Azure Announces Auto-Scaling for Streaming Services

This week, Azure Media Services announced two additions its streaming services: Standard Streaming Endpoint and enhanced Azure CDN integration. With these changes, Azure hopes to simplify streaming for its customers with auto-scaling capabilities and allow them to stream out to larger audience sizes with CDN integration.  

Standard Streaming Endpoint is an auto-scaling option designed to respond to customer concerns about how best to configure their origin services, or Streaming Endpoints, for their needs. Previously, AMS customers would provision Streaming Endpoints with Streaming Units providing 200Mbps of egress capacity each. However, this system proved problematic for customers with inconsistent spikes or dips in viewers and forced those who were in the process of increasing audience numbers to continually calculate their needs, a complicated process that is dependent on catalog size, CDN node count, simultaneous connections, protocol counts, and other factors.  

Standard Streaming Endpoint is AMS’s solution to this problem. By monitoring bandwidth requirements and scaling out as needed, Standard Streaming Endpoint eliminates the need to calculate or adjust Streaming Units and provides the flexibility to stream from small audiences up to thousands of viewers with integrated Azure CDN services. Enhanced CDN integration allows customers to integrate all Azure CDN providers (Akamai and Verizon) to Streaming Endpoints. They can then manage and configure related features via the Azure CDN portal.

AMS seems to anticipate that customers who are using existing Streaming Units (now labeled Premium Streaming Units) will quickly migrate to Standard Streaming Endpoint. An internal study of their current customer usage determined that Standard Streaming Endpoints’ auto-scaling services would be the best option for 98% of their customers, and recommends Premium Streaming Units only for customers with large catalogs, unique origin load profiles, and over 50,000 concurrent viewers. In addition, AMS will use the Standard Streaming Endpoint with enhanced Azure CDN integration as the default for all newly created AMS accounts, and only recommends disabling CDN for customers with less than 500 concurrent viewers.  Finally, customers with existing CDN integrated streaming endpoints will need to migrate to the enhanced integration in order to utilize the CDN management portal.

For any customers uncertain about whether to switch to auto-scaling their streaming services, AMS has released Telemetry APIs to monitor streaming endpoints for latency, throughput, request count and errors count. This allows customers to determine if their load is better suited for the Premium Streaming Units and fine tune the number of units based on the insight Telemetry API provides on throughput.

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