Theses Doctoral

Design of Scalable On-Demand Video Streaming Systems Leveraging Video Viewing Patterns

Hwang, Kyung-Wook

The explosive growth in on-demand access of video across all forms of delivery (Internet, traditional cable, IPTV, wireless) has renewed the interest in scalable delivery methods. Approaches using Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), Peer-to-Peer (P2P) approaches, and their combinations have been proposed as viable options to ease the load on servers and network links. However, there has been little focus on how to take advantage of user viewing patterns to understand their impact on existing mechanisms and to design new solutions that improve the streaming service quality.

In this dissertation, we leverage on the observation that users watch only a small portion of videos to understand the limits of existing designs and to optimize two scalable approaches -- the content placement and P2P Video-on-Demand (VoD) streaming. Then, we present our novel scalable system called Joint-Family which enables adaptive bitrate streaming (ABR) in P2P VoD, supporting user viewing patterns.

We first provide evidence of such user viewing behavior from data collected from a nationally deployed VoD service. In contrast to using a simplistic popularity-based placement and traditionally proposed caching strategies (such as CDNs), we use a Mixed Integer Programming formulation to model the placement problem and employ an innovative approach that scales well. We have performed detailed simulations using actual traces of user viewing sessions (including stream control operations such as pause, fast-forward, and rewind). Our results show that the use of segment-based placement strategy yields substantial savings in both disk storage requirements at origin servers/VHOs as well as network bandwidth use. For example, compared to a simple caching scheme using full videos, our MIP-based placement using segments can achieve up to 71% reduction in peak link bandwidth usage.

Secondly, we note that the policies adopted in existing P2P VoD systems have not taken user viewing behavior -- that users abandon videos -- into account. We show that abandonment can result in increased interruptions and wasted resources. As a result, we reconsider the set of policies to use in the presence of abandonment. Our goal is to balance the conflicting needs of delivering videos without interruptions while minimizing wastage. We find that an Earliest-First chunk selection policy in conjunction with the Earliest-Deadline peer selection policy allows us to achieve high download rates. We take advantage of abandonment by converting peers to "partial seeds"; this increases capacity. We minimize wastage by using a playback lookahead window. We use analysis and simulation experiments using real-world traces to show the effectiveness of our approach.

Finally, we propose Joint-Family, a protocol that combines P2P and adaptive bitrate (ABR) streaming for VoD. While P2P for VoD and ABR have been proposed previously, they have not been studied together because they attempt to tackle problems with seemingly orthogonal goals. We motivate our approach through analysis that overcomes a misconception resulting from prior analytical work, and show that the popularity of a P2P swarm and seed staying time has a significant bearing on the achievable per-receiver download rate. Specifically, our analysis shows that popularity affects swarm efficiency when seeds stay "long enough". We also show that ABR in a P2P setting helps viewers achieve higher playback rates and/or fewer interruptions.

We develop the Joint-Family protocol based on the observations from our analysis. Peers in Joint-Family simultaneously participate in multiple swarms to exchange chunks of different bitrates. We adopt chunk, bitrate, and peer selection policies that minimize occurrence of interruptions while delivering high quality video and improving the efficiency of the system. Using traces from a large-scale commercial VoD service, we compare Joint-Family with existing approaches for P2P VoD and show that viewers in Joint-Family enjoy higher playback rates with minimal interruption, irrespective of video popularity.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Electrical Engineering
Thesis Advisors
Rubenstein, Daniel Stuart
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
November 4, 2013