge of meeting efficient and timely deliveries. It became clear for Aberdeen that it was time to seek out a faster, more reliable file delivery solution.

As they sought out new and more efficient workflows, Aberdeen felt that the adoption of Amazon’s AWS S3 storage was right for them since it’s extremely scalable and eliminates the need to operate and maintain on-premise hardware. Since making the decision to move to AWS, they needed a fast file transfer that is fully compatible with AWS.

Solutions

To optimize Aberdeen’s file transfer workflow, several different FileCatalyst solutions were installed in their AWS environment, allowing them to accelerate file transfers and remotely control and monitor both inbound and outbound traffic.

FileCatalyst HotFolder was connected to the FileCatalyst Direct Server and configured with a “Post Task” API call that gives Aberdeen enhanced flexibility and automation actions for completed transfers.

FileCatalyst Direct Server, with its ability to mount Amazon’s S3 file system, lets Aberdeen post and transfer large files directly within their AWS environment, as opposed to using more expensive EBS storage. FileCatalyst also has different installers available for Linux, Windows and Mac, so Aberdeen can target different environments effectively. This allowed them to leverage the Linux operating system, saving operational costs while using FileCatalyst in AWS.

Email notifications were enabled via FileCatalyst Workflow, which informs Aberdeen and their clients when transcoded videos are delivered to receiving stations. Lastly, the FileCatalyst HotFolder application was installed to automate upload and download tasks, letting Aberdeen schedule transfers in advance.

Results

FileCatalyst’s UDP-based fast file transfer technology quickly became a core facet of Aberdeen’s operations, as they immediately noticed the benefits of increased reliability and speed. It also helped create a more fluid workflow since automated notifications quickly and easily inform users about the status of file deliveries. As a result of the deployment, the physical delivery of videotapes was virtually eliminated. “We now like to say ‘We are faster than FedEx,’” said Matthew Cook, President of Aberdeen. “Switching to FileCatalyst has allowed us to quickly share files with our international clients in countries as far as Australia and Singapore.”

“The total suite of FileCatalyst products allow us to stay connected to our many clients and stations around the world and maintain consistent communication with their servers, letting us quickly deliver large files to any of our 700+ nodes 24/7,” Matthew Cook continued.

The set-up and configuration of FileCatalyst’s software into Aberdeen’s infrastructure was a quick and non-disruptive process with no downtime. Regarding installation and post-sales support, Matthew Cook had this to say; “FileCatalyst’s support team is very responsive, escalating issues to the highest levels when necessary, especially during our transition to AWS. The FileCatalyst Team has our back and their software, as well as support, has helped us build a delivery network consisting of over 700 stations and delivery endpoints around the world. FileCatalyst is a partner we couldn’t live without.”