February 9, 2016
4 min read time

Olympic-Sized Scaling: Big Names Scale Up with Varnish

Every time the Olympic Games take place, the previous event is surpassed by the next in its streaming magnitude and reach.

In a recent blog post, we highlighted the 2012 London Summer Olympics and the BBC’s approach to making their coverage as comprehensive as anything that had been tried to that point. Naturally, the Olympic Games since then have leapfrogged right over 2012 in terms of streaming.

Case in point: “For the first time in Olympic history, the amount of digital coverage has also exceeded traditional television broadcasts, with 60,000 hours available on digital platforms, compared with 42,000 hours on television.”

And this is the point: each subsequent event will be the most streamed live event ever to happen. Sure, this may hit a peak eventually, but for now, each event tops the last with record-breaking streaming numbers, options and momentum. The excitement and opportunity lies in the experience: the Olympics are a multi-week, multi-sport event that offers something for everyone, which is especially true with the unlimited nature of digital platforms.

The dynamic possibilities only lead to one place from a technical perspective: volume. How do you get ready for that kind of volume, demanding to consume a fully integrated multi screen experience?

Varnish has played a key role in ensuring scalability for this kind of traffic volumes for many big-name companies.

Vimeo: With more than 35 million registered users, 715 million monthly video views and growing, Vimeo is a site video-sharing site. Experiencing tremendous growth, Vimeo struggled to scale, and Varnish came to the rescue. When videos would go viral - a relatively unpredictable phenomenon - traffic to the site would explode, which was - while being a welcome phenomenon - a vulnerability. Varnish was able to cache content but also provided the flexibility to quickly invalidate content. Varnish is placed in front of all of Vimeo’s embeds and caches the markup and metadata around the video being watched. Response time has become lightning fast, and the user experience significantly enhanced.

Adobe: Adobe’s Project Primetime with Adobe Media Server (AMS) was the infrastructural backbone of the BBC’s successful Olympics coverage. AMS gave BBC the ability to deliver its video content across platforms to the largest possible audience. And part of the AMS package is Varnish set up in front of AMS to boost performance and facilitate content distribution… all in the service of robust video streaming.

Ericsson: Varnish was deployed for high availability and caching for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Ericsson was not just a sponsor - it saw itself as a “digital experience partner”, and Varnish was an enabler of the digital experience across three winter sports over 12 days in Sweden. Ericsson was the “information broker” for distributing TV streams for competitions.

For Ericsson, Varnish made backend load more predictable, simplified scaling, sped up response times, particularly within a complex application with multiple data sources and provided much-needed flexibility to the solution as well as providing some statistical insights.

Surfline: Surfline, a premium surf-and-ocean-video and editorial company that is home to the world’s largest streaming coastal HD cam network, sees its audience balloon to up to five times its normal size when major weather events occur. Much of this demand comes from major media outlets, such as CNN and even the Weather Channel. Surfline, being the go-to source for in-depth, real-time data and visual coverage during dramatic weather events, cannot let its network go dark - or even experience the slightest bit of choppy water. By implementing Varnish Plus, Surfline has realized performance enhancements, ensured uninterrupted and fast user experiences and reduced the need for significant hardware and infrastructure investments. Read the full Surfline case study to learn more.

Dailymotion: is one of the world’s biggest video platforms and offers up a mix of user-generated, indie and premium content. With an ever-growing audience, architecture and scale are always big Dailymotion priorities. For Dailymotion, Varnish was instrumental in building a live platform that could handle all kinds of files, all kinds of traffic, could be flexibly configured and was origin-shield capable.

How can we help you jumpstart your preparations for the Olympics or your other video-streaming challenges? Get in touch with us, or register for a free Varnish Plus trial, and we’ll get in touch with you!

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