AWS Media Blog

Joyn readies exclusive content for audiences with Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering and Amazon S3 Glacier

Securely migrates hundreds of thousands of video archive titles with AWS Snowball and leverages Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering for flexible, efficient delivery


With the demand for entertainment content continuing to escalate in a hypercompetitive streaming market, content providers are thinking outside the box to capture consumer attention with unique content. Looking to set itself apart, German live streaming service Joyn GmbH, a ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery joint venture, is tapping into its deep content vault to bring subscribers exclusive, hyperlocal series, and films from the past for enjoyment. To make this possible, Joyn recently transferred over 3 petabytes (PB) of media archives from an on-premises facility in Germany into Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) in under three months using 40 AWS Snowball appliances, with the files ultimately stored in Amazon S3 Glacier. The 3.4 PB of new media complements an existing catalogue of hundreds of thousands video titles already stored on Amazon S3.

Prior to the migration, Joyn housed a large portion of its long-term archive on local storage hardware in their data center, which it rented for a high monthly fee. The decision to move its archive into the cloud was a natural progression, given Joyn’s previous move from on-premises transcoding to cloud-based video transcoding on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Spot Instances and delivery in AWS, using services such as AWS Elemental MediaStore, Amazon CloudFront, and Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS). In determining the best approach to migrate its data to AWS, Joyn explored various options, such as setting up a new dedicated line to transfer the data, but ultimately chose AWS Snowball to help meet its accelerated three-month timeline.

“Historically, media asset storage and archives have been relegated to on-premises, but in the last few years, as the cloud has proven its value as a secure, cost-effective alternative, more content providers are moving to the cloud as hardware phases out. It was the right move for us, also considering that Joyn is a cloud-first service and was built on AWS services,” shared Stefan Haufe, Media Engineer, Joyn. “We knew that moving our archive using AWS Snowball would be fast, simple and secure, but we’ve also been impressed by how cost-effective it was. Now that all of our content is easily accessible in the cloud, we can quickly transcode and deliver content to audiences that they can’t find on any other streaming service.”

Prior to migrating to AWS, Joyn took a calculated approach to storing and serving content, only delivering a portion of their deep catalog due to the expense involved in keeping all the data in a “hot” storage tier. At the beginning of the migration, Joyn engineers collaborated with AWS to optimize their storage architecture, moving a significant portion of their library to Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering, which delivers cost-effectiveness by moving data between hot (frequent access), warm (infrequent access) and cool (archive access) tiers. By utilizing Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering, Joyn can keep all of its content online and also optimize storage automatically as access patterns change – without an impact on performance or operational overhead. Content from the archive that sees a lot of interest is sorted into a frequent access tier, while content that draws less attention is stored in an infrequent access tier.

Stefan Haufe shared, “It used to be that we’d have to be selective about which content we’d retrieve from our deep archive, or in some cases, what we’d keep on the archive, but now it’s a no brainer. We were able to grow our storage volume by a factor of 3x for the same total cost of ownership (TCO) by using S3 Intelligent-Tiering-.It’s great to no longer have to think about deleting content to make space, and if inactive, the content sits in an infrequent access or archive tier.”

Throughout the migration, Joyn collaborated closely with the AWS team. Together they first determined the appropriately sized Snowball appliances for the job and the optimal approach to meet the three-month timeline, settling on AWS Snowball Edge Storage Optimized appliances, which provide 80 TB encrypted storage. AWS also provided guidance on initial set-up through to best practices. With AWS recommendations in place, Joyn set up an infrastructure where four Snowball appliances read from on-premises storage simultaneously, and then optimized the snowball shipments so that the data could be securely stored and moved into Amazon S3. One engineer was present at the data center to manage the migration of the units while other team members worked remotely to manage the logistics and file transfers. At any given time, 12 AWS Snowballs were in use, whether copying data on-site at the data center, uploading content to Amazon S3, or in-transit.

“Working with AWS on this migration has proven a truly seamless experience, and it’s one of the smartest moves that Joyn has made. We can now offer audiences our entire catalog of exclusive titles more efficiently than previously with our on-premises infrastructure. Our content can noall live in one place, stored securely, and we’re able to maintain it cost-effectively,” concluded Stefan Haufe.

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