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Blinkbox serves videos through Microsoft Azure

Cliff Saran

On-demand video service Blinkbox has revealed is uses Microsoft’s Azure infrastructure as a service to support video encoding and storage.

Blinkbox has been running for six years using its own datacentre but faced scalability challenges, which limited its ability to stream videos quickly.

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Jon Robinson, group head of IT at Blinkbox, said the service needs a petabyte of storage to store the video content. "Upgrading storage would cost a lot of money," he said.

Infrastructure as a service through Azure has allowed Blinkbox to scale the video-streaming service and support new devices. Robinson said: "It is fundamental to our business to support new devices and we want to add a new features." This often requires taking master video file content and converting it to a different format supported by the new device. 

"The processing power needed to encode video is abhorrently expensive," Robinson said. "With Azure we can scale up (processing power) quickly to encode video and scale it back again."

The video-streaming service also benefits from Azure’s resilient datacentre setup. "With tiered redundancy we have six copies of data online, three in Dublin, three in Amsterdam," said Robinson. This makes Azure a flexible and adaptable platform, according to Robinson.

Blinkbox looked at other major public cloud providers, but selected Microsoft Azure because of the strength of its video-encoding engine, Robinson said. "Having platform-based encoding that grows with us is a massive benefit. It allows Blinkbox to develop new services such as streaming Dolby 5.1 and HD content," he said.


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