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Picturepark Offer Regional Cloud Deployments

by Ralph Windsor on December 11, 2013

One of our featured DAM vendors, Picturepark announced last week that they have begun offering ‘regional cloud’ deployments of their DAM solution.  These are true locally operated DAM SaaS implementations rather than just being single customer instances hosted in a local data centre.  This is the quote from Ramon Foster, CEO of Picturepark (a model of succinct accuracy, other vendors please note):

Some organizations run Picturepark on-premise because corporate or governmental regulations prevent them from storing data on foreign soil. Picturepark Regional Clouds provide the benefits of SaaS-based Picturepark, while they ensure that metadata and assets are stored and managed locally, by certified professionals.” [Read More]

On their blog is an interview with Ricky Patten from DataBasics, who are an Australian Picturepark reseller that use this service:

Our Regional Cloud will be available throughout Oceania, and everything I have said with reference to Australian needs for a locally hosted solution will also apply, to a greater of lesser extent, for partner countries. Looking at the relationship between Australian and New Zealand, you can see many industry standards being shared between these countries, e.g ANZIC, ANZSCO and even ANZSOG. Our second Regional Cloud customer might be from New Zealand. We are separated from the rest of the world by an eight hour plane flight, so we tend to do business together.” [Read More]

This is an issue which is quite common, but one you do not hear mentioned widely.  Although the current majority of DAM users are US or European based, other regional markets are both catching up fast and many Atlantic-centric businesses also have global offices now and their staff need access to digital assets like everyone else does.

I deal with some Australian clients and a few that are subsidiaries of UK or North American businesses.  I gather the latency issue is usually just about bearable for basic use, but becomes more a of a problem for large assets (e.g. video or print media).  Also the regulatory side (as Ricky describes in the blog post) is more complex to deal with as many government agencies are legally required to ensure data does not leave domestic borders.

I’m not sure how Picturepark deliver their regional clouds, but I know that Amazon AWS now offer quite a wide range of different regional Data Centres, including those in South Pacific countries like Australia and Singapore.  Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) can be used to avoid the latency issue, but integrating these with a dynamic permissions-oriented DAM system (and the associated application logic) isn’t as straightforward as you might expect – especially if the assets are highly sensitive.  This will be an issue that becomes increasingly important and one that the majority of DAM  vendors who want to offer the SaaS delivery model to clients of any significant scale will need to eventually solve.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

David Diamond December 11, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Thank you for the article, Ralph. It has been an interesting few years for us because the need for the Regional Cloud was making itself known to us long before we realized it.

Picturepark was originally a Cloud-only service. (In fact, having been launched in 2000, I think Picturepark is the world’s oldest commercial Cloud DAM service.) Several years back, the company decided to also offer Picturepark for on-premise (installed) deployment. This was in large part due to an increasing number of requests for installed solutions.

As you might expect, this was sort of confusing. Here we were an established Cloud DAM player, and we were getting an increasing number of requests for on-premise deployment. Even stranger, on-prem deployment now accounts for about 50% of the systems we sell. So much for the rush to the Cloud!

We’re happy to be able to sell either but, really, this sort of made no sense to us. We figured that the trend would increase toward Cloud-based DAM.

The deeper we looked into this, the more we saw that some prospects and customers were growing increasingly squeamish about data storage regulations that *might* come into effect, if they hadn’t already. There was a fear that unless a data center was located on national soil, that it might somehow become forbidden to them. Installed software, though clearly the less convenient option, became the “safer” option.

This lead to the development of the specification of the Picturepark Regional Cloud. Because of Picturepark’s built-in multi-tenant and multi-instance capabilities, all Picturepark systems have the ability to provide SaaS DAM services to multiple stakeholders. In fact, our own SaaS customers are running on the very same version of Picturepark that is installed with our on-premise customers. So we already had the software to do this. All that was needed in order to make Regional Clouds feasible was the development of a spec that defined what was required of the data center.

In reference to what you’ve written above, the Picturepark Regional Cloud *could* be hosted from Amazon Web Services, but it will most likely be hosted by other data centers most of the time, and this was in the plan. Because Amazon is a US company, the use of their infrastructure is a concern for some organizations. Even with Amazon’s regional data centers, there was the fear that data would somehow be within the grasp of the US government’s increasingly unpopular interest in corporate data.

So the Picturepark Regional Cloud program was designed to be a “SaaS to go” sort of specification that would enable qualified partners to provide their own SaaS DAM services that were based on Picturepark but hosted by a locally owned (and presumably trusted) data center. The net result to customers in those regions is that they have access to true SaaS DAM that’s faster, based on DAM software that’s already been in use commercially for 13 years, they can comply with current and future data storage regulations, and they have local support for everything.

I have always fantasized about a single, global Cloud that works for everyone, everywhere, all the time. But this just isn’t the case internationally, as you mentioned. Organizations like the convenience of SaaS DAM, but they’re growing increasingly weary of off-shore data storage. So we think the Picturepark Regional Cloud offers a nice Cloud DAM option for organizations that would otherwise be forced into managing an on-premise DAM solution.

David Diamond
Director of Global Marketing
Picturepark

Ricky Patten December 12, 2013 at 2:06 am

Ralph

I think you have summarised the issues faced by regional users of DAM solutions really well. Although there are technical solutions such as AWS or CDNs, these do not necessarily address the business issues that are closest to heart for a customer.

Thank you

rp

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