Last September, we unveiled Compass, our groundbreaking midstream multi-CDN switcher. Following its launch at IBC, Compass gained significant traction and is now used with several selected customers around the world.
Streamroot Compass is a dynamic instream multi-CDN load balancer. In addition to automating traffic management, Compass customizes delivery to ensure peak performance for every viewer. Using a transparent client-side CDN switching module, it is the only solution on the market that harnesses real-time feedback from the individual device to choose the best possible CDN on a segment-by-segment basis within the video session.
While feedback from viewer devices is essential to make the most accurate, viewer-specific CDN switching decisions, this information is not available at the very beginning of the session. This is why one of the first questions we are often asked is, how does Compass select the source CDN for the first segments of the video?
In short, Streamroot Compass selects the most appropriate CDN at the beginning of a video session from the inputs of the content owner’s choice. When connecting to the stream, Compass receives the initial score based on business, geography or ISP-based rules, and/or from global CDN statistics from a 3rd-party provider. It uses this score to select the source for the first segments of the video, until enough data is accumulated locally to make per-device QoS-based decisions. Even though almost all switching decisions during the video session are based on real-time local device stats, the initial score is equally important; it determines the quality of experience at the beginning of the stream – a crucial moment for viewers, who often quit early on in the video session due to buffering.
To help customers optimize experience for their viewers, Streamroot partnered with Citrix, a global leader in networking and analytics. While Streamroot Compass analyzes real-time, device-specific QoS stats and handles midstream CDN switching during the video session, Citrix Intelligent Traffic Management (Citrix ITM) provides Compass the crucial information required to choose the CDN for the beginning of the video stream. Why use Citrix?
Many Citrix customers are using Citrix ITM for CDN load balancing. No other service has the depth of knowledge of the internet conditions of response to them in real-time. Citrix ITM monitors internet performance for hundreds of millions of users from over 40,000 networks globally every day. The resulting 15 billion daily data points from real users are used to create a virtual map of user experience on the internet, in terms of latency, throughput, and reachability.
Because Citrix ITM is collating and analyzing data continuously, it is able to track the conditions of CDNs, clouds and networks and ensures users are shielded from service degradations and outages. So, when inquiries are made to Citrix ITM, it is able to provide details of the best destination CDN, or CDNs, for your users at any given time.
Of course, one of the first jobs of Citrix ITM is to send the user to the closest or best-performing source of content for each request, but other factors other than performance may play a part. Citrix ITM can take feeds from third-party data sets that enable it to factor in additional variable parameters to the decision making. For example, it is possible to include data on the charging model for each CDN in use and return scores for these as commit rates are approached. This can alter the preferred destination when performance rates are similar.
Citrix ITM is well ingrained with the public CDN providers and tests them continuously as mentioned, but you may want to manage your costs further and create your own CDN for your content, or even combine various repositories of different types. citrix ITM can help you with this. Once you have your content sites set up, it is easy to include testing from your end users to compare with public CDNs to gauge the best destination for your users in real time.
Citrix ITM’s flexible policy engine means that you can take advantage of all of the Citrix experience monitoring and craft your decision making to suit your business requirements as you get started with Streamroot and Citrix.
How to set up Citrix ITM as a Compass CDN score provider
In order to use Citrix ITM as your initial CDN score provider, you’ll need your Citrix CustomerID and AppID.
The Citrix CustomerID is easily identified from within the portal. It is written across the top bar of the dashboard. In the figure below the numbers in the first set of brackets is (account number:CustomerID). Here the account number and the CustomerID are the same, but the second number is the CustomerID.
The AppID is available when you create the rule set you will use to control the traffic steering. From within the OpenMix tab a list of available rule sets (applications) is listed and the AppID appears in the third column. In the example below, the AppID is “4”:
To connect your Citrix ITM account and configuration to Streamroot Compass, head to the Compass Properties tab in your Streamroot Dashboard. There, you can define Citrix ITM as your CDN Score Provider for each of your traffic properties by entering your CustomerID and AppID.