SoftwareONE: PRODUCER scales globally after move to Azure

PRODUCER – Maker Machina is an all-in-one tool that aims to revolutionise the film and content creation industry. And with its recent migration to Azure, helped by SoftwareOne, PRODUCER is destined to leave a legacy.
Patrick Lambertz

Patrick Lambertz

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As veterans of the film industry and co-founders of Zurich-based media production studio Otakus GmbH, Xaver Walser and Paul-Emile Joëssel understand the complexities of managing a film project from initial idea to final product. The frustrations they experienced while creating content led them to identify the need for a tool to simplify the production process. So they launched a startup, called PRODUCER – Maker Machina, and built a suite of digital tools to meet that need.

Although PRODUCER was designed from the start to be cloud-native, Walser and Joëssel soon recognised that the platform on which they built it could not easily be scaled up to support their goal of simultaneously serving thousands of users around the globe. Walser, having previously worked with SoftwareOne, asked for the company’s support to create a roadmap to facilitate scalability.

After an initial meeting, SoftwareOne began working with PRODUCER and successfully migrated its application to Microsoft Azure. As a result, PRODUCER’s software as a service (SaaS) offering can now be scaled up rapidly to satisfy a growing user base. In addition, SoftwareOne also helped the software to become far more resilient and secure to meet expanding demand.

An all-in-one tool for film production

PRODUCER – Maker Machina provides an all-in-one tool for managing the film production process. It’s designed to replace the numerous point-to-point software applications currently used by film teams to manage a project from start to finish. PRODUCER lets production teams, agencies and clients communicate, collaborate and streamline workflows efficiently. By adding transparency to every stage of production and centralising communication, it improves the process, saving time and money.

We want to assist the film industry by moving towards a single point of truth. During the past 50 years, little has changed, and current technology allows for simplification and increased productivity.

– Paul-Emile Joëssel, Co-Founder and CTO, PRODUCER

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PRODUCER, at the time that SoftwareOne became involved, had already been in use by dozens of early adopters during development and beta testing. “However,” says Joëssel, “the application wasn’t scalable and the continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipeline was becoming increasingly difficult to manage.”

Identifying and tackling obstacles to migration

PRODUCER had a few requirements for SoftwareOne’s solution: it had to stay cloud-agnostic, highly automated, secure and efficient and be built on cloud best practices. It also had to be completed quickly.

SoftwareOne began by assessing PRODUCER’s software to ensure it was cloud-ready. PRODUCER chose Microsoft Azure as its trusted cloud provider. The company qualified for Azure credits through the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub, so Azure was the obvious choice for cloud migration. SoftwareOne subsequently suggested a workshop with PRODUCER to identify potential migration obstacles, decide on suitable Azure services, define the design of the new environment on Azure and plan roles and tasks for execution. Rehosting of SQL on Azure was also carried out by SoftwareOne as part of the project.

In addition to providing DevOps expertise and migration support, SoftwareOne guided PRODUCER with ongoing advisory services. It also implemented GitHub for source code management and CI/CD. This helped to optimise design and deployment, additionally providing a foundation for future software testing. Terraform is used to enable infrastructure as code for more efficient and automated deployment. SoftwareOne worked to ensure that the PRODUCER application would follow best practices and remain cloud-agnostic, giving the startup as much future flexibility as possible.

The Azure solution included Azure Container Registry, Azure Kubernetes Service, Key Vault for secure key management, monitoring services to minimise operational overhead and Azure Database for PostgreSQL, which makes administration easier for PRODUCER’s lean IT team. It also deployed MongoDB Atlas, a portable SaaS solution for data management, to provide PRODUCER with on-demand scalability for future growth. After just two months, most of the PRODUCER software had been migrated to Azure.

Delivering scalability, resilience and security

Since completing the migration to Azure, PRODUCER is confident that its infrastructure can support all users as the company grows. In addition to being highly scalable, the solution provides far more resilience than before.

Today, we can start a new region whenever we want in Azure, and everything is ready for it. We can iterate on our pipeline faster than ever before and run dozens of updates of the application a day with minimum manual input from the team.

– Paul-Emile Joëssel, Co-Founder and CTO, PRODUCER

He adds, “It’s safer. If everything stopped tomorrow and we had to start from scratch, we would be able to do it. Before, it required manual work. Now, we just have to run the script and we know we can have the whole architecture up again in a matter of minutes.”

Another benefit comes from Azure’s high-performance global network, which ensures low latency across regions. “In the past, it was impossible to run in the US because of the latency issue,” says Walser, PRODUCER’s CEO. “And now it is not an issue anymore. We even have clients in Australia, Brazil and Canada. It’s working every time – amazing!”

Such performance and reliability are crucial for PRODUCER to achieve its ambitious goals. The startup is growing its user base around the world and just onboarded its first large corporate client.

Building credibility through SoftwareOne and Azure

Working with SoftwareOne strengthened PRODUCER’s credibility within the corporate world – our target audience. When you have SoftwareOne at your side together with Microsoft Azure, it adds weight. SoftwareOne was identified as the right partner from the start.

– Xaver Walser, Co-Founder and CEO, PRODUCER

Joëssel agrees: “We know where we want to be. We are not experts at everything, but we will go find the best partners to take us there.” He adds, “Corporates are in agreement that being on Azure is part of PRODUCER’s USP.”

SoftwareOne worked not only to support PRODUCER’s technical needs but provided advice and guidance wherever required, says SoftwareOne solution architect Ralf Ehlert. “One needs to approach this from a business angle, on a product and consumer level, more than merely on a technical level,” says Ehlert. “We are here to be a true partner and that means providing the support needed to serve PRODUCER’s best interests.”

SoftwareOne is always there for us. We really value their business philosophy and their willingness to go the extra mile to meet our needs.

– Xaver Walser, Co-Founder and CEO, PRODUCER

 

Read the origina article here: PRODUCER scaling globally after move to Azure

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