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Article

Streaming Media Using Amazon CloudFront

Real time using Streaming Media clients include Adobe Flash Player or JW Player

CloudFront Session at Cloud Expo

What is CloudFront?
CloudFront is a Content Delivery Network for Amazon S3 storage service. The content that are stored in Amazon S3 can be delivered from the nearest network location of the user accessing the content.This speeds up the delivery of your content by minimizing the network latency. Also, this reduces the hit to your primary server. This feature is mainly used by websites providing static content to its end consumers.

Click here to know more about CloudFront

What is Streaming Media?
Streaming Media is a way to provide multimedia content in real time using a Streaming Media clients such as Adobe Flash Player or JW Palyer. In general, Streaming Media is useful if you are watching television or movies that are served from a centralized location. Usually, multimedia content is huge in size. The users of the Streaming Media need not wait untill it gets downloaded to watch.

If you are more keen on the right definition, look at this link.

How does CloudFront supports Streaming Media?
CloudFront uses Adobe Flash Media Server (FMS) version 3.5.2 to provide the streaming media services in its edge locations. It supports RTMP, RTMPT (HTTP tunneled), RTMPE (encrypted), and RTMPTE (tunneled and encrypted) flavors of RTMP.

Why it is so important?
"A picture is worth a thousand words", in Web 2.0 world people are aggregating content more in terms of visuals than text. I would say the google way, is to present tutorials, introduction, presentations are captured in videos and provide them on the respective websites. The AWS Streaming Media support is more flexible in nature, you can store content in one place and gets automatically distributed to the Edge locations of AWS CloudFront and streamed from there. This method enhances your user's experience on the website. To a greater extend all this can be managed using CloudFront web services API.

How can i benefit using AWS CloudFront Media Streaming?
If you run a website which contains lot of  Media content such as Video/ Audio or to provide publicly available recorded content targeting a particular Geo-graphic location, you should definitely look at the AWS CloudFront and Streaming Media support. You can even stream private content targeting specific users by incorporating some known techniques. I will write about serving private content in my next article.

What is needed to make use of this service?
Primarily you need an Amazon Web services account. If you don't have one, please visit Amazon Web Services website to create one. Then you need to sign-up for S3 & CloudFront.

How do I stream media content on my website?
Here comes the most interesting part. First you need to setup your Media Distribution then to generate URL for the content that you are planning to stream.  If you already use CloudFront, you might have created a public distribution for your files to be served. But streaming media requires a separate distribution to be created.

To create a distribution either you can use AWS management console or Amazon S3 tools that supports Streaming Media CloudFront services.

Here I have used CloudBuddy Personal to demonstrate the CloudFront Distribution. If you are new to CloudBuddy personal, you can learn more about it here.

Step by Step procedure to enable Streaming Media for CloudFront and embedding in your website is described in this link.

Limitations
Serving private content & logging support  is not available for Streaming Media yet, which may be a disappointing factor for people who want to sell/stream private Media content over the web. A work around that i am planning to explain in my next article.

More Stories By Ezhil Arasan Babaraj

At present building a start-up called Qruize Technologies. Qruize is an Information & Communication Technology Start-up based out of Chennai, India. The company comprises of two strategic business units, Qruize Labs- boutique technology research & consulting services and Qruize Apps- social media products and services. We are currently establishing our own operations in the USA and entering into strategic partnerships in the EMEA region.
Website : http://qruize.com, http://qruizemedia.com
blog : http://qruizetech.wordpress.com
Specialties Technology Strategy Consulting, Cloud Computing, Grid Computing, Enterprise Portal Architecture, Software Architecture, Application Framework Design and Development