Overview

The AssetManager is the successor of the Archive. The AssetManager resolves some of the shortcomings of the Archive, such as

  • Complexity The Archive architecture, with its implementation specific metadata schemas, turned out to be too complex and not used in practice
  • Offline storage Adopters requested the need to move assets offline which cannot be handled with the Archive. The AssetManager lays the ground for this, with futher improvements and features to follow.
  • Properties Services often need to store some properties along with a media package to accomplish their tasks. This leads to services creating their own persistence layer which increases the overall complexity of the system. The AssetManager provides a simple yet powerful annotation API to set key/value properties on media packages.
  • Queries The Archive only provided a very simple query interface supporting boolean AND operations. The AssetManager, equipped with a comprehensive query language, supporting complex SQL-like queries.
  • Bandwidth To reduce database IO, the AssetManager’s query language supports the selection of only parts of a media package.
  • Name The name Archive did not properly describe its purpose. It has been used as an archive but also as a hub for starting workflows and managing assets. This may have caused confusion here and there which should be replaced by the new name AssetManager.

Please read on to learn about the complete feature set.

Terms

Before we move on to the list of features let’s clarify some terms. Media package The media package is the central data structure within Opencast that refers to a collection of different types of elements, e.g. video tracks, metadata catalogs, attachments that belong together. See also ⇒episode.

  • Media package element Each element contained in a media package, like video tracks and metadata catalogs, are referred to as a media package element.
  • Asset This is a media package element under the control of the AssetManager. This implies that each asset, unlike a raw media package element, has a version.
  • Property Key/value metadata stored with an ⇒episode.
  • Snapshot A snapshot is the immutable, versioned “copy” that the AssetManager takes of a media package.
  • Episode An episode is the complete history of snapshots of a media package. It can be associated with ⇒properties.
  • Availability A flag that indicates if an ⇒asset is online or offline. Availability is managed per ⇒episode.
  • Target A target defines the data that should be fetched from the database and is used to reduce database IO by fetching only what’s actually needed.

Features

General

This section describes the features defined by the AssetManager API.

  • Versioned storage of media packages Media package snapshots are stored in an immutable, versioned manner. Each snapshot operation creates a new single version of the media package and all of its assets.
  • Properties Properties of various data types can be saved along with an episode. This frees services from implementing their own persistence layer if they need to store metadata along with an episode. Properties are a key/value store. The key is a tuple consisting of a namespace name and the key name, which allows properties to be grouped.
  • Query language SQL-like query language.

Default Implementation

Find below the features of the default implementation.

  • Asset store API This is an API for pluggable storage backends, supporting operations to store, retrieve and delete assets. The default implementation of the store saves assets in the file system leveraging the Workspace service in order to reduce data transfers.
  • REST endpoint Provides support for the most basic operations of the AssetManager.
  • Disc space management If an asset has not been modified between two snapshots, the AssetManager is able to save disk space by creating hard links. The underlying file system needs to support this feature.
  • HttpAssetProvider API The central transport protocol of Opencast is HTTP, with media package elements accessible via URLs. When a saved media package is being delivered, the HttpAssetProvider rewrite the URLs of media package elements to point to a valid HTTP endpoint. The bundled REST endpoint implements this interface.
  • Security Access to the AssetManager is secured based on the organization, user roles and media package ACLs.