Ian Beyer of Streaming My Consciousness was thrilled was there when an ice storm hit his Kansas United Methodist Church of the Resurrection keeping people home. That's when his online streamed service events really crank up the pressure to perform.

My first indication that this was going to be a big event was Woopra showing 30 people on the web page half an hour before we start sending any kind of video (which is itself 75 minutes before we actually start the morning service). Usually there are two or three. Fifteen minutes after we started sending video, we were already cranking out 20-30 streams (again, we usually only have a small handful at this point).

As the frozen community stayed home, he and his team at the church cranked up their servers to stream the event live to those huddled safely in their homes in front of their computers, and to help customize the service for the audience. "The live map is a tremendously valuable tool. We're able to greet specific locales from the pulpit."

Woopra Live Map of Spike in traffic with church live stream event

As the traffic spiked three to four times the normal levels, Beyer took a few minutes to capture a dramatic screenshot of the Woopra Live Map he had running during on a separate monitor, and tweeted it:

Love what @woopra does for us! http://twitpic.com/14km3r on a busy morning at @rezlive!

Tweet about Woopra tracking traffic spike

Monday morning, he published "Anatomy of an Online Worship Service" to share the lessons learned from the event and how he used Woopra to track the load on the servers and get ahead of the game rather than behind.

Most weeks, we run two Wowza repeaters pulling from a single origin server, which gives us plenty of capacity. I had to spin up a third repeater by the beginning of the pre-service music, a fourth about 10 minutes later, and a fifth after five more minutes. I set my threshold for spinning a new server at 75% CPU on the repeaters, as indicated by the AWS CloudWatch monitors...Unfortunately for our online worshipers, our web server was bogging down pretty hard at the beginning of the service, where the two CPU cores were maxed out for about 15-20 minutes, which translated into slower page loads. The database server wasn’t sweating too hard, so I suspect this could have been helped with better PHP caching. Fortunately for me, this had the effect of slowing down the rate of incoming streams, which allowed me to get new repeaters going before the existing ones started choking.

Beyer is still jazzed about the experience. He admits that one of the things that delighted him most was seeing visitors from outside the church's community. While most of the visitors in Europe are regular watchers of the service, he was "really envious of the folks visiting from Aruba and Cayman Islands" away from the cold freeze around them in the unusual ice storms in the Midwest United States.

Has Woopra helped your live streaming event? Let us know so we can share your story here and on our Twitter account with our Woopra Members. And thanks to everyone for sharing their screenshots of the Woopra Live Maps on Twitter - showing the world how your site is lighting up the world!

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