Web application environment delivery system for scalable video production delivery and deployment to clients.
Tightly integrated web application utilising multiple AWS services. The end solution was highly scalable and utilised automated delivery mechanisms to increase speed to market and reduce human error.
A robust platform that works as intended and has provided a faster more agile platform than was initially conceived and allowed much greater speed to market.
Post Implementation review with Tim Moylan – COO Shootsta
You are a new type of startup, can you tell us a little bit more in detail about Shootsta and how you operate as a new type of service provider in the digital media space.
We provide a cost effective, simple solution for corporate videos and campaigns. We produce up to 3 min videos by training your team to operate a purpose built camera kit, and we look after all of the post production and get your edited video back to you in 24 hours. It’s the perfect mix of in-house and outsourced video production.
Shootsta was born out of a traditional video production company just 9 months ago, that saw the necessity for clients needing regular content without the cost of sending out a camera crew on top of the traditional production costs of each video.
We have a subscription based business, allowing our users to produce a number of videos produced each month.
We also supply a handy professional camera kit, including lights, microphones, tripod, iPad and Autocue to our clients as part of the subscription model so they can film their own content and then send the footage back to us for the editing process and we return a professional looking video with top and tail logo animations, music and colour grading within 24 hours.
We provide full training and support for our kit, allowing our clients to shoot professional quality footage. Our editors also provide feedback and tips on each video to ensure their videos keep getting better every time.
What were some pain points being experienced that prompted a search for a cloud services provider?
We were looking for a scalable reliable service and building the kind of infrastructure requirements in house was going to be too difficult and too costly.
Speed to market was also an important factor for us, so removing the need to deploy hardware was important as this setup alone would be a huge time constraint on the business.
Avoiding the upfront cost for compute, storage, racks, licensing etc was also appealing to us for obvious cashflow reasons.
Also using a cloud service meant that we could remove the need for internal skills to manage hardware so there were a lot of cost savings to be had for a startup.
What was the engagement process like? How was PolarSeven found?
We approached AWS and they put us in touch with one of the top AWS Advanced Consulting Partners in Sydney. They matched our requirements with the capability of the right partner for us, which was PolarSeven.
We joined the AWS Activate program which provides startups with the resources needed to get started on AWS. The program allowed us to engage Polar Seven and commercially de-risk a Proof of Concept “POC” by allocating AWS usage credits and PolarSeven professional services.
PolarSeven successfully managed the project deliverables and built the POC in conjunction with our team! We then moved to phase two and transitioned the POC environment into a production platform.
What solution was implemented within the business?
We needed to build a “video hub” for our clients. There were four main areas to that:
- Upload Area:
Where clients could login and upload their files to use for editing.
- Private Area:
This is where clients videos live once they have been completed and edited for them to view
- Element Library:
Stock footage library where clients can look for content that they might like to have added to their final video cut4. Public Area:
- Public Area: (Future Works)
A community hub where clients can show off their videos and share them
Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) was utilized for uploading, storage and securing of video content. This is tightly integrated into the web application. AWS CodeDeploy was implemented to provide an automated deployment procedure. This process removed human error from the release process by retrieving committed code (PHP) directly from GitHub, packaging and deploying to application servers. A highly available production application stack was built containing a single Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) and an Auto Scaling group of 2 application servers using Amazon Linux as the base operating system.
AWS CodeDeploy was implemented to provide an automated deployment procedure. This process removed human error from the release process by retrieving committed code (PHP) directly from GitHub, packaging and deploying to application servers. A highly available production application stack was built containing a single ELB and an Auto Scaling group of 2 application servers using Amazon Linux as the base operating system.
A highly available production application stack was built containing a single ELB and an Auto Scaling group of 2 application servers using Amazon Linux as the base operating system.
A redundant test application stack was built to allow testing of code prior to production release. This environment was designed to be disposed when not in use to save costs.
A self healing OpenVPN server was built to allow Virtual Private Network (VPN) access by users into the Shootsta Amazon VPC.
A self healing Network Address Translation (NAT) server was created to allow redundant access to the internet for servers in the private subnet.
A self healing Open Swan IPSec server was built to allow VPN access from the Shootsta office. This proved to be too difficult to integrate at the Office end and was not in use by the end of the project.
￼￼￼Amazon VPC Endpoints were configured to connect the Amazon VPC and S3 to reduce the risk of large volumes of network traffic utilizing the NAT server which has low network utilization.
What specifications needed to be adhered to?
Data retention was a key concern, but also how we could reduce cost in the long term for that so Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) was very important.
Availability also had to be to be extremely high, with AWS uptime guarantees this made it an easy choice.
The service had to be scalable. Obviously video can use a lot of compute power so we needed to know that if we had multiple clients use the service at once that we could service them without crashing the system.
The final key factor was speed. Fast streaming was an extremely high requirement because of video so we did not want to have any lag or buffering issues.
What were some of the alternative options proposed, that were not undertaken and why?
We did look at another provider and using managed servers but we ultimately did not want the responsibility of managing our own servers.
We also wanted something that load balanced and was redundant as well.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) ticked all the boxes so it was an easy choice.
How would you describe the project in terms of success? Was business value realised?
Yes, Having AWS as a badge for the hub is good for the Shootsta brand. Our clients like that and they recognise that using AWS is the best service to use.
We utilise that fact with our clients as a talking point on the security, availability and infrastructure service is built on.
What were some KPIs used to measure the success of the project?
￼￼￼Deliverables for the project were set by PolarSeven and a network diagram of infrastructure was provided and how it was supposed to work.
A scoping project was used to create that and that was used as the deliverables so KPI’s were based on that.
What changed culturally within the business and the workflow once you had moved to the cloud?
Since we are a new startup I wouldn’t say that culturally anything shifted dramatically but the benefit for the business of having a stable and reliable platform to get clients data is huge.
When we first started out we were using a dropbox instance and email which wasn’t so reliable.Now we have no concerns for the platform not working or dropping off because of AWS stability of infrastructure.
Now we have no concerns for the platform not working or dropping off because of AWS stability of infrastructure.
This allows us to get ahead of track with goals that were outlined for the business.Extra functionality has easily been employed for customers within the hub much faster than were thought could be done and enabled.
Extra functionality has easily been employed for customers within the hub much faster than were thought could be done and enabled.
This has provided us with much better speed to market and agility to support our customer services in the hub.
Were there any unexpected benefits that arose once the project had been completed?
Nothing unexpected, just the peace of mind of security of the system and infrastructure.
It just works.
Do you see yourselves expanding to utilise more AWS services into the future?
Yes. We have already added in Amazon Route 53 and AWS CodeDeploy since the original implementation.
We are also looking at how we can reduce our ongoing storage costs by utilising the archiving services Amazon Glacier in combination with S3.￼