Looks like Microsoft is outsourcing a part of its cloud

CDN expert Dan Rayburn reported Monday that Microsoft is deep-sixing its home-grown content delivery network capabilities and is instead turning to Verizon EdgeCast to deliver video for Microsoft Azure customers. Verizon bought Edgecast for its media delivery expertise, in late 2013.

Reached for comment, a [company]Microsoft[/company] spokesman provided a limited confirmation: “[company]Microsoft[/company] licenses technology from many partners to complement our product offerings and to give customers complete solutions. We are happy to partner with EdgeCast to provide an integral component of the Azure Media Services workflow.”

Delivery of content of all kinds, including bandwidth-hungry video, has been a priority for the Azure forces. Microsoft trumpeted the use of Microsoft Azure Media Services to help live stream Winter Olympic events from Sochi, for example, but that effort relied on CDN market leader Akamai.

“While Azure did have some CDN services of its own before shutting them down, they were basic, Rayburn said via email.

“Partnering with [company]Verizon[/company]’s EdgeCast gives Azure more CDN functionality, greater reach and capacity and allows Azure to get all of the advantages of one of the best CDNs in the market, without any of the major capex or opex challenges. It’s a smart move on Azure’s part,” he said.

As Rayburn pointed out on his blog, [company]Amazon[/company] builds almost everything in its cloud from foundation to rooftop. Microsoft, on the other hand, is more partner-focused and thus more inclined to license or buy technology.

And, don’t forget, Microsoft is also playing cloud catch up to Amazon Web Services, which, having launched in 2006, has a multi-year head start over competitors. Azure, in its first PaaS-based incarnation launched in 2010, but the more AWS-comparable version kicked off in 2013.

When you’re behind in the race, buying in could be a way to make up for lost time.

 

WatchESPN goes down during the Rose Bowl

WatchESPN, a service that allows cable subscribers to stream live sporting events on devices like Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, and iPhone and iPad, has been serving error messages instead of streaming live video on Thursday. The outage happened during the Rose Bowl, one of the most anticipated college football games of the year and the first of three college football playoff games streaming on WatchESPN.

Upset Oregon and Florida State fans aired their displeasure on Twitter.

Timothy Burke at Deadspin speculates that the issue has something to do with ESPN’s playlist, and that it’s not a content delivery network problem. This incident isn’t the first time WatchESPN has gone down under high strain.

[company]ESPN[/company] is aware of the issue and says it’s been “largely resolved on all platforms.” I can watch the stream in a browser, although I’m still having trouble connecting on Apple TV.

One thing is clear: If your team ends up making the championship, and you actually want to watch it, you might want to find a friend with cable.