Lately Digital Asset Management and more specifically media streaming has been a pretty hot item. I’ve found myself in a number of conversations discussing Oracle UCM’s capabilities and how to integrate it’s features in to web sites. The content server is an excellent platform for media storage, management and conversion, but when partnered with WCM it can become a single platform capable of handling the functional requirements of a YouTube or Flickr.
A little background on Oracle UCM Digital Asset Management
Before we go any farther, in the interest of saving me some typing I’ll now be using one of the more awkward acronyms in technology to describe Digital Asset Management, DAM.
I like to say that the content servers’s DAM features(hehe)are exactly that, Digital Asset Management features. The DAM components handle the calls to the conversion engines and then also manages the resulting multitude of renditions. They do not however actually convert anything on their own. Oracle UCM like many other DAM applications relies on third party conversion tools to handle that work (usually Handmade’s Image Alchemy for Images and Telestream’s FlipFactory for video). This is really an excellent design because the conversion engines end up being loosely coupled to the conversion server, allowing converters to be changed out, added orupgraded, without major changes to system. With a few simple configuration changes they can also often be piggy-backed together, so that several different conversions actions can be set for the same content item.
From a high level here’s what a typical DAM process looks like with Oracle UCM.
- A content author checks in an image or video
- The file is identified as a digital asset needing conversion
- The file is then passed over to the conversion server
- The conversion server looks at the metadata to determine what rendition package and/or conversion need to occur(An image for instance might be converted to a large jpg and a smaller gif. It might even have a watermark applied).
- The conversion is executed.
- The resulting renditions are packed up and sent back to the content server
- When the content is viewing the content item, the DAM component adds an extra “Renditions” tab to review, download and in the case for video watch the different versions
That’s the high level overview, there are some more features there that I am glossing over, but the primary point is that the DAM components handle the management and the conversion engines handle the conversions.