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Windows Azure Offers A Complete Media Solution Platform


Written by  Sorab Ghaswalla | 30 January 2013
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windows azure media servicesMicrosoft’s Windows Azure Media Services, the Platform as a Service (PaaS) cloud that allows end-to-end media solution for streaming, on-demand video on any device, is now ‘live’, and is ready to be used across all media projects. Incidentally, this was the same service that some broadcasters had used to beam the 2012 London Olympics.

Announcing the availability of the Azure Media Services to the public, Microsoft Developer Division Corporate Vice President Scott Guthrie wrote on his blog that with the release, media companies now had everything they needed to quickly build  extremely scalable, end-to-end media solutions for streaming on-demand video to consumers.

Citing examples, he explained that the new PaaS could be used from building a media service for delivering training videos to employees in your company, streaming video content for your web-site, to building a premium video-on-demand service like Hulu or Netflix.

Here are some positives of the Windows Azure Media Services:

  1. Stream video to HTML5, Flash, Silverlight, Windows 8, iPad, iPhone, Android, Xbox, Windows Phone and other clients using a wide variety of streaming formats
  2. Run highly available applications without focusing on the infrastructure
  3. Automatic OS and service patching, built in network load balancing and resiliency to hardware failure.
  4. Upgrade your application without downtime as it supports a deployment model
  5. Allows clients to use any language, framework, or tool to build applications
  6. Built-in support for encoding media in different file-formats, thus stopping the client from buying custom media encoding software or infrastructure

Windows Azure Media Services eliminates the need for the management of your own custom infrastructure by providing clients with a Media Platform that is also scalable, according to Microsoft.

windows azure media services 

It also supports multiple different options to upload assets into Media Services. Using REST APIs, or .NET or Java SDKs, broadcasters can upload files to the server over HTTP/S with AES 256 encryption.  This works well for smaller sets of files and is for great uploading content on a day to day basis.

One of Azure Media Services’ strong points, according to Scott, was a feature called dynamic packaging. In addition to giving a client’s video service more origin streaming capacity to handle a greater number of simultaneous users consuming different video content, Azure’s ‘on-demand streaming support’ which sports the dynamic packaging feature, allows users to store a single file format and stream it to many adaptive protocol formats automatically.  The packaging and conversion happens in real-time on the origin server which results in significant storage cost and time savings.

[Image Credits: WindowsAzure]

Sorab Ghaswalla

Sorab Ghaswalla

Sorab Ghaswalla is the Founder of India-based digital world consultancy firm, New Age Content Services LLP, an Internet Entrepreneur & Consultant, a journalist, and owner/Editor of 2 websites. In his free time, he contemplates the larger implications of digital life.

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