I would like to know if there exists special server hardware for streaming media content. My assumption is that the server CPU does not have to be involved in the delivery of the content. Once the connection is established my naive assumption is that delivery of video requires just the reading from the hard disc and submission via the network interface. The benefit, so my theory, is that the delivery requires little effort by the CPU.
Any comments, pointer and corrections kindly appreciated.
In short, get the fastest processor, the most ram and as many disk (RAID 0 or 10 for vod) as you can, with plenty of network access. And a server that will support a 64bit OS so that you can run 64bit Java. In more detail:
Ideally, hardware for a production Wowza Server is a dedicated quad core server with newer model Xeon chips, 4 - 8 gigs of RAM, and at least 1 gigabit ethernet network interface connector (NIC). On the software side, you will need to deploy a 64-bit operating system, 64-bit Java, and set the Java heap set to 3000 MBytes or higher.
For the best performance, we recommend the generation of servers powered by Intel Nehalem family of processors (or newer Intel Xeon chipsets) with built-in 10 Gbit Ethernet ports. Specifically, in lab testing, the Sun x4270 the HP Proliant G6 and HP c7000 have shown excellent live 1-to-many Flash streaming performance. When tuned by os/networking experts, these servers can saturate their built in 10 Gbit/sec connection. Reference:
For the generation of Xeon processors shipped immediately prior to Intel's Nehalem family, solid performance numbers have been shown to be:
* One quad-core processor, 4GB RAM, one Gb Ethernet NIC: approx 800 Mbits/sec total bandwidth
+ (please note that this number represents the network interface card operating at saturation)
* Two quad-core processors, 8GB RAM, two bonded GbE NICs: approx 1.6 Gbits/sec total bandwidth
+ (remember, you'll need a 64- bit operating system to use this much RAM)
+ (you'll also want to use the OS's functions for bonding the two GbE NICs together)
We can offer details of a dual core Xeon 5160 benchmark. We have this posted in our FAQ :
Note that the benchmark in our FAQ has an excellent baseline VOD performance numbers for your reference. If on-demand playback of more than 400 different pre-recorded files is important, please plan a multi-tier storage architecture utilizing SSD devices and ask me about our software caching technology to reduce the load on your primary file server. Also, Oracle’s(Sun's) tests showed that a caching technology like their ZFS improves VOD performance dramatically. As noted, beyond the tests we have posted in our FAQ, you will need to run your own benchmark. We have contacts in the benchmarking centers of at Sun and HP if you'd like to leverage a vendor relationship for your project.
For splitting a live Flash/RTMP stream across multiple servers, our live stream repeater configuration (aka: origin/edge) is documented in our User's Guide. Plus you can download and read about our dynamic load balancer module from the forums:
We provide a free Flash/RTMP load testing tool. Using several extra machines to power it, this tool can be used to generate RTMP load on a single Wowza server to test configuration and performance. The load test tool requires a Wowza Subscription, Perpetual or EC2 license. The testing tool requires the completion of a legal agreement by any new recipient. Send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org to request the agreement.