The primary functionalities of the platform are broadcasting and processing of video, audio or generic data streams:
The open plug-in based architecture allows to seamlessly extend the basic platform functionality contributing specific business/user services such as video conferences, chats, e-learning modules, video games, collaboration tools, video processing services etc.
In order to support all the possible variety of media service scenarios, the platform design is capable of dealing with all of the abstract streaming patterns, which we sorted out in order to embrace all the possible concrete scenarios. You may have a look at the detailed illustrated description of each media streaming pattern in order to get the idea.
It is clear that for each particular streaming pattern one needs to configure the media cluster in an own way. A video chat for multiple persons requires quite different setup as compared to a classical live broadcasting scenario. So, this may be a truly challenging task if you want to deploy your system from scratch. The architecture of Media Cloud allows to adjust the system setup in order to get the most effective configuration depending on the media streaming pattern(s) used by your service.
Now we see these three primary audiences for the Media Cloud:
We are going to offer very simple and transparent price model. Our customers would pay us exactly in the same way they pay for EC2 instances: for the used machine time. The hour rates may be dependent on the chosen Media Cloud configuration but anyhow they will not exceed the “basis” rate which is to be payed for EC2 computer instances.
Media Cloud uses Amazon EC2 as a host for its media services clusters. Each cluster is managed by one or more load balancers, which control the streaming servers nodes. Each streaming server node runs a Red5 media server, which does processing of incoming and outcoming streams. A media server can also choose to record the broadcasted streams to the Amazon S3 storage in order to serve the streams on-demand afterwards.
The architecture of Media Cloud allows also to incorporate pre- and post-processing servers. Such a server might run some powerful media processing tool, such as FFMPEG, which would post-process the streams. Pre- and post-processing ability could for example optimize the stream, automatically make screenshots, draw static or dynamic overlay graphics like logos, advertisements, etc.. Since the processing servers normally require a lot of system resources, Media Cloud is able of managing clusters of these servers.
This feature opens for our customers a possibility to design and offer services like online video editing software, which is as far as we may see a completely open market at the moment.
We also use Amazon EC2 as a platform for our stress- and load-test infrastructure. In order to guarantee the availability of a stream to >100000 clients we have to simulate such a huge load for the setup system at least once. EC2 gives us of course a perfect infrastructure to solve this issue.
Video-streaming nowadays become more and more popular both for businesses and end-customers. However, we haven't yet seen any truly highly-available and flexible solution for the media content providers on the market, which would be able to comply and support all media streaming patterns we have sorted out (see http://www.media-cloud.com/patterns ).
We also see that even such giant of social networking as Facebook experiences problems with video-streaming, supposedly because of overloading of computational and throughput media server capacities.
As a rule, 100 simultaneous subscribers is a hard limit for a regular media streaming server. Everything which is over this limit requires sophisticated tuning and set-up of a clustering infrastructure, which is quite expensive and requires certain expertise. There is however a vast amount of various businesses and organizations having an occasional need to broadcast some event live only once a year, but expecting over 100.000 subscribers.
We want to give the world a truly reliable and flexible way of media content publishing. We let our customers focus on the development of the business idea of their media service, not taking care of bandwidth capacity and performance issues. Media Cloud will take care about that.