The Edge Media Streamer content delivery platform is designed to deliver immersive multiscreen video experiences to managed and unmanaged devices across telco, cable, and mobile access networks. The Edge Media Streamer scales cost-effectively to distribute terabits per second (Tbps) of live, on-demand, and time-shifted video. It enables service providers to compete with over-the-top (OTT) video offerings and generate revenue from wholesale CDN services within their infrastructure. Edge Media Streamer is part of the Synamedia Open Media Distribution (OMD) suite of products. OMD includes the Media Broadcaster solution to enable cost-effective scaling of Live ABR streaming using a Service Provider’s Multicast enabled network.
Synamedia Edge Media Streamer Overview
Edge Media Streamer caches and delivers web content, software, and streaming media with support for media players using Apple HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), Microsoft HTTP Smooth Streaming (HSS), Adobe HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS), and MPEG Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (MPEG-DASH) HTTP streaming protocols. Edge Media Streamer supports video on demand (VoD), live video, time-shifted TV (TSTV), progressive download, secure download, and small object caching from a common high-performance HTTP cache. Edge Media Streamer performs sophisticated algorithms for cache selection based on client location, cache availability, cache load, and content requested.
Edge Media Streamer software applications are installed on high-performance Synamedia content delivery engines (CDEs) and Intel x86-based commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers, providing a flexible and cost-effective solution. Edge Media Streamer software components can be virtualised with VMware or OpenStack kernel-based virtual machines (KVMs) and operate on a cloud platform deployed with COTS servers. Figure 1 illustrates a typical Edge Media Streamer CDN deployment.
Synamedia Edge Media Streamer Advantage
Edge Media Streamer offers the following advantages:
Openness and extensibility:
Synamedia Edge Media Streamer architecture enables highly distributed caching with complete fault tolerance and system redundancy. The OMD Media Director provides a GUI based centralised provisioning, monitoring, and analytics element management system for both Edge Media Streamer (CDN) and Media Broadcaster (Multicast ABR). Media Director is typically deployed in a virtualised infrastructure, either private cloud or public cloud. Mid-Tier Caches are deployed to shield the video head-end Origin Server from cache-fill requests, thus providing an additional level of CDN scaling. Edge Caches are deployed either in centralised data centres for smaller CDN’s, or highly distributed in edge POP’s. Edge Caches provide content delivery to clients, either Live, VOD, TSTV, Software Download, or Cloud-DVR.
Edge Media Streamer interoperates with the ABR Video Head-End, as show below, but it is not part with Edge Media Streamer CDN.
Centralised Element Management
Centralised element management capabilities are supported by the Synamedia Open Media Distribution Suite Director module. The OMD Director is cloud-based CDN management system providing integrated provisioning, monitoring, analytics, alerting, and role-based management. Synamedia OMD Director is implemented to be virtualised and further optimised with micro services in containers: Synamedia OMD Director supports and provides:
The OMD Insights dashboards within OMD Director provides essential CDN analytics (Figure 3). It provides comprehensive CDN operational analytics, including analysis of throughput, utilisation, and efficiency of video content delivery. With real-time data operations team can:
- Proactively monitor activity and take action before problem can be observed by consumer,
- View dashboards and trending reports
- Capture valuable information for CDN Capacity planning and delivery optimisation
- Gain insight to viewership trends
OMD Insights is powered by Splunk, and includes Splunk universal forwarders in the Edge Media Streamer Mid-Tier and Edge caches to monitor log files and forward log events in real time to the highly resilient Splunk indexers. Edge Media Streamer analytics platform provides scorecards, lean forward analytics, trend analysis, reports, custom dashboards, custom reports, content-based analysis, sessions-based analytics, near-real-time monitoring, and more.
The solution consists of three main components:
The Multicast Sender (MC-sender): The MC-sender is a software application running on a Linux operating system (bare metal, virtualised or containerised) in the service provider’s headend.
The primary functions of the MC-sender are:
- Acquire a live ABR stream from the CDN or origin server using unicast HTTP/TCP requests
- Encapsulate the video data and FEC for multicast distribution
- Transmit with rate-pacing multicast data packets to the multicast address group, optional QoS (DSCP)
The Multicast Receiver (MC-receiver): The MC-receiver is integrated into the STB or HGW as a software application running in a CPE middleware’s operating system.
The primary functions of the MC-Receiver are:
- Stream HTTP/TCP (HLS, DASH, HSS_ unicast video to HTTP ABR media player
- Acquire (ingest) ABR video using multicast or unicast, with transparent switching
- Packet error repair using combination of FEC and unicast request retransmission
The Multicast Controller (MC-controller): The MC-controller is a software application running on a Linux operating system (bare metal, virtualised or containerised) in the service provider headend.
The primary functions of the MCcontroller are:
- Distribute configuration information to the MC-sender and MC-receivers
- Receive stream status messages from MC-receivers containing channel viewing and streaming statistics
- Provide policy-based or popularity-based configuration of streams to multicast.
- Export data to OMD Director element management system for Analytics and Notifications
Synamedia Open Media Distribution Director is Synamedia’s centralised element management system for provisioning, monitoring and analysing the Synamedia Media Broadcaster solution. The OMD Director is a common EMS for both Synamedia’s unicast CDN (Synamedia Media Streamer) and Synamedia Media Broadcaster solution. When Synamedia’s CDN is also deployed with the Synamedia Media Broadcaster solution, a common OMD Director instance is used to provision, monitor, and analyse both unicast and multicast distribution. OMD Director can be deployed for Media Broadcaster only as well.