August 4, 2014

Streaming sports events with Rocksoft Cloud Media Solution and Nimble Streamer

The whole world spent 4 exciting weeks in June and July of 2014 watching the most anticipated premium sports event in the world. The most prestigious tournament brought a lot of attention and people from around the globe watched it via streaming both in real time and on demand.

Our team has also made a contribution to this festival of sports streaming.

Rocksoft Cloud Media Solution (RCM), the streaming project of Cloud CDN Sdn. Bhd., has used Nimble Streamer and WMSPanel as integral parts of their streaming network to perform this event streaming to one of its client.

RCM solid integrated platform is powered by several key elements such as Ethernet Fabric networking serving as a basis for self-forming, self-healing and highly resilient automated cloud network ensuring non-stop networking, traffic director anycast DNS technology allowing closest and best possible connection to the end-user and dynamic stream optimization to compress the video and provides superb video quality at lowest possible bit-rates allowing the stream to be played even in slow 3G mobile connection. And of course secure streaming servers running Nimble Streamer with excellent analytic in WMSPanel.

The initial video was taken directly from stadiums via live satellite downlink and ingested to RCM. After that the live stream was both delivered to viewers real-time and recorded for further on-demand watching. The major delivery protocol for end users was HLS (Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming) . Let’s see how this was handled.


Nimble Streamer as used in Rocksoft Cloud Media Solution.



Live streaming


The main problem with live streaming is to make robust delivery for a big amount of simultaneous connections for a short period of time. This is why RCM used Nimble Streamer to make a set of more than 100 edge servers for handling peak loads during most popular games.

There were several protocols used for end-users delivery. They were RTMP, RTSP and HLS. The majority of traffic was served via HLS with Nimble Streamer as a key element.

The video itself was published via RTMP from encoding origin to Nimble edges. Each edge was converting (i.e. transmuxing) RTMP to adaptive bitrate HLS stream. When a user was requesting a stream, it was ready for transmission without delay.
Another method of HLS delivery from origin to a viewer was a re-streaming of pre-packetized HLS stream. A Nimble Streamer edge server was receiving users’ requests and was requesting stream from existing HLS origin.
A smart balancing for incoming connections allowed to split users’ requests to active edges to make the streaming process more robust and reliable.

This structure allowed handling thousands of connections. Like, for the final game there were around 70000 simultaneous connections, having 500000 overall connections for the day of the even. This consumed about 15 TB of data with 21Gbps peak bandwidth and more than 100000 hours of total view time. This was processed with 15 Nimble edge servers having the rest of the server farm to be a activated once the load increased and fallback if any live server goes down.
Daily statistics for the entire month of competitions.

Video on demand


RCM real-time recording module allowed effectively recording video for pre-production and ready instantly right after the event end. This allow the video editor to perform the video editing at extremely fast and the end-to-end workflow managed to publish the on-demand video such as highlight and full-match replay within 3 hours after the games were over.

Video on demand was delivered using same balancing principles - users’ requests were spread to Nimble servers which had the content. Each server was able to deliver video via HLS and SmoothStreaming.

HLS VOD delivery was handled by transmuxing MP4 files on-the-fly into HLS in VOD mode by Nimble Streamer. So people who used HLS-capable devices for live streaming were watching files the same way as they did for watching games real-time.


Daily stats for one of VOD media libraries.

Security


One of the main security conditions for streaming the largest sports event was a geo-location of viewers. It had to be limited to territory right due to licensing limitation.

WMSAuth paywall technology by WMSPanel team was applied to secure the streaming process.

Nimble Streamer edge servers were set up to restrict access to the allowed country only. WMSAuth geo-location restriction rules were easily defined in WMSPanel and propagated to more than 100 servers within a few clicks.

The games were available on selected partners’ websites. So RCM Solution network had to be secured from anyone who wanted to hi-jack live streams’ direct links for further unauthorized transmission. WMSAuth hotlinking protection was applied for all Nimble streaming edges for that purpose. All links has unique signatures making them impossible to pass-over to third-parties.

Reporting


With entire country watching the event, it's crucial to have major streaming metrics to understand the infrastructure load and to learn more about the viewers of the content.

WMSPanel provides excellent reporting for media streaming. Nimble Streamer has native support for WMSPanel stats exchange, that allowed streaming partners to have major metrics for all the content they have.

WMSPanel stats have several levels of reporting. Current streaming project used the following reporting features:
All these and other reporting features were available via white label for designated end users. Here are some charts which were allowed for publication.

Nimble Streamer is very light-weight.
Weekly retrospective high-detail stats.
Two nearby games as appear on single day retro high-detail chart.

Reliable infrastructure


Successful integration of Nimble Streamer and WMSPanel into RCM Solution integral streaming infrastructure allowed delivering live and on-demand video content of the world main football event with highest level of availability and user experience. These technologies can be used for media streaming for any type of events with the best quality level and low cost of ownership.

If you'd like to test the mentioned solutions for your needs, check Nimble Streamer website and contact us in case of any questions.


About Rocksoft Cloud Media Solution

RockSoft Cloud Media Solution (RCM) by Cloud CDN Sdn. Bhd. (www.rocksoft.com.my) is a result of more than 5 years of continuous R&D and improvements to the automation in deploying and selling cloud infrastructure and content delivery network (CDN) in couple of days. The R&D revolves around few assumptions such as hardware capabilities continue to improve exponentially with prices going south, bandwidth price is on a downward trend, more hosted services built and run on virtualization technology as hardware capabilities continue to improve and the next Internet traffic growth will mainly generated from consumer websites.

RCM built automation that fully automated cloud and CDN platform that service provider can plug and play with minimal intervention, the solution must be efficient to run on a virtualized system and newly adopted Ethernet Fabric technology, provides a seamless way for Content Publisher to migrate content to a CDN and provides a platform for service provider to share infrastructure optionally to reduce operation overhead cost.

With these in mind, RCM developed the cloud and CDN platform tailored especially for ISP, telco, content owners to enter into highly demanded cloud, new media and CDN industry. RCM is designed to provide the following services to the industry:



Platform
Services
Application & Industry
Cloud Platform
      Public cloud hosting
      Private cloud hosting
      Compute cloud server
      Storage cloud server
      Cloud load balancer
      Cloud security protection
      Business automation & hosted solution – ERP, Accounting etc
Content Delivery Network Platform
      Web acceleration
      Live streaming acceleration
      On-demand streaming acceleration
      Big corporation, banking, media agency - high traffic portal, online newspaper & banking
      Telco & broadcast – IPTV & OTT

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