Video streaming services are growing rapidly. According to a Streaming Media Industry brief, streaming video users are projected to grow from 207 million in 2018 to 219 million in 2021. This growth is driven by new use cases and devices like smart TVs and connected cars. Service providers need solutions that can scale as user volume increases to keep up with this demand.
Keeping these advancements in mind, let’s look at some of the best practices that will help you start your journey towards implementing a low-latency HLS streaming solution. They cover key areas important for successfully rolling out this type of system in your environment: performance, security, reliability, and availability. Here are five must-know tips for implementing low-latency HLS streaming solutions.
Before making any changes to your current system, make sure you clearly understand current performance using actual measurements. Measurement tools can help you see the current situation and identify areas for improvement. To measure your current streaming solution, you can use performance monitoring tools such as New Relic, AWS CloudWatch, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Stackdriver. These tools provide insights into application performance and can help you identify areas for improvement. At a minimum, you should be measuring the following: For each of these metrics, you want to be sure to measure at a global level to get a good idea of what’s happening across your entire infrastructure.
Your streaming infrastructure is one of the first areas you’ll want to focus on when implementing low-latency HLS streaming. Ensuring the following components are secure can help you avoid issues in the future: – Video delivery path – To start, you’ll want to ensure that your video delivery path is secure. For example, if you are using a CDN, make sure that the CDN supports HTTPS. You can also look for a CDN with a service like AWS Shield, which provides DDoS protection as well as HTTPS. For live streaming, you’ll also want to make sure that you have a path from the edge to your origin without hitting any public internet. Traffic between these servers should only be hitting private networks.
One of the most important components of a low-latency HLS solution is a CDN. A CDN will help scale your service by alleviating the burden of incoming client requests across a large geographical area. To achieve low latency, you’ll want to make sure that your CDN has a presence in your region. If you are deploying in the United States, you’ll want a CDN located within the United States. A video CDN will help with many aspects of implementing a low-latency HLS solution, including reducing the load on your origin servers, increasing throughput, and reducing the time it takes to complete the stream.
For many organizations, API-only integration may be their only option for quickly deploying a streaming service that scales. However, if you choose to go this route, you should make sure that you have a backup for your service, such as using a completely different API for low-latency HLS. If you have to go API-only, make sure your API is highly available. Otherwise, you might end up with issues worse than having both the API and HLS service down. If you are going API-only, you’ll want to fine-tune your API to reduce latency. This can be done by caching API responses, reducing the size of requests, and by avoiding unnecessary API calls.
Another key area to focus on when implementing low-latency HLS streaming is to establish a continuity plan. This will help protect against any potential outages in your services. For example, if you deploy a new version of your application and it goes down, you want to be able to switch back to your previous version quickly. For continuity planning, you’ll want to ensure you have a clear understanding of your architecture. This includes knowing where each component is deployed and what dependencies it has. Once you have this understanding, you can start building a continuity plan. Here are a few components to include in your continuity plan: – What happens if one of your services goes down? – What happens if one of your services gets too congested? – What happens if one of your services is compromised? – What happens if your origin goes down?
Streaming video is on the rise, which means that the need for low-latency stream solutions will continue to be prevalent. Implementing a low-latency HLS streaming solution can be a great way to improve your video quality and your user experience. These best practices will help you start your journey toward implementing a low-latency HLS streaming solution.