Microsoft Azure is sunsetting their Azure Media Services platform on June 30th 2024. This means that come June 30th, Microsoft Azure customers will no longer have access to their Azure Media Services accounts and will lose access to the cloud-based transcoding, storage, global distribution, and more that Azure Media Services provides. Many companies have long been researching Azure Media Services alternatives and some have even started their Azure migration. But are they making the right choice? And if they haven’t started yet, will they be ready in time?
We have good news. Migrating to a top tier cloud-based platform like Wowza Video is easier than you think. If you’ve already chosen a platform, take a moment to measure it against the unique features and unparalleled reliability of Wowza Video. If you haven’t, take some time to learn about what makes Wowza unique and what key cloud-based platform considerations you could be overlooking. Make your New Year’s resolution a commitment to finding a streaming partner that not only meets all of your current needs, but will also grow with you long into the future.
Azure Media Services Migration Concerns
Whether you’ve been using Azure Media Services for years or just recently got started, you’re likely daunted by the idea of having to make a switch. What will you be losing when Azure Media Services sunsets? How can you distinguish between dozens of cloud-based streaming alternatives to Azure Media Services? What if your next streaming partner makes a similar announcement in a year or two, leaving you in the same boat you’re in now?
First of all, if you’re a Microsoft Azure customer utilizing their Azure Media Services,
then you are losing access to the cloud-based benefits of that platform, including live and VOD transcoding and packaging, media storage, and video content delivery network (CDN) access.
You are also losing access to certain data stored within your Azure Media Services account. Microsoft assures customers this does not include any video files, which are stored in the Azure storage account.
It does, however, include supplementary data essential to your streaming workflow, like streaming endpoints, live event data, and asset metadata. It’s essential that you have an Azure migration plan in place before this happens.
But which streaming partner should you adopt? After all, so many of them boast features like transcoding, CDN, content management, and security tools. Should you opt for the cheapest option? Throw a dart at a list of sponsored alternatives? Try building something from scratch? It’s hard to imagine tackling this enormous task when you have a June 30th deadline staring you down, and easy to think that you might have waited too long to make an informed decision.
What to Look for in Azure Media Services Alternatives
It’s not too late to choose a streaming solution that meets all your needs and leaves you feeling optimistic about the road ahead. Start by considering your immediate needs. Then explore your streaming wishlist. Finally, look past the bells and whistles at the broader company, what they represent, what their goals are in the industry, and how committed they are to relevant emerging technologies.
The last part is key if you want more than just a band-aid fix to your current streaming woes. Microsoft admitted that the reason they are sunsetting Azure Media Services largely comes down to “secular growth” and “long-term competitiveness” for their company. In other words, they’ve noted that continuing to support this cloud-based streaming service does not align with their company goals. Look for an Azure Media Services alternative that lives and breathes video streaming, both in the cloud and on-premises. The right streaming partner is one that has the tools you need today and the innovative spirit you’ll need tomorrow.
Your (Likely) Immediate Needs
Let’s start with what you’re looking to replace. Azure Media Services supports both live and VOD streaming. Many existing Azure Media Services customers specifically utilize it for its VOD capabilities and related features.
Transcoding and packaging
VOD content management
Expansive, secure, and reliable CDN
High-quality video player
Your (Possible) Streaming Wishlist
Now consider what you might want to include down the line. If you aren’t already doing it, adding live streaming to your business strategy will help you engage customers, build new revenue streams, and increase brand awareness. Live-to-VOD and VOD-to-Live provide unique opportunities to maximize the value of existing content. Finally, there may be some features, like AI enhanced metadata and viewer-side camera toggling, that you didn’t even know you were missing.
WebRTC-based real-time streaming for both ingest and scaled delivery
Live-to-VOD and VOD-to-Live capabilities
Live event support
End-to-end analytics that include live and player-specific data
Unique player tools like multi-camera angle toggling for viewers and WebRTC support
The Road Ahead
As you research Azure Media Services alternatives, you’re coming across names like Bitmovin, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and other commonly cited Azure competitors. While these companies provide effective VOD services and check off many of your immediate needs, they lack the breadth of services and established expertise that Wowza provides when it comes to many of your wishlist items. If you want your next streaming partner to be the last one you ever need, you need one that meets both your existing needs and your potential ones. Additionally, as a company that has been revolutionizing the video streaming industry since 2007, Wowza is committed to growing our streaming offerings instead of reducing them.
Make Wowza Your Azure Media Services Alternative
What does it take to make Wowza your Azure Media Services alternative? We’ve laid out the steps from consideration through optimization. If you still have questions, we also have a suite of experts ready to guide you through the process.
1. Understanding Wowza Video Platform
Familiarize yourself with Wowza Video’s architecture to ensure a smooth transition. Wowza offers comprehensive documentation and guides. These resources provide in-depth insights into the platform’s API, features, configuration, and best practices. Wowza’s product and service offerings are notably builder-friendly, and our Developer Portal is a great place to start learning them inside and out. You can also get specific questions answered in our Community Forum.
2. Planning the Migration
Create a detailed migration plan outlining the necessary steps, timelines, and potential challenges. Wowza’s developer documentation helps users seamlessly transition from other streaming platforms. We also have a highly knowledgeable Professional Services Team that can ensure a methodical and organized migration process for even the most complex workflows.
3. Configuration Transfer and Content Migration
Move your existing streaming setup from Azure Media Services to Wowza Video. Wowza’s team can guide you in transferring stream settings, encoding parameters, and other essential items such as player configuration. If necessary, transfer any VOD assets along with their metadata from Azure Media Services into the Wowza Video CMS system. These steps are crucial to maintaining continuity in your streaming services during and after the migration.
4. Integrate Wowza Video Into Your Workflow
The Wowza documentation includes guides on configuring streaming applications, integrating with various encoders, and optimizing settings for different use cases. Take advantage of these resources to tailor Wowza Video to your organization’s unique needs. For deeper integration with your product, you can use the Wowza Video API and have complete control over your streaming infrastructure. We have documentation, tutorials and tools to get you started Wowza Video’s API via Postman.
5. Testing and Quality Assurance
Prioritize testing to ensure a seamless transition and identify any potential issues before going live. Wowza provides testing guides and documentation that help developers verify their configurations and troubleshoot common problems. We also have resources for actively testing streams made in Wowza Video and Wowza Streaming Engine. Rigorous testing is essential to guarantee a smooth user experience and minimize disruptions during the migration process.
6. Monitoring and Optimization
After migration, leverage Wowza’s monitoring tools to optimize performance and regularly monitor your stream’s QoS. Our advanced analytics provide insights into everything from stream performance to audience demographics, including webhooks to aid in service monitoring.
Please do not hesitate. Contact us at email@example.com
Written by Barry Owen, Vice President of Solutions Engineering, Wowza Media Systems