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In the Limelight Blog

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The great and the good of the broadcast and media world are set to descend on IBC in Amsterdam next month, and once again Limelight Networks will have a very strong story to tell.

 

Last year’s show was all about OTT. There is little doubt that consumer’s viewing habits have shifted significantly. Online video viewership continues to grow, as does the number of connected devices for consuming content, and with this change we have seen an ongoing trend of audiences moving away from traditional channels and towards shows from TV streaming providers.

 

In 2017 consumers have taken complete control of the viewing experience. They decide what to watch, when to watch it, and they expect it to be delivered at broadcast quality to any device. Content distributors must ensure that they can deliver a high-quality, flexible viewing experience if they are to thrive. As more and more viewers “cut the cord” with traditional broadcasters and turn to streaming, the number of household subscriptions to OTT services is rising and the traditional broadcast television model is starting to crumble.

 

As a leading global content delivery network, Limelight will be talking to the assembled media world about the importance of delivering live and on demand video at broadcast quality. The customer experience should always come first and a CDN must enable a flawless viewing experience everywhere.

 

On the Monday of IBC at 3.30, Steve Miller-Jones will be speaking on a panel discussing the critical importance of protecting media assets and countering cyber threats in the OTT world. Recent months have seen several high-profile cyber attacks that have impacted companies and institutions around the world. Why not find out how broadcasters, content creators and service providers protect their content and their consumers as the online role in content distribution expands?

 

I’m sure you will be familiar with our trademark lime green polo shirts. Come and meet us – or book a meeting – at stand G01, Hall 14, where you will truly experience “Content Everywhere!”

 

 

bookameeting_cta.png

The excitement is building toward the "The Great American Eclipse" coming August 21, 2017 to the United States. It’s the first time in almost 100 years that a total solar eclipse will be visible from coast to coast, and the first time in 38 years that one has been visible anywhere in the contiguous United States.

 

It's also the first U.S. total eclipse in the age of the Internet and live streaming, with NASA planning exciting live streaming of the event. With counterfeit eclipse glasses already found on the market, live streaming is the safest and coolest way to view the eclipse.  

Countdown to the eclipse on the NASA website.

Watch the live stream on August 21 on NASA Eclipse 2017 Live. 

NASA's Eyes to watch animated previews of the eclipse.

 

Eclipse path on the earth

 

Path of Total Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017. Credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

 

What is an eclipse? An eclipse is a periodic alignment of the sun, earth and moon. In a solar eclipse, the moon moves between the sun and the viewer for a short time, obscuring part or all of the sun from view. A Total Solar Eclipse happens when the moon completely covers the sun. Here, the observer is standing under the umbral shadow of the moon. In a total solar eclipse, the sun’s outer atmosphere can be seen.

 

Sun earth eclipse

Solar Eclipse (visualization). Credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio 

  

 

 

Rule Number One: Protect Your Eyes

Whatever you do, never look directly at the sun. You can suffer permanent eye damage or blindness. However, there are several ways, two old and one new, to safely observe a solar eclipse.

 

Three ways to safely observe the eclipse.

1. Pinhole projector or other projection method, producing a miniaturized view on paper. 

2. Certified protective eclipse glasses from a reputable vendor. 

3. Live streaming from NASA, or other video sources. See detail below.

 

Caution: counterfeit eclipse glasses could damage your eyes. According to Time,  Amazon is giving refunds to customers who have purchased potentially counterfeit solar eclipse glasses, which could lead to eye damage in people who wear them while looking directly at the sun.


NASA Recommends:

Refer to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page for a list of manufacturers and authorized dealers of eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products.

 

Note: the Reputable Vendors page currently states:

"It may be too late to buy solar viewers in time for August 21st. Most vendors are sold out!"

 

  

Live Streaming: 100% Safe, 100% Cool

NASA will be delivery live video streams of the August 21 total solar eclipse, from NASA Television and locations across the country, on NASA Eclipse 2017 Live. Viewers around the world will be provided a wealth of images captured before, during, and after the eclipse.

 

Eclipse corona

Total eclipse image taken Mar. 20, 2015 at Svalbard, Norway. Credit: S. Habbal, M. Druckmüller and P. Aniol

 

Official NASA broadcast locations for the total solar eclipse include:

  • International Space Station
  • 50+ High Altitude Balloon Teams Across Path of Totality
  • Gulfstream III Aircraft
  • State Fair Grounds/Oregon Museum of Science - Salem, OR
  • Exploratorium - Madras, OR
  • Museum of Idaho – Idaho Falls, ID
  • Exploratorium – Casper, WY
  • Homestead National Monument of America – Beatrice, NE
  • State Capitol – Jefferson City, MO
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville – Carbondale, IL
  • Summer Salute Festival – Hopkinsville, KY
  • Austin Peay State University – Clarksville, TN
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park – NC
  • College of Charleston – Charleston, SC
  • Coast Guard Ship – Atlantic Ocean

 

Here's the link that will stream the eclipse: NASA Eclipse 2017 Live  

 

In addition, for research purposes, NASA will chase the eclipse to capture high-resolution, high-speed photographs from two retrofitted WB-57F jet planes in the stratosphere. At the planes’ cruising altitude of 50,000 feet, the sky is 20-30 times darker than as seen from the ground, and there is much less atmospheric turbulence, allowing fine structures and motions in the Sun’s corona to be visible.

 

NASA planes observing eclipse

NASA aircraft chasing the eclipse (photo illustration). Credits: NASA/Faroe Islands/SwRI

 

 

So mark your calendars and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event!

Countdown to the eclipse on the NASA website.

Watch the live stream on August 21 on NASA Eclipse 2017 Live. 

NASA's Eyes to watch animated previews of the eclipse.

Over the past year live streaming of major sporting events has taken off. From playoffs and championships in professional sports, and increasingly regular season games, audiences seem to love it.

 

Why have sports leagues embraced streaming so enthusiastically? For example, in the NFL, viewership of regular season broadcasts has slipped in the past two years. The big TV networks have locked up mulit-year broadcasting rights for billions of dollars. With TV ratings slipping, they need more viewers to bring in more ad revenue. Voila! Live streaming simulcast with the broadcast is adding millions of additional viewers. Sounds like a great solution, right?

 

                                   

 

Well, most streaming viewers have experienced a problem with this. You’re watching a game on a mobile device as you walk into a sports bar to meet friends, and just as you go through the door everyone in the bar is cheering a just happened score, or you could have seen social media posts reporting it ahead of it showing up on your screen. Yet you experienced the latency gap between broadcast and streaming. This blog will discuss what’s going on here, and the new technologies coming to bear to solve the latency gap. There’s nothing like having a lot of revenue on the line to encourage innovation!

 

Challenges Delivering Internet Video Streaming at Low-Latency

Typical latencies delivering HLS or DASH over the internet are in the 30 second to one minute range. This is because these are HTTP-based protocols, which stream chunks of data. Because each chunk is generated and viewed in real-time, chunk size is a significant part of latency. For example, the default HLS chunk size is 10 seconds, leading to a delivery latency of up to 45 seconds when CDN ingesting, transcoding, distance between source and viewer, and delivery are factored in.

 

What is Limelight Doing to Lower Live Streaming Latency?

An obvious approach to lowering latency is to reduce the chunk size. This is exactly what we have done with our Video Acceleration configuration option in the Content Delivery Service, which is designed to accelerate the delivery of very small video chunks, and dynamic manifest files. (See more about video delivery services here). This capability is targeted at organizations delivering HLS and DASH live streams from their own infrastructure that the Limelight CDN uses as origin for cache fill. This will reduce live streaming latency down to about 5 seconds, a significant improvement over existing HLS and DASH live streaming delivery solutions. There are several successful in-production deployments of Video Acceleration that satisfy use case latency requirements. An example is an Asian online gaming company using Video Acceleration to improve their users game play experience by reducing the latency perceived in play.

 

What’s Next?

The industry focus on solutions for low-latency streaming is a technology called WebRTC, which is supported by all the popular browsers. Detailed coverage of WebRTC is beyond the scope of this blog, but there are multiple WebRTC-based solutions available that can be integrated with CDN network infrastructure. Limelight is active in evaluating this technology, with the promise of providing even lower latency than our current Video Acceleration. Stay tuned for more information about this exciting development.

 

Target Use Cases for Low-Latency Streaming

Video Acceleration is applicable in these scenarios:

  •      Simulcast Live Sports Events – Reduce the latency difference between a TV broadcast and the online stream delivery
  •      Live OTT Sports Events – Consistent viewing experience across multi-devices for non-simulcast delivery
  •      eSports (Online Live Gaming) – Scaling the delivery of low-latency live video delivery to large audiences
  •      Gambling and Betting – Ensuring a consistent reduced latency experience to users across a range of devices

 

 

More to Come

As we approach the IBC trade show event in early Sept. in Amsterdam, watch for updates on video delivery services for low-latency streaming and other video delivery based solutions.

This article is the second out of three articles diving into the world of video streaming, and the challenges of providing a user experience that is consistent with the very nature of live content. You can read the first article right here.

 

 

In our previous article we’ve seen how we are transitioning from legacy RTMP streaming to HTTP-based streaming. It provides obvious pro’s regarding quality of experience, but it also introduces larger overhead that needs to be mitigated if we want to keep the latency low. So let’s dig deeper into the way streaming video flows…

 

The workflow starts obviously with the recording: you want a device that minimizes the processing delay. A GoPro has usually a 3-frame delay, which translates into 33ms x 3 = 99ms at 30fps, whereas broadcast-grade cameras can take less than a video field (half a frame). Obviously, this delay can be increased by the codec, format, and resolution produced by your camera.

 

Of course, this is not where the bulk of the latency happens. When specifically producing adaptive bitrate streaming (allowing the users to play different qualities of the stream depending on their network conditions), there are multiple factors that go into determining latency, the most important of which are:  

  

  • Video encoder buffer duration
  • Segment/fragment duration
  • CDN delivery latency
  • Player buffer duration

 

The video encoding introduces latency, which can vary depending on input resolution, parameters, first frame accessed... All this adds up, and transcoders are not equals in terms of added latency. The codec(s) chosen can have strong implications, as the most bandwidth-friendly often uses more complexity for the encoding process, therefore adding more latency.

 

 

H.264H.265VP8 VP9

 

 

Then the packaged video is hosted on an origin server, which will serve the data to the end-users, often through a CDN for multiple purposes, including wide geographical distribution, securing video from theft, providing access control, and delivery performance. The bulk of the latency actually gets introduced in the origin-to-player part of the path.

 

Adaptive bitrate streaming formats allow mitigation of the the client-side rebuffering issues we faced while streaming in the older days, by using chunks (e.g. fragments) of video downloaded independently, to ensure that your stream can be played back seamlessly.

But for many of the same reasons that these formats are great, they also have faults when it comes to latency. They require the user’s player to build up a buffer of chunks before starting to play the video. Default playback buffer sizes require a certain number of packets to create a meaningful playback buffer.

 

A streaming server will likely buffer 2 fragments on its side (i.e. between 12 to 20 seconds, depending on the fragment’s default size), the CDN delivery path will likely introduce at least a few seconds of latency in just getting fragments propagated through its network for the first time, and then finally the player will buffer however much data it deems necessary to provide smooth playback resistant to network jitter (let’s assume 10 seconds as for HLS). So, when you add that all up, the typical glass-to-glass latency is 40 seconds, while with some tuning we will see that could be reduced to 10-20 seconds. 

 

In the real world it is not uncommon to see live events sometimes experience a latency of over 1 minute, though sometimes that’s by choice (e.g. customer choosing increased buffer & stability over low latency),

 

        Adaptive bitrate streaming

The streaming server above hosts every chunks of the video file, in 3 different bitrates. The client’s player below needs to download and buffer a number of chunks before it starts displaying the video.

 

For instance, our MMD Live product today supports a chunk size down to 2 seconds. What this means given our 3 segment manifest, is a 6 second latency + 1 second for traffic to get on and +1 second CDN exit delay = 8 seconds. Obviously, last mile quality matters for this to work well. That’s the current best low latency adaptive bitrate performance available today.

 

 

So, while these formats are widely used for video streaming today, they show their limits in the uses cases we previously discussed where the low latency is key. That’s why we will then turn to our 3rd article where we will explore new methods and protocols (think WebRTC, low latency DASH…) to make OTT streaming experience similar to broadcast. So stay posted!

 

Today we’re taking a peek at Control, Limelight’s self-service portal, to see recent features and enhancements.

 

If your company delivers online content — streaming video, rich web pages, games, file downloads, e-commerce and more — you know or use Limelight. Limelight is a leader in content delivery, with a track record of high performance and availability on a global scale.

 

Limelight Control gives customers secure, 24x7 access to the Limelight Orchestrate Platform. Customers can monitor their content delivery, order and configure services, manage content, analyze usage, and access online support.

 

Here’s the latest in Limelight Control.

Easy Setup of Backup Origin

Origin storage, the content source for delivery networks, can become the critical path on cache miss. But if the content isn’t found in origin storage, it’s time for the dreaded 404 error. You can solve that problem by configuring a backup origin.

 

Limelight Control lets users define a backup origin when creating or editing a configuration. Users now see an additional field in the Failover section of a configuration screen, which can request content from an alternative backup origin host and base URL path on 404 error. This feature is necessary when Intelligent Ingest is enabled and its rules need to locate backup content on a specific origin path while insuring that the cache key is preserved. The field accepts both HTTP & HTTPS hostnames.

 

 

Referer Blocking and Whitelisting

For additional content security, customers can now either block (blacklist) or allow (whitelist) requests from specified domains. The new Referer Blocking capability is available in Content Security configurations for Static Content, Websites & Apps, and HTTP Chunked Streaming.

 

 

Better Management of “Do Not Cache”

A new “Do Not Cache” option in Caching Rules provides finer control over content caching behavior. This option can be applied individually to chunks and manifests for a Chunked Streaming configuration.

 

 

Origin Storage: Faster Provisioning, and Configuring Intelligent Ingest

A new and improved Users section in Origin Storage (Cloud Storage) allows for much faster provisioning in Control. In addition, a new set of tools streamlines to configuration of Intelligent Ingest.

 

Intelligent Ingest automates migration of content to Limelight Origin Storage, which offers dramatically better performance and availability than ordinary storage solutions. The new Intelligent Ingest configuration page provides summary information at the top, including Status (Active, Inactive or Disabled), Storage Quota (if quota is set; % and total
disk usage), Bandwidth (the ingest bandwidth limit for the remote hosts) and Threads (the number of request threads running on the remote hosts). A list of existing Intelligent Ingest rules appears below the summary. For each rule, the content paths for both Origin Storage and the remote host are shown.

 

New Traffic Report (beta)

A redesigned Traffic report beta is now available to company admins (access to users coming soon). The new report focuses on analytics rather than plain reporting – the data visualizations are multidimensional and interactive. The modernized interface simplifies navigation and consolidates multiple reports into a tabbed workflow that drives insight while saving clicks. Users can view their data across multiple accounts (shortnames), and drill into nested information within the main visualization. All data is now sourced from our leading real-time analytics platform – EdgeQuery. It also features a fresh new look and feel.

 

 

Administrator Control of User Access to Segments

Company administrators have a new option for user reports permissions called “Realtime Data Segments”. Admins can control user access to data segments via these settings.

 

 

Bonus: Managing Data Segments via API

A Data Segment (previously known as a Custom View) is a filtered view of report data in Control, for use cases such as analyzing traffic for specific content. Now, customers that use API control can access and manage Data Segments via the Reporting API (Application Programming Interface) just like any master segment.

 

Try It For Yourself!

If you’re a Limelight customer, take these new features out for a spin. Log in with your username and password at Limelight Control customer portal.

 

If you’re not yet a Limelight customer, request a free trial.

To support rapidly increasing traffic and bandwidth needs, Limelight is continually increasing its network capacity and expanding its global Points of Presence (PoPs) worldwide.

 

Limelight continued its investment in infrastructure this month by adding three new Points-of-Presence in India. Located in Bombay, Chennai and Delhi, the new PoPs address the growing market demand for world-class CDN services and capabilities. See the news here.

 

One of the key internet connectivity problems in India is wide variations in connection speeds depending on location, coupled with sporadic surges. The current infrastructure simply doesn’t provide good connectivity reliably and to all regions.

 

Here’s where Limelight and CDNs come into play. A CDN can act as distributed server that delivers content such as web pages and video to people via service provider last mile connections. The Limelight CDN, for instance, can move massive amounts of content around the country rapidly. This method minimizes latency, or slow response times, and TCP connection optimization eases the traffic load on a customer’s own network. Limelight’s CDN also provides protection against large traffic surges, such as when people watch a live streaming event.

 

Many of the world’s largest media, entertainment, software and gaming companies already use Limelight to deliver their content into India. But with the new PoPs, Limelight can now help domestic enterprises in the country deliver truly exceptional customer experiences.

At Limelight, we’re proud of the accomplishments we’ve made over the years in improving our bottom line while reducing our carbon footprint. These accomplishments are great for us, and they’re important to customers because we can provide better service and support while also protecting the environment.

 

While I’m thrilled with the financial performance of our company, I’m equally as proud of the fact we’ve been able to achieve these results while being an environmentally conscious company.

 

To-date, we’ve reduced our carbon footprint by a phenomenal 21%—an all-time high for Limelight. While that reduction in itself is significant, we’ve achieved these results while growing our network reach by more than 60% and increasing the number of markets we serve by over 15%

 

Through our continued efforts, we estimate that we’ve reduced our carbon footprint by more than 3 metric tons! That’s enough capacity to power 400 households for a year or Stowe Vermont’s entire population of 4,000 for a month

 

The best news is that our desire to be greener is still strong—and we have multiple projects in progress across our geographies that will make even more significant contributions to lower our carbon footprint. 

 

Stay tuned for more!

Content Delivery has become a required strategy for many online services. From fast loading web pages to media streaming, CDNs can accelerate content downloads, making sites more engaging and more useful. But a user has to first be able to reach the CDN and for that to happen you need DNS.

 

Although CDNs get resources much closer to users on average than a data center or hosting site, there is always the public internet to traverse between the user’s home network, typically their ISP, and the edge of the CDN network. Many times, access across these paths can experience issues that slow down access to the CDN or block connection all together.  No problem is as pervasive and affecting as Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attacks, which fill up a network with query traffic that prevents “good” traffic from getting through to the CDN.

 

All paths between users and CDNs are established by a combination of CDN IP addresses and the ISP’s choice of transit vendors. The CDN’s IP addresses live in DNS tables and each ISP accesses DNS information to determine where the user is to be sent.  With CDNs, a lot of the dynamic nature of the solution is within the CDN infrastructure, but access to that infrastructure comes from the DNS lookup.  So, the relationship between a CDN’s architecture and policies and the DNS architecture and management becomes increasingly important.

 

When a DDoS attack occurs, DNS lookups can become very slow or even not available.  No DNS response means that the user can’t be connected to the CDN.   So, no matter how efficient the CDN network itself is, no access means no service.

 

A top-notch DDoS solution can limit the impact of DDoS events on CDNs in the following ways:

  1. Advanced, cloud-based DNS solutions use a distributed nameserver network (Anycast) where all nameservers respond to DNS queries. This means that if you can geographically limit an attack to a small part of the DNS infrastructure, the rest of the network can still respond with consistency and performance.
  2. Large, well managed cloud-based DNS solutions can absorb pretty big chunks of volumetric data and still have room to process valid traffic. This is especially true of DNS solutions that use multiple Tier 1 transit at multiple global POPs with large connection pipes.
  3. Using multiple DNS networks that work together to access CDNs can also be an effective approach by using a common nameserver pool (secondary DNS). If one set of DNS nameservers isn’t available, the other DNS solution very well may be unaffected and carry on the DNS functions without significant effect to consistency and performance.

 

So, it’s clear that DNS solutions can have an important impact on managed DDoS attacks that can affect availability, security and performance. Adding other DDoS protection services like DDoS scrubber sites, can also add effective ways of absorbing and filtering very large volumes of DDoS generated traffic to keep your business up and running. These services carry additional costs and often introduce more latency than a DDoS mitigating DNS solution.  But in the battle against ever-increasing DDoS attacks, a combination of multiple, highly effective DNS and DDoS scrubber site solutions should be seriously considered.


By Thibaud Regeard , Limelight Solutions Engineer

 

This article is the first out of three articles diving into the world of video streaming, and the challenges of providing a user experience that is consistent with the very nature of live content.


Why is that? You might have experienced watching a live soccer game through your favorite OTT app or website, enjoying smooth quality and cheering for your team getting closer and closer to the opponent goalkeeper… Then suddenly you hear your neighbor screaming, notifications are popping up on your phone: “GGGOOOAAALLL!!!” Wait, there is no such goal… Oh, there it is! 30 seconds later, you see it happen and all the fun is ruined. Does that ring a bell?

 

 

Latency is a term that is commonly used throughout the Internet. Something that is related to your connection with remote content servers and can make or break your experience with online content. Low latency makes sure that users can enjoy it to the fullest, and this is especially true when facing time-critical content, be it online gaming or gambling, live auction, security feed monitoring, or live video streaming.

 

So what exactly is it when we talk about Latency? A term often measured in milliseconds, latency - for the purposes of discussing delivery of online video -  is defined as the average total time that is takes the internet, or a content delivery network, to send video to whatever device you will view it on.

 

Taking it from the definition, it’s pretty straightforward that low latency is important especially if you are experiencing online content. Low latency can be impacted by many factors: the type of internet connection, your router/switch, Internet Service Provider, number of users, or the distance between your computer and the server. While a fair amount depends on the state of the network and the route used to reach the content, we will focus today on the inherent latency created by the technology layer used to bring the content online.

 

How live broadcasters can improve their speed

 

Time is money. Whether it’s high frequency financial trading or live content streaming, you want to reduce the time needed to transport you content from its source to your eyeballs. Distributing video content over the top has been an increased concern as it embraces a variety of use cases: you probably don’t want to learn about the latest touchdown on a live broadcast BEFORE you actually see it happen on Twitter? For scenarios like this, you would probably appreciate, if your security team would have video monitoring feeds closer to real-time in order to deal with disruptions or criminal activities.

 

For this kind of audience, low latency streaming is not only a nice-to-have it is also a necessity. Latency dictates the delay between the live event as it is happening, compared to when the video or audio appears on the device you are using.  Key audiences who can benefit from low latency video are:

 

  • Gambling and gaming users – get news before the odds change
  • Financial organizations – getting the breaking news first can mean being ahead of the markets
  • News organizations – breaking the news first
  • Live Broadcasters – reducing the delay of a live event when viewed across multiple devices
  • Auctions - no point in being too late!
  • Security monitoring – being able to react on time can save lives or valuable assets!

 

The end of Flash technology?

 

For years now, many companies have relied on RTMP (Real Time Delivery Protocol developed by Adobe and mostly used along with Flash) delivery for their streaming business. They needed the low-latency aspect of RTMP delivery, as HTTP-based live streams have larger overhead for playlist and video segmentation, which can delay live playback for almost a minute. This type of latency is not acceptable for real-time communication such as live auction feeds or video chat.

Did you know that Facebook Live uses RTMP in its mobile apps to push a live stream out to its CDN? Anyone who is streaming live content is very likely using RTMP to push the video feed.


The Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) was designed for transmission of audio, video, and data between Adobe Flash Platform technologies, including Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR. Companies who rely on the Flash plug-in for desktop browsers are becoming less, as most of the big web companies like Google, Mozilla, Apple and Microsoft are already pulling the plug on Flash, phasing out its support in their most recent browsers.


In most of these live-streaming scenarios, the Flash plug-in is not necessarily used in a desktop browser though. RTMP can be used as a transport in a mobile or desktop application without requiring the Flash plug-in.
So Flash is still there, flexing its muscle where the action is and keeping the data moving when there isn’t room for processing delays. Despite all its shortcomings, we must acknowledge that Flash can be better than the competition in some use cases.

 

While some CDN vendors have already shutdown their RTMP capacity, Limelight still maintains RTMP endpoints for ingesting live streams. In most of these live-streaming scenarios, though, the Flash plug-in is not necessarily used in a desktop browser. RTMP can be used as a transport in a mobile or desktop application without requiring the Flash plug-in.
As the popularity and footprint of Flash declines, RTMP delivery is expected to fall off and eventually be replaced by optimized HTTP delivery.

If you're delivering online video, websites, file downloads, games or e-commerce, you owe it to yourself to watch this video. Investigate 7 keys to a critical component of your online content: its digital source. As vital as this digital source is, many organizations don't fully understand it, and many take it for granted -- at their own peril.

 

 

Examination at the Source

Today's online audience expects instant response -- and they'll go elsewhere if they don't get it. Knowing this, you may already be using or considering a content delivery network (CDN). But you probably know far less about the source that feeds the CDN: origin storage. Learning more can make a big difference.   

 

 

 

 

Done wrong, CDN origin storage can waste valuable resources, time, effort and money -- only to deliver bad user experience -- and you might not even know it. 

 

Done right, CDN origin storage doesn’t take a lot of your team’s time and resources, dramatically improves user experience, and can even save you money.

 

 

Want to learn more? 

 

7 Qualities that are Revolutionizing CDN Origin Storage + "Ask the Expert"
 Choose a video:

 

Watch free video -- Americas version (from USA) 

Kyle Carpenter, Americas Sales Engineer 

Charlie Russell, Senior Product Marketing Manager 

 

Watch free video -- EMEA version (from Europe) 

Kerrion Burton Evans, EMEA Sales Engineer 

Charlie Russell, Senior Product Marketing Manager 

 

Both videos feature:

  • What CDN origin storage is, and why you should care about it
  • 7 qualities that are revolutionizing CDN origin storage
  • Just released capabilities in Limelight Origin Storage that make it a game-changer for your team, your audience and your bottom line
  • How Limelight’s high-performance Origin Storage is able to deliver 92-200 percent faster than cloud storage solutions*
  • "Ask the Expert" session

 

For more information, you can also explore CDN Origin Storage on Limelight's website. 

 At Limelight, we’re focused on putting experience first.  Last week, we announced significant new performance and functionality advancements to the Limelight Orchestrate Platform that improve online experiences regardless of a user’s connection type or speed or when network conditions are variable or changing.  For video distribution customers, this means significant reductions to the percentage of video streams experiencing rebuffering—without requiring any client side code. 

 

Production data from Limelight customers shows:

 

  • 33% reduction in SD (480p) video sessions experiencing rebuffers in the US
  • 25% reduction in HD (1080p) video sessions experiencing rebuffers in the US
  • 41% reduction in video sessions experiencing rebuffers for mobile devices in an emerging market

 

Why are rebuffer rates so important to online video providers?  Data from Limelight’s latest State of Online Video Market Research shows rebuffering is the primary frustration of online video viewers.  In fact, 46% of viewers will stop watching a video if it rebuffers twice, and 78% will abandon the video if it rebuffers three times. 

 

 

 

Rebuffering has a clear impact on a viewer’s perceived Quality of Experience (QoE) and an online video distributor’s profitability.  That is why the largest and most successful online video providers are fanatical about doing anything they can to reduce rebuffering by even the slightest amount.  The major improvements Limelight has unleashed are a game-changer.

 

THE LIMELIGHT ORCHESTRATE PLATFORM

How did Limelight accomplish this?  The short answer is by optimizing the Limelight Orchestrate Platform.  The more detailed answer requires a better understanding of the Limelight Orchestrate Platform.

 

What is the Orchestrate Platform, and how is it different from a Content Delivery Network (CDN)? 

A CDN delivers content.  There are many CDN providers.  The Orchestrate Platform provides content delivery and much more.

 

 

 

Unlike other CDNs, Limelight’s Global Infrastructure includes the largest global private network dedicated to content delivery.  Our private fiber backbone allows us to bypass the public internet for important tasks, and we only use our network to deliver your content.  Our Advanced Content Delivery Services offer industry-leading cache efficiency and delivery performance for your content.  The Global Infrastructure and Advanced Content Delivery Services form the base of the Orchestrate Platform.

 

Optional Web Acceleration, Origin Storage, Video Management, and Cloud Security Services are available to help you meet your workflow and business needs.  Control and Enablement tools make it easy to configure the Orchestrate Platform and report on your operations.  All of this is available with access to global support experts who are dedicated to your success.  

 

Let’s take a more detailed look at the Limelight Orchestrate Platform components.

 

GLOBAL INFRASTRUCTURE

The Limelight Orchestrate Platform Global Infrastructure spans the globe with a QoS-enabled network of over 80 Points-of-Presence (PoPs) and 22+ terabits per-second of egress capacity directly interconnected with major ISPs and last-mile networks.  The Orchestrate Platform Global Infrastructure is densely architected with data centers clustered around major metropolitan locations throughout the world.  Our private fiber backbone enables cache-fill traffic, dynamic content, and integrated service data to bypass the public internet and travel at high speed between Limelight POPs, providing a better QoE for your users.    

 

ADVANCED CONTENT DELIVERY

At the heart of the Limelight’s Advanced Content Delivery is EdgePrism, the advanced caching software that offers industry-leading cache efficiency.  EdgePrism cache management and operating system technologies deliver optimal performance over any network connection type or speed without requiring any special client-side code.  By continually monitoring a user’s connection and optimizing how content is delivered based upon realtime analysis, Advanced Content Delivery Services provide a superior QoE, even over mobile networks or other changing network conditions.  Unlike traditional CDN vendors who rely on third-party technologies for key components of their content delivery infrastructure, Limelight utilizes in-house development and optimization of its Advanced Content Delivery Services to ensure maximum performance. 

 

WEB ACCELERATION SERVICES

Web Acceleration Services speed up the delivery of static content like images, text and video as well as dynamic content that changes with each user. Techniques such as TCP and connection optimizations, HTTP/2 support, executing application logic at the edge, and device detection help deliver a consistently fast user experience for your websites and applications.

 

ORIGIN STORAGE SERVICES

Unlike ordinary cloud storage, Origin Storage Services are distributed throughout the Orchestrate Platform Global Infrastructure, placing content closer to your audiences for the best performance.  Content is automatically replicated and geographically distributed according to your requirements and served to users from the highest performing location.  Limelight Origin Storage offers the fastest delivery performance, built-in redundancy, and an automated and simplified workflow.

 

VIDEO MANAGEMENT SERVICES

Video Management Services make it easy to manage, package, and deliver both live and video on demand content.  The Limelight Video Platform is the fastest and most intuitive way to manage, publish, syndicate, measure, and monetize the distribution of online video. Limelight Multi-Device Media Delivery simplifies the process of ingesting, transmuxing, packaging, and delivering both live and on demand video to virtually any device. 

 

CLOUD SECURITY SERVICES

The Cloud Security Services provide powerful features to protect against attacks on websites and application infrastructure, and control access to content. Content is delivered on our Global Infrastructure which is 100% SSL enabled. Access to websites and content is controlled by features including geo-fencing, URL tokenization, and IP access control.  Web Application Firewall (WAF) capabilities protect web sites against malicious hacking, while Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack detection and mitigation ensures your web sites and applications remain available, even when you are under attack.

 

CONTROL AND ENABLEMENT

Control and Enablement offer both a self-service portal and a new set of API’s to configure and manage your Orchestrate Platform services. For self-service, the Limelight Control portal puts the power of the Orchestrate Platform at your fingertips making it easy to configure services.  Secure APIs are also available if you prefer to incorporate the management and reporting of CDN services into your own tools and workflows.

 

SUPPORT SERVICES

Whether it’s your initial implementation of the Limelight Orchestrate Platform or you’re responding to changing business requirements, implementing new services, or training and augmenting your staff, Limelight Support Services help you succeed.  Our global Advanced Services Architects have the experience and expertise to help you take on new challenges with confidence.  Limelight’s 24/7/365 Network Operations Center constantly monitors the Limelight Orchestrate Platform Global Infrastructure to ensure maximum uptime and efficient traffic operations.

 

A PLATFORM TO SOLVE ALL YOUR CONTENT DELIVERY CHALLENGES

Limelight’s ongoing investment in the Orchestrate Platform means you can solve your most important content delivery challenges today and in the future.  So, whether you are delivering on-demand or streaming video, software files, games, or an entire website, the Limelight Orchestrate Platform helps you deliver the next great digital experience anywhere. 

At Limelight, we’re passionate about helping our customers create the world’s best content experiences. That might sound cliché coming from a Marketing guy (although in my defense, I’m an engineer by education and background!), but at Limelight everyone really is focused on one thing above all else – delivering a great experience for our customers and their customers. To us, “Experience First” isn’t a tagline – it’s a mission statement. It’s who we are. It’s in our DNA. 

 

Today’s digital audiences are increasingly sensitive to poor performance. For example, our consumer research shows the number of users that would abandon a poor performing website jumped from 51 percent to 64 percent in the last year, and almost 80 percent of viewers will stop watching a video if it rebuffers three times. As one of our video streaming customers said: “Content may be king, but the speed of the delivery and the quality of the experience are just as important.”

 

You can read a lot about product innovation, or network expansion or efficiency gains in the blogs on this site. But at the end of the day all of this work is for the express purpose of helping our customers to deliver exceptional online experiences. So it’s incredibly inspiring and energizing when we hear customers say things like, “Limelight takes the worry out of delivering the best experience possible to our audience. We have more customers and happier customers because of Limelight.” (Coach Guitar)

 

Our customers have amazing ideas, and we love to collaborate to turn those dreams into reality. Whether delivering experiences that cross boundaries and borders, like one customer who provides medical education to professionals around the world that might not have had access to that information otherwise. Or another customer who uses experiences to build community by delivering native content to expats living abroad. We love to be a part of stories like this because delivering exceptional experiences can have a tremendous impact.

 

One of the things I love most about my job is talking with customers. And something I hear pretty consistently is that customers appreciate this level of collaboration and the experience of partnering with Limelight. The sentiment is reflected in statements like, "Limelight has genuine interest in helping Napster enhance its service, and is willing to work with us on innovative solutions…They are easy to work with and very responsive.” (Napster).

 

In their book Groundswell, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff assert that your brand is what customers say it is. Our customers have told us that experience comes first for the digital audiences they serve, and that there’s something different about the experience in working with a partner like Limelight. That conviction reinforces our commitment to continue to put the experience of our customers, and their customers, first.

 

If you have questions or want to share your Limelight experience, please feel free to comment on this blog post. 

 

Experience First

I invite you to learn more about a hidden gem of digital content delivery.

 

Two free sessions, May 18 from Europe and May 24 from the Americas. Includes access to recordings.

                 

 

If you're delivering online video, audio, files, websites, games or e-commerce, you're probably using a content delivery network (CDN). If you're not using a CDN yet, you probably will. Today's online audience expects nothing less than instant response, and they'll go elsewhere if they don't get it.  

 

In this free webinar and "Ask-the-Expert" Q&A session, we'll explore a less-well-understood yet critical component of CDNs. It's called origin storage, and it's where you store the content that feeds your delivery system. I know it sounds simple, but there's more to it than meets the eye.   


Done wrong, CDN origin storage can waste valuable resources, time, effort and money -- only to deliver bad user experience -- and you might not even know it. 

Done right, CDN origin storage doesn’t take a lot of your team’s time and resources, dramatically improves user experience, and can even save you money.

You owe it to yourself to learn about this hidden gem!

 

We're planning to pack tons of information into 30 minutes or less, then open up the floor to your questions. We trust you'll find it useful and informative, and invite you to join us for either session. You'll get access to both the live webinar and the recording, plus extra information for free download.

 

 

Free Registration
7 Qualities that are Revolutionizing CDN Origin Storage + "Ask the Expert"
Please choose a session:

 

Thurs May 18 

From Europe

13:00 GMT = 9:00 AM EST = 22:00 JST/KST

Kerrion Burton Evans, EMEA Sales Engineer 

Charlie Russell, Senior Product Marketing Manager 

 

Wed May 24 

From Americas

11:00 AM PST = 2:00 PM EST = 18:00 GM

Kyle Carpenter, Americas Sales Engineer 

Charlie Russell, Senior Product Marketing Manager 

 

During each session, we will explore:

  • What CDN origin storage is, and why you should care about it
  • 7 qualities that are revolutionizing CDN origin storage
  • Just released capabilities in Limelight Origin Storage that make it a game-changer for your team, your audience and your bottom line
  • How Limelight’s high-performance Origin Storage is able to deliver 92-200 percent faster than cloud storage solutions*
  • "Ask the Expert" session

 

 

I hope you can join us! More information here:

 

Two free sessions, May 18 from Europe and May 24 from the Americas. Includes access to recordings.

 

 

Charlie Russell

 

mmilligan

Video Takes on Vegas

Posted by mmilligan Apr 24, 2017

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  For those of us immersed in the video industry, April is when we get a preview from broadcast and media equipment vendors of their new wares at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.  For manufacturers, it’s a mad scramble to make sure new products are working (or least make it look like they work so they can be demonstrated).  For attendees, there is a lot of walking around the Las Vegas Convention Center during the day (and pursuing other Vegas offerings at night).  NAB has become the one-stop shop for learning about the latest technologies and trends in the video industry and deciding how to spend your capital budget during the rest of the year.

 

ANALOG ORIGINS

My first trip to the NAB Show was in 1990 in Atlanta, back before it found its permanent home in Las Vegas.  The industry was on the cusp of moving from pure analog technology to starting to implement digital solutions.  Companies such as AMPEX (remember them?) had huge booths filled with eager buyers.  I worked for a small startup at the time that was pioneering digital video editing.  I was envious of the big companies like AMPEX with their flashy hardware solutions.  That envy didn’t last long.

 

 

THE FIRST DIGITAL WAVE

After that, the first wave of “digital solutions” came along.  Companies like Abekas had huge booths filled with amazing digital solutions that seemed to mimic what the hardware vendors did, but offered greater flexibility and creativity.  In effect, they were doing what had already been done, but with digital technology.  The technology was interesting, but not necessarily compelling.

 

LOCAL WORKFLOWS

It wasn’t until vendors started delivering solutions that fundamentally changed the content creation and production process that digital technology finally took hold.  The breakthrough came with the ability to store media in digital form, allowing multiple people in the same facility to easily collaborate during the content creation process.  Multiple editors could seamlessly work together on the same television show or feature film.  Journalists had quick access to any media at the station, making it easier and faster to update news stories as they developed.  Suddenly, everyone in your facility could easily be involved in the content creation process.  This changed how people worked.

 

REMOTE COLLABORATION

The next wave extended those siloed workflows to include people in remote locations.  Fortunately, networking technology and the internet were getting faster.  Users were able to transfer or FTP media to someone in a remote location.   A collaborator in a remote location could access proxies and low-resolution versions of media stored in a different location.  Journalists in the field were able to view media at the station.  It was finally realistic to purchase enough bandwidth for media to be shared across long-distances.  The geographic barriers that hampered collaboration fell.

 

MOVING TO THE CLOUD

The next big disruption is underway.  “The Cloud” is fundamentally changing how and where content is created.  We have the ability for people to access media from anywhere, so why do we still need to build big centralized production centers?  Why can’t the media and the media production services be virtualized or live in the cloud?  The technology to fully virtualize the content creation process is here, although it may not all fit together as easily as we would have hoped (as the rollout of SMPTE 2022 and SMPTE 2110 have shown).  However, it’s easy to see the demise of large centralized content production facilities is not that far away.

 

OTT TAKES HOLD

So, what’s next?  Just as the content creation process has moved to a virtualized IP infrastructure, the content distribution process is also moving “over the top”.  It is easier than ever for viewers to find content that appeals to them and stream it on demand.  No longer do you need to wait for something to be “broadcast” to enjoy it.  It is always available 24/7.  Even live events are increasingly streamed online.  Most major sporting events are now available anywhere on the device of your choice. 

 

The final barrier to full adoption of online streaming is available bandwidth to ensure a “broadcast-quality” viewing experience.  With the speed of consumer broadband and mobile connections increasing, consumers are beginning to enjoy even 4K streaming media at home.  However, the core “Internet” doesn’t yet have enough bandwidth to support a major event like the Super Bowl where you might have more than 100 million Americans simultaneously streaming high-resolution video.  That day is still a little way away.  However, there are solutions available today to guarantee a great online viewing experience. 

 

 

PUTTING VIEWER EXPERIENCE FIRST

Limelight Networks helps content distributors deliver the best online viewing experiences.  The Limelight Orchestrate Platform includes a natively integrated online video platform, storage and security.  With a QoS-enabled network of over 80 Points-of-Presence (PoPs) and 21+ terabits per-second of egress capacity directly interconnected with major ISPs and last-mile networks, the Limelight Orchestrate Platform has the speed, capacity, and availability to support the largest global events, wherever your viewers are located.  Limelight delivers the world’s largest events.

 

At NAB 2017, Limelight has been meeting with companies to talk about how to best deliver the next great video experience.  If you are at the show, please stop by booth SU10714 to talk to our video technology experts.  Because at Limelight, we are dedicated to enabling you to create the world’s best content experiences anywhere.

We are days away from the annual National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference, one of the largest events dedicated to all things broadcasting. Being a Las Vegas show, the metrics are huge – 103,000 attendees from 150+ countries, 1,700 press, 1,500 exhibitors, 1 million square feet of exhibit space, and 700 educational sessions according to the show program guide.

                          

This is all a bit overwhelming from an attendee perspective, so I’ve scoped out the trends to watch will be, reviewed session descriptions to select which to attend, and looked at the exhibitor list and demo pavilions to plan my show floor activity. Keeping in mind my keen interested on online video experiences and my product marketing focus on Limelight’s video services, here are the areas I find of particular interest  at NAB this year:

 

Aerial Robotics and Drone Pavilion

Camera-carrying drones are in common usage for so many industries, delivering content from on high. The pavilion will have dynamic exhibitor demonstrations built to give an up-close look at the latest technology in action, and how broadcasters can best deploy aerial cameras to enhance the viewing options for their audience.

 

                           

                         

Cyber Security and Content Protection Pavilion

This pavilion will feature the leading companies securing digital assets today, and working to counter the increasingly more sophisticated cyber threats in the future. The broad range of video distribution technologies means more opportunities for theft of valuable content. 4K and HDR video will be prime targets for pirating, as this is premium content that subscribers pay more for, and will justify higher ad monetization fees.

 

Virtual and Augmented Reality Pavilion

The AR VR Pavilion will feature companies changing the way information is consumed. The latest AR and VR software and equipment will be available for demo and hands on experience. I expect big improvements in VR displays over what I experienced with last year’s underwhelming demos.

 

4K and HDR TV

4K broadcasting is gaining traction with sporting events, and some OTT services are making movie content available in 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR). The progress in HDR standards, as the multiple incompatible HDR schemes will slow market adoption of this game changing technology will be interesting.  Besides checking out the latest TVs, new developments in 4K broadcasting infrastructure – cameras, production equipment, network services, etc. will be center stage.

 

               

 

NAB Futures Park

This showcase features demonstrations of media developments in progress and products not yet available to the market from academic and commercial research labs in the US and around the world.

 

SPROCKIT and StartUp Loft                                                

Market-ready startups beginning to form partnerships are showcased In SPROCKIT, and the StartUp Loft  gathers newly created companies in the broadcast industry. Attendees can get a first look at their product and service offerings.

 

Limelight at the Show

We will be talking about new enhancements to video delivery services including:

  • DRM support for content protection
  • Low latency chunked streaming for live events
  • Live to VOD recording for subsequent use as VOD content
  • Live streaming from mobile devices directly to Limelight live streaming delivery

All these enhancements ensure the delivery of consistent high-quality digital experiences. Visit us to talk about these new video capabilities and our full video delivery solutions at the NAB show in the South Hall Upper booth #SU10714.

 

More to come

During NAB I will be blogging from the exhibit hall about significant findings and really cool demonstrations. After the show, I will blog a summary of impressions of the standout technologies and new trends on the horizon.   Stay tuned!