Astral Images

Astral Images

Client

About

Astral Images, a subsidiary of NASDAQ-traded company, Astrotech Corporation (NASDAQ: ASTC), is the world leader in the technology to digitize, restore and enhance all types of film and photographic material in various formats. Their technology represents millions of dollars in R&D investment from technology leaders such as IBM & Kodak.

Story

Astral Images provides an automated solution to upconvert SD and HD digital video to 4K UHD formats, which were self-hosted hosted in an on-premise datacenter. Their application provides a much less expensive alternative for movie studios and TV network customers who traditionally sent video masters to post-production houses for manual color correction and upconversion.

The customer identified a need to test, design, and deploy a solution to host this app in the public cloud and leverage the cloud’s scale-on-demand and automation features. Two important projects goals were monthly spend optimization, and better application performance. Astral Images engaged DoubleHorn to advise on choosing the right cloud for their business needs, and design a solution that would scale up and down based on demand to maximize ROI by paying only for the Cloud resources they needed, when they needed them.

After benchmarking the app on Azure, AWS, and GCP compute and storage services, Astral Images selected AWS. This solution provided the most powerful compute instance types, which was a priority to the Astral Images’ engineering team since processing power is the primary potential bottleneck.

“There were several technical obstacles to address in designing an optimal workflow,” commented Don Mackenzie, Cloud Architect at DoubleHorn. “Transferring up to 100TB into and out of AWS via the Internet is time-consuming and expensive. We opted to use AWS Snowball to transfer large project media from customer sites to and from AWS regional datacenters, and decided to use IBM Aspera accelerated file-transfer technology for smaller projects. Snowball provides FISMA-level encryption compliance which has been adopted by private-sector companies like Sony and FOX.”

DoubleHorn designed an AWS solution that automates workflow, scales vertically or horizontally as needed, tags resources for billing granularity, and allows the use of Spot Instances for greater cost savings—accomplishing and exceeding customer goals. In addition, the project includes a SaaS offering which will be available in AWS Marketplace to allow small studios and filmmakers to lease the app in the Cloud and manually process their own media.

Goals

  • Architect their proprietary rendering solution for AWS
  • Improve monthly spend optimization
  • Maximize mission-critical application performance
  • Optimize cloud management and billing with easy to use, Platform