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High speed encoding has been a top customer ask for Azure Media Services and that ask has now been met by enabling customers to select between three different types of Encoding Reserved Units. In this post, I will cover how you can use the new Encoding Reserved Units and the speed gains that you will get as a result.
Encoding Reserved Unit Types
Until now, you as a user of Azure Media Services were able to log in to the Portal and change the number of encoding reserved units under the “Encoding” tab (as shown below): This tab has now been updated to provide you the ability to select between three different types of Encoding Reserved Units (as shown below):
The three different encoding reserved units are labeled as S1, S2 and S3 respectively. As a user, you can select any one of them and change the number of reserved units (up to your account quota) by using the slider. Changes on the Media Services account will go in to effect as soon as you click “Save”. Please note that the existing encoding tasks that are already in processing state will continue to run at the performance level dictated by the reserved units that were allocated to the account when the encoding task started. All encoding tasks that enter the processing state after the reserved unit changes go in to effect will get the benefit of the updated reserved units in the account. From a performance perspective, the S1 Reserved Units offer the same encoding performance as what you have been getting until now. S2 Reserved Units offer encoding performance gains of up to 2x as compared to S1 and S3 Reserved Units offer more than 4x encoding performance gain when compared to S1. Actual performance gains are a function of the input content and the encoding profile that is selected.
Pricing for encoding reserved units can be found on the Media Services Pricing page. Encoding reserved units are priced monthly but the charge is prorated daily based on the highest number of the reserved units in the account for the day. For the purpose of billing, a day is based on UTC time. Below are a few examples to explain this in a bit detail. Let’s assume price for Basic, Standard and Premium Reserved Units is $X, $Y and $Z respectively.
|User changes number of S1 reserved units from 0 to 10 at 10 am UTC and then changes it back to 0 at 8pm UTC on the same day
|$X/31 * 10
|The daily cost per S1 reserved unit is $X/31 but the reserved units were used only for 10 hours and 10 was the highest number of reserved units for the day
|User changes number of S1 reserved units from 0 to 5 at 10 am UTC and then from 5 to 20 at 12pm UTC on the same day. Finally the user changes the reserved units back to 0 at 9pm UTC on the same day
|$X/31 * 20
|The daily cost per S1reserved unit is $X/31 and 20 was the highest number of reserved units for the day
|User changes number of S1 reserved units from 0 to 5 at 10 pm UTC and then back to 0 at 9am UTC on the next day
|($X/31 * 5) + ($X/31 * 5)
|The daily cost per S1 reserved unit is $X/31 and 5 was the highest number of reserved units for the two days in question
|User changes number of S1 reserved units from 0 to 8 at 10 pm UTC and then from 8 to 5 at 9 am UTC on the next day and from 5 to 0 at 12pm UTC
|($X/31 * 8) + ($X/31 * 8)
|The daily cost per S1 reserved unit is $X/31 and 8 was the highest number of reserved units for the two days in question
|User changes number of S1 reserved units from 0 to 10 at 10 am UTC and then changes to S2 reserved units at 8 pm UTC and then changes the number of reserved units to zero on the same day at 10pm UTC
|($X/31 * 10) + ($Y/31 * 10)
|The daily cost per S1 reserved unit is $X/31 and the daily cost per S2 reserved unit is $Y/31 and 10 was the max number of reserved units of each type for the day. The two costs are added up to reflect the usage of both types of reserved units during the day
Please note, that the daily cost is calculated by dividing the monthly cost by 31 for all months (including February)
At this time, no APIs are being made available to change the reserved unit types in your Media Services account. The Azure management portal is the only way you will be able to do this. We will be looking at making APIs available in a future release.
As closing remarks, I would like to thank all the customers who helped us validate the high performance reserved units in the past few months. Here is a quote from one of highly valued enterprise customers (Jon Robinson from Blinkbox) “The cloud is great for scaling horizontally, but sometimes you just need speed – the new premium encoders have that in spades – and that is what we used for our business and we are very happy with the results”.