Benefits of Media Streaming with AWS and Wowza

Deploying Wowza software with Amazon Web Services means streaming your content from high-performance virtual machines hosted remotely by Amazon.


This provides you the ability to scale quickly to manage fluctuations in viewership and to make sure you are always streaming high-quality content. In this on-demand webinar, you will learn how to:

  • Quickly launch a virtual server using AWS Marketplace
  • Pull on-demand content from Amazon S3 and set up a live workflow
  • Deliver streams globally using Amazon CloudFront


In this video, Wowza Training Manager, Ryan Jespersen, and Barry Russell, Head of Global Business Development, AWS Marketplace, provide demos and share the benefits of streaming with Wowza and Amazon.

Questions & Answers

Q: Does the player decide which bitrate is used?
A: Yes, the client chooses which bitrate to use out of the ones that are available in the .smil file. It works by detecting a user's bandwidth and CPU capacity in real time and adjusting the quality of a video stream accordingly. The player client switches between streaming the different encodings depending on available resources. The result: very little buffering, fast start time, and a good experience for both high-end and low-end connections. Find out how to setup ABR here:


Q: I’m interested in incorporating Wowza technology in Android and Python apps. is there a way to use Wowza alongside Minecraft, for example, to have an in-game pip/video chatbox? How is the compatibility with Python and Python3?
A: The Wowza API is based on Java; please refer to the Wowza Developer Tools page for more information on developing modules.


Q: Is the latency longer if I use CloudFront CDN?
A: Yes, you will incur latency when delivering through CloudFront. In most cases, the latency is within acceptable ranges.


Q: Can you broadcast to multiple platforms from Amazon (e.g., HTML5 with mobile compatiblity)?
A: Yes, you can support all streaming protocols supported by Wowza when operating in Amazon EC2. You can find information on the supported formats here:


Q: What about bandwidth (traffic)? It is unlimited?
A: Not unlimited, but bandwidth is high on the upper instance types. Please refer to Amazon Web Services for detail on bandwidth cost estimation.


Q: How can I get information on S3 bucket VOD with ABR stream using the mp4 format?
A: A good article for this is How to Use Amazon S3 with a Wowza Media Server.


Q: I'm not interested in DRM, but in controlling access to a live or VOD stream—for example, with URL parameters. Is that doable with Wowza combined with CloudFront?
A: There are a few other solutions, such as secure token. All options are overviewed here:


Q: I love the Wowza cloudformation template, and would love to know if there is a link to a user guide for the Wowza-specific use case.
A: Take a look at this: How to Integrate your Wowza EC2 Instance with CloudFront.


Q: Can you discuss different EC2 instance types and the loads, as mentioned at the beginning of the webinar?
A: Here is detail on the Wowza Transcoder benchmarks.


Q: Question about sizing EC2—for a 2-channel 4xt ransrate configuration with less than 1,000 viewers, what EC2 instance in FRA is recommended? is m3.large sufficient?
A: We strongly recommend testing. I would suggest you use the Wowza load test tool to determine the best configuration in your environment.


Q: I'm not a Linux guy. Is there an AMI for Windows Server?
A: You will need to spin up a standard Windows AMI then install Wowza software.


Q: Does it require the public DNS entry or can you use the private as well?
A: Private DNS is supported.


Q: How fast can I move from self-hosted server to EC2-based servers regarding configuration copy and licensing?
A: This can be fairly quick if using like versions. You can take your application configs across without too much additional config.


Q: What player is needed on client side? Do you have own cross-platform solution or is JW Player needed?
A: You can use JW Player, and other players that are compatible with HLS, HDS, Smooth Streaming, and RTMP.


Q: is there a guide as to which Amazon server can handle what traffic? Even an estimate would be useful—e.g., m1.large as an edge can handle 200 users at 800kbps at 640 x 360.
A: This would depend on the type of streams you are ingesting, and the amount of transcoding involved. We suggest using a load test tool to thoroughly test your system before going into production.


Q: Will you be going over consistent streaming, as from a website tourism area, rather than on demand?
A: Yes, we will go over both live streaming and video-on-demand streaming. Wowza can handle both and specializes in the live element.


Q: How to enable httporigin cache?
A: Here's how to configure a Wowza server as an HTTP caching origin:


Q: Can we push to CloudFrong using a Vmix encoder rather than Telestream?
A: Not familiar with Vmix, but if it supports any of the Wowza input protocols (RTMP, RTSP, MPEG-TS, along with H.264 video and AAC audio), then it should work


Q: Is the Wowza cloud service built on the same ideas the you are sharing here or is there something else under the hood there as far as transcoding and CDN?
A: Yes, the Wowza Streaming Cloud deployment is very similar.


Q: Lets say I use Wowza with an EC2 instance with CentOS 7. Is it possible to use a VNC gnome desktop on the same server? The goal is to have easy access to recorded streams as .mp4 files, at least easier than managing them via SSH.
A: Wowza can be installed in CentOS. Your VNC integration sounds unique. I don't have a documentation to support, but if you can provide an H.264 stream, it is very plausible.


Q: What if I have an application with a live streaming feature. and there can be more then 70 live streaming. How can I handle that?
A: Depending on the size of your AMI, you can support hundreds of viewers per Wowza streaming application. I would suggest you get started with Wowza, in EC2, and use our load test tool to test your actual capacity:


Q: Just would like to know how much lag one should expect in HTTP and RTMP protocols?
A: HTTP latency is inherently greater due to HTTP technology delivering chunks of video vs RTMP streaming actual packets of video. RTMP is very fast (less then 5 seconds, typically) while HTTP can default to 30–60 seconds of latency to live. Some optimization configurations can be implemented in Wowza to help offset latency. I hope you find this helpful.


Q: What size server (instance type) do you pick for the initial transcode, in your example?
A: We are using a c3.8xlarge for this demo. The AMI size depends on the number of transcodes you intend to produce. We strongly encourage testing different sizes to best suit your needs. Check out the Wowza Streaming Engine for Amazon EC2: Quick Start Guide. This is a guide to get started with the Transcoder: How to set up and run Wowza Transcoder for live streaming-


Q: Sent link to my Windows phone. Yes, i know there's only 5 in the world, but the video is not displaying.
A: Streaming on a Windows phone requires a custom player, in an application. This will leverage the Microsoft Silverlight SDK. For more detail, contact us directly.


Q: How to configure the Wowza Live Edge to CF CDN?
A: Please refer to our CloudFront integration documentation:


Q: Are these analytics able to integrate within the player so packages like conviva or JW Player can report to it, or would they be separate?
A: You can use an HTTP provider to refer to statistics: How to monitor server connections, load, and application statistics -


Q: What are the configurations that can be implemented in Wowza to help offset HLS's latency?
A: A good article to go over regarding latency is


Q: How can live content be protected so I can broadcast to my registered/logged-in users only?
A: Wowza Streaming Engine has built-in DRM protection that can be leveraged with a 3rd party register wall or paywall that you can then embed your live stream into the site. More information:


Q: Is there an easy way to update Wowza in AWS?
A: Take a look at this: How to update your Wowza Streaming Engine installation -


Q: Where is AWS on DASH codec?
A: Wowza supports MPEG-DASH. Running on Amazon, you can leverage DASH as a solution, using Wowza for central streaming services. This is a Wowza tutorial as an introduction for MPEG-DASH: How to do MPEG-DASH streaming -


Q: AWS/CDN question: Can you configure edge severs to specific location? For example, US, and spin up edge servers at these locations: NE, SE, S, SW, W, NW, N Mid West?
A: Yes. Take a look at this for getting started: Wowza Streaming Engine for Amazon EC2: Quick Start Guide-


Q: How i custom URL JW Player for differents videos?
A: See this link that shows this setup:


Q: Do I need the Transcoder to stream to mobile devices?

A: No, you do not need the transcoder. However, you will want to provide adaptive bitrate for various bitrate speeds. Take a look at this: How to do adaptive bitrate streaming - The transcoder can take a high-bitrate stream and convert it into one or many smaller bitrate streams, making the configuration automatic and efficient for delivering to lower bandwidth clients. This is how to set up the transcoder: How to set up and run Wowza Transcoder for live streaming-


Q: What version of JW Player are you using for Apple HLS?
A: You need JW Player Premium or Enterprise edition for playing HLS.


Q: Do Wowza/AWS provide the same quality of services for audio-only—for example, audio podcasts or Internet radio?
A: Wowza does provide audio-only streams. We have users that stream Internet radio for varying audience sizes.


Q: Can we do RTMP live stream with CloudFront?
A: Amazon CloudFront will only support HTTP streaming. RTMP can be distributed using a cluster of distributed Wowza edge servers.


Q: How can we manage bandwidth if the connection is low?
A: You are best off providing multiple bitrates, using ABR:


Q: Is that redirect to the S3 bucket handled as an HTTP redirect in the Wowza web server or is maintained with the RTMP level?
A: Wowza is retrieving the VOD content from the S3 bucket using HTTP protocol, caching it locally, and serving that content to the playback client using the same streaming protocol used by the client that requested that particular content (RTMP, RTSP, HLS, HDS, etc). See more information about configuring Media Cache here:


Q: How do I know if Wowza sofware will play file for 360p or 1080p? Or do I tell the player which one to use?
A: The player can decide which stream to use depending on condition. More here: How to do adaptive bitrate streaming -


Q: Will we get to find out about load balancing on EC2 across different Amazon data centers? I can do one data centre on Wowza Media Server 2 but have not tried on Wowza Streaming Eengine 4 yet on multiple data centers. Does it handle geo IP? Is there an easy solution?
A: You can check out the latest Wowza load balancer 4 here: It does have support for geo IP balancing.


Q: Can it scale dynamically based on system performance, and if so can it anticipate heavy usage and scale up ahead of load?
A: The loadbalancer module can help a lot with scalability on EC2 - add new capacity as it's needed, and the loadbalancer redirect will send clients to new servers. Scaling down is a little trickier - you need to "pause" a repeater and have it stop accepting any new connections, and then let the existing connections drain down to 0, at which point you can shut off the instance. The downside to this is that you can have a small number of connections hanging there for a long time. Triggering automatic scaling is tricky, as one must not just use thresholds, but also trends. If your threshold is 200 connections, if it flops back and forth across that line, and you could find yourself starting a lot more capacity than you really need. On the other hand, if your load is climbing at a given rate, you'll need to know when to launch more capacity to intercept that trend before it maxes out a server (in my experience, on EC2, it's about 3≠4 minutes before a repeater is fully online).


Q: Wowza has an awesome guide to get set up on AWS and JW Player. We are extremely happy for what I've been able to do using Wowza software, AWS, and JW Player and just want to pass that on.
A: Thank you for the positive feedback.


Q: I'm not a "techie." I find Wowza Streaming Cloud very easy to use, though. What audience size can that service deliver to? (i would only have a few hundred simultaneous viewers.) 
A: You can deliver to any audience size that you'd like. You simply pay for the amount of bandwidth the size of your audience is drawing. Basically total streaming bitrate x concurrent viewers = bandwidth used.


Q: When the live stream is being recorded in the cloud, can we have it record directly to the S3 bucket and completely skip Wowza's content folder?
A: The best configuration is to mount an Amazon S3 bucket as a file system using a solution like FuseS3. Then, use this module to move the completed file to S3 when the recording is completed:


Q: Can someone use a reserved instance?
A: A reserved instance is the same as any other Amazon instance; you just pay the fee in advance for a better rate.


Q: I keep getting the impression that you had to have one of the packages which is not included in std to do that?
A: Wowza does offer prebuilt options. Take a look at this guide, which is a very helpful tutorial: Wowza Streaming Engine for Amazon EC2: Quick Start Guide-


Q: How send variables to JW Player? 
A: You can use an HTTP provider to refer to statistics: How to monitor server connections, load, and application statistics -


Q: I have an application that will need to push 50+ encoder streams up into the origin. Is there a good way to scale that so we can have 50+ inputs hitting the origin server at the same time? Basically it will be 50+ people with their own cameras uploading to the Wowza server at the same time. Thanks!
A: It would depend on the video quality of the incoming streams, and the number of transcodes that Wowza is required to output. We recommend testing on basic settings first, and then slowly scaling it up and test each step thoroughly.


Q: How do you allow third parties to manage content on S3?
A: Each S3 bucket can be configured with unique security. Refer to Amazon Web Services support for detail.


Q: What's the difference between EC2 + Wowza and the new Wowza Cloud Service? i.e., why/when would I need EC2?
A: EC2 + Wowza will allow you to run a full instance of Wowza Streaming Engine deployed in the cloud, without the need for your own hardware. With Wowza Streaming Cloud you can also stream without hardware, but the product has a more limited feature set and deploys to CDN on a pay-as-you-go model.