Will Video Require a Huge Increase in Network Capacity?

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The consensus regarding online video in the enteprise holds that growth in video use will require large upgrades to network capacity. For instance, a Gartner analyst recently told the Wall Street Technology Association that companies wishing to step up their use of video will have to expand their networks a hundred fold! In the current mode of video usage, this prediction is essentially true. Increases in video traffic will mandate increases in network capacity. However, with recent advances in multicasting technology, the correlation between video usage and network capacity may need not be so clear. The advent of multicast fusion on the Adobe® Flash® Platform makes possible striking gains in video consumption and audience reach without requiring commensurate infrastructure updates. This technical brief explores the ways in which multicast fusion inverts the established wisdom about online video and enables a revolution in enterprise rich media.

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Will Video Require a Huge Increase in Network Capacity?

  1. 1. Will Video Require a Huge Increase in Network Capacity?A MediaPlatform® Technical BriefAbstract: The consensus regarding online video in the enteprise holds that growth in video use will require large upgrades tonetwork capacity. For instance, a Gartner analyst recently told the Wall Street Technology Association that companies wishingto step up their use of video will have to expand their networks a hundred fold! In the current mode of video usage, thisprediction is essentially true. Increases in video traffic will mandate increases in network capacity. However, with recentadvances in multicasting technology, the correlation between video usage and network capacity may need not be so clear. Theadvent of multicast fusion on the Adobe® Flash® Platform makes possible striking gains in video consumption and audiencereach without requiring commensurate infrastructure updates. This technical brief explores the ways in which multicast fusioninverts the established wisdom about online video and enables a revolution in enterprise rich media.IntroductionIt is common knowledge that online video is not a friend of the corporate network. Video’s massive bandwidth consumptioncan disrupt network traffic and hog infrastructure resources. Despite these facts, demand for video in the enterprise isgrowing. According to Gartner, video communication accounted for 30% of corporate network traffic in 2010, up from 15% in 12008. That volume is projected to grow to 40% in the coming year. What will this mean for those who manage corporatenetworks? According to the same Gartner analyst, companies that want to keep up with the building demand for video will 2have to increase their network capacity by a factor of 100. That kind of upgrade represents a massive investment that notevery organization is prepared to make in the current economic environment, no matter how valuable video is to the business.The common knowledge about video and networks, however, is about to get turned upside down. Recent advances inmulticasting technology, including the new multicast fusion capability in Adobe® Flash® Media Enterprise Server 4, makepossible striking gains in network utilization and reach for rich media. This paper will explore the underlying factors that causenetwork trouble with video and then describe how multicast fusion can alleviate most of these problems.The Growth of Enterprise VideoThe use of online video is growing rapidly within corporations, driven by a variety of factors, including increased virtualization ofbusiness locations, a new generation of video savvy workers, and new technologies such as webcasting and web conferencing.Industry data shows that video consumption inside the corporate firewall is growing at an unprecedented rate, followingconsumer trends of the past few years. Approximately 12% of large enterprises were generating more than 100 hours of videocontent per month in 2009, up from 9% in 2008. The number of corporations generating 25-100 hours of video jumped from 321% to 29% in the same period. At that rate, a company could have amassed a 6,000-hour library of video since 2005. In the 4consumer public, video as a percentage of Internet traffic is projected to reach 91% by 2014 , with corporate network trafficlikely to mimic that consumer pattern. Gartner Research projects that 25% of content that workers see in a day will be 5dominated by pictures, video, or audio by 2013. Video has crossed the boundary between “nice to have” and “have to have.”The Trouble with VideoGiven this high growth rate for enterprise video, there are a myriad of challenges involved in getting a corporate network readyto handle such a high volume of video data. Unlike the public Web, where global content distribution networks (CDNs) such asAkamai Networks, can do the heavy lifting of distributing big video files from intelligently and dynamically determined mediaservers to the end viewers, a corporate network must manage video on its own. Video files tend to require more bandwidththan any other data moving around on a network. If many people are watching different video streams simultaneously, this cancause serious traffic congestion on most networks.1 Steinert-Threlkeld, Tom – “Video Will Require 100X Boost to Corporate Nets, Gartner Says” – Securities Technology Monitor, 17 November,20102 ibid3 Interactive Media Strategies Executive Web Communications Survey, Q4 20094 Cisco Visual Network Index 20095 Gartner Data 2008
  2. 2. WILL VIDEO REQUIRE A HUGE INCREASE IN NETWORK CAPACITY?Most organizations first start streaming videothrough unicast delivery. Unicast is a one-to-one transmission between the client and theserver. That means that for each end userwatching a video stream, the server mustoriginate and deliver a unique stream.As Figure 1 shows, unicasting can wreak havocon a location with limited bandwidth. In thiscase, a T1 line is overwhelmed by 5 requests Figure 1 - Unicasting of video causes severe network congestion for a location withfor a 500 kbps stream. Unicasting is so limited bandwidth.inefficient that enterprises often ban unicastvideo rather than allow this kind of network congestion. However, banning video is rapidly becoming an unacceptableapproach for most corporations.IP MulticastingTo solve the unicast problem, many organizations turn to IP multicast, a networking technology that enables a single videostream to reach all viewers on that network. Figure 2 illustrates how IP multicast would work in the T1 office scenario depictedin Figure 1. IP multicast, though effective, is entirely reliant on hardware upgrades, router configurations, and other networkrelated factors, which makes it difficult and costly to implement initially. Additionally, in most companies there are frequentchanges in network topologies, due to internal reorganizations or mergers and acquisitions, which greatly complicate themaintenance effort needed to sustain IP multicast enablement. As a result, very few companies have succeeded in IP multicast-enabling their entire network, which means at least some, or even many, employees simply can’t get video. IP multicast, as well as various WAN acceleration technologies, is effective at easing the network burden of video. However, their implementation is almost always incomplete due to the costs and complexities of multicast enabling a large network amidst constant changes in topology and structure. And, even when multicast enabling is pervasive in a network, certain remote locations will always be bandwidth constrained and unable to support multicasting. In practical terms, it is very rare to find a 100% multicast-enabledFigure 2 - IP multicasting enables a single stream to reach multiple end users network. Even if such a network was fully enabled, it probably wouldn’t remain that way.Multicast FusionMulticast fusion solves the cost and complexitychallenges of supporting live video to largeaudiences. By introducing a new form of multicast,which combines a peer-assisted model of videodistribution and IP multicast, a video stream canreach virtually everyone on the network usingexisting bandwidth and infrastructure. Multicastfusion finally unlocks the full potential for videowithin the enterprise by combining IP and peer-assistmulticast to deliver enterprise-grade streaming media Figure 3 - Multicast fusion, combining IP multicast with peer-assisted content delivery with Flash Player 10.1.Page 2 MediaPlatform® is a registered trademark of MediaPlatform, Inc. Adobe®, Flash®, and the Flash® logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe® Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.
  3. 3. WILL VIDEO REQUIRE A HUGE INCREASE IN NETWORK CAPACITY?using the most efficient algorithms in a dynamic self-optimizing topology.Based on the new edition of Flash® Media Server and the Flash® Player 10.1, multicast fusion enables corporations to keep upwith growing video demand while cutting expenses across several cost centers. IT managers will appreciate it for the ability todeliver the greatest level of video service while minimizing the need for additional media servers, upgrading networking gear,managing networking configuration, adding edge caching devices, eCDNs, and WAN acceleration hardware. And by having lesshardware to install throughout the network, Flash® Media Server promises a shorter deployment cycle than existing videostreaming technologies and lower ongoing IT maintenance and support costs.Multicast fusion provides an added benefit in that Adobe® Flash® technology is compatible with all operating systems, socorporations can now stream video to Macs, PCs, and Linux machines with relative ease. It’s compatible across all popularbrowsers, making the video experience seamless for users of Internet Explorer®, FireFox®, Chrome®, Safari®, and Opera®.Media producers will no longer have to produce video in multiple streaming formats when a corporate video event is intendedfor both internal and external audiences, which is potentially a huge money and time saver. The peer-assisted delivery capability in multicast fusion also enables some new architectures. As shown in Figure 4, a Flash® Media Server can be hosted in the cloud. However, it can stream video through the firewall, where the stream can then be shared through the peer-assisted mode of delivery. Peer-assisted delivery of video with Flash® Media Server is quite different from conventional peer-to-peer communication on the public Internet. According to the Adobe® Developer Connection Blog, Using a rendezvous server such as Cirrus 2 enables clients to connect to the P2P overlay network and groups automatically via a server channel. This effectively eliminates the need to pass around peer IDs using an external data service or manual ID exchange. Peer-assisted networking in Flash® Player utilizes a self-managed topology where peers will try to establish communication links based on response time metrics. In other words, lowest latency peers are preferred, increasing the possibility of decreased traffic over slower links within the network and saving bandwidth costs. Peer-assisted networking through Flash® Player is a managed solution. For Internet-based applications, a server such as Cirrus 2 is required to connect and authenticate clients for any communication to take place. (RTMFP can use LAN discovery to detect other clients on the same LAN and participate in groups without needing a server.) Once the clients have been authorized, data is transmittedFigure 4 - Cloud/On-Premise video streaming options withfusion multicasting between peers via RTMFP, which is encrypted to ensure that content is protected when it traverses the network.RTMFP groups can be configured to require authentication before posting content. As another layer of security, Flash® Playerwill prompt a user before participating in peer-assisted networking, giving the user the option to accept or decline theirparticipation in the peer-assisted network.RTMFP (Real-Time Media Flow Protocol) is a communication protocol from Adobe® that enables direct peer-to-peercommunication between multiple Adobe® Flash® Players. RTMFP is a network friendly protocol with low latency using UDP(User Datagram Protocol). Two features of RTMFP that are superior to TCP are Rapid Connection Restore, which reconnectsthe viewer to the stream automatically after a dropout; and IP mobility. If the client changes IP address, active peer sessions arePage 3 MediaPlatform® is a registered trademark of MediaPlatform, Inc. Adobe®, Flash®, and the Flash® logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe® Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.
  4. 4. WILL VIDEO REQUIRE A HUGE INCREASE IN NETWORK CAPACITY?maintained. (This is also supported by TCP, but UDP is faster.) UDP ensures that connections are not interrupted if variationsoccur within the network.Peer-assisted delivery on the Flash® Platform is also secure and well governed, unlike standard peer-to-peer traffic. WithRTMFP, the Flash® Media Server acts as a “rendezvous” server and controls who can talk to whom. There is no haphazardrandom peer-to-peer traffic that might wreck havoc on the network. It is all very carefully controlled. RTMFP network trafficcan be encrypted with 128-bit cipher. The client is required to know the name of the stream and have the Peer ID of thepublisher before it will play the RTMFP stream. The Peer ID is a 256-bit value unique to the publisher. The publisher mustaccept a peer request before a connection is made. The whole system can be mapped to LDAP for compliance with accesscontrols. These measures mitigate the risk of poorly controlled peering, which could affect network performance.Realizing Multicast FusionGetting multicast fusion to work in a largeenterprise involves more than just installing Flash®Media Server. There are a range of issues thatneed to be addressed, including the choice ofFlash® player, security, governance, provisioning,reliability, management, monitoring and more.MediaPlatform, a longtime partner of Adobe®, isable to help your organization assess its enterprisevideo needs, and can assist in planning andimplementing multicast fusion.MediaPlatform’s Enterprise Flash® Framework,shown in Figure 5, connects all the elements of anenterprise video system and enables them tobenefit from the network advantages of multicastfusion. The framework includes software formanaging live media streams from encodingthrough distribution as well as the industry’s firstmulticast fusion capable OSMF player. Figure 5 - Reference architecture for Flash Media Server and MediaPlatformsConclusion Enterprise video frameworkVideo does not have to be the factor that drives network upgrades in your enterprise. Although it’s a complex issue, manyvariables in any given organization might require capacity expansion to accommodate certain types of rich media. However,the advent of multicast fusion on the Flash® Platform enables you to stream video to virtually your entire user base withoutnegatively impacting your network. MediaPlatform can be your partner for multicast fusion success. We can help you assessyour enterprise’s potential for the Flash® Platform and we look forward to working with you.About MediaPlatform, Inc.MediaPlatform, Inc. delivers best-in-class webcasting and media management technology to global enterprises and digitalmedia producers. MediaPlatform’s webcasting software enables high-impact presentations for lead generation, corporatecommunications and training. The company offers organizations the ability to take advantage of scalable cloud-basedcomputing, as well as on-premises deployment, to present and manage rich media. With media management tools built on itsplatform, the company helps clients derive long term archive value from their investment in media content.www.mediaplatform.com www.twitter.com/webcaster info@mediaplatform.comPage 4 MediaPlatform® is a registered trademark of MediaPlatform, Inc. Adobe®, Flash®, and the Flash® logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe® Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.
  5. 5. WILL VIDEO REQUIRE A HUGE INCREASE IN NETWORK CAPACITY?Frequently Asked QuestionsThe use of Flash® as a video format is common on the Web. However, until recently, Flash® has not been very prevalent in theenterprise. This is beginning to change with the new edition of Flash® Media Server and other advances in the Flash® platform.In parallel, MediaPlatform has been working closely with Adobe® on the development of unique tools and Flash® players thatenable multicast fusion in the enterprise.Q: How is multicast fusion different from conventional IP multicast?A: Multicast fusion is a breakthrough in enterprise video. In contrast to traditional IP multicast, which relies on thecostly – and invariably incomplete – process of multicast enabling the network, multicast fusion enables video to reach virtuallyevery point on a network without requiring network upgrades. Multicast fusion combines IP multicast with a new, advancedpeer-assisted delivery of media content. In some places in the network the video will be IP multicast. In other places on thenetwork, individuals will share the video using a secure, permission-based peer assisted model. Note that it is also possible touse pure peer-assist without using IP multicast at all.Q: Can you multicast outside the firewall?A: Yes, in some situations. Peers who are behind restrictive firewalls and/or proxies may not be able to share with otherpeers. As long as there are enough peers that can serve the video to others, everything will work. It is not recommended tohave peer-assisted delivery of High Definition (HD) streams outside the firewall due to the presumed lack of upstreambandwidth at most end user’s locations.Q: Isn’t peer-to-peer multicasting unreliable, insecure, and a threat to network health?A: While ungoverned peer-to-peer connections are prone to cause problems on networks, the peer-assisted delivery ofmedia on the Flash® Platform avoids these issues.  It’s strictly permission-based and tightly controlled.  It can integrate with LDAP access control directories to avoid unauthorized or uncontrolled peering.  No peer can talk to another peer without being told to.Q: Does Flash® Media Server need to be hosted on-premise in order to have the benefits of multicast fusion?A: No. Flash® Media Server can operate in the cloud, and still multicast behind the firewall. The video stream canoriginate in the cloud. However, once the stream enters the enterprise, it can be multicast through peer-assisted delivery.Q: What are the software requirements for multicast fusion?A: On the server side, you need to have Adobe® Flash® Media Enterprise Server 4. On the viewer side, you need a browser running Flash® Player 10.1 along with the WebCaster multicast fusion player. Flash® is cross-browser and cross-operating system, so you can watch multicast fusion content on a PC, a Mac, or a Linux machine. You can watch it on the Internet Explorer® browser, Chrome®, Opera®, Safari®, and Firefox®.Q: How can multicast fusion streams reach multiple remote locations, each of which has limited bandwidth?A: Once a single stream reaches a remote location, it can be shared internally through peer-assisted delivery. For thisreason, if there is enough bandwidth for the stream to reach the location (i.e. can handle a 500 Kbps stream) then the peer-Page 5 MediaPlatform® is a registered trademark of MediaPlatform, Inc. Adobe®, Flash®, and the Flash® logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe® Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.
  6. 6. WILL VIDEO REQUIRE A HUGE INCREASE IN NETWORK CAPACITY?assisted delivery will facilitate multicast fusion inside the location. It is important to have a few times the bandwidth of thestream available at the Internet connection of a site that will have multiple viewers.Q: Does your network need to be multicast-enabled in order to achieve multicast fusion?A: No.Q: Do WAN optimization, eCDN, or application acceleration hardware affect multicast fusion?A: No. Multicast fusion does not interact or interfere with eCDN, WAN optimization or application accelerationtechnologies. Multicast fusion should mitigate the requirement to acquire such technologies in order to have video on thenetwork.Q: Does multicast fusion support H264 and VP6 encoding?A: Yes.Q: Is multicast fusion available on mobile devices?A: Yes, devices that support the Flash® Player 10.1 and the WebCaster multicast fusion player are able to receive amulticast fusion stream.Further Reading  Multicast Explained in Flash 10.1 P2P - http://www.flashrealtime.com/multicast-explained-flash-101-p2p/  P2P Multicast in new Flash Player 10.1 - http://www.flashrealtime.com/peer-to-peer-multicast-in-new-flash-player- 101/  Peer-assisted networking using RTMFP groups in Flash Player 10.1 - http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashmediaserver/articles/p2p_rtmfp_groups.html  Adobe Flash 10.1 Adds P2P VoIP, Social Networking, IM - http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keating/voip/adobe-flash- 101-adds-p2p-voip-social-networking-im.aspPage 6 MediaPlatform® is a registered trademark of MediaPlatform, Inc. Adobe®, Flash®, and the Flash® logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe® Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.

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