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Alternative Flash Servers Follow H.264 Path

With Adobe's more robust server, the Flash Media Interactive Server, rising to just under $5,000, these alternative Flash servers continue--at least temporarily--to make inroads in larger deployments.

Exactly whether to go with Adobe's Flash servers versus one of the alternatives is still a confusing choice.

"I am looking to roll out a large scale Live video streaming setup," said a recent poster on the FlashComGuru forums, "with the following key characteristics: live streaming from multiple locations; recording of live stream; and replaying of recorded streams. I am really confused as to what is the best server to use. FMS, Red5 and Wowza."

For others the reason is based on growing pains with the Flash Media Server 3 family.

"We're having an issue with video files recorded by our application once we upgraded to FMS3," said another recent poster. "Files recorded by the application can only be read/written by the owner (nobody in our case). In order to make them available for public viewing, we need to manually change them . . . Does anyone have any idea why this happens? And even better, how we can amend it so we we don't have to manually chmod each file?"

In this particular instance, an Adobe programmer answered noting that this was a bug that had been filed for release in a future patch.

"Confirmed this bug has been fixed in the next release of FMS," said Brad Outlaw, an Adobe software developer on the Flash Media Server team.

Others are keeping their options open, requesting particular features and waiting to see whether the alternative Flash servers offer those tools before considering a move to an alternative server.

Anthony Leonard, who made a recent request for the ability to fast-forward or rewind H.264, said this is a feature that he finds attractive as a reason to move to Wowza.

"Until then I'm sticking with FMSS," said Leonard, "even though a Java server that does H.264 Flash streaming well would be perfect for me."

These new features mark a significant step for Wowza," said Stefan Richter, owner of the FlashComGuru site, also noting that some key features may never make it into the alternative Flash servers. "Whether or not we will ever see RTMPE implemented by servers other than FMS3 remains to be seen."

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