Streaming video during large scale events requires additional due diligence and planning to ensure a successful delivery. Large scale events include popular sportive live events (e.g. Worldcup, NFL), national events s(e.g. pre-election political debates, presidential speeches during crisis) or the new season release of a highly popular series.
CloudFront employs many techniques at different layers to ensure that its network scales seamlessly to deliver your large scale event. CloudFront has a global edge network with large available capacity, which is built on top of the AWS backbone. Some of the scaling techniques include:
- Dispersing traffic to more PoPs using responsive routing system with flash crowd mitigation techniques
- Promoting very popular content to hot cache
- Request collapsing with multiple layers of caching (Edge cache, Regional Edge Cache, and optionally Origin Shield)
CloudFront is a self-service CDN, that any customer with a credit card can set up within minutes to deliver video content to thousands of concurrent players. To manage the capacity of CloudFront and ensure fairness of usage amongst customers, every AWS account has a quota to deliver a total throughput peak up to 150 Gbps ( and 250,000 requests per second). This quota, representing the equivalent of 38 thousand simultaneous players at 4 Mbps average bitrate, is not a hard limit, and customer can actually peak beyond it. However in this case, and under certain conditions impacting other customers, CloudFront could employ mechanisms to limit your traffic.
To avoid the above scenario, you are expected to open a ticket to AWS Support, to ask for rasising your quotas. If the available physical headroom is not sufficient for your large event, the support would inform you about the available local headeroom, headeroom from regional PoPs. CloudFront increased organically the capacity of its network, however if your require capacity is beyond what is planned organically, you can discuss with the Account Team a commercial settlement in which CloudFront builds additional capacity to meet your demand. It is recommended to have this conversation at least 6 months before the start of the event.
AWS Support during events
AWS Elemental Media Event Management (MEM) is a support program designed to improve the operational reliability of your business-critical video events. MEM applies a structured process specifically designed for the unique operational requirements of video events, such as the broadcast of a marquee sports event or the launch of a new online video service, that use AWS Media Services, AWS Elemental Appliances and Software, or Amazon CloudFront.
Each MEM engagement consists of four phases: an initial Planning phase, a Preparation and Testing phase in the weeks leading to the event, Event Support on the day of your event, and a Retrospective summary after the event is completed. An Event Delivery Manager and a Media Enterprise Account Engineer from the AWS Elemental Customer Success team works with you throughout the engagement. The cost and duration varies depending on the size of your event and the complexity of your workload, and typical engagements last between 10 and 18 weeks.