With the launch this week of Amazon Nimble Studio, Amazon is eying a growing chunk of the content creation market — still a heavily on-premises world — with a dedicated set of cloud-based tools designed to let users set up a high-powered content production studio in AWS. So what is Amazon Nimble Studio? We took a closer look.
Amazon Nimble Studio lets users “set up a content production studio in hours instead of weeks, with elasticity that gives them near limitless scale and access to rendering on demand,” AWS said. What does that mean?
Before answering that question, it’s worth looking at why Amazon sees enough opportunity here to launch a dedicated service focussing on a target market of companies creating high-end visual effects, animation, or any other form of creative content that needs substantial compute behind its production.
Enterprises in this space have traditionally relied on powerful workstations “connected to shared file storage systems over low-latency, on-premises networks”. But rising demand for compute-intensive rendering often leaves studios over-provisioning their compute, networking, and storage infrastructure for peak capacity, Amazon claims, pointing out that a typical animated feature film now generates 730TB of data and up to half a billion files, requiring more than 150 million core compute hours and coordination from hundreds of creatives.
As an industry, it’s ripe for a dose of the cloud treatment, Amazon is not alone in thinking; some 18 months ago Walt Disney Studios agreed a five-year deal with Microsoft that will see the company shift a range of production and post-production shift to Azure — which now also underpins some content distribution — in a deal that leveraged production suite Avid’s own shift to an Azure-based SaaS offering.
OK, so what is Amazon Nimble Studio?
What is Amazon Nimble Studio? Specifically, Amazon Nimble Studio bundles together virtual workstations powered by Amazon EC2 G4dn instances, with NVIDIA GPUs, and high-speed storage from Amazon FSx. It supports Windows and Linux and allows artists to work with third-party creative applications and custom software applications using Amazon Machine Images (AMIs). Studios can also use custom software applications and bring them into Nimble Studio via AMIs AWS said. Customers can choose G4dn.xlarge (4 vCPUs, 16GBmemory and a NVIDIA Tesla T4 GPU with RTX) for lighter tasks and scale to instances with 64 vCPUs and 256GB of memory for larger data sets and simulation workflows.
The announcement of Amazon Nimble Studio comes as AWS also launched AWS for Media & Entertainment: an initiative featuring new and existing services and solutions from the hyperscaler and AWS Partners, built specifically for content creators, rights holders, producers, broadcasters, and distributors.This features nine AWS Services, 11 AWS Solutions, dedicated AWS appliances, and 400+AWS Partners focussed on Content Production; Media Supply Chain & Archive; Broadcast; Direct-to-Consumer & Streaming; and Data Science & Analytics.
As verticals to go after it’s an intriguing one. Amazon’s experience in the creative space has been decidedly spotty, with its game studio proving a massive flop to-date. But with Amazon Nimble Studios the company isn’t trying to creat something itself, rather, bring the scalability and global footprint of the cloud to a traditionally on-premises bound vertical with significant privacy, security, latency, and storage requirements. Can it execute? Watch this space.