No Mickey Mouse Microsoft migration: Walt Disney Studios utilising Azure for content workflows

James has more than a decade of experience as a tech journalist, writer and editor, and served as Editor in Chief of TechForge Media between 2017 and 2021. James was named as one of the top 20 UK technology influencers by Tyto, and has also been cited by Onalytica, Feedspot and Zsah as an influential cloud computing writer.

Walt Disney Studios is looking to the cloud for new ways to create, produce and distribute its content – and the media behemoth has chosen Microsoft to help.

The companies have signed a five-year ‘innovation partnership’ which will see Disney utilise Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform to ‘help accelerate innovation at The Walt Disney Studios for production and post-production processes’ – or ‘scene to screen’, as the companies put it.

The partnership will be concentrated around Disney’s StudioLAB, a technology hub focused on ‘the art of storytelling with cutting-edge tools and methods’, including virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI).

There is a third partner here in the shape of media technology firms Avid, with whom Microsoft already has a cloud alliance focused on putting together cloud-based media workflows around active backup, collaborative editing, and content archiving. The companies are ‘demonstrating that the kinds of demanding, high-performance workflows the media and entertainment industry requires can be deployed and operated with the security offered by the cloud’.

The latter is a particularly important use case for media providers; NASCAR’s move to Amazon Web Services (AWS) back in June enabled it to launch an online archive feature, while Boston-based TV station WGBH utilised object storage provider Cloudian last year to dramatically reduce the time required to access its previously tape and disk drive-oriented archive.

“By moving many of our production and post-production workflows to the cloud, we’re optimistic that we can create content more quickly and efficiently around the world,” said Jamie Voris, Walt Disney Studios CTO. “Through this innovation partnership with Microsoft, we’re able to streamline many of our processes so our talented filmmakers can focus on what they do best.”

Kate Johnson, president of Microsoft US, said cloud usage has ‘reached a tipping point’ for the media industry. “With Azure as the platform cloud for content, we’re excited to work with the team at StudioLAB to continue to drive innovation across Disney’s broad portfolio of studios,” said Johnson.

This is by no means the first cloud initiative from the wider company; back in 2017, just in time for re:Invent, it was announced that The Walt Disney Company was utilising AWS as its preferred public cloud infrastructure provider. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

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