The Cloud Olympics

The Cloud Olympics

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Today marks the beginning of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and the entire world will get to watch all 98 events (without the risks of a Russian hotel room!) live and on-demand from any internet connected device, thanks to Windows Azure Media Services.

Some of you may have already seen news about this in today’s issue of USA Today – it is a really cool story.

NBC estimates that, during the last Olympics, viewers with connected devices watched 6 hours of the Games per day – and this demand is expected to grow. The growth in viewership will likely be a function of the increased viewing opportunities supported by Azure: At the London Games there were 32 encoded live streams; in Sochi there will be 50.

This is an enormous undertaking, even for a public cloud with as much massive scale and battle-tested functionality as Azure. Over the course of the next two weeks, Azure will support over 1,000 hours of streaming coverage consumed by millions of viewers tuning in from all shapes of devices running all types of platforms.

For the first time ever, this streamed experience will be entirely cloud-based – from the encoding, to the transcoding, to the streaming.

I love seeing real world examples of one of my favorite topics: The size, power, reliability, and bona fide enterprise readiness of Microsoft’s public cloud. This is another great example of a short term need (two weeks) for massive scale (10,000 cores!), without the need for any long-term infrastructure, or attached costs beyond the exact amount of cloud you’re using.

To read more about Microsoft’s work with the Olympics, check out this post on the official Microsoft blog.

To watch for yourself, use the free NBC Sports Live Extra app (available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Windows RT devices), or you can watch on NBC’s official page: NBCOlympics.com.

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  • I don't believe it...not on my Windows Phone...NBCOlympics.com is a disaster...no mobile formatted pages even though the FAQs under the HELP link claim that m.nbcolympics.com or mobile.nbcolympics.com works. Using m.nbcolympics.com auto forwards to the full site. All videos display in Adobe Flash.