Meet Our Experts: Akram Al Sawaf, DevOps Engineer

Blog Post
In our new series, “Meet Our Experts”, we will introduce some of the talented people behind the movingimage Enterprise Video Platform. Get to know them and see the platform through their eyes. Today we will discuss enterprise video security, enterprise video integrations, SaaS deployment, testing, and what it takes to deliver the best video quality at all times.

Meet our first expert: Akram Al Sawaf, DevOps Engineer at movingimage

What is your particular area of expertise in enterprise video?

My background is in IT infrastructure testing and optimization. Having worked with a wide spectrum of networking and data center technologies, I was excited to join an innovative SaaS platform at movingimage, where I work in the DevOps team.

What is the DevOps team in charge of? What is your specific role?

I am a DevOps engineer. At movingimage, DevOps are responsible for creating and maintaining a reliable infrastructure. We make sure that the infrastructure is always available, and we make sure that the services are always reachable, with a minimal amount of latency and the highest level of performance possible. We also make sure that services are scaled upon demand, based on customer requirements. Of course, customer requirements can increase and decrease depending on the time or the type of use case. Our systems need to be able to follow this demand, to make sure that we’re able to scale up whenever the demand increases and scale down if it decreases. This is why our architecture and services are structured in a micro-service way. We also work with other teams to streamline deployments and ensure service continuity.

What measures does your team take to make sure that the platform is secure?

Security is a big topic. We apply and maintain multiple layers of security in our platform; sensitive data is encrypted in motion and at rest, and services are thoroughly vetted for malicious activities. We are also responsible for Infrastructure as Code, security aspects such as configuration hashing and secrets management. Security can be crucial, so we try to be at the forefront of every single security aspect.

What should a company look for when they are looking for an enterprise video platform?

It largely depends on the use case. Having an easy integration API should cater to a variety of custom integrations with the customers’ auxiliary systems. But in all cases, customers look for secure, reliable, easy-to-operate, and fast video management.

What are the benefits of deploying a video platform in the cloud in comparison to legacy data center deployments?

Video processing and other video-related features, such as AI-generated subtitles, present a challenge when it comes to CPU, networking, and storage utilization. Deploying our solution with micro-service architecture on the Azure cloud allows us to scale our resources—in and out—according to demand. It also ensures that unused resources are not consuming wasted energy somewhere in the data center. To hear more about cloud deployment, please see our video below:

You are very interested in Cloud-based SaaS solutions. Why is that?

Coming from a background of networking and testing, I’ve been very intrigued by the fact that when you put your software in the cloud, you are basically creating a place where people can test ideas. You know, bring things without expensive costs into an actual reality, that you could actually test. For example, if tomorrow one of our teams has this great idea of how to do something new, all he has to do is create the code for it, allocate a specific amount of resources, push it to the cloud, and test it. In a typical environment, you’d have to have administrators looking into “where can I run this service? What kind of network cables do I need to attach these devices for testing-only? Do I have to put it in a specific network environment?” and so on, and so forth… So, I think the idea of having continuous integration and continuous testing (CI/CD) environment in the cloud provides a great playing field for people to just go down there test new ideas. That’s why when I had the opportunity to join movingimage, I was very excited to be able to bring my experiences and to apply it into a cloud strategy and integration with cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure, whom we work with.

What do you like most about working at movingimage?

I still remember the first day I came to movingimage. When I walked in, the first thing that struck me was the building, the high ceiling, the plants coming down… It’s simply the good feeling that you get when you walk around. But when you go behind that, when you look at the people. I have only encountered great people in here. From a technology perspective, movingimage has built a great reputation within customers – big customers. You know, we have customers with thousands of employees hitting the services, viewing the videos. This requires expert video management, and for me, this is something very exciting to be part of.

Tell me about your team – what type of person does it take to work in DevOps at movingimage?

Our team is made up of enthusiastic tech experts who came to Berlin from all around the world, with various backgrounds including software, networking, and cloud. We always say in our DevOps team that our job is to make sure that every problem we have is a new problem. So we aim to never repeat an old problem and if the problem happens again then you either look at it and automate a solution until it gets permanently fixed or you think differently about it, think how can I actually make sure that this problem never occurs again? Maybe it’s the technology that needs to be rethought, maybe the way you’re using it is outside of its capacity. So, I would say someone with a passion for technology, technological knowledge, and who is talented at problem-solving.

Want to know more about movingimage EVP? Contact our experts

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