There’s a new sheriff down Vimeo way, if by sheriff you mean Falkor, our next-gen transcoding infrastructure (and favorite fantasy 1980s dog dragon). It’s faster and more reliable than what came before, and its cloud-native nature brings us into the future with style. I’m here to tell you all about it.
First, some history
Falkor is replacing a transcoding stack called Tron, which dates all the way back to 2013. Tron has the following characteristics:
- It outputs progressive MP4 with both audio and video.
- It downloads the whole source file locally and transcodes it to the desired profile and uploads the result to cloud storage.
Tron was designed for the pre-cloud Vimeo, back when we were running our own data center (although it does take advantage of Spot instances, which help us to optimize costs). These days we’re in the cloud with Google Cloud.
Even though Tron is ten years old, we haven’t completely retired it yet. It still handles some edge cases that Falkor can’t manage; more on that in a little while.
The earliest seeds of the new infrastructure can be traced to 2011, before Tron was even a thing. But we started working on it in earnest in late 2019 with several goals in mind.
To input from the original source file
This is a continuation of what we did with Tron. Using the original source file as the input of transcodes whenever possible maximizes the quality of the output. Otherwise we’re stuck with mezzanine files; these are already transcoded, and given that transcoding is a lossy process, using the mezzanine as a source for other transcodes results in ...