The Future is Modular – How Micro-services Architecture is Changing Online Video

It’s hard to comprehend just how much television has changed in the short amount of time it’s been around. Less than ten years ago the only place to watch television was in your living room, and the only programmes to watch were the ones the broadcasters scheduled in. Fast forward to today, and it’s an entirely different world. You can watch TV anywhere with an internet connection via smartphones, tablets and laptops, and there’s an almost infinite amount of choice thanks to online streaming and video-on-demand services.

This seismic shift in the landscape has influenced all aspects of the online video industry, from the creation of programmes to the distribution and, perhaps most significantly, consumption. Today, over five billion videos will be watched on YouTube, and 70% of the entire internet’s bandwidth will be taken up by video.

In order for broadcasters, OTT providers and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) to stay up-to-date in these rapidly evolving times, there needs to be innovative technology platforms that can assist businesses in maximising engagement and reaching relevant audiences while simultaneously enhancing monetization opportunities.

As a result, the future of online video platforms has to be radically different from the traditional monolithic approach.

So what does that future look like? Well, it’s modular, flexible and all built around a micro-services architecture, or MSA. Not only does this allow for simplified workflows and cloud-based services, but it also means that custom solutions can be built according to a business’ specific needs, with features that can be easily mixed and matched.

The many advantages of a micro-services architecture

The MSA approach is based around lots of smaller, self-functioning services and follows the so-called ‘single responsibility principle’. Think of it this way: the monolithic approach is a train, with one engine driving everything in a single direction on a single track. The MSA approach is more like a fleet of cars; each car has its own engine and drives across multiple lanes, and they’re all going in the direction and speed they need to.

One of the key principles of the MSA approach is that each service should be focused on a particular set of capabilities, and the ultimate goal is to break down the overall functionality into as small a service as is feasible. By doing this, each service can operate and evolve completely independently, and updates and fixes can be carried out as and when necessary without impacting on anything else. The architecture is built with an understanding that services don’t always operate as expected and are engineered to tolerate and recover from such failures. Best in-class monitoring is essential for the MSA to ensure the right actions are undertaken to maintain good health.

What’s next for online video?

There’s no denying that the online video space will continue to move at breakneck speeds thanks to a number of influences, ranging from consumer habits to the monetization of content. Meanwhile, the goals for broadcasters and MVPDs will remain the same as always: to deliver high-quality content, keep their audiences happy and engaged and become more agile in the ways they bring their offers to market. With all this in mind, the flexibility and versatility of an MSA is crucial to achieving success and future-proofing yourself for the years ahead. 

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