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HP converged cloud protecting and powering 20th Century Fox blockbusters

13 Jun 2013
Cloud computing

LAS VEGAS: The chief information officer of 20th Century Fox, John Herbert, has touted HP's converged cloud services as a key tool powering the movie-making machine.

Herbert said the hybrid cloud approach has helped the entertainment company overcome traditional core complexities in the movie making industry's business model, during a talk at HP Discover in Las Vegas.

"[In the past] we, like many IT organisations, worked from a traditional point of view when supporting the business's professional endeavours, so when running purchasing processes or ordering equipment it would be four to five weeks before we'd actually started offering any value proposition for the business," he said.

"For us first and foremost it's all about speed to market, we have to be able to run as fast as the business. Because of this we're literally looking at shifting from a five-week window down to 15 minutes."

Herbert highlighted the removal of physical obstacles, like tape movie distribution processes, as a key example of how cloud computing had helped streamline Fox's business operations. "If you look at something like international TV distribution, it hasn't been that many years since we were really focused on a physical business that was pushing our products out via tapes," he said.

"Since then, in a short window we completely transformed that aspect of the business. We moved from tape distribution to a completely digital content model around the world."

Despite the positive benefits of the cloud, Herbert said security concerns regarding Fox's intellectual property makes a wholly open approach unworkable. "One of the things we really have to balance is the fact that content is our business, so it's absolutely critical we have the right security in place to protect our assets while still driving efficiency throughout the business," he said.

Herbert said Fox's need to reap the power benefits of the open cloud for certain business processes combined with its need to protect its IP is a key reason it chose HP's hybrid approach. "At 20th Century we've used public cloud for the last three years and have really seen the benefit of it, but now the approach we're taking with our converged cloud strategy is all about choice," he said. "It allows us to expand when appropriate to leverage the public cloud whenever there's a specific case we're trying to solve."

The Fox chief added that the approach has also helped the IT department radically reduce its operation costs. "The foundation cost is around the data centre. There's power and space, it's all about the data centre and one of the things we're really excited about is the choice that we have with this converged cloud solution to reduce our data centre footprint and reap tremendous cost reductions and help the bottom line across all our businesses," he said.

Herbert's comments mirror those of HP chief executive officer Meg Whitman, who listed the cost of running traditional data centres as a key challenge facing modern enterprise during her Discover keynote address.

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

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