Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Apple’s September 9th Live Event Stream

Dan Rayburn (via Amy Worrall):

The bottom line with this event is that the encoding, translation, JavaScript code, the video player, the call to S3 single storage location and the millisecond refreshes all didn’t work properly together and was the root cause of Apple’s failed attempt to make the live stream work without any problems. So while it would be easy to say it was a CDN capacity issue, which was my initial thought considering how many events are taking place today and this week, it does not appear that a lack of capacity played any part in the event not working properly. Apple simply didn’t provision and plan for the event properly.

All the other recent Apple streams have worked really well for me. That said, the refreshing and JSON don’t explain why the stream was also unreliable on Apple TV.

Update (2014-09-13): igrigorik:

Why? No idea. All of them are served via, which is also fronted by Akamai, but once again, a short TTL really doesn’t help with caching, which means there were a lot of requests hitting the Apple origin servers. Those poor Apache servers powering Apple’s site must have been working really, really hard. I’m not surprised the site was experiencing intermittent outages.

Oh, and speaking of load on origin servers… Remember feed.json? Every 10 seconds the page makes a polling request to the server to fetch the latest version. Combine that with a really short maxage TTL and missing gzip compression, and you’ve just created a self-inflicted DDoS.

Simon Fredsted (via John Gruber):

I’m sure that at this point Apple and their streaming partner has done a complete investigation of the causes of the many problems of the stream. Here’s what I think they have found.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

I don't think the streaming issues had anything to do with the new website. There's no reason why it should, unless the data for the webpage and the streaming data literally came from the exact same servers, which seems so implausible, it borders on impossible.

Apple probably just had way more people watching the stream than they expected.

@LKM Yup. The new Web site itself actually updated pretty reliably for me.

Yeah, once I managed to open the page, it updated reliably for me too. It took a few attempts, though; I got a bunch of ugly error messages saying that I was denied access to Apple's website first.

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