signagelive Partners With Data Host Giant Rackspace
February 28, 2012 by Dave Haynes
The term cloud has entered the mainstream and applied to pretty much anything that uses the intertubes to communicate. You could argue any networked digital signage platform is cloud-based, I suppose.
But when I think of a cloud-based platform, I think in terms of shared servers – somewhere else – that provide resources, software, and data to PCs and other kinds of devices on demand. It’s a service with big, big scalability and the elasticity to offer additional computing power pretty much on the fly, and then pull it back.
That’s what UK-based signagelive has in mind in the deal it has done with Rackspace, one of the genuine giants in cloud-based server farms and content distribution. The company, which has more than 170,000 clients, has moved its media-delivery infrastructure on to the Rackspace Cloud, and the San Antonio, Texas-based company sees signagelive as a business partner and not just a new customer.
“The company has embraced the OpenStack tools we provide, created their own applications and optimized on top of our infrastructure. This kind of innovative approach is something we aim to nurture in partnership with our customers,” says Taylor Rhodes, Managing Director of Rackspace International.
“Digital signage has long been held back by high IT infrastructure costs and closed, proprietary systems. Moving to a truly cloud-powered system is a first for our industry and this has the potential to truly unlock volume markets and new value chains for us,” says signagelive CEO Jason Cremins. “You cannot scale with software installed on a desktop computer in your closet, but you can with a system that boasts over 70,000 servers across eight data centers.”
One of the Preset Group’s DSE Mixer sponsors (yay!), signagelive spent about six months of evaluation and another six testing with Rackspace before fully cutting over. By utilizing Rackspace’s integration of its CloudFiles product with Akamai’s Content Delivery Network (CDN), signagelive is able to deliver static files much faster and more efficiently to its users and media endpoints. The CDN caches content in a global multi-tier system to ensure that static files are delivered from the closest node to the end user or media endpoint, thus ensuring an improvement in the speed of media delivery and user interface experience.
In line with its move to Rackspace, signagelive created a custom performance monitoring application utilizing Cloud Servers and Cloud Load Balancer APIs, enabling it to scale up or down on demand when required. In times of peak (or unexpected) load, signagelive automatically increases the number of servers available to network customers, ensuring that the user experience remains a constant and is not degraded by any large spikes in traffic.
“We learned through this process how critical it is to select the right partner to grow your business with. It’s clear that signagelive isn’t just a customer, we’re a part of the Rackspace family,” adds Cremins.
Rackspace has eight data centers – in the US, UK and Hong Kong. Using something called CloudFiles within the signagelive platform gives the company the horsepower of some 100,000 servers across 71 countries for delivering media to end-devices on the digital signage platform.
We’re still in a business where a 1,000-license deal and deployment gets attention, but as everything gets screens and networked, and the need to push information or do things has peaks and valleys, this sort of capability is what the future looks like.