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.
No worries! In this blog, we’ll talk about how to solve these issues. We discuss what azure blob storage is, and the problems faced by the users to stream directly from azure blob storage.
We also discuss on how you can benefit from VIDIZMO's 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.
The Easier and Efficient Way - VIDIZMO
Rather than keeping every pointer under consideration and being careful while streaming through Azure, why not choose a solution that does it for you? VIDIZMO, enables you to stream videos from your Azure Blob storage, from data centers in more than 140 countries. You can also stream videos using Azure Media Services as well.
The benefit includes low latency for smooth content delivery, improved data redundancy by duplicating data across multiple geolocations. You can store and stream video even in Petabytes.
Since it is not easy to set up a seamless video streaming process directly on Azure. Why not let VIDIZMO do it? Give it a try by making the most of our free trial.
An Efficient All in One Package
VIDIZMO offers a complete enterprise video platform that you can use to directly stream through the Azure blob storage. We have been in the video industry for 20 years, and have developed multiple features in our video platform to solve multiple video challenges. This includes secure video streaming with end-to-end encrypted. You can utilize our SSO integrations and detailed sharing to better manage access to content - who gets to see your videos and who doesn't. You can create multiple YouTube-like video portals for separate departments and segregate access to content.
You can stream videos in Azure by deploying VIDIZMO in your account. Or you can also purchase it as SaaS on Microsoft Azure.