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Mark Sun, Co-founder, MotionElements

Cloud computing has changed the way we do business. It has led to the evolution of current forms of enterprise, while creating new markets that could not have feasibly existed before the advent of the cloud.

Today, we chronicle one such company. Meet MotionElements, a Singapore-based startup that has quickly become one of the biggest stock media providers in the region. MotionElements operates from offices in Singapore, Japan, and the United States, serving clients from more than 60 countries. It provides an online stock media marketplace, with a focus on Asian digital art and artists.

The Founders launched the company in 2010 to provide post-production services, which they still provide. However, they soon discovered that while finding stock photos was easy, finding other forms of stock media, such as videos and after effects templates, was far more difficult. Eventually, the Founders decided to fill these gaps themselves, and thus, MotionElements’ online marketplace was born.

The online stock media industry is thriving. In 2012, the Association of Commercial Stock Image Licensors (ACSIL) and Thriving Archives, released an industry survey  valuing the stock footage industry at US$394 million per year. MotionElements has also been growing; it has doubled its business, including both assets and membership each year.

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“Our site would never exist without the cloud,” said Mark Sun, Co-founder, MotionElements. “This is not to say that we didn’t try other IT infrastructure options such as using a physical server farm, but we found that without the cloud, it was simply impossible to keep up with business growth because any growth on the business side had to be matched by growth on the hardware side, which meant that new servers and other physical hardware had to be purchased.”

When hosting and managing its own IT infrastructure became time-consuming and complex, MotionElements turned to SoftLayer, an IBM Company, for its cloud infrastructure.

MotionElements said, “(With SoftLayer’s cloud) we can focus more on delivering to customers what they want instead of spending time maintaining our infrastructure and dealing with hardware issues.” The Founders went on to describe how SoftLayer, in particular, was a beneficial choice, “The data centre based in Singapore offers us super low latency, and we can just bring our HDDs over to the data centre to upload, which we’ve done. Also, SoftLayer offers fully customisable dedicated servers, and you can throw in Terabytes of HDDs in RAID6. That translates to the lowest cost per gigabite at this point in time.”

For a company specialising in stock media, SoftLayer’s infrastructure makes perfect sense. Videos can be several gigabites in size for a single file, and now that video resolution is heading into the 4K realm, one can assume that the space required to compute and store video files will increase exponentially. SoftLayer’s bare metal servers, which function as a physical server farm dedicated to each customer and include customisable storage solutions, seem to be the best fit for these kinds of processor-intensive and disk I/O-intensive workloads.

Like MotionElements, there are hundreds of companies out there that are looking to take advantage of the cloud to create a business that simply would never exist without it. Going forward, MotionElements said,” …we intend to keep growing, to branch out to new markets, and with cloud computing, we can keep growing without worrying about the hardware side of things.”

This article has been created in partnership with SoftLayer, an IBM company, that provides cloud infrastructure as a service. SoftLayer recently organised the SoftLayer Asia Roadshow, a five-city tour across Asia that saw mentors coaching developers on successful business applications of cloud technology.