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Set Up, Manage and Monitor Live Streams With Wowza Streaming Engine Manager

July 5, 2018 by Derrick Freeman

Wowza Streaming Engine™ media server software is a highly versatile and capable video-streaming platform that anyone can use—even without streaming experience or a highly technical background. Using the browser-based user interface, Wowza Streaming Engine Manager, it’s easy for anyone to configure, manage and monitor Wowza Streaming Engine from any device.

As you prepare to deliver live or on-demand streaming for your viewers, you’ll want to take some time to learn how to set up and use applications: a group of settings where streaming properties can be configured, such as transcoding or recording options. The streaming server is much easier to use and configure once you understand that all the power and functionality of using Wowza Streaming Engine happens through the use of applications. (For more in-depth information about working with Wowza Streaming Engine Manager, visit the Wowza documentation.)

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use Wowza Streaming Engine Manager to set up a live stream; manage and make changes to a stream; and monitor the live stream. We’ll cover how to secure your stream; select formats; create a custom directory to record live streams; and create a stream target.

Tools Used: Wirecast, Wowza Streaming Engine, Wowza Streaming Engine Manager

 

Setting up a Live Stream in Wowza Streaming Engine Manager

The first step in setting up your live stream is creating an application that does live streaming. Within Wowza Streaming Engine Manager, navigate to the Application tab.

 

Within this tab, choose + Add Application.

 

On the next screen that appears to Select an Application Type, click on the Live Single Server or Origin option.

 

At the New Application dialog, input the name of the application. For this tutorial, I suggest using wowza_live. Once you input the application name in the text box, click the +Add button, and this will create the application.  

Note: When you name applications, it’s a good best practice to use all lowercase letters. This makes it easier when troubleshooting your playback and configuring your media player.  Also, it’s wise to name your application according to what it does. This is why wowza_live is used: It’s a live streaming application. If this was a video-on-demand (VOD) application, wowza_vod would be used.

 

Your application can now be seen on the left side of the Wowza Streaming Engine Manager interface, under Live Applications.

 

Managing or Making Changes to Your Stream

Now, you can manage or make changes to your stream by selecting playback formats, enabling live-stream recordings and creating a custom directory for storing content.

 

Selecting Formats

Let’s make changes to your stream. Click once on the wowza_live application under Live Applications.

Select the Edit button under the Setup tab.

 

First, add a short summary for your stream in the text box where Application Description appears.

Second, under Setup, deselect the following Playback Types: Adobe HDS, Microsoft Smooth Streaming and RTSP/RTP.  Unless you’re using these playback types, it’s unnecessary to have them enabled. It’s likely that you will be using Adobe RTMP, Apple HLS and MPEG-DASH for your streaming delivery, so if that’s the case, these should stay enabled.

Note: The benefit of disabling various Playback Types is that it makes it easier to troubleshoot issues when you’re reviewing log files. If you enable formats you’re not using, all of the logging still occurs, making it harder to identify problems.  

 

Choosing to Record Live Streams

Third, let’s set up your live streams to record on the streaming server. Under the Options section, click the Record all incoming streams checkbox. Now, anytime you use this stream, it’ll be recorded on Wowza Streaming Engine.

 

Creating a Custom Directory

By default, this live streaming application uses the default media directory called “content” to store recorded videos. Let’s change that.  

Navigate to the install directory for Wowza Streaming Engine, and create a folder parallel to the “content” folder called “event_recordings”. You’ll need to do this on the computer or server outside of Wowza Streaming Engine Manager.

 

Next, under the Setup tab within your wowza_live application, select Use the following directory listed in the Streaming File Directory section.

Then, add “event_recordings” after the Configuration home directory listed here: ${com.wowza.wms.context.VHostConfigHome}/

It should look like this once you add your directory information:

${com.wowza.wms.context.VHostConfigHome}/event_recordings

Now, click the Save button. Your live-streaming application is now configured with your changes, and the recording will be saved to the custom “event_recordings” directory parallel to the content folder.

 

Setting Up Security

When it comes to securing your source streams, two sections in Wowza Streaming Engine Manager are important: Source Security and Source Authentication. These items are important to ensuring that all users you designate can send live streams to Wowza Streaming Engine. Now, we’ll walk through how to configure this.  

 

First, you need to add a user to the Source Authentication section under Server. Click the Server tab and select Source Authentication under the options available. Second, click the Add Source button under Sources.

 

At the dialog, input a Source User Name and Source Password, and hit Confirm Password.  Click the +Add button, and now you have a new user who can send live streams to your streaming server (Wowza Streaming Engine).

 

For the authentication to work, password authentication must be enabled on the live-streaming application. In our case, the wowza_live application must require an authenticated user. By default, all live-streaming applications have RTMP and RTSP authentication turned on; but we’ll still walk through how it’s enabled.  

Under the Applications tab, find the live-streaming application wowza_live and select Source Security.  

 

You can now see that RTMP and RTSP are enabled. If you’d like to make changes, you can click the Edit button to disable or enable RTMP or RTSP authentication.  

It’s always a good best practice when requiring authentication on your live-streaming application to confirm that it works. You can do this easily by turning off authentication within Source Security and sending a test live stream to the application. Then, enable authentication again under Source Security and confirm that, when enabled, Wowza will only allow a test live stream from an authenticated user.

 

Adding A Stream Target

Now, let’s add a Stream Target that allows you to push your source stream to another server or content delivery network (CDN).

We’ll add the Stream Target on the wowza_live application we created, but we need another application to send the source stream to. For this tutorial, our other target application will be wowza_target. The wowza_live application will be where the live stream originates.

 

Navigate to the Applications tab and add an new application for live streaming. For the application type, choose Live Single Server or Origin. At the New Application dialog, input wowza_target as your application name. Click the +Add button.

 

Select the wowza_target application under the available applications, and under Setup, make sure that only MPEG-DASH, Apple HLS and Adobe RTMP are enabled as Playback Types. Add the summary text listed above, and click the Save button.

 

Next, we can move forward with adding our Stream Target. Under the Applications tab, choose wowza_live and select Stream Targets. Click the Add Stream Target button.

 

For this tutorial, we’ll be sending our source stream to a Wowza Streaming Engine destination.   Choose Wowza Streaming Engine under Wowza Target Destinations.

 

At the dialog, add eventsource as your Source Stream Name. This is the stream name that will be used from the wowza_live application. This can be whatever you’d like. Input wowza_target as the Destination Application Name. This is the application created at the beginning of this section. Leave the Destination Application Instance blank. Wowza will come up with this for you; it’s the default instance for all applications.

 

Now, add your Destination Host, Destination Port, Destination Stream Name, User Name and Password. For the Destination Stream Name, this will be whatever Stream name you use on the Target application wowza_target. The User Name and Password would be the user created in the Security section of this blog post under Source Authentication. Click the Save button.

 

You should see feedback that your target is saved. Click the Return to Stream Targets link.

 

Click the Enable Stream Targets button.

 

Click OK at the dialog.

 

You should see feedback that your Stream Target is active.

In your Live Encoder, you can input the the Address, Stream and Credentials. In this tutorial, Wirecast is used (you can download a trial for free from the Telestream website). The key here is that you need to stream to the wowza_live application, and use the stream name specified on your Stream Target under Source Stream Name. That would be eventsource.

The last important item for your Live Encoder is to input your credentials listed for your Stream Target.

 

Now, start your live stream on your Live Encoder. To test and make sure your Stream Target is working properly, you should be able to view a stream in the Test Player of Wowza Streaming Engine Manager for wowza_live and wowza_target. Remember to use what’s used in your Stream Target.

First, let’s test the source stream. Navigate to Applications and select the wowza_live application. Click on the Test Players button and go to the Adobe RTMP tab. Input the Server Information and Stream Name, similar to what’s above (make sure you use your own Server Information). The application should automatically populate. Click the Start button to test the stream. Your live source should appear if it’s working correctly.

 

Second, repeat the same steps above using the wowza_target application. What you should input for the Test Player is listed above. If the live stream plays, the Stream Target is working properly.

 

Monitoring Your Live Stream

Next it’s time to move on to monitoring your live streams in Wowza Streaming Engine Manager. This is straightforward. Under the application you’d like to monitor, select Monitoring. You’ll see the number of connections, like in the image above. You can see all of the incoming and outgoing streams.

In addition, you can see what streaming protocol is being used: Adobe HDS, Adobe RTMP, Apple HLS, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, MPEG DASH and/or RTSP/RTP.  Also, you can view see what the most popular protocol for the live-streaming application is by looking at the percentage pie graph.

 

What’s also nice is that you can view how long the application has been running as well as the network throughput for your stream. These items are important to know, especially when you may be paying for your bandwidth usage.

 

You can also monitor the incoming and and outgoing streams for the Stream Target Destination by viewing Monitoring for the wowza_target application.  

 

Key Considerations

Here are a few important considerations to keep in mind when setting up, monitoring and managing live streams with Wowza Streaming Engine Manager:

Even though you’re able to use the Wowza Streaming Engine Manager interface to work with streaming setups and other configurations, the changes and updates for Wowza Streaming Engine actually happen within .xml files located within the Wowza install directory. The Wowza Streaming Engine Manager is simply a graphical user interface that makes this easier.

When recording live streams, if you have recurring events using the sample stream name, it’s a good best practice to choose different stream names for each live-streaming event. For example, using a stream name of statehouse062818 works better than just statehouse.

Why? The file name will change each time you record a live stream using the same stream name. For example, if you name your stream name is statehouse and you record the event on 5 separate occasions, your recorded file names will be as follows (in this order):

  1. statehouse.mp4
  2. statehouse_0.mp4
  3. statehouse_1.mp4
  4. statehouse_2.mp4
  5. statehouse_3.mp4

In this tutorial, we guided you through the process of setting up a live stream in Wowza Streaming Engine using Wowza Streaming Engine Manager. Now you know how to manage and make changes to a stream as well as monitor the live stream. You also know how to secure your stream; select formats; create custom directories when recording your live stream; and create a stream target.

Want to learn more? Check out the following documentation for more in-depth information on these processes:

How to Find Your Way Around Wowza Streaming Engine Manager

How to Set Up Live Streaming Using an RTMP-Based Encoder

Got a comment? Drop us a line on Twitter @wowzadev
Derrick Freeman

Derrick Freeman is a trainer and consultant for video streaming and compression, and is president of Freeman Compression Inc (@FreemanCompress). He specializes in teaching classes on Wowza Streaming Engine and other streaming and encoding tools. Derrick’s experience includes nine years teaching Wowza classes, 14 years doing video compression and 15 years researching streaming media.