Today we are delighted to introduce the Streaming Media Lens, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Well-Architected whitepaper. AWS Well-Architected provides a consistent approach for customers to evaluate architectures and implement scalable designs, and this whitepaper provides prescriptive guidance for customers to assess workloads and identify best practices to deploy video streaming workloads.

Using the AWS Well-Architected Framework—which provides architectural best practices for designing and operating workloads on AWS—the Streaming Media Lens outlines the steps for performing an AWS Well-Architected review that empowers customers to assess and identify technical risks of their streaming media workloads. Further, the Streaming Media Lens provides specific best practices and implementation guidance that customers can employ to deliver high performance and reliable workloads, all with an eye toward maintaining a cost-effective approach.

The AWS Well-Architected Framework is based on five pillars—operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, and cost optimization. Using the framework, cloud architects can build secure, high-performance, resilient, and efficient infrastructure for their applications and workloads.

The Streaming Media Lens joins a collection of lenses that focus on specialized workloads such as the Internet of Things (IoT), games, artificial intelligence (AI) / machine learning (ML), and serverless technology. You can find more information on AWS Well-Architected Lenses here.

What is the Streaming Media Lens?

The Streaming Media Lens whitepaper is a collection of customer-proven design principles and best practices to help you adopt a cloud-native approach to deploying a streaming media delivery architecture and workflow on AWS. These recommendations are based on insights drawn from our experience working with thousands of streaming media customers, AWS Partners, and our own direct-to-consumer technical specialist communities. The lens highlights key criteria for the most common areas of assessment and improvement.

This whitepaper aligns with—and provides insights across—the five pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework:

  • Operational excellence focuses on running and monitoring systems that deliver business value, provide ease of operation, monitor and troubleshoot your workflows, and deliver continual improvement of processes and procedures. Topics include system monitoring, live backhauls, content ingestion, automated processing, and critical distribution strategies.
  • Security focuses on protecting your content, customer information, system processes, and infrastructure from unauthorized access or attacks. Topics include data protection—using encryption at rest and in transit—and protection of your network infrastructure.
  • Reliability focuses on determining that a workload performs its intended function correctly and consistently when it’s expected to. Topics include maximizing the availability benefits of the cloud, providing redundancy throughout to avoid single-point failures, and architecting designs with the ability to recover from frequently occurring failure scenarios.
  • Performance efficiency focuses on using the appropriate storage, network, and computing resources needed to meet the job and on providing the ability to scale the infrastructure as more performance is required. Topics include rightsizing your workload and making sure that performance benchmarks are met for streaming events of any size.
  • Cost optimization focuses on avoiding unnecessary expenditures and tracking costs across your workloads using AWS account management tools. Topics include scaling and resource reservation strategies to support varying workloads and scale requirements.

The Streaming Media Lens provides guidance that can help you make appropriate design decisions in line with your business requirements. These are based on lessons AWS has learned from customers who have built their streaming solutions on AWS. By applying the techniques in this lens to your architecture, you can validate the resiliency and efficiency of your design. This lens also provides recommendations to address any gaps you might identify. We expect customers to use this lens as a supplement to the AWS Well-Architected Framework.

Who should use the Streaming Media Lens?

The Streaming Media Lens is intended for all AWS customers who use media content to entertain audiences and for all organizations that use media to inform, sell, train, or communicate with their clients and end users. These might include TV networks, film studios, multichannel video programming distributors, streaming services, sports leagues, retailers, houses of worship, learning institutions, and corporate clients.

We believe that the lens will be valuable regardless of your stage of cloud adoption: whether you’re launching your first video service on AWS, migrating existing services to the cloud, or working to improve existing AWS streaming workload architectures.

The material is intended to support customers in roles such as chief technology officer, facility technical director, architect, developer, and operations team members.

As an example, Scott Favelle, technology director at Australia’s Seven West Media, said, “We used the AWS Well-Architected Streaming Media Lens guided by our AWS solutions architect, Dilip Sant, in the lead-up to a major live streaming event. The lens helped us identify scalability improvements, such as modifying content delivery network behaviors to increase caching efficiency and reduce origin requests. It also helped us optimize our monitoring and alerting processes.”

What are the next steps?

With the release of this new AWS Well-Architected Lens, we encourage you to download and read the document and implement and test your workloads using the recommendations provided.

You can find the new lens whitepaper at the AWS Well-Architected website. Please contact your AWS account team if you would like more information.