Written by Alexandre Falconnier, Yann Floris, Matthieu Hausermann, and Adithya Bodi

Tech giant Microsoft has recently announced the retirement of its Azure Media Services, a significant move set to occur by June 30, 2024. This decision marks a pivotal shift in the cloud-based media services landscape, leading numerous streaming businesses and media enterprises to seek alternative solutions. 

Amidst this transition, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has emerged as a viable alternative for businesses looking to seamlessly continue operations. Having already cemented its position as a key player in the media and entertainment sector, AWS offers a range of services that can fill the void left by Azure Media Services. The subsequent sections provide viable AWS alternatives for retiring Azure Media Services and outline the next steps for companies looking to navigate this transition effectively.

Services Being Discontinued and Their AWS Alternatives

On-demand Encoding

Function: Allows for the conversion of video files into various formats suitable for online streaming, ensuring compatibility across devices and internet speeds.

AWS Alternative: AWS Elemental MediaConvert is an ideal alternative to Azure’s On-demand Encoding service. It allows for the conversion of video files into various formats, catering to diverse online streaming needs. This service ensures compatibility across different devices and adapts to varying internet speeds, offering a comprehensive solution for media processing and delivery.

Live Streaming

Function: This service enables the broadcasting of live video content to viewers over the internet.

AWS Alternative: AWS Elemental MediaLive provides a robust solution for live video processing. It enables the broadcasting of live video content over the internet, ensuring high-quality streaming to multiple platforms. MediaLive is designed to handle the complexities of live video processing, making it suitable for various live broadcasting scenarios.

On-Demand Streaming

Function: Facilitates streaming of pre-recorded video content on-demand.

AWS Alternative: For on-demand streaming, AWS Elemental MediaConvert is a key service that focuses on the transcoding of content into various formats for playback on different devices. Additionally, Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) is commonly used in combination with MediaConvert for storing the processed media files. For the distribution of this content, Amazon CloudFront, AWS’s CDN service, ensures efficient and low latency delivery of on-demand content to a global audience, enhancing the overall streaming experience.

Content Protection Workflows

Function: Safeguards media content against unauthorized use.

AWS Alternative: For content protection, AWS offers AWS Elemental MediaPackage, which is adept at handling encryption and Digital Rights Management (DRM). AWS Elemental MediaPackage encrypts content and supports multiple DRM standards, ensuring secure delivery to a variety of devices. Additionally, for live streaming content protection, AWS Elemental MediaLive can be integrated with third-party DRM solutions, providing a comprehensive approach to secure live and on-demand media workflows.

Azure Media Player

Function: A media player for delivering streaming content.

AWS Alternative: While AWS does not offer a direct alternative with an integrated video player such as Azure Media Player, Amazon IVS provides a video player SDK that can be used to embed live, interactive video streams into web and mobile applications. For on-demand content, businesses would typically pair AWS Elemental Media Services with third-party video players such as JWPlayer or Video.js to achieve a comprehensive streaming solution.

Next Steps for Companies Looking to Continue Operations

Identify a Suitable AWS Replacement

After assessing their specific needs, businesses can select the AWS services that align with their criteria and requirements. AWS offers a versatile, scalable, and cost-effective ecosystem suitable for various media workloads. Companies should consider factors such as scalability, compatibility with existing infrastructure, and specific feature requirements. Understanding the nuances of each AWS service will ensure that the chosen solution optimally supports their unique media processing and distribution needs.

Backup and Retrieve Existing Files

It is critical for companies to prioritize downloading all media files from Azure Media Services to prevent data loss or operational downtime. This process should be carefully managed to ensure a complete and secure transfer of data. Companies currently utilizing should also verify the integrity of the backed-up data and consider storing it in multiple locations for added security. Effective planning for data backup is essential to avoid disruptions during the transition period.

Data Migration Planning 

Developing a comprehensive data migration plan is crucial for a smooth transition. Key considerations include ensuring data integrity during the transfer, minimizing downtime to maintain business continuity, and adhering to data security and compliance regulations. Businesses currently using Azure Media Services should also evaluate the network capacity and potential bottlenecks to ensure efficient data transfer. Detailed planning and testing can mitigate risks and ensure a successful migration to the new platform.

Partner with a Media Specialist

For a seamless migration from Azure to AWS, collaborating with a recognized Media & Entertainment (M&E) Partner is highly advisable. An AWS M&E Partner like TrackIt can offer expert guidance and support tailored to the media industry’s unique challenges. They can assist in optimizing the migration process, addressing technical challenges, and providing strategic advice. Partnering with a specialist ensures access to industry-specific knowledge and experience, facilitating a smooth and efficient transition.

Conclusion: Challenges & Opportunities

In conclusion, the retirement of Azure Media Services presents both challenges and opportunities for businesses in the media sector. By considering the AWS alternatives and planning strategically, companies can transition effectively to continue their media operations without disruption.

About TrackIt

TrackIt is an Amazon Web Services Advanced Tier Services Partner specializing in cloud management, consulting, and software development solutions based in Marina del Rey, CA. 

TrackIt specializes in Modern Software Development, DevOps, Infrastructure-As-Code, Serverless, CI/CD, and Containerization with specialized expertise in Media & Entertainment workflows, High-Performance Computing environments, and data storage.

In addition to providing cloud management, consulting, and modern software development services, TrackIt also provides an open-source AWS cost management tool that allows users to optimize their costs and resources on AWS.

About Matthieu Hausermann

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With nearly three years of experience driving business development across Europe at TrackIt, Matthieu combines his professional expertise with a passion for tennis and hiking, bringing a well-rounded and energetic approach to his work. He holds a Master’s in Management from NOVA SBE and has a particular interest in the practical applications of emerging technologies in business.

About Alexandre Falconnier

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Alexandre is a young and dynamic business professional with a keen interest in emerging technologies. With experience spanning various tech industries, including blockchain and cloud computing, he has developed a strong business acumen in these fields. Since joining TrackIt in 2023, Alexandre has been a vital member of the business development team, focused on driving growth in the EMEA region.

Outside of his professional pursuits, Alexandre enjoys reading books on emerging technologies and personal development, as well as engaging in activities such as tennis, going to the gym, and playing video games.

About Adithya Bodi

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Having spent over 6 years as a consultant working with companies spanning a broad variety of tech niches, Adithya has gained deep expertise in planning and executing content marketing and lead generation strategies. Adithya has been working with TrackIt since 2018 and has taken on a full-time position to assist the company in its growth while deepening his knowledge and expertise in AWS.

Adithya has a bachelor’s degree in Applied Physics and is an AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate. He is also an avid calisthenics practitioner, a stock market enthusiast, and a recreational painter.