As more people everywhere rely on video streaming services to view their favorite sports, movies, and entertainment, the technology supporting content delivery is more vital than ever. Fortunately, many companies continue to push the boundaries, offering enhanced avenues for capturing and delivering content. Today, people expect dynamic, real-time streaming as they view more videos from more sources around the world.
Phenix is a company that recognized the challenges and opportunities in real-time streaming early on, exploring technologies like web-based real-time communication (WebRTC) and what was needed to bring better experiences to the public. The company launched in 2013, when quality real-time streaming experiences were still many years away.
“WebRTC was nascent back then and not really popular. Live streaming was about 5 minutes behind broadcast and with poorer quality,” explains Stefan Birrer, Co-Founder and Chief Software Architect at Phenix. “While real-time video gradually moved onto the web, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated that trend overnight. Suddenly, it seemed everyone needed to experience real-time video quickly and at scale.”
Today, Phenix is a prominent provider of real-time video streaming solutions, powering telecommunications, sports, and entertainment enterprises. The company provides these services due to its autonomous, self-monitoring, auto-scaling, and self-healing platform that minimizes reliance on dedicated resources.
Enabling a cloud-native, distributed workload
Phenix required a cloud services provider that would help it scale without having to manage servers and other IT infrastructure. Phenix brilliantly implemented a philosophy of truly zero-ops. The entire system automatically scales to flawlessly support millions of users around the world without any human intervention.
“We have been extremely successful with a relatively small group of engineers,” says Birrer. “Taking the cloud-native approach and aligning with Google Cloud provided us with the ability to keep our engineers hyper-focused on product and feature development rather than infrastructure management.”
Due to the demands of real-time streaming, especially for sporting events, being a cloud-native company also allows Phenix to support massive, sudden increases in viewers. During the famous Cheltenham Festival horse races this year, Phenix supported a record 500,000 simultaneous viewers. Phenix technologies supported HTTP load requests that instantly spiked from near-zero to 40,000 requests per second while maintaining a median response time of less than 1 millisecond.
“Google Cloud allows us to maximize the benefits of our cloud-native approach to resource management,” says Birrer. “We can be extremely efficient in how resources are used, efficiently respond faster to flash crowds of viewers, and allow our platform to scale to optimally deliver real-time content.”
As part of its focus on ensuring the best possible viewer experiences, Phenix began working with Google Cloud Premier Partner DoiT International to further maximize the benefits of its cloud environment.
What we did
Managing costs and support to optimize cloud impact
By working with DoiT, Phenix delivers its services with even greater confidence, knowing it has additional troubleshooting expertise from a partner that understands Google Cloud from top to bottom. “DoiT International served as the glue that matched Phenix’s unique needs to the capabilities of Google Cloud,” says Birrer. “They help us to identify and address issues quickly by connecting us with the right people at Google Cloud to efficiently resolve any problem. Their access to Google Cloud engineers, as well as their internal engineering capabilities, have enabled us to address problems at the speed necessary so we can deliver streams without a glitch.”
Phenix also relies on DoiT International’s Cloud Management Platform reporting features that offer fast, intuitive insights into their cloud utilization across regions and over time. This helps Phenix maintain the lowest possible costs without sacrificing the power needed to deliver real-time video at scale.
Scaling up to meet ever-growing demand
Phenix works to build confidence in its solutions so that some of the world’s largest sports, entertainment, and telecommunications companies can deliver on the value of real-time video streaming. With seven solid years of experience and a team described as the “special forces of engineering,” the company is set on delivering the next generation of high bandwidth streaming for global sporting events in coming years.
“There are many factors when it comes to delivering real-time video, ranging from bandwidth, quality, support for closed captioning, inserting ads, and other variables,” says Birrer.
“Thanks to DoiT and Google Cloud, as well as our own extensive expertise, we are in a great position to reliably manage some of the biggest entertainment events in the world and deliver nuanced, high-quality experiences.”