|By Greg Pulier||
|October 21, 2010 11:15 AM EDT||
Hybrid Flash multicasting is the second and decisive wave of innovation that will enable enterprises to stream video without overtaxing their network infrastructures. It eliminates the usual tradeoffs between video consumption and network investment, regardless of increased video traffic in budget-constrained corporate networks. Hybrid Flash multicasting also solves the cost and complexity challenges of IP multicasting. By combining a new form of multicasting, known as application multicasting, which leverages a peer-assisted model of video sharing with an IP multicast network, a video stream can reach virtually everyone on the network using existing bandwidth and infrastructure. Hybrid multicasting finally unlocks the full potential for video within the enterprise by combining IP and application multicasting to deliver streaming media using the most efficient algorithms within a dynamic self-optimizing topology.
Hybrid Flash multicasting, available in the recently released Adobe Flash Media Server 4 (FMS4), arrives at an opportune time. The use of online video is growing rapidly within corporations. Industry data shows that video consumption inside the corporate firewall is growing at an unprecedented rate, following consumer trends of the past few years. Approximately 12 percent of large enterprises were generating more than 100 hours of video content per month in 2009, up from 9 percent in 2008. The number of corporations generating 25-100 hours of video jumped from 21 percent to 29 percent in the same period. At that rate, a company could have amassed a 6,000-hour library of video since 2005. In the consumer public, video as a percentage of Internet traffic is projected to reach 91 percent by 2014, with corporate network traffic likely to mimic that consumer pattern. Gartner Research projects that 25 percent of content that workers see in a day will be dominated by pictures, video or audio by 2013.
Economic Advantages of Hybrid Flash Multicasting
From an internal cost perspective, hybrid Flash multicasting enables corporations to keep up with growing video usage while cutting enterprise video expense across several cost centers. IT managers will appreciate it for the ability to deliver the greatest level of video service while minimizing the need for additional media servers, edge caching devices, eCDNs, and WAN acceleration hardware. By having fewer physical servers to install throughout the network, FMS4 promises a shorter deployment cycle than existing video streaming technologies and lower ongoing IT maintenance and support costs.
Hybrid Flash multicasting is also as valuable to media producers as it is to IT managers. Flash is compatible with all operating systems, so corporations can now stream video to Macs, PCs, and Linux machines with relative ease. It's compatible with all popular browsers, making the video experience seamless for users of Internet Explorer, FireFox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. Media producers will no longer have to produce video in multiple streaming formats when a corporate video is intended for both internal and external audiences, which is potentially a huge money and time saver.
Piloting Hybrid Flash Multicasting
On paper, all of the new benefits of hybrid Flash multicasting sound impressive. However, no one really knew how well it would work until it was implemented in a real-world, global corporate environment. To test hybrid Flash multicasting, MediaPlatform, an early adopter and advocate of Flash and Flex-based webcasting applications, worked closely with Adobe on the development of the industry's first Flash multicast-enabled player.
Adobe and MediaPlatform decided to approach a Fortune 500 client that had been using MediaPlatform's webcasting solutions for several years. We selected this client for the Flash multicast test for several reasons. First, their global network is enormous, with offices in 95 countries on six continents and over 100,000 employees. Second, this corporation is actually comprised of two enterprises, one of which is the original company with a significant portion of their network IP multicast enabled, and the other of which is a large entity they recently acquired whose network is not IP multicast enabled. Third, a number of the client's satellite locations around the world are not equipped for IP multicasting. Figure 1 shows a simple network map of the client as two entities, where there is an obvious division in multicast-enabled networks.
Figure 1 - High level network structure of the client site
The employees within the client organization had expectations of enterprise video and hybrid Flash multicasting that varied depending on their roles. The line-of-business (LOB) people MediaPlatform worked with wanted the highest possible video quality wherever possible. They were most concerned about latency and performance and anything else that could potentially affect the quality of an online event for viewers or executive presenters. In addition to quality concerns, they wanted video to be as pervasive in the organization as possible. The LOB stakeholders wanted to utilize the multicast test to explore other streaming possibilities, which were currently limited, as their remote offices and scattered groups inside the two-network structure were not able to view videos in real time.
The IT department, however, had a different agenda for the hybrid multicast test. The most critical issue they wanted to address was the ability for the entire organization to access and watch videos without causing network failures. To implement this test, the client insisted on scheduling it during the middle of a major network upgrade project. This complicated matters, but we were able to work around the project so that the test would not cause any adverse network traffic patterns.
The Test Solution
Our test solution needed to accommodate four important factors that the client requested:
- Variable streaming rates: These were needed to multicast across varying network conditions throughout the enterprise.
- Support for multiple languages: As a global corporation, the company wanted to make sure that hybrid Flash multicasting would support video streams in more than one language.
- Primary and backup streams: The video signal required a backup stream in the event that the primary stream became unavailable.
- Streaming from multiple studios: The client also wanted to be able to originate a video signal anywhere in the world and have it stream easily to any location. They had a goal of being able to produce videos and webcasts from either Studio A or Studio B and allow anyone in the to watch the presentations live without any network performance issues or latency.
The solution resembled the high-level overview shown in Figure 2. We started with the original video signal from the live event, which we sent to a battery of Flash Live Media Encoders (FLMEs) for encoding in different bit rates. We also set up FLMEs for different language versions of the video. Each language stream could then be encoded with a different audio track. Flash Media Server, running with MediaPlatform's software, organized the streams and made them available to viewers using MediaPlatform's OSMF compatible flash multicast player, WebCaster.
Figure 2 - High level overview of MediaPlatform's approach to testing Hybrid flash multicasting.
With multiple encoded streams hitting the server, the key to making hybrid Flash multicasting work is using MediaPlatform's capacity to make a quick match between each player and the appropriate stream. In a process that is completely invisible to the end user, MediaPlatform's software is able to connect viewers with a Flash video stream that was configured for their language, location, and bandwidth. When viewers are invited to participate in the test, they receive a link to a Web page that contains our WebCaster player. The player is set up to transmit the viewer's network location and language preference to the instance of MediaPlatform's software running on top of FMS 4. Using a table of IP addresses and correlated multicasting factors, MediaPlatform's software is able to match each player with a specific type of stream. The viewer then receives the correct type of stream. For example, one viewer might receive a primary low bandwidth stream in English, while another viewer in another part of the network might receive a high bandwidth stream in French.
The hybrid Flash multicasting test was a success. IT stakeholders were struck by how efficiently a high-quality video stream could flow through their network. The bandwidth usage was, in their view, amazingly and unexpectedly low. Audiences involved in the test were pleased with the quality of the video. For some participants, it was the first time they had seen a video on their work PCs, because previous network limitations had prevented them from watching online video. The business stakeholders in the media production department were elated that they now had the ability to produce content in a single format that could span the entire internal audience and also be simultaneously usable for the external Web. The results of the test prove that enterprise video seems destined for a hybrid Flash multicast future.
- Interactive Media Strategies Executive Web Communications Survey, Q4 2009
- Cisco Visual Network Index 2009
- Gartner Data 2008
"We have a tagline - "Power in the API Economy." What that means is everything that is built in applications and connected applications is done through APIs," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at Akana, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 1, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 862
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jul. 1, 2015 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,075
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 1, 2015 02:21 PM EDT Reads: 659
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Jul. 1, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,254
To many people, IoT is a buzzword whose value is not understood. Many people think IoT is all about wearables and home automation. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed some incredible game-changing use cases and how they are transforming industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and smart cities. He will discuss cool technologies like smart dust, robotics, smart labels, and much more. Prepare to be blown away with a glimpse of the future.
Jul. 1, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 803
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Jul. 1, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,145
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
Jul. 1, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,953
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context wi...
Jul. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 948
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
Jun. 29, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,708
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
Jun. 29, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,200
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jun. 29, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,547
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
Jun. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,251
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Jun. 27, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,267
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fillin...
Jun. 26, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,257
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Jun. 26, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,136
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
Jun. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,040
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
Jun. 25, 2015 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,198
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, and the “Third Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place June 7-9, 2016, at Javits Center in New York City. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Jun. 22, 2015 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,844
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Jun. 20, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,914
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
Jun. 15, 2015 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 4,170