Digital Asset Management Education Experts

Special Report: Buying Corporate DAM Systems: A Manager's Guide To Procurement Best Practices

This report offers purchasing and procurement tips for managers involved in decisions about selecting a DAM system. Also included is an example RFP with questions that specifically relate to Digital Asset Management.

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Enterprise Digital Asset Management: A Guide For IT Professionals

Practical advice for IT professionals on issues from systems integration to the IT infrastucture requirements for Digital Asset Management.

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Video Digital Asset Management: 12 Crucial Points For Marketers

Marketing managers are invited to consider 12 crucial points that will determine the success or failure of a web video archive.

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What is Digital Asset Management Hosting?

Digital Asset Management hosting refers to the provision of a Digital Asset Management (DAM) software system as an online service. Daydream have extensive experience of reviewing and implementing hosting solutions for DAM applications, including risk management for Cloud or SaaS hosted DAM services.

One of our major areas of consulting expertise is helping clients to set up secure, large scale Digital Asset Management hosting services where a solution could potentially be used by thousands of concurrent users from numerous global locations. Whether clients wish to outsource or insource hosting, Daydream can help assess DAM hosting needs. We cover major providers from aggregated Cloud services through to individual data centres and their resellers.

DAM Hosting: The Important Factors

There are a number of requirements for a robust, secure and scalable digital asset hosting solution that will provide capacity for high demand DAM application and media asset hosting. These include:
Below we describe what we look for when we evaluate each of these criteria for our hosting advisory service clients.

Secure Data Centres

A secure and resilient data centre is the basis of a reliable provision. Without one, a Digital Asset Management solution faces an on-going risk of failure. All the data centres we recommend to clients must have these characteristics:
  • CCTV with security guard patrol
  • Manned 24 hours
  • Humidity Control
  • VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detection)
  • 6 days power backup via on-site generators

We have a range of Cloud and traditional hosting services providers that meet the above criteria and who are suitable for DAM in the UK, North America, Europe, Japan, Singapore and Australia.

Scalable Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Enterprise Digital Asset Management solutions rely on having a content delivery infrastructure that can handle bandwidth heavy media such as streamed video, archived audio, large print artwork files and original images.

Daydream's knowledge of content delivery solutions ranges from relatively basic distribution of images and documents right the way to large scale content delivery using an enterprise class CDN (Content Delivery Network).

Media Encoding Capability

Media encoding is the process of converting ingested source media into a proxy or surrogate format suitable for delivery via a Digital or Media Asset Management system (e.g. thumbnails or Flash previews). Any serious enterprise DAM system needs a media encoding server that can be scaled and hosted independently of the core Digital Asset Management application.

Many DAM applications now include built-in video transcoding facilities or can be integrated into those offered by third party solution vendors. We can work with solution vendors to provide clients with either combined media encoding virtual servers for delivery from a single physical host, or a dedicated media processing server.

As well as video transcoding, we have expertise in assessing the most suitable options for encoding images, office documents, audio files and print media.

Resilient Network Infrastructure

DAM systems need to process bandwidth-intensive media like video. Whether archived or streamed, the hosting of video assets requires a robust, high-availability network infrastructure managed by skilled and experienced engineers. When we are asked by clients to consult and recommend infrastructure, we look for the following baseline criteria:
  • A fully switched Tier 1 IP network with multiple redundant routers and connections to multiple ISPs.
  • At least 10gbit network architecture with interconnections between each data centre.
  • 1gbit, fully-switched port on an edge switch for each server.
  • Separate aggregation with failover redundancy.

Detailed Security Policy

Daydream are aware that digital assets can be some of the most critical tools in an organisation and the consequences of them falling into the wrong hands can have devastating effects on the whole enterprise. For this reason, security is paramount in every Digital Asset Management hosting architecture that we are consultants for. As part of any hosting provision, we consider the following security factors:

Network Security

Dedicated firewall and intrusion detection systems to identify attempts to gain access via SQL injection or other application based attacks.

Communications Security

Application communications should secured using at least 128-bit SSL encryption. Passwords, web pages, application scripts and assets are all secured during transit.

Identification Security

Users should enter a unique username and password combination to be authenticated by the application for externally hosted services. For internal hosting or SSO (Single Sign On) ontegration with LDAP or Active Directory so users can login with their corporate workstation credentials or login transparently (for SSO).

Role Based Security

User roles decide what functions they may access. These can be both group based (e.g. application role such as administrator) or granular using a checkbox style system to customise access levels for different individuals.

Data Protection Compliance

The selected hosting providers should be registered with any local Data Protection agency (e.g. Information Commissioner in the UK) and a member of staff should have the role of designated data controller. All hosting installations we review must be fully compliant with the UK Data Protection Act.

Multiple Backup Capabilities

A comprehensive backup policy is critical to ensure that assets are protected against major hardware failure. The hosting provision should include a local backup to tape/disk and a live remote backup to a secondary data centre. Unused media should be are stored in a fire proof safes.

Advanced Monitoring

All aspects of a client’s hosting facility need to continuously monitored. This includes:
  • Connectivity
  • VPN
  • Web Server
  • Database Server Failure
  • Application Server
  • Media Server
  • Disk Space
  • RAID disks
  • Processor Utilisation
  • Suspicious security related activity
    (e.g. Denial of Service attacks, SQL injection etc.)

If any of the above either fail or reaches a pre-determined threshold, a schedule of warnings should be delivered. We advise these are issued to client's own IT personnel and engineers also.

Failover & Redundancy

To meet High Availability (HA) or Continuity of Business (CoB) requirements, a range of options should be provided. These include:
  • 100% availability
  • Full hardware redundancy or virtualised secondary hosts
  • A remote failover using a secondary host held at a distance of at least 30 miles from the primary facility
  • Live synchronisation and/or clustering of web, media processing and database servers
  • Redundant DNS servers in multiple geographical locations

Service Level Agreement Commitment (SLA)

The SLA is an integral element of a successful Digital Asset Management hosting solution. We look for:
  • A hosting SLA that is integrated into the application support agreement
  • A 24x7 helpdesk
  • 24x7 network support
  • Agreements with the data centre providers to provide emergency maintenance to hosts the DAM system is held on
  • If non-Cloud, inventories of spare equipment should be available on-site at the data centre in the event of component failure
  • For physical hosts, the highest level support and warranty schemes with hardware manufacturers and the capability to call out an engineer to attend with 2 hours of a hardware fault being reported
  • A 100% SLA
  • Service credits for failure to meet response and/or resolution times

Further Information

For further information on Daydream's Digital Asset Management Hosting Consulting services, contact our DAM Hosting Consulting Team or read our report, "Digital Asset Management Hosting: Making The Right Decision For Your Organisation".