Streaming workflows are increasingly moving to cloud-based technologies. Why? Because it’s much easier to expand infrastructure capacity through virtualization than installing physical servers. But not all cloud usage is created equal. Just like any technology, some companies are more advanced than others. So you might have just learned to adapt the cloud better to your streaming needs or you may already be employing the latest best practices and cloud technology to leverage its full potential. Either way, understanding where you stand in terms of cloud adoption and usage right now is key to planning out the future of your technology stack.
Cloud KPIs: Adoption Vs. Usage
Understanding to what extent your organization is “cloudified” (yes, that’s now copyright) is important for two reasons. First, it’s strategic because it helps you find out how you can better use cloud technology to improve the efficiency, resiliency, and performance of your streaming service long-term. Second, it’s tactical because it lets you identify how you can employ cloud technologies right now to improve your engineering efforts.
For example, moving from specific hardware, such as encoders, to virtualized instances can expose APIs which provide programmatic control over encoding functionality. This can result in better-engineered software. And, long-term, virtualization as part of the overall video technology stack can ensure improved scalability, resiliency, and even lower overall operational cost.
But there is a distinction that needs to be made when thinking of those two reasons. The first is all about adoption. Making the decision to migrate from server-based to cloud-based technologies is a strategic one, but it doesn’t dictate the way the cloud is employed in engineering efforts. It could be virtualization or it could be serverless functions.
The second reason, though, is focused on usage. Even if the strategic decision hasn’t been made to migrate to the cloud long-term, individual cloud technologies can be employed immediately to solve specific challenges or gain efficiencies within the workflow.
The bottom line? Measuring how well you are adopting and using cloud technologies will give you a clear picture of both your long-term and immediate opportunities.
Measuring Cloud Adoption Within Streaming Workflows
So how do you measure your adoption? Part of that measurement is about technology selection. There are many different technologies within the cloud. Like we mentioned before, you could be just virtualizing components of the workflow or you could be embedding them within the very fabric of the cloud through serverless functions. But they are both cloud technologies. To help you measure your adoption of cloud technologies, consider the following scale:
Measuring Cloud Usage Within Streaming Workflows
Measuring usage is similar to measuring adoption. There are lots of ways you can utilize cloud technologies as part of the workflow even if your adoption of the cloud overall is relatively low.
Using Your Scores to Drive Change
Once you score your development efforts and technology stack, you should have a good idea of where you currently stand in terms of developing a scalable, resilient, and high-performing streaming service and providing a clear roadmap for moving forward with cloud technologies. By combining the results of this subjective assessment with data from your streaming service, you can quantify how cloud technology adoption and usage might impact your subscriber growth, user engagement, attrition, advertising revenue, and more. For example, if you are seeing QoE and engagement data drop as simultaneous users increase, transitioning workflow components from hardware to cloud, or from virtualized to serverless, or from traditional to microservice architecture, might improve those metrics in the future.
Assessing Cloud Technologies
Even before you apply cloud adoption to your strategy or implement cloud technologies into your workflow, it helps to assess the landscape. The best way to do that is through a tech radar.
A tech radar can help you bucket technologies into categories so that your engineering teams aren’t wasting time figuring out which technology to look at. The radar will take into account the current state of the technology within the market and provide clear guidance across your entire organization. Imagine a tech radar for video stream monitoring. An AI-based approach might be in the Assess layer (because it’s still not totally proven and there’s a lot of iteration within the technology) while a microservice-based approach, such as Touchstream, might be in the Trial or even Adopt phase. You can also utilize Architecture Decision Records (ADRs) to capture and document decisions for technology selection so that development teams and even individual engineers understand why something was chosen.
The Key To Successful Adoption And Usage
Any streaming operator can adopt cloud technologies throughout their stack. And, they can utilize cloud technologies within their development efforts to improve software scale and resiliency. But to make those technologies part of the very DNA of your streaming development efforts, everyone needs to be on the same page. That really happens through the discussions and collaboration enabled by Tech Radars and ADRs. When everyone is moving in the same direction about developing within the cloud and with cloud technologies, you’ll find those adoption and usage scores improving...and the success of your platform doing the same.