The Perform Group is the world’s largest provider of streamed video sports content. Every year, it delivers video coverage of around 25,000 live sporting events to websites and mobile services worldwide, on both a live and on-demand basis.
In order to ensure that video content arrives reliably and consistently with end-users, Perform Group works with a number of different CDN providers. After all, as Andy Measham, the company’s chief operating officer, points out, “We’d need a lot of data centres around the world to deliver that content ourselves.”
When the company started 12 years ago, there wasn’t a lot of choice when it came to CDN, he says. But as choice has widened dramatically, so has the level of sophistication in how Perform Group uses the various services out there.
It started with web page delivery. Perform Group delivers football club websites and needs to deal with the online rush mid-year when the coming season’s fixtures list is announced. Over the past eight or nine years, it has been using CDN for video streaming. Now, the company is doing more and more mobile delivery using CDNs.
“In our position, I think you do have to use several CDN providers in order to build in resilience and get the best results,” he says.
At present, the Perform Group is working primarily with Level 3 and Akamai, he says, but it also uses MirrorImage and CDNetworks for some services. “We use some CDNs to provide a back-up for others, in case peaks in traffic prove too much for one service to handle alone,” Measham explains. Some are stronger in different locations, while others are stronger in delivering to mobile devices.
“I like to think that we’ve got really good at deciding which CDN provider should handle a certain piece of content and allocating it accordingly,” he says.