Terry Jonas with
Scientific Cloud Providers, Mesa Arizona
Cloud computing is to becoming the main platform with computing infrastructure, overtaking traditional approaches
to constructing enterprise datacenters and web server farms.
Video is inevitably moving
online....the Web is more and more video...video...video....all in the Cloud Platform....
Online video is at 11% of overall video consumption,
online video consumption continues to increase, and is far from "being full..."
Because video started moving online prior to the start of
cloud computing, online video largely uses pre-cloud infrastructure technologies. Increased video consumption will require new infrastructure.
Thus, we can look to create the next generation of video
infrastructure technologies using cloud technologies, which we call video in the cloud.
Current cloud computing technologies are not really
video capable. Any modern server whether in the cloud or not can run a video application and even deliver a few video streams.
However, video in the aggregate, especially at the scale
required for significant video handling and delivery, is a much larger problem that stresses the basics of any computing infrastructure.
The continual evolution of computing technology may eventually solve the video problem.
Nonetheless, focusing on and addressing the problems of supporting video sooner
offers insight in supporting other large scale problems.
Video is big data and big bandwidth and big session counts. Thus, directly addressing
video will benefit other application areas that also put pressure on storage, bandwidth, and/or distributed processing.
Video can sometimes require
a large amount of resources. So it’s no wonder that with the ever-increasing popularity of cloud-based computing that
someone realized it might be a good way to go with online video. This past week, Fire_Cloud published a good post that looks at how “cloud
computing,” can be applied to support online video destination sites.
If you’re not familiar with cloud computing then read on and find out how it’s
helping some online video businesses keep things flowing freely in streaming media.
What is Cloud Based Computing with Video?
Cloud computing is when a group of computers are tasked
with sharing the load for a particular service. Many common applications are in the SaaS (Software as a Service) industry
where thousands or perhaps millions of users could simultaneously be wanting to use the service.
One server simply would not be able to handle that and so they take their service
and spread it over multiple servers utilizing the power of them all. To the users there is only one interface or portal but
on the backend there could be dozens or even hundreds of servers all working in unison to keep the flow of information from
getting bogged down in the mire.
and applying it to online video is a tricky task as there are multiple things that need to be considered including where the
video is going to be stored, how it will be delivered, where it will be delivered from and to, and transcoding (which not
everyone will use). First and foremost in everyone’s mind of course is going to be storage space and bandwidth (i.e.
storage space is extremely cheap when compared to what it was even just 10 years ago. Nowadays the amount of storage space
isn’t all that important as it’s quick, easy and cheap to get more. But what is more important in regards to storage
is where that storage is physically located.
serving videos mostly to Europe you will definitely want a European-based storage solution. However if you want to expand
your audience into say North America, that storage solution isn’t going to be the best idea in the world and thus you’d
want to also have an N.A. based storage solution.
we have to talk about delivery because you’ve got two storage areas, Europe and North America. You don’t want
your potential viewers to have to do anything extraordinary to view your videos and you want those videos delivered to them
as quickly as possible.
That means your delivery system
is going to have to know where those viewers are and then deliver the video to them in the fastest possible way by utilizing
the closest server. A person in the Czech Republic shouldn’t be having video served to them from your North American
server just like a viewer in Idaho shouldn’t get it from the European one, etc.
Many SaaS and content delivery networks (CDN) like Akama take this into account and through both geo-locating (via
IP address) and reading the browsers settings can determine what is the best place for them to get the video from without
the users even knowing it’s being done.
hoping to go global and seriously serve a lot of video to a lot of people in a lot of places (whew that’s a lot of a
lots) then you’re going to have to take all of this into consideration and that’s one of the major places where
cloud computing can help.
On the flip side of all that is if you want to run a
video service that is going to accept user submissions. Those same storage servers will also act as receptacles for all the
Again in order for the uploads
to be successful and as fast as possible you’ll certainly want them to upload to the closest server to them. The CDN
will then take that video and propagate it to your other storage servers so that it too can be fed out to the masses in the
quickest possible fashion.
Benefits – Reliance
Of course, there’s far more to it than just that. For example you might have a video that suddenly goes viral
and starts receiving massive amounts of hits and thousands of simultaneous streams. A single server or even a single location
could very well not be able to handle all of that traffic.
With a CDN or some SaaS backup these spikes will be managed without fail. There are some phenomena on the web that
have been termed things like ‘Digg-ified,’ ‘slashdotted’ and TechCrunched where some article, webpage,
video, piece of information becomes extremely popular and the influx of traffic crashes the target of the popularity due to
the sudden and unexpectedly heavy load of traffic.
computing, a spike like that can be handled by simply enlisting more servers and bandwidth to handle it. Of course models
like this can create an astronomical bill at the end of the month as well so you need to do your research prior to getting
something like that setup.
Transcoding Video Content
Transcoding is another area where cloud computing can really do wonders. We all know that when we upload a video
to YouTube they take the video and then process it into a format that they can then use to stream to the masses. This is basically
transcoding as they’re taking it from the originally encoded format and changing it (when necessary) into a format that
their system understands.
uploaded any number of videos to YouTube you know that some days this can take more than an hour for just a short 5 minute
If you’re going to run your own video sharing
platform then you might have a lot of transcoding that needs to get done. This is especially true if you’re going to
syndicate content out to other sites and each site has their own format and specifications. At this point you’re looking
at either having to set up a farm of servers to get all the work done in a timely (i.e. real time) fashion. Of course you
might setup your own cloud or transcoding farm as it were to handle this all. This will help to reduce your bandwidth and
other expenses as you shuffle large files around getting them ready for viewers.
An alternative to that is to have a video platform that will do all of the transcoding for you and so you needn’t
worry about setting up all the hardware, software, etc. While this might save you in initial outlay of cash and resources
it could cost you in the end but that all depends on the contract you decide upon with your provider.
Cloud-based transcoding can even be achieved on a ‘for
hire’ sort of basis. There are now places like Amazon (AWS) which allow you to hire out some of their idle server time
and have it do work for you.
great if it’s both random and infrequent usage as contracts and prices vary widely and are often based on file sizes,
bandwidth and time used.
though I may have missed a few things in this article, you need to think about your advertising and revenue channels. With
all the data flying to and fro in the metrics and analysis of views you really need to be able to trust all those that are
handling that data without fail. The ad data and revenue channels need to be considered as private and sensitive as it is
all part of your financials.
the data can’t be in any way compromised or misinterpreted. This means you need to maintain as much control over the
infrastructure that is being used by it as possible or deal with highly trusted partners.
Things to Watch Out for
Remember earlier when I talked about having multiple
storage locations and serving the videos to the right people from the right locations? I wanted to expand a little on that.
When you use a service to handle some of the facets of your business you are then dependent on them…and any other service
that they use. For example let’s say that you use a CDN and they use AWS.
That means that is something goes wrong on the AWS side your CDN may not be able to do anything
about it. In fact you might not even be able to get any type of satisfaction depending on the contract between them and the
contract between you and the CDN.
There are also some other things
to watch out for as well including perhaps a conflict of interest, usage of your data and metadata, etc.
Certainly all companies that you outsource or hire to do certain aspects of your online video delivery, tracking,
reporting and content management will have some form of contract that needs to be in place. You just have to make sure that
the contract will work in your favor in the event of some catastrophic failure or unforeseen event like data loss or compromise
not to mention ethical business practices etc.
computing is certainly the way to go, whether you seed and maintain your own clouds or use the power of some pre-existing
clouds is up to you. Just remember that the point of these clouds is not to rain on your parade but rather to project you,
your business and your profits
TV Reception Tips
If the Windows operating system ever notifies you about a weak Wi-Fi signal, it probably
means that your connection isn't as fast or as reliable as it could be. Worse, you might lose your connection entirely in
some parts of your home.
If you want to boost the signal for your wireless network (WLAN), try some of these tips
for extending your wireless range and improving your wireless network speed and performance.
1. Position your wireless router, modem router, or access point
in a central location
When possible, place your wireless router, wireless modem router (a DSL or cable modem with a built-in wireless router), or wireless access point (WAP) in a central location in your home. If your wireless router, modem router, or access point
is against an outside wall of your home, the signal will be weak on the other side of your home.
If your router
is on the first floor and your PC or laptop is on the second floor, place the router high on a shelf in the room where it
Don't worry if you can't move your wireless router, because there are many other ways to improve your
2. Move the router off the floor and away from walls and metal objects (such as metal file cabinets)
walls, and floors will interfere with your router's wireless signals.
The closer your router is to these obstructions,
the more severe the interference, and the weaker your connection will be.
3. Replace your router's antenna
The antennas supplied
with your router are designed to be omnidirectional, meaning that they broadcast in all directions around the router. If your
router is near an outside wall, half of the wireless signals will be sent outside your home, and much of your router's power
will be wasted. Most routers don't allow you to increase the power output, but you can make better use of the power.
If your router’s antenna is removable, you can upgrade to a high-gain antenna that focuses the wireless signals in
only one direction. You can even aim the signal in the direction you need it most. Consider a Linksys high-gain antenna—they’re powerful and easy to install. Or shop for other high-gain antennas.
Replace your laptop's wireless PC card-based network adapter
Laptops with built-in wireless networking capability typically
have excellent antennas and don't need to have their network adapters upgraded. These tips are for laptops that do not have
built-in wireless networking.
Wireless network signals must be sent both to and from your computer. Sometimes your router
can broadcast strongly enough to reach your computer, but your computer can't send signals back to your router. To improve
this, replace your laptop's PC card-based wireless network adapter with a USB wireless network adapter that uses an external
antenna. In particular, consider a Linksys Wireless-N
or Hawking Hi-Gain Wireless-N USB network adapter. These add an external,
high-gain antenna to your computer and can significantly extend your wireless range.
5. Add a wireless repeater
extend your wireless network range without requiring you to add any wiring. Just place the wireless repeater halfway between
your wireless router, modem router, or access point and your computer, and you can get an instant boost to your wireless signal
Check out the wireless-N repeaters from Linksys, Hawking Hi-Gain, ViewSonic, D-Link, and Buffalo Technology,
or shop for a wireless-N
Change your wireless channel
Wireless routers can broadcast on several different channels, similar to the way radio stations use different channels.
In the United States and Canada, these channels are 1, 6, and 11. Just as you'll sometimes hear interference on one radio
station while another is perfectly clear, sometimes one wireless channel is clearer than others.
your wireless router's channel through your router's configuration page to see if your signal strength improves. You don't
need to change your computer's configuration, because it can automatically detect the new channel.
To find your router configuration page,
consult this quick reference table, which shows the default addresses for common router manufacturers. If the address is not
listed here, read the documentation that came with your router, or visit the manufacturer's webpage.
7. Reduce wireless interference
The most common
wireless technology, 802.11g (wireless-G), operates at a frequency of 2.4 gigahertz (GHz). Many cordless phones, microwave
ovens, baby monitors, garage door openers, and other wireless electronics also use this frequency. If you use these wireless
devices in your home, your computer might not be able to "hear" your router over the noise coming from them.
If your network
uses wireless-G, you can quiet the noise by avoiding wireless electronics that use the 2.4 GHz frequency. Instead, look for
cordless phones and other devices that use the 5.8 GHz or 900 megahertz (MHz) frequencies. Because 802.11n (wireless-N) operates
at both 2.4 GHz and the less frequently used 5.0 GHz frequency, you may experience less interference on your network if you
use this technology.
8. Update your firmware or your network adapter driver
Router manufacturers regularly make free improvements to their
routers. Sometimes, these improvements increase performance. To get the latest firmware updates for your router, visit your router manufacturer's website.
Similarly, network adapter vendors occasionally
update the software that Windows uses to communicate with your network adapter, known as the driver. These updates
typically improve performance and reliability. To get the driver updates, follow the instructions for your operating system:
Update, click Custom,
and then wait while Windows XP looks for the latest updates for your computer.
Install any updates relating to your wireless adapter.
Pick equipment from a single vendor
Although a Linksys router will work with a D-Link network adapter, you often get better
performance if you pick a router and network adapter from the same vendor. Some vendors offer a performance boost of up to
twice the performance when you choose their hardware (like their USB wireless network adapters). Linksys has the SpeedBooster
technology for its wireless-G devices, and D-Link has the 108G enhancement for its wireless-G devices. These enhancements
can be helpful if you have wireless-G devices and you need to transmit over a long distance or you live in an older house
(old walls tend to block the signal more than newly built ones do).
If speeding up your connection is important to you, consider the
next tip—upgrading your wireless technology.
10. Upgrade 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g devices to
wireless-G (802.11g) may be the most common type of wireless network, wireless-N (802.11n) is at least twice as fast and it
has better range and stability. Wireless-N is backward-compatible with 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g, so you can still use
any existing wireless equipment that you have—though you won’t see much improvement in performance until you upgrade
your computer or network adapter to wireless-G, too.
If you're using wireless-B or wireless-G and you're unhappy with your network’s
speed and performance, consider replacing your router and network adapters with wireless-N equipment. If you're buying new
equipment, definitely choose wireless-N. Linksys Wireless-N routers, for example, are powerful, secure, and simple to set
up. So are Linksys Wireless-N
USB wireless network adapters.
Find out which
wireless technology is installed on your computer:
networks never reach the theoretical bandwidth limits. Wireless-B networks typically get 2–5 megabits per second (Mbps).
Wireless-G networks are usually in the 13–23 Mbps range. The average everyday speed for wireless-N equipment is about
Don’t forget—the security of your wireless network is as important as its speed and performance. Learn
about the different security methods.
Help make your network more secure:
Cloud Reports and Clear Cloud Network
Larry Ellison may not be hip on cloud computing, but his next-door neighbor Stephen P. Jobs certainly is. MobileMe (and its predecessor, .Mac) offer cloud storage
and a range of other services for an annual fee. Apple’s acquisition of Lala suggested that iTunes may someday offer storage and streaming of music over the Internet—about which Apple
has apparently been talking to content providers. Now there’s a new twist.
Cnet reports that Apple has been pitching the idea to several major film studios
to grant iTunes users the ability to store and stream video from Apple’s own servers. Using “various internet-connected
devices”—which I doubt includes Android phones—iTunes users would be able to access their purchased media
on the go (presumably using Wi-Fi, but possibly over a 3G connection as well).
So what’s in it for Apple and for media companies?
Cnet notes that as customers no longer have to micromanage disk space on their devices, they might be more likely to purchase
more music and movies on the iTunes Store.
And for Apple as
a consumer hardware company, pushing music and movies to the cloud opens up the floodgates for bigger,
more ambitious apps on storage-constrained devices such as the iPhone, the iPod, and the iPad.
To date, the biggest
apps on the App Store have been games, but if users have more free space available, we may soon see larger, more fully featured
apps in other areas.....
Video Giant Acquires Another One...
Content delivery network Limelight Networks has bought Delve Networks, a company that runs cloud-based video publishing and analytics services.
a mix of common stock and cash to buy the Seattle-based Delve, but the specific terms were not disclosed.
Citing unidentified sources, Streaming Media’s Dan Rayburn pegs the deal at around $10 million, most of it in cash.
comes little more than half a year after Limelight paid $110 million for interactive ad shop EyeWonder, one of the major rich media players in the online space.
By adding the four-year-old Delve to its list of offerings, Limelight chairman and CEO Jeff Lunsford says the company
can now provide customers with an at-scale value-added solution for publishing online video along with a greater ability to
target ads towards those viewers.
The purchase should also help Limelight in its rivalry with the other major content delivery networks, Akamai (NSDQ: AKAM) and Level 3 Communications...and othe Cloud Delivery
NEW DEVELOPMENTS WITH DELIVERING HIGH DEF VIDEO OVER
THE CLOUD PLATFORM
Video conferencing provider Vidyo is now offering a version of its platform
that can be used by telecommunications and other companies to deliver video conferencing technology as a cloud service. On
Tuesday, Vidyo introduced VidyoRouter Cloud Edition, which uses the company's patented version of the H.264 scalable video
coding (SVC) compression standard.
The technology delivers high-definition
video over the Internet and conventional IP networks to a variety of endpoint devices, from HD TVs to smartphones.
Vidyo says that its platform of networked Vidyo routers is simpler, more flexible and scalable, and cheaper to use than dedicated
telepresence technology from bigger players such as Cisco Systems and Polycom. Cisco's and Polycom's offerings are based on
a multipoint control unit (MCU) architecture.
MCU-based systems require a dedicated network connection, expensive hardware and the construction
of studios, all of which can limit the number of video conference locations a company has available, says Ashish Gupta, chief
marketing officer and senior VP of corporate development at Vidyo. In other instances, an executive may have a workstation-size
video system costing $15,000 in his or her office, but that system can't do anything but video conferencing.
on the other hand, works with general-purpose machines like desktop, laptop or tablet computers, says Gupta, as the Vidyo
router adjusts the network bandwidth, resolution and frame rate to the capabilities of the endpoint device. The company claims
VidyoRouter Cloud Edition delivers video conferencing at as little as one-tenth the cost of MCU-based systems.
Vidyo has been
busy in recent months rolling out its VidyoConferencing technology. In November 2010, HP announced that three of its new Visual Collaboration video conferencing products would be based on Vidyo's
technology. In December, Vidyo said that the Japanese telecommunications carrier KDDI will be adopting Vidyo to offer a video conferencing service to its customers.
architecture lends itself extremely well to service providers that want to deliver video conferencing as a managed service.
You'll find that service providers can leverage their infrastructure a whole lot cheaper than [with] the other platforms that
are out there," says Irwin Lazar, a VP and service director at Nemertes Research.
Although Vidyo, with its H.264 SVC technology,
has an edge over MCU-based systems, those bigger companies are catching on, says Lazar. Polycom recently announced support
for H.264 SVC in the future and also has developed a protocol that it calls High Profile, which is designed to reduce bandwidth
requirements for high definition. Meanwhile, Cisco has announced that it would support SVC for its WebEx high-quality
"You're seeing vendors move in that direction, and I think you'll see more of that over the next year,"
Lazar says. Vidyo will also have a hard time selling to enterprises that have already invested in immersive telepresence systems
and aren't ready to give up on them.................