Ooyala deals with lots and lots of digital video. It serves up about a billion (with a “b”) videos per month to about 200 million viewers across 130 countries. Customers include Bloomberg, ESPN, Telestra and others. All of that work generates about “2 billion analytic pings per day,” said Peter Bakas, director of platform engineering and operations for the Mountain View, Calif. company.
In that quest to deliver high-quality digital video fast and to glean statistics about that delivery to keep improving service, Ooyala is always looking for the most efficient way to deploy those workloads on private and public clouds. Much of the variable workload stuff, including transcoding, runs in the public cloud — Ooyala tends to rely on Amazon Web Services including the EC2 spot market to deal with spiky demand and to scale the service as needed.
But, its big data stack of Hadoop, Cassandra and Spark, on the other hand, runs on bare metal at its west coast data center. And that workload is moving onto a private cloud running Metacloud’s OpenStack CarbonIOS implementation. Compute- and I/O-intensive workloads stay in the company’s own data centers “where we can control cost and have more predictable performance,” Bakas said.
Many companies like the idea of an open-source cloud, but the knock on OpenStack is it’s more a framework than a complete product ready to sell and deploy. Metacloud prides itself on selling a complete cloud that it manages on behalf of customers, not a bunch of piece parts. “They can come in and manage it for us and still provide the cost savings we need,” Bakas said.
With video, though, it’s also important to have data center presence close to the end-user to reduce latency, and public clouds like AWS or Microsoft Azure provide that proximity. Right now, Ooyala relies primarily on AWS for public cloud, but is always evaluating other options. Having a cloud provider presence in the central United States, for example, would be interesting, he said.
However, like most real-world customers — as opposed to many vendors who turn the cloud discussion into a religious war — Bakas is pragmatic in his assessments.
“We will continue to leverage both public and private where it makes sense,” he noted. “Both are part of our strategy as we scale to meet the demands of our customers.”