Brut: Anticipating traffic peaks by using Google Kubernetes Engine for platform automation

About Brut

Brut is a media company creating short-form video content for global audiences. With offices on two continents, Brut publishes content daily in three languages, across eight social platforms, generating more than a billion views per month.

Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: France

About OP-Rate

OP-Rate is a digital transformation accelerator. The dedicated skills center supports, advises, and guides companies to a tech-focused strategic core.

Brut anticipates traffic peaks by creating a video platform with Google Kubernetes Engine and speeds up its translation processes by moving its files to Cloud Storage.

Google Cloud results

  • Speeds up translations between Brut offices in France and the US
  • Creates a viable platform with only two employees and one Google Cloud partner
  • Enables Brut to deliver news videos quickly to an international audience in eight countries
  • Anticipates traffic peaks with Google Kubernetes Engine, allowing Brut to reach its users quickly and consistently
  • Creates a new revenue stream with syndication deals, thanks to centralized storage

Speeds up video translation time from two days to four hours

Writer Graham Swift once said, “Today’s news, which may be yesterday’s anyway, will be eclipsed tomorrow.” He was talking about the fact that, for something to even be called “news,” it needs to be delivered fast. It’s this challenge that Brut, a rising player in the video media industry, is confronted with every day. The company’s informational videos need to be created quickly, and content needs to be translated fast in order to make sure that a video produced in Brut’s home country of France is still interesting to watch when its translated version arrives in the US. The news still needs to be fresh.

Brut produces news videos for eight countries: France, the US, Mexico, India, China, Japan, Spain, and the UK. With its many followers around the world, the company generates more than 1 billion views per month. These include hundreds of millions of views on its social media accounts and millions of views on its YouTube channel. The company also always provides subtitles for users that access the content without sound on social media.

The international setup of the media company has led to challenges, especially when it comes to building a bridge between France and other countries through translated content. The media company often uses the same videos for different markets and needs to translate them quickly to be able to provide relevant news to its international audience. On top of this, Brut needs to anticipate traffic peaks when videos go viral and deliver its content quickly to any part of the world it operates in. In order to meet these challenges, the company realized it needed to create a new platform, and turned to Google Cloud for the solution.

From social media sharing to a unique Brut platform

Brut’s Google Cloud journey started with the creation of the technical department of the company. As Guillaume Perrin, CTO at Brut explains, the need to step up the tech game was becoming more and more apparent as quick growth and internationalization brought Brut to the limits of its current setup. As a result, a team was established with him at the helm, and in September 2018 the journey began.

“We needed to create a platform of our own, instead of relying exclusively on existing social platforms to distribute content. We wanted to have our own website and application, and also centralize every piece of content we create,” he explains. At that time, Brut wanted to expand its reach beyond its YouTube audience to having its own centralized Brut platform to distribute and store its content.

“The Google presence and availability of centers in different regions was very important for us. The collaboration with OP-Rate was also very useful, as it helped with specific points such as security tweaks and node testing. We avoided a lot of pitfalls thanks to its help.”

Guillaume Perrin, CTO, Brut

Google Cloud convinced with low latency and easy scalability

Following some test runs with other service providers, Brut chose Google Cloud as an ideal partner for its technical advantages such as low latency and easy scalability, its more advanced security updates, and good communication with its team of experts. More specifically, it decided to use Google Kubernetes Engine and Cloud Storage.

With a 40% per-month growth rate in views and new countries added constantly, scalability and low latency are key, and that’s what Guillaume understood instantly: “The Google presence and availability of centers in different regions was very important for us. The collaboration with OP-Rate was also very useful, as it helped with specific points such as security tweaks and node testing. We avoided a lot of pitfalls thanks to its help.”

Overcoming the challenge of traffic peaks with Google Kubernetes Engine

As Brut needs to deliver its content consistently and rapidly to its users, the ability to anticipate traffic peaks and prepare for them is very important to keep the business running smoothly. Traffic peaks happen, for example, when a video goes viral, as happened when Brut recently produced an interview with a popular French rapper. “It was crazy. On one platform we climbed to a million views in one day. On the website we achieved 100,000 views, and this was huge too, because the website is still going up slowly, and it's not the first place people go to see Brut content,” says Guillaume.

Luckily, those kinds of traffic peaks are now anticipated with Google Kubernetes Engine. The service automates the platform deployment and scales automatically to meet spikes in demand using different clusters to allocate resources when and where they are needed. “It's really good to know that even if a cluster is struggling to scale up, people will still be able to see the video,” says Guillaume, “it's a real comfort to know.” He knows that in his industry, with videos going viral all the time, “it is going to catch at some point, and it just goes up and you have to be prepared.”

“Translation work could take us up to two days as we were using a whole host of different services, and exchanging files between them was a nightmare. Now that we have Cloud Storage, we can get everything done in just four hours.”

Guillaume Perrin, CTO, Brut

A quick implementation led by a team of two, supported by Google Cloud

Besides the positive effects on scaling, Guillaume appreciates how easy it was to implement Google Kubernetes Engine: “We did it in 15 days. In the beginning, it was very quick.” After only two weeks, Brut had a working Kubernetes infrastructure, and it only needed four months in total to build its APIs, website, application, and back-office tool to make a proper use of the newly built platform.

Plus, Guillaume implemented everything with the help of only one other employee. This two-person team needed help to address the strategic challenges of this project. It chose OP-Rate, a Google Cloud partner, for support in its platform creation and deployment, in order to speed up its migration to Google Cloud.“ Translation work could take us up to two days as we were using a whole host of different services, and exchanging files between them was a nightmare. Now that we have Cloud Storage, we can get everything done in just four hours.”

Translations sped up thanks to shared storage space

By being able to easily share files with Cloud Storage, French employees can now put projects directly on Cloud Storage, and their counterparts in the US can easily grab them and start translating right away. Before, Brut had stored their video projects on local network storage in the US and in France. “It was difficult to exchange files. We were using all sorts of services like WeTransfer or Dropbox. It was a nightmare,” remembers Guillaume. In the future, Brut wants to speed translations up even more by using automatic translation services.

“Centralized storage has opened the door to syndication deals, bringing us a brand new revenue stream. It’s a real game changer for us, and Cloud Storage helped make it possible.”

Guillaume Perrin, CTO, Brut

New revenue streams, new paths to success

Cloud Storage has even opened up new business opportunities for Brut due to the fact that it has a central storage point for its content now. “Centralized storage has opened the door to syndication deals, bringing us a brand new revenue stream. It’s a real game changer for us, and Cloud Storage helped make it possible,” says Guillaume.

Before migrating to Google Cloud, Brut didn’t have its own platform nor measure any web metrics, as it didn’t have a website. Now, apart from speeding up processes and increasing revenues, Brut is able to gather and measure performance, as well as anticipate traffic peaks. For Guillaume and his team, the next step is to tweak the new platform to obtain even better results arising from new challenges. The company expects that Google Cloud will only continue to help Brut solidify its place as a digital media company that puts innovation first.

About Brut

Brut is a media company creating short-form video content for global audiences. With offices on two continents, Brut publishes content daily in three languages, across eight social platforms, generating more than a billion views per month.

Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: France

About OP-Rate

OP-Rate is a digital transformation accelerator. The dedicated skills center supports, advises, and guides companies to a tech-focused strategic core.