With 50% of corporate data being stored in the cloud, chances are your videos might be one of them. Streaming videos directly from Azure blob storage can be stressful. By default, your users would have to download them. If you wish to stream your videos instead, it can be a hassle as you would need to perform detailed workflows such as setting up a server, transcoding, and caching, integrating with applications etc.
Not only that you are required to create a new storage account, add details like subscription, resource group, region, performance and redundancy then you have to check the deployment status, select the container and the tier while clicking through other options popping up one after the other.
Why not opt for a ready-made solution that connects with various Azure services including Azure Blob Storage? The Solution? – VIDIZMO! An enterprise platform which seamlessly connects with your Azure Blob video cloud storage, and provides a range of features to manage and stream videos through a YouTube-like interface.
In this blog, we’ll talk about how to solve these issues. We discuss what Azure blob storage is along with the access tiers, the whole process of streaming videos from Azure Blob Storage with a solution to directly stream videos through blob storage. What solution you may ask? well - it’s VIDIZMO!
VIDIZMO, a pre-packaged solution! Just upload your videos on the VIDIZMO YouTube-like platform, and they will be stored in your Azure blob storage. Your users can readily play them on any browser, just as they do on YouTube.
What is Azure Blob Storage?
Azure Blob Storage is one of the features of Microsoft Azure. It allows you to store large amounts of unstructured data, including objects such as images and multimedia files. The data is “unstructured” because it doesn’t follow any particular data model or definition, such as binary data or text.
Blob storage is basically designed for
- Providing images and documents directly to a browser
- Store files for distributed access
- Streaming videos and audio
- Writing the log files
- Store data for backup, archiving and disaster recovery
- Store data for analysis
Moreover, it improves scalability, speed, security and ease of access for all mid-sized or large organizations.
Azure Blob Storage Access Tiers
Datasets have unique lifecycles. In the early stage, the data is accessed pretty often and then as the data ages, the accessing ratio drops. To optimize costs and ensure better data lifecycle management, Azure offers hot and cool Blob Storage.
For the first month, the data is accessed rarely and, for that, hot storage is the best. Cool storage turns out to be more appropriate for occasional access while the rest of the data sets are modified through a lifetime.
Azure Blob storage lifecycle management uses the policy to transfer your data in appropriate access tiers. The lifecycle management policy lets a user:
- To optimize performance, immediately transition blobs from cool to hot if accessed.
- To optimize cost, transition blobs with blob versions and blob snapshots to a cooler storage tier.
- Delete the transitions blob, blob versions and blob snapshot at the end of their lifecycle
- Defining rules to be run once at the storage account level.
- Apply rules to a subset of blobs or containers.
The Lengthy Process to Stream Video from Azure Blob Storage
Blob storage can be utilized to expose data publicly or to store application data privately. Apart from storing, you can also stream video from Azure Blob Storage. It’s not the most efficient way but hey! It works. Here are some of the major things that you would need to do, in order to stream video files from the Azure Blob storage manually.
Video streaming refers to playing a video through a browser, rather than having it downloaded every time a user wishes to view it. Learn more in our blog on video streaming.
First things first, you need to have the required tools to examine and change the HTTP header of your files. You require certain tools, such as Azure Storage Explorer. This tool will help you access your video files conveniently.
After opting for a tool, you now need to check the blob type. It can be done by checking the header x-ms-blob-type. There are many blob types, but for streaming videos, a user should make sure the blob type is BackBlobs.
Another roadblock in streaming videos through Blob Storage is content-type. By default, the content type is set to application/octet-stream. This should be changed according to the format the video is in. For example, for MP4 files, you need to change it to video/mp4.
Now comes the storage version. You need to check your storage version as your account is assigned a version number when created. It will be able to run on that version number. You can check out the article of Microsoft on blob versioning for further understanding.
Formats – Or Transcoding
The next thing that needs to be ticked off the list is that you need to check your videos. By checking, I meant the ensuing the proper file format! You would need to convert the video files into a format that is supported by end-user devices - mobile phones, tablets etc. You would also need to transcode them into multiple quality renditions to support playback under varying bandwidth conditions.
Videos Streaming Server
Another thing required is a video streaming server. This is a special server that breaks down the videos into chunks of 10 seconds to enable progressive streaming. The server also converts the video into a relevant protocol, such as RTMP or HLS.
If you’re serving your videos through a storage blob, a good idea would be to cache them on a CDN (Content Delivery Network). Make sure everything is right before you put in cache age. If you end up forgetting something or a header change is required, these changes won’t get picked up by the CDN until that cached copy expires.
Some of the concepts discussed above may be confusing, but we got you! You'd be much better off if you connect your Azure Blob storage to a pre-packaged video platform like VIDIZMO.
Keeping these in mind, let your video streaming start right away!
Efficient Way? Choose VIDIZMO
Why keep every pointer under consideration when you can stream videos directly through Azure? Why not choose a solution that automatically does it for you?
VIDIZMO, a Gartner recognized enterprise video content management system that leverages various Azure Media Services such as encoding, dynamic packaging, video indexing and content protection. All in all, it enables users to stream videos from Azure Blob storage directly with benefits like
- Organize them in YouTube-like video library where users can upload, manage and stream videos.
- The videos are readily playable in any browser or device. The playback is just like YouTube.
- You can define access for your videos as anonymous viewing or internally stream your videos for private viewing.
- Going one step ahead you can further define access for every video on a granular level. Provide access to a user, group or the entire organization.
- Limited share your videos with certain users.
- Segregate your video content by creating multiple autonomous portals.
- Integrate it with your existing applications such as LMS, CRM, CMS etc. to manage data in a centralized platform.
- You can also add interactive elements such as surveys, quizzes etc. to make them engaging.
So, looking to stream videos from Azure? Why not let VIDIZMO do it? Give it a try by making the most of from our 30-day free trial.
With 20 years of experience in the video industry, VIDIZMO solves all video-related challenges – security, compliance, bandwidth issues. It provides transcoding, translation, user groups by role-based access and much more.
VIDIZMO is a Microsoft Gold Partner that is available as SaaS in Azure Government or Commercial, or you can deploy it in your Azure account, or get it from the Azure Marketplace.
The US Department of State Uses VIDIZMO to Stream Live Video Internally – Read More on This Story