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Improve the performance of your media streaming application

A study by Grand View Research found that the global video streaming market alone was valued at $59.14 billion in 2021, and the market grows even more when we consider audio, streaming ads, and other streaming media. As more streaming applications are introduced, these businesses need robust computing and networking capabilities to deliver an excellent customer experience. By optimizing architecture for high performance and planning for scale, builders can future-proof growing businesses and increase their chance of success.

What is a media streaming business?

Streaming incorporates any business that uses continuous data, whether it’s sending or producing continuous data or receiving continuous data. These services need to be fast, consistent, and scalable. Streaming is unique from downloading files because data is being transferred in real-time, playing through a browser rather than through a downloaded file on a computer. It also requires processing a large amount of data with minimal delay to keep applications running smoothly and customers happy.

Because of the unique needs that streaming media businesses have, building a streaming application that’s cost-effective, performant, and scalable enough to meet user demand can be difficult. Maintaining low latency is essential, and storage is also an important component of application architecture. Bandwidth is another large consideration for those building streaming applications, as bandwidth costs can be substantial for network-intensive applications.

Learn how you can optimize the performance of your streaming application while saving costs in our free guide: Cloud computing for media streaming businesses.

Optimize infrastructure with the right virtual machine

When it comes to infrastructure management, the virtual machine (VM) is the foundation for success. Selecting the wrong virtual machine, or cutting costs in the wrong areas, can significantly impact your ability to reliably and appropriately serve customers.

While it may seem basic, ensuring that you have the appropriate amount of RAM, vCPUs (virtual Central Processing Units), storage, and outbound transfer can mean the difference between failure and success. As you consider what type of virtual machine is best for your workload, start with choosing whether you need shared vCPUs or dedicated vCPUs.

Dedicated vCPUs provide resources that are fully dedicated to one business. They provide faster, more consistent performance. Dedicated vCPUs are essential for applications that are latency-sensitive and have high processing requirements.

Shared vCPUs use a hypervisor to ensure that everyone can always utilize a healthy portion of its underlying hyper-threads, but companies utilizing shared vCPUs can be affected by “noisy neighbors” or another VM running a particularly CPU-intensive load.

Streaming media businesses will almost always want dedicated vCPUs for their most time-sensitive tasks. Attempting to cut costs by choosing shared vCPUs can lead to increased latency, more risks of downtime, and a poor customer experience.

Future-proof your business through automation

A streaming service that goes down if someone isn’t actively manning the keyboard to bring things back up isn’t set up for success. As you set up your streaming architecture, consider how you can automate infrastructure management tasks like deploys, scaling, healing, and any other repetitive tasks. Automating infrastructure management is typically done with these tools:

Container orchestration with Kubernetes: Kubernetes helps improve resource utilization and shorten software development cycles. Because its self-healing and auto-scaling capabilities can ensure high reliability and great uptimes and response times, it often enhances the user experience by improving product quality and stability. Its ability to automatically scale up and down to meet performance demands is another way to optimize bandwidth costs, ensuring you’re only paying for what you’re using. For example, DigitalOcean Managed Kubernetes is highly customizable and can be told to put time-sensitive workloads on Dedicated CPU Droplets and bursty parts of your stack on Basic Droplets. Media streaming workloads are great candidates for Kubernetes especially paired with Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) that automates your software delivery lifecycle.

Infrastructure as Code: Streaming businesses should also consider using infrastructure as code (IaC) to help with infrastructure automation, deployment, and changes. With IaC, you can quickly create as many instances of your entire infrastructure as you need, in multiple provider regions, from your declarative code. Using a provisioning tool like Terraform, you can write code that defines your infrastructure. After Terraform builds out what the infrastructure looks like, a tool like Ansible, which is popular with media streaming services, manages the ongoing configurations such as patching, pushing software, and configuring system services.

Build your media streaming business on DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean’s low bandwidth costs enable streaming businesses to spend less on bandwidth while our flexible and scalable compute options ensure we’ll support your growth. From Droplet virtual machines to Spaces, our Object Storage offering, and Managed Kubernetes, we provide the tools you need to build and grow your applications. To sign up for a DigitalOcean account, click here.

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