Delivering Limitless Live Video for Today’s Needs with LiveSwitchStart Your Cloud Journey
For LiveSwitch Inc. and its customers, network quality and reliability are everything. LiveSwitch delivers live video streaming to people around the world. It shares moments from news-breaking scoops to the game changers in sports. It also enables high-quality digital patient visits and remote learning.
The company was established in 2008 by two brothers, Jerod and Anton Venema. At the time, they planned to develop a collaborative diagramming tool. In 2017, in response to customer demand for large-scale videoconferencing, they launched LiveSwitch. The highly flexible server software and SDK supports dynamic scaling between video connection types depending on the session needs. Now, it offers the most flexible live video, audio and messaging software on the market today.
Managing explosive growth and quality of services
In mid-2020, the Venema brothers realized that it was time to take the next step in the evolution of their business. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for LiveSwitch’s video-streaming services increased exponentially. Corporate video conferencing needs shot up overnight when workforces were sent home en masse. However, LiveSwitch’s existing infrastructure provider platform couldn’t handle the volume and couldn’t scale fast enough.
At the same time, some red flags began showing up on the network performance of the underlying hardware. Then there was a major live streaming event that didn’t go well. “Just based on the nature of what we do, we are so sensitive to any variations in network performance,” said CTO Anton Venema. “If there’s any instability, it gives everyone a poor user experience.”
The quality of its service was vital, especially given that it has many customers in the financial and health care industries that must comply with strict regulations regarding the security and integrity of their video feeds. “We knew it was time to move on to a new provider,” said Venema.
Working with OpsGuru and AWS to build the future
In June of 2020, LiveSwitch reached out to OpsGuru, a Carbon60 company and Canada’s fastest-growing multi-cloud and DevOps consultancy. OpsGuru has partnered with hundreds of customers to leverage the power of the AWS cloud platform to help their business scale, and improve agility and integrity.
LiveSwitch initially sought help to unblock, scale and deploy across a variety of service providers. In November, OpsGuru and AWS helped LiveSwitch to leverage its Migration Acceleration Program. This allowed OpsGuru to conduct a deep assessment categorizing the needs of LiveSwitch, before mobilizing cloud foundations with Cloud Launchpad in December and finally migrating the entire platform into AWS by January of 2021.
Prior to the migration, OpsGuru had worked with LiveSwitch to deploy their software using a container-based approach. With the foundation in place, OpsGuru deployed the Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) to orchestrate the microservices. This AWS service provides highly available and secure clusters for LiveSwitch and automates key tasks such as patching.
While deploying microservices orchestration on Amazon EKS greatly improved the availability and scalability of the services, it was only part of the solution. The LiveSwitch platform captures performance and user interaction metrics as a baseline to maximize customer experience. Such data was previously stored in SQL Servers. To help the platform scale up, OpsGuru helped the LiveSwitch team migrate to Aurora Postgres, such that the cloud-based platform now adopts cloud-native solutions end-to-end. Amazon Aurora not only alleviated the storage usage often faced by traditional relational database solutions, but the high availability and performance of the database also ensured data propagated efficiently to bring about a truly real-time live experience for the end user.
Disaster recovery policies and procedures were also developed by OpsGuru in collaboration with LiveSwitch to ensure that required business continuity targets are met.
“Overall, the transition was fast and smooth because of OpsGuru’s expertise”, said Venema.
Achieving blazing fast speed and scale
OpsGuru considers LiveSwitch one of its pandemic-growth success stories. “We helped increase their reliability and velocity,” says General Manager Dave Lindon. “We were building a trustworthy platform that can scale up and down according to customer demand. We also pushed the needle in security standards to support their diverse customer base.”
“Network quality was one of the driving factors behind the migration,” said Venema. “The number of outages and incidents is essentially zero at this point.” As well, Venema is happy that the AWS service is constantly monitored. “No news is good news, which is the report all of the time,” he said. He also noted that round-trip latency is always “nice and low.” Venema sees this level of reliability as a foundational component of the LiveSwitch service.
Improved security and compliance is also a key benefit. Recalling LiveSwitch’s early days, Venema says, “when you’re a small startup, the goal is to just get the service up and running securely. As our target customer size increases, it becomes more important to adhere to independent guidelines and audits. That’s really where OpsGuru’s experience is very useful. They’re making sure that we’re doing things in a way that is regulatory-compliant from an objective point of view.”
The new environment using containers and the AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service allows LiveSwitch to release new features more quickly and securely. “It gives us greater test capabilities without impacting the existing service,” Venema said.
Now, with the help of OpsGuru and AWS, LiveSwitch has a stronger foundation and greater stability, said Venema. “We’re definitely in a better position than we were four months ago.”
The two companies are looking forward to further collaboration as LiveSwitch proceeds with expansion plans using AWS in Europe. By enhancing the Kubernetes-based platform, LiveSwitch is looking to grow its revenue 20 to 30 percent each year over the next five years. “The demand is still going up, and we want to make sure the infrastructure is there to support it at any scale,” says Venema.