Microsoft Azure chosen for blinkbox video streaming

A smartphone held in front of an abstract blue digital background, with the Microsoft Azure logo displayed on screen

Blinkbox has chosen Microsoft Azure to host its video streaming service in the cloud.

The company, which is wholly owned by supermarket giant Tesco, had previously delivered films and TV from its own datacentres to customers’ PCs, Macs, iPads, Xboxes, Smart TVs and set-top-boxes.

However, 18 months ago the organisation found it had started running out of storage space at its on-premise datacentres.

Blinkbox initially considered building additional datacentres, but decided this would be very expensive.

The company then decided a cloud platform would be the best solution and opted for Azure because of its platform-agnostic nature and specialised multimedia capabilities, according to Jon Robinson, group head of IT at blinkbox.

“We are in the business of online video which involves absolutely massive amounts of data” Robinson told Cloud Pro. “One of the challenges we have is being able to store them in a very highly available manner ... [and] also encode them and re-encode them for new devices and new formats such as HD.

“With Azure we get Azure Media Services, which is a platform API-based encoder, and have the storage sitting right next to the machines that are encoding the data. That, along with the elastic encoding capability that lets us turn up the wick and have all the encoders run through all of that data and get the new files out for a new format or device [is why we chose Azure].”

Furthermore, Microsoft Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure, also allows the company to run non-Microsoft technologies like Linux, which was also a deciding factor, Robinson said.

Additionally, blinkbox’s IT team no longer have to spend significant amounts of time tending to the datacentre and can instead focus on innovation and adding value to the business, Robinson claimed.

Cliff Evans, Azure lead at Microsoft, added: “Cloud computing is the biggest thing to happen in IT within the last few years. Small and large companies alike are now able to provide great services very quickly without the overhead of running their own datacentre.

“Blinkbox is a classic example of an innovative, young company that is using the cloud to turn the way we consume entertainment on its head,” he concluded.

Jane McCallion
Managing Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's Managing Editor, specializing in data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Managing Editor, she held the role of Deputy Editor and, prior to that, Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialize in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.