Razuna Digital Asset Management module for Drupal

Razuna module for Drupal

Sometimes here at Razuna, we’re reminded of why we offer open source digital asset management to people around the world. And this week, was one of those wonderful occasions. We received an email from Mandar Harkare, who told us that he had developed a Dupal module for Razuna.

He even offered to do a demo, so we set up a Gotomeeting session with him, where he went through the module. How it connects to Razuna, which libraries need to be activated etc. Since we’re no Drupal experts, we were duly impressed with everything he did and said.

Of course – we were mostly impressed with the actual integration. Type in Razuna URL and API key and you’re practically good to go.

The main idea behind the Drupal module is of course, that teams and businesses that use Razuna for managing their files often need to use the images or videos directly on their web site. So, instead of having to upload to Drupal, you can upload to Razuna and use them online. This is similar to what we’ve seen with the WordPress plugin, the Magento extension etc.

Most of all, it just pleases me that Mandar on his own time and dime went out and developed an integration module for Drupal.

As part of the demo, we were able to comment on the module and offer advice on what we believe should be the next features that Mandar should implement.

The current version is a relatively rudimentary version, but it already has the main features in place; connect to Razuna DAM and upload directly to Razuna.

From what I understand, Mandar’s next features will be to allow the Drupal user to search Razuna and use existing Razuna assets directly in Drupal articles, pages etc.

The Razuna DAM Project on Drupal

If you’d like to try the new Drupal module or even help Mandar make it better, please take a look at the Razuna module page on Drupal. I’m sure Mandar would appreciate both comments and assistance. And – if you need someone to integrate Razuna and Drupal for you, maybe shoot him an email and ask.

So to sum up. On days like these, when people like Mandar shows up in my mailbox, it really is rewarding to be in a company that provides open source to the world.

 

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Deployment Models for Razuna Digital Asset Management

I often get the question about how Razuna can be deployed, so I decided to do a short blog post to outline the options.

Some of our enterprise customers, prefer to to have Razuna deployed on their own servers, sometimes even behind firewalls. Other customers prefer to have us handle servers, bandwidth and so forth. Finally some, just want to sign up, enter a credit card and get going.

And – as you may have suspected, we support all of these models and then some.

Enterprise DAM deployment

Let me start out with an example of a typical enterprise DAM deployment. We just delivered a setup similar to the scenario described here to a global chain of retail stores. They had a few IT political issues to deal with. Some we often see among our enterprise customers: Security, Scalability, Security, Speed, Security, Usability and finally Security.

When I asked our customer, who were going to upload tons of images of more or less mundane retail products, if they were afraid that someone might steal images of candle lights and plastic plates, they seemed slightly annoyed. Nonetheless – we’re not averse to security, and frankly you can built an entirely secure application. Just don’t connect it to the Internet.

Back to the setup. They needed about 1 mill images, some video and 200 active users. They needed Razuna deployed in-house but they wanted the assets in the cloud.

Our proposed setup looked like the following:

Razuna Architecture with Amazon S3

So we setup a main application server, a separate database server and used Amazon S3 for storage. This is something you can actually activate directly in Razuna, simply by typing in your Amazon S3 bucket information.

The use of SSD servers is something we tend to prefer more and more, since the performance really improves.

As you will notice, we used 32GB RAM on the main application server, which is twice what we propose as minimum recommendation. And the reason simply is that 16GB really is a minimum recommendation. 32GB is better suited for larger volumes.

Some customers have a fail-over server as well, but since the files are delivered directly from the storage server (in this case S3) it’s not necessary for delivering the files.

You can also substitute the Amazon S3 cloud storage with a storage server, in which case the setup would have looked like the following:

Razuna Architecture with storage server

As you can see – very similar.

The rendering farm server(s) is a feature, which we developed for the BBC. It allows you to distribute the work of creating renditions to separate servers, thereby minimizing load on the main server during upload.

Razuna can be deployed for enterprise DAM needs like this in the following ways:

  • On-Premise DAM
    Deployed 100% on your servers
  • Hybrid DAM
    Razuna Server, Database Server and Rendering farm on your servers
    Assets in the cloud (Amazon S3)
  • Hosted DAM
    Razuna Server, Database Server and Rendering farm on your servers
    Assets on a dedicated storage server or in the cloud (Amazon S3)

Small Business DAM deployment

For small to medium sized businesses you would often install Razuna and database on the same server and have storage in the cloud or on a separate server. In some cases, ike with the Razuna dedicated servers, you will even deploy Razuna, Database and Storage on the same server. Of course, this is slightly less prone to handle large volumes, but it’s still a dedicated server, which goes a long way towards performance for most medium sized businesses DAM needs.

This type of deployment looks like this:

Razuna Architecture - Business Deployment

Adding a separate storage server or using Amazon S3 would allow you to select a smaller harddrive on the main server – and maybe spend that money on an SSD drive to boost performance.

Cloud deployment

The most basic deployment is the cloud deployment. It looks like this in March 2015:

Razuna Hosted

Simply go to Razuna.com and click on sign up. Choose your plan, enter your personal details, and you are good to go.

This is a good solution up to around 150GB and limited daily needs. If you need a lot up uploads and more then a few editors or administrators, you would want to look at either a dedicated DAM server or an on-premise deployment.

If you have questions about the various deployment models, as always, feel free to get in touch. We’d be happy to advice you about the best DAM deployment model for your needs.

 

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What does Open Source Mean for Digital Asset Management?

As you probbaly know, Razuna is an open source digital asset management software. This basically means that you can download the software and use it for free as long as you adhere to the AGPL license terms.

So – the question is: Why do we do that? Why would we give our software away for free? How does Razuna make money?

To start with the latter first; We make money in three ways:

1) By offering a stable cloud version, so you don’t have to worry about downloading, installing, patching and upgrading – not to mention storage, backup and bandwidth.

2) By offering support plans, so you don’t have to worry about downloading, installing, patching and upgrading. This also is your ticket to buy add-on modules.

3) By offering a commercial license, whereby software companies can embed Razuna into their software and redistribute – or hosting companies or web agencies can rebrand and resell Razuna.

That’s how we make money – our revenue more than doubles annually, so it works.

Now – why do we give it away?

We do this, because we hope that people who download Razuna will go ahead and buy support plans – or that they will contribute to making Razuna a better software. We have received a lot of different contributions from integration components to really intelligent suggestions for improvements. (And some not so intelligent, but we don’t mind….)

An email arrived in my mailbox…

Why am I writing this blog post? Well, a short while ago, I received the email below (I have deleted one word, so the sender and the project can remain anonymous). I was quite surprised, and I decided to write this post, so maybe others out there can understand, what open source means.

The email read:

Hello,

for 2 state institutions, we are working on public awareness
websites which use Razuna for building complex media libraries that are
then connected to Typo3. Razuna is hosted on our own servers, and we
have developed our own extension to connect it to Typo3.
We would be interested in using the Workflow plugin, and would like to
know what the cost of a license would be. As a proposal, in return for a
free license, we could publish our extension to integrate Razuna with
Typo3 in the Typo3 repositories. At this point there is no such
extension available, so this should open a lot of doors for you, and
boost future sales. Would this be something you could be interested in?

Thanks, and kind regards,

So – what they propose is that on top of allowing them to use Razuna for free, we also throw in the commercial modules for free.

My answer was this:

Hi xxxxx,
Thank you for contacting us. I’m really excited to hear that you are using Razuna the way you are. And I would be happy to discuss the workflow plugin with you.

First, I should probably tell you, that you are in fact obligated to release the source code for your Typo3 plugin and make it available on your website, Github, Razuna or similar, since Razuna is distributed under the AGPL license terms. This requirement is stated clearly in section 6 and especially 13 in the AGPL license terms, which you can find here: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl.html

This is how open source works. By providing Razuna for free, we encourage our users to contribute, e.g. by developing plugins. Only users, who have a commercial license agreement (or AGPL exempt) with us, may develop against Razuna without releasing the source code. This is typically enterprises, who wish to distribute Razuna along with closed source systems.

So – in your case, I can offer you a Razuna Business support agreement with the workflow plugin. And since I do appreciate the fact that you have developed a Typo3 plugin, I will offer you a 30% discount on this. You will have to release the source code and make it publicly available via e.g. Github or similar, so users can download it.

We love it, when developers or companies develop components that work with Razuna. I also think that if this person had contacted me with something else than a quid-pro-quo email to start with, I might have been more lenient. But the fact of the matter is that the company was using Razuna for two major state instituions without paying us a dime. And that is not a problem at all. We have many state institutions using Razuna for free. The Icelandic Parliament springs to mind. But this company had developed a cool plugin to make Razuna work with their customer’s Typo3 install. They should have released this to the community for free. In fact, they were under obligation to release the source code for free.

That’s how open source works. We give you our software for free, but if you do something to improve it, you’re supposed to give that back. This company took Razuna for free, and tried to sell us an improvement. Where’s the fairness in that?

They had not even considered the fact that they were breaching the license terms. If they wanted to keep the plugin to themselves, then by all means. But when that is the case, then it’s time to contact us for a commercial agreement.

So – what do you think? Was my response fair? Should I have given them the workflow plugin (and thereby the Razuna enterprise package) for free?

 

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Razuna approved as qualified DAM software vendor

DAMFoundation-ten-core-badgeEven though it may come as surprise to few, Razuna is actually a digital asset management (DAM) software. And now, it’s kind of official.

The 10 Core Characteristics of a DAM system

In May 2014, the DAM foundation finished laying the groundwork for a list of 10 core characteristics that define DAM software. The reason for agreeing on the characteristics has been that many software vendors of varying quality used the term DAM (Digital Asset Management) for their software. The work was based on an article published in April 2014 by Elisabeth Keanley.

Following the decision on the 10 characteristics that defines a DAM system, the DAM Foundation developed an evaluation process, whereby vendors, claiming to be DAM systems, could be evaluated and either approved – or rejected as such. This evaluation process has been conducted over the past few months.

Razuna passed the DAM test

The test was conducted as a blind test, whereby we were sent (only a few minutes prior to the demo) a list of assets, which we needed to import (ingest), tag, convert, index etc. in our system. The idea behind this was that with the limited time for preparation (read: no time for preparation), we couldn’t stage a demo but actually had to have a DAM application that worked.

We are not clear how many were tested, but the end result being that 16 DAM vendors passed the certification.

You can read more about the DAM Foundation and the 10 characteristics for a DAM system on their website.

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