Azure Media Services Migration Guide

Background info and guide for migrating your video workflows from Azure Media Services to Bitmovin

Migrating to Bitmovin from Azure Media Services

Bitmovin and Microsoft Azure have collaborated to bring you a powerful video streaming solution, available on Azure Marketplace. Whether you need to deliver live or on-demand content, this partnership offers cost-effective streaming, seamless workflows, and top-notch video encoding capabilities.

Take advantage of extended migration deadline with Bitmovin

As of June 30th, 2024, Azure Media Services will be retired. We are pleased to offer you the opportunity to transition seamlessly to Bitmovin Streams via the Azure Marketplace.

Bitmovin Streams will continue to serve your existing content library from Azure Blob Storage for a limited period until June 30th, 2025. The monthly fee for this service will be $110 USD per Origin Service, and billing will occur directly through the Azure Marketplace. Please note that you will need a separate Bitmovin account for each Azure Media Services streaming unit that you plan to migrate. You can cancel your monthly subscription through your account dashboard, with cancellations taking effect at the end of each month.

During this transition period, you will be required to re-transcode your existing content using a Bitmovin Streams or Bitmovin VOD Encoding. After June 30th, 2025, any content not re-transcoded will no longer be available for streaming to end users.

As a part of the Bitmovin Streams service, you will have access to Bitmovin's standard product portfolio on a Pay-As-You-Go basis, including VOD Encoding, Live Encoding, Player, and Analytics, for new content processing at any time.

If you wish to proceed with this migration, please follow this link to sign up directly through Azure Marketplace.

Choose the best solution for your needs.

Bitmovin offers 2 paths forward for Azure Media Services customers. The best option for you will depend on your workflow, volume of content and customization requirements.

Bitmovin Streams

Bitmovin Streams is a ready to go, end-to-end video on-demand and live streaming solution. Using Streams, you can effortlessly upload, ingest, and host your content in Azure, and leave the rest to us. Once your content is in our platform, the cutting-edge Bitmovin Encoder takes over, automatically compressing your video for playback across the broadest range of devices, providing you with multiple embeddable video player options for every mobile, web, smart and connected TV device on the market. More information about Streams is available here. You can sign up for Streams in the Azure Marketplace at this link.

Bitmovin VOD and Live Encoding

For companies who are processing a high volume of content or needing advanced customization, we recommend using our standalone VOD and Live Encoding solutions. Our SDKs are available in several programming languages, making it easy for developers to integrate Bitmovin’s services into their media workflows.

The rest of this guide will focus on migrating to Bitmovin Streams, but if you want more information on getting started with our customizable VOD and Live Encoding solutions, we have guides available here for both VOD and Live Encoding, including tutorials and step-by-step walkthroughs. To sign up, follow these links to the Azure Marketplace for VOD and Live Encoding.

Creating your Bitmovin account

Starting your journey with Bitmovin on Azure is easy! Simply head to the Azure Marketplace and begin your trial. You’ll have access to Bitmovin’s Dashboard and can begin testing with a 30-day trial. Once subscribed, your account will be provisioned with access to Azure CDN for content delivery.

If you already have a Bitmovin account that was created directly on our website, you’ll need to subscribe to Bitmovin via the Azure Marketplace and create a new account in order to deliver your content with the Azure CDN.

Preparing your current VOD catalog on AMS

We recommend using the one-time CMAF packaging tool provided by Azure Media Services to create new DASH and HLS manifest URLs (streaming endpoints) for your existing back catalog of file-based assets. Every customer’s workflow is different, but we expect you may need to change manifest URLs (streaming endpoints) in your content management system or wherever you manage those URLs for video playback.

Getting Started with Bitmovin Streams

Our Dashboard wizard can guide you through the process of creating your first streaming assets with Bitmovin Streams or you can check out our quickstart docs for a step-by-step walkthrough, including examples for using the API. In our docs, you’ll also find Product guides for:

Embedding Streams web component
Measuring Streams performance
Managing Video Assets
Adding Poster Images
Configuring Advertisements
Customizing Streams player style
And more!

Creating live stream events is simple and easy with Bitmovin Streams. We guide you through setting up your streaming endpoint and provide preconfigured player code that allows for easy embedding and with built-in analytics and usage statistics.

  1. Create a new Stream and choose the Live Stream option in the wizard.
  2. Copy the server URL and Stream Key from the dashboard and paste them into your contribution encoder.*
  3. Copy the Player code and embed it on your page. You can also upload a poster image that will load in the player before the video begins playing.
  4. Start streaming and collecting Analytics data to analyze your audience behavior.

*Currently, Streams only supports RTMP inputs, use Bitmovin Live Encoding if SRT or Zixi inputs are required.

Securing Content


Domain Restriction

Streams domain restriction feature lets you control how your content is accessed. With this feature, you can allow a list of domains on which your content can be played. When this feature is enabled, your content will no longer be playable on non-specified domains. Follow the guide here for more information.

Signed URLs

By default, Streams are open and accessible for seamless sharing and embedding. For cases when you need to safeguard your content so only authorized users can view it, we recommend using signed urls to secure your Streams. More details are available here.

DRM

If you wish to implement basic content encryption or full DRM, then you will need to leverage the VOD and Live Encoding products using our SDKs.

Certification

Bitmovin has not sought formal ISO 27001 or SOC/2 certification, but we align our processes with these standards.

Support

Users can contact support by creating a ticket in the Bitmovin Dashboard or asking a question in the Bitmovin Community using your Bitmovin account.

Billing

If you subscribed to Bitmovin in Azure Marketplace then you will be billed via Azure and NOT via Bitmovin directly. We will report the usage to Azure, and Azure takes care of billing your account as part of the standard Azure billing process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Azure Media Services Retirement

Which Azure Media Services are being retired?

Microsoft is retiring Azure Dynamic Packaging, Content Protection, VOD Encoding, Live Streaming, and Media Player.

Why is AMS being retired?

Microsoft has chosen to retire these services as part of their focus on secular growth and long-term competitiveness plans. They are also prioritizing media services solutions from the Microsoft partner ecosystem to improve access to the highest-quality services.

What does this mean for my current services in Azure?

The retirement of these services means that they will no longer be actively supported or maintained by Microsoft. It is recommended for users to explore alternative solutions or migrate to other services such as Bitmovin to support their future streaming and encoding needs. It’s fairly straightforward to transition away from AMS to a SaaS solution such as Streams; and we’re here to guide you through the process alongside our ISV partners Eyevinn and Southworks.

How long do I have to change over services?

You will have until June 30, 2024 to switch over your on-demand encoding, live streaming, on-demand streaming and content protection workflows. For those needing more time, Bitmovin Streams can continue to serve your existing content library from Azure Blob Storage for a limited period until June 30th, 2025. The monthly fee for this service will be $110 USD per Origin Service, and billing will occur directly through the Azure Marketplace.

Where can I find more information about the retirement of AMS services?

Microsoft prepared a retirement guide to support you in the transition from their services.

Migration Process and Logistics

Can files already encoded with AMS can be kept in the same storage location or they need to be moved?

Existing files can be kept in the same storage location and don’t need to be moved. New files can be added to the same storage location once configured as an Azure Output.

Can files already encoded with AMS can be reused directly in Streams or do they need to be re-encoded?

Existing files don’t need to be re-encoded but you may want to convert them into static CMAF containers with HLS and DASH manifests using the AMS migration tool.

Can I migrate AES encrypted assets from my back catalog?

Yes, the AMS migration tool from Azure supports migrating AES encrypted assets without additional transcoding.

Are there any API calls to be changed?

It’s likely that most or all of your API calls will need to be updated to use one of the Bitmovin SDKs as it’s different from the AMS APIs. That said, the Bitmovin SDKs are highly customizable and offer a lot of powerful capabilities when compared to AMS.

We are currently using react-native-video to stream the DRM-protected videos. If we switch from AMS to Bitmovin, is it necessary to switch to your own player as well?

You are not required to use Bitmovin’s player SDKs but there are many benefits to doing so such as the broadest device & DRM support on the market, custom web UI, ads, analytics, offline playback, casting, etc. You can learn more about the Bitmovin React Native SDK here.

Can I use a third-party CDN to deliver content from Azure Origin / Blob Storage?

You can use a feature called Routing Preference Unmetered from Azure. You will benefit from free data egress from Azure.

Bitmovin Support and Capabilities

What Azure Regions are supported by Bitmovin?

Bitmovin Encoder supports the following Azure Regions as listed in the API reference.
ASIAEAST
ASIA
SOUTHEAST
AUSTRALIAEAST
AUSTRALIA_SOUTHEAST
BRAZIL SOUTH
CANADA_CENTRAL
EUROPE_NORTH
EUROPE_WEST
FRANCE_CENTRAL
GERMANY_WESTCENTRAL
INDIA_CENTRAL
INDIA_SOUTH
JAPAN_EAST
JAPAN_WEST
KOREA_CENTRAL
UAE_NORTH
US_CENTRAL
US_EAST
US
EAST2
US_SOUTH_CENTRAL
US_WEST
US_WEST2

Does Bitmovin support token-based DASH URLs?

Bitmovin supports token-based URLs for both DASH and HLS manifests using the Network API to sign URLs as needed in accordance with your token-based configuration of the Azure CDN.

Does Bitmovin support embedding images to assets while encoding?

Bitmovin’s Live Event Encoder supports creating insertable content in a variety of image formats including BMP, TIF, GIF, PNG, JPG, and many others. Video content can be inserted the same way.

Can we customize the encoding logic? i.e. We should be capable enough to set the bitrate and define the number of resolution copies to be made.

Yes, absolutely. While Bitmovin Streams automatically creates an ideal adaptive bitrate ladder with our award winning Per-Title algorithm, Bitmovin VOD Encoding provides the most flexibility when it comes to customizing your encoding workflow logic. Just follow the getting started documentation on our portal and choose how much or how little you’d like to customize.

What is the number of requests that can be processed per minute with Bitmovin?

Bitmovin provides up to 25 parallel VOD encoding slots and 25 parallel live event encodings by default. The processing rate for VOD encoding jobs varies based on the input type, size, and storage location as well as the output configuration and storage location (e.g. UHD takes longer than HD which takes longer than SD). Learn more about our optimizations to reduce turnaround time.

That said, Bitmovin’s VOD encoder leverages a highly optimized cloud-native split and stitch control plane to process VOD assets at factors of up to 100 times faster than real-time. Additionally, the Bitmovin team invests into dedicated resources to tweak and optimize our codec implementations with ready to deploy presets intended to offer speed vs quality options on a job-by-job basis.

As Azure media player is also set to expire, we are also looking for an alternative. Do you provide a Player for streaming the URLs?

Yes, of course. Bitmovin is one of very few providers in the industry who offers both content preparation and playback technologies which can be used standalone but are also guaranteed to be interoperable when used together.

Bitmovin Playback is our product group that encompasses rich, multi-platform player SDKs as well as sophisticated granular near real-time telemetry about your audience + ad engagement and quality of experience and also a stream lab to validate those URLs before publishing them to ensure problems are not discovered in the wild.

How secure is it to allow Bitmovin to our storage account?

The Bitmovin Encoder is trusted by some of the biggest media brands in our industry to handle their video content including BBC, Discovery+, Stan, Hulu Japan, Globo, Red Bull, and over 200 others.
It works by securely accessing your cloud-based object storage only when needed to download an input asset, transcode it, then output the adaptive bitrate renditions back to your cloud-based object storage. The access to your storage is temporary and fully within your control.

Bitmovin does not store any copies of input or output content and all cloud compute instances used for transcoding are destroyed immediately after the job is complete. The whole process is ephemeral and entirely within your control.

Are there customers that have already made the migration from AMS to Bitmovin? If yes, how long did the whole process take?

So far we’ve seen dozens of AMS customers migrate to Bitmovin successfully without any migration assistance from Bitmovin. It’s hard to tell how long the process has taken but it appears that some of them launched within minutes and others are still working on it days after signing up. We expect this varies substantially depending on the complexity of their use cases (workflows) but it’s not expected to be a substantial migration effort for most.