World Cup Video Streaming Blues?
During the final game of the World Cup 2018, the video analytics company Conviva measured a massive 9.12 million peak concurrent plays on global OTT services, tripling traffic of the previous World Cup final in 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, which generated a peak of 3.29 million concurrent plays. As a result of traffic tripling, many streaming service providers were caught unprepared causing millions of viewing experiences being trashed by delays, cuts, jitter and pixelation.
Xstream’s award-winning OTT platform MediaMaker was an exception and delivered all matches with flying colours for its customers including Canal Digital, the leading streaming provider in the Nordics.
Xstream’s Head of Technical Operations Marek Kowalczyk explains the success recipe:
“Delivering a successful video streaming experience for large global events comes down to mastering the fundamental streaming management techniques and harnessing the latest video technologies.”
Seven steps to deliver the perfect streaming service
“The first step for streaming large global events such as the World Cup is accurate capacity dimensioning. In anticipation of higher streaming demands, Xstream increased the capacity of its MediaMaker platform to handle 30 times normal streaming traffic and this proved necessary.
“Regardless of how accurately an operator is able to estimate and dimension event traffic, over-dimensioning should be avoided to keep costs at bay. During a global event such as the World Cup where streaming traffic can exceed all imaginable forecasts, ultra-fast scaling technologies are recommended. Xstream uses Auto Scaling Groups (ASG) to automatically ramp capacity up and down according to sudden variations in traffic demand at an optimal cost level.
“What is key to succeed in removing bottlenecks is to first perform load and performance tests and providing improvements to measure system performance. In each iteration, we were trying to increase the limit of operation being performed on the system and we observed system boost improvement – until we found another bottleneck to be eliminated. Having detail information of system elements performance and combining them with number of operation increase, Xstream was able to easy pinpoint areas for improvement. Great knowledge of user behaviour and deep log analyses helped us to build operation schemas reflecting precisely subscribers’ activities when using applications.
“Content caching technologies play a crucial role during events which generate bulk traffic compared to the norm. For this reason, Xstream used solutions such as AWS, Cloudfront and Varnish during the World Cup.
“The benefit of Load Balancing in event streaming is to eliminate single points of failure and to be able to scale up system capabilities. During the World Cup, Xstream used Amazon Relational Database Services (RDS) together with load-balancing technology. In addition to built-in AWS Load Balancing mechanisms, Xstream has developed its own proprietary load-balancing solution based on its best-practice experience.
“Extensive Load and Performance tests environment is required. You need to build a set up which allows you to simulate hundreds of thousands of concurrent users accessing the system. Deep log analyses and great knowledge of user behaviour helped us to build operation patterns and schemas reflecting precisely users’ activities during applications usage. Great analytics tools and user knowledge allowed us to understand dependencies between systems elements to anticipate and eliminate bottlenecks in advance.
“If something goes wrong in streaming during the last minutes of the World Cup final, there is no time for a remedy but the damage to the service provider’s brand is irreparable. Instead of reactive maintenance, Xstream provides its OTT operator customers a so-called HYPERCARE service which consists of proactive system monitoring and carrying out corrective actions in advance of problems occurring to prevent system overload situations.”
About Xstream A/S
Xstream is a leading enabler of over-the-top (OTT) TV and video on demand (VOD) services. Today, we work with leading telcos, cable operators, broadcasters, clinics, governments and media companies enabling them to deliver sparkling content to selective anytime-anywhere viewers around the world. Our award-winning Xstream MediaMaker™ cloud platform is recognised in the industry for its rich and customizable monetization capabilities, fast deploy time and by its unique, fully adaptive and automated content ingestion process. The scalable end-to-end MediaMaker cloud provides all solutions required for a profitable OTT TV and Video business: Ingestion, Monetization and User-experience. It contains a suite of unmatched individual services including multi-device video clients, multi-DRM and context-aware multi-CDN. The MediaMaker cloud combines managed service with pay-as-you-grow pricing to optimize customers’ ownership costs. Our current customers include companies such as Altibox, Balaji Telefilms, Canal Digital, Mayo Clinic, Spark New Zealand/Lightbox, Star Media group and Telenor. Xstream is headquartered in Copenhagen. Visit www.xstream.net