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Cloud Files Adds CDN Video Streaming

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Cloud Files CDN customers often tell us they use Cloud Files and the Akamai CDN to serve their rich media websites by storing images and media files in Cloud Files and serving them fast over the Akamai CDN.  Now, customers can stream their video files from Cloud Files via Akamai’s CDN.

Video files are typically very large and are a perfect candidate for cloud storage and CDN streaming delivery. Most rich media sites and many advertisements are actually a combination of interactive images that turn into streaming video once the user begins to click around.  Rich media is about having quick and seamless interaction…not about downloading videos and waiting for buffering.   Streaming technology works by breaking up a video file into time frames so you can chose which point of the video stream you want to start playing from.  From a user’s perspective, this means they can jump around the video feed without having to wait for the whole video to download.

This feature, often called “random seek”, seems pretty basic until you go searching through a 10 minute video (which doesn’t have this feature) for an answer you know is waiting for you right around 8 and ½ minutes into the video.

We’ve implemented our streaming offer to cover two basic scenarios.  The first is the user that has a video in .flv or mp4 format.  We’ve launched support for Flowplayer, a popular video player, so that customers can simply embed the video with an out-of-the-box player.

The second use case is for customers comfortable with flash development.  Using the Open Source Media Framework (OSMF), customers get access to their video libraries and develop their own players.

As many developers for rich media sites know all too well, attracting a consumer’s attention is hard enough these days. Losing it over long download times and poor video performance is frustrating.   Let Rackspace help you store these video files in the cloud and stream them over one of the industry’s fastest CDNs.

For simple instructions and how to get started, check out our Knowledge Center articles:

Cloud Files CDN Streaming FAQs
Cloud Files CDN Streaming with the OSMF Plugins
Cloud Files CDN Streaming with the Flowplayer Plugins

Also, we have updated our Cloud Files API document here.

If you have any questions about his feature, I am happy to answer your questions.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Megan Wohlford.


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  • Mr C

    Couldn’t see any mention of HTML5/IOS support, but if the tech is based on HTTP streaming it should be possible, as per: http://developer.apple.com/resources/http-streaming/

    Something for the future?

  • http://www.recordsetter.com Alastair

    It is my understanding that HTML5 “random seek” should already work fine, because Rackspace Cloud Files supports the HTTP 1.1 byte-range header. Unfortunately, Flash doesn’t do HTTP 1.1, so it needs other solutions.

    Unfortunately for us, we use JW Player rather than FlowPlayer, so we don’t have a way to take advantage of this. Any news of a JW plugin? Apparently Akamai were working on it some time ago, but I’m not aware of any recent developments.

  • http://www.rackspace.com/cloud Megan Wohlford

    Mr C- We’re definitely interested in doing IOS support, but wanted to get something out to build off of as a first phase. Long story short, yes, it’s on the short list :)

    • Mr C

      Good to hear, thank you.

  • http://www.rackspace.com/cloud Megan Wohlford

    Alastair- as you sort of mentioned, we are at the mercy of Akamai’s relationships and agreements with the player companies. That being said, as soon as we started this project, we identified JWPlayer and FlowPlayer as the clear market winners for standard players, and knew that we had to support both of them. As soon as Akamai has access to the plugins for JW, we will turn them around to our customers. This is our highest priority for Streaming.

    • Andy

      Megan,
      Any updates on streaming support for Cloud Files on JW Player?

  • Shannon G

    Megan, any plans for this to fit into a service that can provide “streaming” videos to developers of TV Apps (Samsung, Sony,LG etc) , and in regards to iOS, is that just at the browser level? Or can embed streams into applications?

  • http://www.rackspace.com/cloud Megan Wohlford

    Shannon- We’re still in the design phases of how our iOS integration will work, so I don’t have any details around that just yet. As for the tackling TV applications that use streaming, we haven’t investigated that yet, but it definitely sounds interesting. My gut tells me that we’ll need more control around access before we can get those nailed down. That being said, it’s definitely a great idea. You could always submit it at feedback.rackspacecloud.com, I’d love to see if the rest our voters agree!

    • Shannon G

      Hi Megan,

      Any updates on stream video files to iOS (and Android) and also especially Smart TVs/Internet Connected TVs ?

  • Sam Bauers

    This works in FlowPlayer after some fiddling, but I’m noticing a bunch of failed requests when using the “stream” URL.

    This even happens in Akamai’s own test player.

    You can see the problem on this page if you observe the incoming network traffic…

    http://anatomy.yogasynergy.com/book

    A whole pile of failed 404 post requests stream in alongside the movie.

    Also, through the filesize of the movie doesn’t seem to get properly reported when using the “stream” URL. It always claims to be 2GB.

    As I mentioned Akamai’s own player exhibits the same behaviour.

    http://support.akamai.com/hdflash

    Here’s the movie I’m using to test:

  • Matt Babineau

    Shannon,

    Is there any delivery cost difference between file delivery and streaming delivery?

    • Matt Babineau

      err…Megan (sorry)!

  • http://www.rackspace.com/cloud Megan Wohlford

    Sam- Thanks for the comments. We noticed the 404 issue as well, and have developed a fix. We’re wrapping up testing and should have it finished up very shortly.

  • Sam Bauers

    Great news.

    I hope the file size issue also gets fixed.

    There is another problem where MP4 and MOV files always get served with an FLV mime type (video/x-flv). This means that any cue point meta data in the MP4 file gets ignored by flow player when using the pseudostreaming plugin (which otherwise works fine).

    By the looks of things the Axamai plugin also attempts to read the cue point meta data as well. It makes a partial request before loading the whole file, but I have no idea how to access the cue point data if it has read it through the Akamai plugin.

  • Marco Valsecchi

    Hi Megan… this is a great thing that I can streaming my videos on cloud files.

    Is it possible with the Akamai plugin for Flowplayer does a dynamic bitrate solution so that the bitrate switching during the video playback according to the user bandwidth?

  • http://www.rackspace.com/cloud Megan Wohlford

    Marco- Yes, our solution with Akamai supports dynamic bit rate.

    Sam- File size issue should be fixed soon as well. I’ll update the post when we’re live with the fix.

    • Marco Valsecchi

      Thanks Megan…. where can I find an example? thank you

  • Sam Bauers

    Thanks for the actions so far. You haven’t mentioned the more important issue for us, which is the incorrect MIME type on mpeg-4 files (with either MP4 or MOV extension). This stops us using the service at the moment as we can’t read cue point metadata due to Flowplayer auto detecting all files as FLV (due to the MIME type being always set to video/x-flv). I hope that’s in line for a fix too.

  • Benjamin Dell

    Has the 404 issue AND the MIME type on mpeg-4 files been fixed yet? Can someone provide a quick update on this?

    We’re also seeing problems when running Flowplayer in IE9… does anyone else get this?

  • http://www.maxwelllucas.com Antony Smith

    Any update on JW player or iOS support?

    Thanks

  • http://www.rackspace.com/cloud Megan Wohlford

    @Benjamin
    Unfortunately, Akamai and the guys from JW Player are still in negotiations. In order to distribute the JW Player plugin that works with Akamai’s network, the two companies need to sign legal terms. At this point, we’re just waiting for that to happen.

    As for iOS, this is currently in development.

  • Stephen

    Is iOS streaming anywhere near being supported?

  • http://www.readytoair.net Justin Boynton

    Do you support Adobe HTTP Dynamic Streaming through CDN. I understand that Akamai HD 2.0 does support this but testing Cloudfiles with CDN enabled indicates that Adobe HTTP Dynamic Streaming is not currently enabled for Cloudfiles CDN configurations.

  • Megan Wohlford

    @ Justin- You are correct, we have not yet done any work towards Adobe HTTP Dynamic Streaming. If this is a feature you need, the best way to let us know is through our feedback forums at feedback.rackspacecloud.com. This forum lets other users vote on your idea and helps us gauge how many customers and users need a particular feature.

  • http://oreck.com Kathy

    I can host and stream flv videos through our Akamai account but I am having issues streaming a mov file. The system tells me it can’t find the file or access is denied. The file path etc are correct. Are there issues with streaming .mov?

    -K

  • Justin

    I too am interested in the incorrect mime-type for mp4 files. The Content-Type returned by the CDN streaming url for an mp4 file is video/x-flv. This causes Chrome and FireFox to fail on loading the file via html5 video tag. (I know firefox does not currently support mp4 but I am using a nightly build which does and as of FireFox 20 it will be default ) Has there been any progress on this issue??

  • Robert

    Chiming in, with the ‘streaming’ url, MP4 video is attempting to be served as ‘video/x-flv’, equating to errors.

    Eagerly awaiting this functionality.

    Robert.

    • Aaron

      Hey Robert, we were having the same issue. Have you got a link to your player?

  • http://www.zengatv.com/videos Video Streaming

    Very good to hear.

  • Mufaddal

    Dears,

    Based on the resource available at http://www.rackspace.com/knowledge_center/article/cloud-files-streaming-with-flowplayer-plugins we tried to implement the video module to play our media assets on cloud files.

    the problem is when the streaming url for the video is used with the flowplayer and akamai plugin it does not load the video. even i tried to play it in our network or other network outside of our company network it does not work.

    if the streaming link is replaced with the direct HTTP link it works fine.

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