Alibaba Cloud Works With Wowza to Connect China to the World

Combining Wowza Streaming Engine and Alibaba Cloud services enables organizations to deploy a highly elastic, scalable solution for high-quality audio and video streaming to any device, anywhere in the world—including China. 

As the top public cloud option in China, Alibaba—in partnership with Wowza—is uniquely positioned to deliver streaming services to this region. Wowza Streaming Engine software is available through a bring-your-own license (BYOL) arrangement, designed for easy deployment on Alibaba Cloud’s Elastic Compute Service (ECS)—allowing for concurrent deployments in Chinese and international markets, with on-demand scalability.

In this video from the 2017 NAB Show in Las Vegas, business development manager Ted Tabacco describes how Alibaba Cloud offers Wowza technology to their international customers who want to stream content to China or any of its other global regions. 

Full Video Transcription


Ted Tabacco:                         

Hi everyone. This is Ted Tabacco. I’m business development manager with Alibaba Cloud, and I’m joining you from the NAB Show, discussing Alibaba Cloud and our partnership with Wowza. We’re going to go ahead and give a quick introduction to Alibaba Cloud; talk a little bit about what it is that we do, how we fit into this market for public cloud, and talk a little bit more about what we’re doing with Wowza.

So, many people, especially in the United States, are not too familiar with Alibaba Cloud. So, what is Alibaba Cloud? We are a public cloud provider, similar to any of the other major competitors in this space, such as an Amazon, or Azure, Google Cloud or IBM SoftLayer.

So, when you think about the competitive marketplace, “Why Alibaba Cloud?” is a great question to ask. For all the major reasons for actually moving your stuff to Cloud, this is a great graphic from RightScale here. Actually, many of this applies to the first bullet point, which is, we’re the best public cloud option for entering China and for addressing the China market, and building your technology and delivering your services to that market.

So, when you think about going to China and expanding globally, Cloud makes a heck of a lot of sense, because it allows you to do some things that otherwise are very challenging. Some of the examples, there is having faster access to infrastructure. If you are deploying into a new market, being able to deploy machines quickly and easily, and scaling up and scaling down—these are some of the major advantages to actually leveraging public cloud, especially in a place like China, where it’s less likely that you have the team and resources needed to actually deploy a full—your own infrastructure there.

Additionally, it provides greater geographic reach. In China, we have the most regions in the country: We have over six, with around over 17 data centers. In terms of some of the other benefits, it’s a very reliable solution in China. We’re trusted by all of China’s major companies to conduct business. Many of them are running on our cloud.

Some of the other benefits that are a little more specific to companies from the overseas market that are looking into China—specifically, one of those is cross-border connectivity. Alibaba Cloud offers a number of solutions that can basically help you get into China, and deliver data or transfer data quickly and seamlessly between China and the rest of the world.

We are an official partner with Wowza. We’re very excited for it. It’s been a great partnership so far, and we’re excited to have the ability to offer Wowza for our international customers who are looking to stream content to any of our global regions or into mainland China.

Where you can find Wowza from an Ali Cloud side is in our Marketplace. You can see here, the Wowza engine is available there, so when you log into your account through our main portal, you can access Marketplace and get into Wowza that way.

In terms of Wowza’s side—through this partnership, you can leverage the benefits of Wowza that you’re already receiving today. You can then stream content using Wowza’s Engine from our Cloud, into China or other places around the world. Alibaba Cloud is listed under the third-party destinations for Wowza. This is a snapshot of the screen; you can see us here, and again, it’s recently been updated. We’re building in more automation to improve usability and also reduce the manual steps needed to actually set up Alibaba Cloud through Wowza and vice versa.                                                 

This is a good example—it’s a little bit technical, but, of a use case where we can show, how do you stream content into China, leveraging Wowza? What we’re looking at is a couple different Alibaba solutions. You can see China on the left, and the Singapore data center on the right. Perhaps you’re set up with Wowza. You’ve deployed a couple of proxy servers in a virtual private cloud network in Alibaba Cloud. You’re then going to leverage the Express Connect solution, which will actually help pipe in traffic coming from Wowza, to these proxies, into mainland China.

On the China side, you have two other proxies set up in a virtual private cloud environment. And then, you can leverage a server load balancer—an Alibaba CDN—so that when users actually view your content, what they’ll do is they’ll get a fast experience due to the CDN, which is propagated throughout the country and, ultimately, close to the user. Then, that will come back to that Alibaba data center, and then can be piped right out from the Wowza origin, which is back here, connected to the public internet via our Singapore data center.                                   

Again, just another illustration of doing video streaming on Alibaba Cloud. So, this video platform—you can put Wowza in there, but just again, a basic setup in terms of how you might approach actually streaming from Alibaba Cloud.

So, just to talk a little bit about, “Why does Alibaba have a Cloud?” It’s a question that I get frequently. And really, what it is—it’s the backbone that supports the growth engine that is Alibaba, right? It’s the entire underlying piece that supports our business. So, again, we talked about some of the businesses in the last piece there, but all of our e-commerce businesses—our global payments and financial business unit, which is Ant Financial—they all run on Alibaba Cloud. Basically, we developed this to be able to have massive scale, and to deliver the promise of our solutions for our customers inside of China.

This is a quick snapshot of where we stand in the market, especially pertaining to China. This is a grid from Forester, from Q4 of 2016. You can see a lot of familiar names: Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and of course we have Alibaba there as a leader in the market. And again, this is the primary way people view us at this point. Having said that, we’re globalizing very quickly, and people are seeing us now not just for China, but also for Asia-Pacific and some other regions where other major providers are not available. In terms of where we stand in the market, we’re the fifth-largest cloud provider behind Amazon, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, IBM SoftLayer, and then us at number five.

So, let’s talk a little bit about the global footprint. We are a global platform, right? It’s a global platform that can help you connect to China, or simply run your business in a faraway region—in a global region where you’re not currently supported. So, as I mentioned, we have a large number of regions inside of mainland China. Additionally, we have a data center in Japan that’s actually a joint venture with one of our biggest investors, SoftBank.

We have a good footprint in Southeast Asia, as well, with Hong Kong and Singapore. In those two regions, we have more data centers than other providers who are also in those regions. We also have a region available in Australia. Additionally—this one’s an interesting one—with Dubai, because no other providers are currently in that market. So, this is a good opportunity to leverage the benefits of Cloud in that Middle East market. We also have data centers in Germany, in Munich. And then, U.S. West has two data centers, and our U.S. East region has a single data center.                                           

On this slide—it’s a bit of an eye chart. More or less, what it illustrates is that Alibaba Cloud is a full-stack offering. We have all of the major services that one might expect from public cloud. Furthermore, we have some additional services that are a little bit unique to Alibaba Cloud specifically. We talked about some of the big data opportunities we have, such as MaxCompute, which allows companies to process—companies, I should say, that are using Hadoop—to process workloads with incredible speed. It’s actually 15 percent faster than your normal Hadoop setup, and also, it’s more automated than the current workloads that most folks working in big data have to deal with.

Furthermore, we have some interesting networking solutions—specifically CDN. We’ll talk a little bit more about that coming up. It’s actually integral to how we work with Wowza. We also have ExpressConnect, which is a great solution for enhancing connectivity in China.

For Alibaba Cloud CDN—this one is a brief overview of what we offer, but the main message is that it is one of the fastest, if not the fastest, and highest-performing, and most available CDN available to customers in China. We have over 500 different points of presence. They are all throughout China, especially focused in major tier-one and tier-two, tier-three cities. More or less, what we found with third-party data from Cedexis and other third-party testing tools is that, relative to other options in that market, we provide a very fast solution. This is the same CDN that’s helped deliver since we started building our infrastructure in the early 2000s.

So, just talking a little bit more about CDN and kind of how it integrates with the full stack that we went over, it’s a very simple integration. That’s why it’s also more powerful, because CDNs are usually a good way to enter the market. Perhaps you’re using it for streaming with Wowza, right? You’re delivering lots of video in the country. Using a CDN is a good way to start out with our services, and then you can enhance what you’re actually doing and the scalability and what you’re offering, and potentially even host your content, or whatever it is that you’re putting in the cloud, inside of mainland China. And this is a reasonable architecture that one could look at in terms of providing a fast-performing solution, and also a secure solution there with CloudShield.

Doing business on the internet in China requires an Internet Content Provider registration or license, depending on your business. This is from a law firm and consulting firm that we’ve worked with here. They’re in China; they’re actually a German firm. This is a very helpful chart just to understand, sort of, what are the categories of the ICP.

As you can see, there are two main categories, which is ICP registration, which is the most simple, and a more complex commercial ICP license. So you can see here the different options that are available, and also down here we can talk about, kind of, what you are allowed to be, in terms of an entity. WFOE stands for Wholly Owned Foreign Entity. In this case, if you are doing payments online or processing that, you can actually use the most basic license, or registration, for that matter. And if you’re streaming stuff, it’s the same thing. You’re simply providing content online, so you simply need to register. It’s a much more simple process than doing something such as online data processing.                                                 

So, that’s all I have for the moment. Again, you can find us at our website, which is Again, my name is Ted Tobacco, and thanks so much for taking time to listen to this presentation. We’re very excited to work with Wowza. Take care.

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