Azure and NBC teamed up for a record breaking game day 'Super Stream Sunday'

Kareem Anderson

Azure Media Services

While you were enjoying colorfully clad pop singers and dancing sharks during the Super Bowl last week, Microsoft’s Azure Media Services team and NBC were hard at work on a record breaking stream of over 11 hours of content to 2.5 million unique users with a peak of 1.3 million concurrent viewers.

It would seem the Azure team is starting to pick up steam in the world of live streaming of sporting events. The success of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games live streaming partnership with Microsoft Azure Media Services, and NBC sports are bearing even more fruit. Last Sunday’s big game had Microsoft Azure’s Media Services team servicing  a record 800,000 average viewers per minute; that was a 52% increase in the 528,000 average viewers per minute last year.

The Microsoft Azure team details the all the behind scenes magic below:

  • Azure Media Services ingested streams directly to US East and US West datacenters and each feed was then dynamically packaged with ad markers to HLS and HDS formats to enable delivery across all of the most popular devices including iOS, Android, and Windows devices.
  • To ensure 100% uptime we used a dual datacenter architecture with seamless failover and also had multiple active and passive streaming scenarios on hand for any eventuality causing playback interruption including natural events disrupting both US East and US West datacenters.
  • While streaming this channel to over 800,000 average viewers per second, we leveraged under 10% of provisioned capacity – a testament to the exponential capabilities of live streaming in the cloud.

As Microsoft continues to transition into a mobile first cloud first business, the Azure team is becoming more and more the face of business. Azure Media Service’s powerful cloud-based capabilities are also increasing. The services now include Cloud DVR, sub-clipping for highlights, seamless Live to-VOD transition to help make live events a smooth and engaging success.