Chapter TWO (Continued): STREAMING SERVER TECHNOLOGIES — WINDOWS MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES

CHAPTER TWO  (Continued):
STREAMING SERVER TECHNOLOGIES
Windows Media Technologies
Windows Media is Microsoft’s streaming media system, and Windows Media Services 9 Series is considered by them as the ideal way to stream Windows content.  Windows Media Services 9 Series is the server component of the Windows Media 9 Series platform.  It works in conjunction with Windows Media Encoder and Windows Media Player to deliver audio and video content to clients over the Internet or an intranet.  These clients might be other computers or devices that play back the content using a player, such as Windows Media Player, or they might be other computers running Windows Media Services 9 Series (called Windows Media servers) that proxy, cache, or redistribute content. Clients can also be custom applications that have been developed using the Windows Media 9 Series SDK (software development kit). [i]
>> Windows Media Service 9 Series is still the current model, and much of the documentation on the web site dates back to 2008.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/serve/wmservices.aspx    <<
Microsoft intends the Windows Media system to be the one and only system riding in tandem with its operating system, and thus offers much of the software free of charge.  Outside of the Windows Media Player, which is available for almost all platforms, the Windows systems has not provided tools for other operating systems to author and serve Windows Media content.
The only operating systems considered to run the Windows Media Services component are the different configuration offered by Microsoft.  Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition meets the minimum requirement, however Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, or Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition are actually recommended. [ii]
>> 2012 Update of Software Requirements:
Windows Media Services 9 Series is available as an optional component in Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition; Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition; Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition; and x64-based version of these operating systems. Some features, including multicast content delivery, are not available when Windows Media Services is used with Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition. Additional features are only available in Windows Server 2003 (SP1) or later. For more information about the features in Windows Media Services 9 Series, see Decide which version of Windows Server is right for you.  <<
Microsoft also offers the capability to stream Windows Media encoded content via a standard Web server, although with some limitations in comparison to streaming content on the Windows Media Server.  The architecture of a streaming server optimizes it for the delivery of a steady stream of content, where a standard web server is optimized for the bursty delivery of HTML content via web pages.  Still it may be a viable alternative for the start-up organization that has a standard web server deployed to use that server to stream to Windows Media Player users, while developing customized servers to handle other media players and formats.
Some of the limitations of utilizing a web server in place of the Windows Media Server are as follows: [iii]

  • The web server sends data to the client as quickly as possible, sending data in chunks in order to be ready to handle the next incoming request.  It does not maintain a predictable delivery rate, as does the streaming server.
  • Web servers cannot use the User Datagram Protocol (UDP), which is the preferred protocol for streaming. If the client requests content from a Web server, the delivery of the stream is more likely to be interrupted by periods of silence because the player must collect and temporarily store or buffer data from the server.
  • Web servers do not support live or multicast streaming.
  • Web servers do not provide many of the playback options that media servers can support
  • Web servers cannot stream content at multiple bit rates, which can be useful when you need to stream content to a number of clients who are accessing your server at various connection speeds.

Given these limitations on the webcaster, particularly the limitation on streaming to multiple bit rates, utilizing a web server in place of a streaming server would certainly be a short–term approach that might be considered for a quick launch, but should not be viewed as a long-term or permanent solution.
>> 2012 Update to” Windows Media Server or Web server ? ” (continues discussion started above), available through:
http://learn.iis.net/page.aspx/454/windows-media-server-or-web-server/
The Media Player and Media Encoder will be addressed in the sections dealing with those elements of a Webcasting system.  A detailed guide for the deployment of the Windows Media Server is available from:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/serve/wmservices.aspx


[i] Gill, Tricia.  Getting Started With Windows Media 9 Series.  Downloaded 01/24/04 from:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/howto/articles/IntroHosting.aspx
>> Current link leads Getting Started with Windows Media 9 Series page, which then links you to  “Windows Media Services 2008 Overview”.  Accessed 01/17/12 from:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/serve/wmservices.aspx     <<
[ii] Windows Media 9 Series Deployment Guide.  Downloaded 01/28/04 from: http://members.microsoft.com/partner/products/windows/windowsmedia/WMS9S_Deployment_Guide_Final.aspx
>> Windows Media Deployment Guide no longer available, but links to Windows Media Services 2008 Overview as shown on above footnote [i]. <<
[iii] Gill, Tricia.  Getting Started With Windows Media 9 Series.  Downloaded 01/24/04 from:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/howto/articles/IntroHosting.aspx
>> Current link leads Getting Started with Windows Media 9 Series page, which then links you to  “Windows Media Services 2008 Overview”.  Accessed 01/17/12 from:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/serve/wmservices.aspx     <<

mike

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