Brian Taylor

April 18, 2012

2 Min Read
Microsoft Announces Azure Cloud-Based Media Content Solution

While much of the world is watching the OpenStack Design Summit in San Francisco this week, Las Vegas is hosting the 2012 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference. And hey, whaddya know, there’s some interesting cloud news: Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced its new cloud-based Windows Azure Media Services, which leverages its existing Azure infrastructure to enable customers to create and deliver video content by using a package of turnkey first- and third-party media technologies.

Microsoft’s objective is to help content providers and media partners utilize scalable cloud resources to manage video content while reducing costs and make it available in multiple formats.

“Our internal research shows that more than one-third of today’s Internet traffic is devoted to video consumption, and we expect that to grow to 80 percent by the end of 2015,” said Scott Guthrie, VP of Windows Azure application platform, in a prepared statement. “Not everyone has the expertise or capital required to build a media infrastructure, so Windows Azure Media Services enables companies everywhere to build custom media solutions that easily scale and adapt to meet consumers’ needs, wherever or however they consume it.”

The press release highlights contributions from Azure partners, including high-speed transfers from Aspera; content encoding from Digital Rapids, ATEME and Dolby Laboratories; content security from BuyDRM and Civolution; and video-on-demand streaming from Wowza Media Systems. The Azure Media Services platform also supports workflow solutions from full–service media firms such as iStreamPlanet and Movideo Pty. Ltd.

Connected devices are also on the agenda for Azure Media Services. The platform supports Microsoft Smooth Streaming, HTTP Live Streaming and Flash media formats, enabling users to access from devices including Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Windows-based PCs and non-Microsoft platforms such as smart TVs, set-top boxes, MacOS, iOS and Android.

In a cloud first, Microsoft in partnership with Akamai and delatre will broadcast high-def video from the 2012 Olympic Games in London from a cloud platform to multiple continents and millions of viewers around the world.

With the Azure Media Services announcement, Microsoft also published a Broadcast Reference Architecture, advising media companies on how to design solutions and improve systems management while moving to the cloud.

Readers can click here to learn about the Windows Azure partner ecosystem.

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