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Server-Side Architectures and WebRTC

Learn more about WebRTC at Streaming Media East.

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Read the complete transcript of this video:

Robert Reinhardt: Server-side architectures, lots of options. It continues to grow.

With open source, there's going to be a learning curve. I played with Janus a couple of years ago. I had a client that's doing surgical livestreaming using WebRTC. They made a decision to go with a Chrome best experience with Chrome Experience, but they're using a Janus backend. And I only had to work with the devs and vis-a-vis with FFmpeg commands. So I really didn't have to get my feet wet with Janus until very recently. And again, open source can be really great, but open source is open source and free for a reason. They're not going to document their products very well because usually these teams want to be hired by people to implement what they've made open source and they expect people to help contribute to it. If people are just leeching off of open source projects, particularly WebRTC, you may have heard me complain about this in the past. What's happened historically, I think SwitchRTC was a company that went down this path, even with commercial products. Other companies gobbled them up and wanted their team and that expertise and they end-of-lifed their actual product. That can be problematic. But with the open source model, you don't get free support, you get free access to the code, you can deploy it. There's variable open-source licensing out there. So, do your due diligence when it comes to the legalities of what licenses are in play with open source.

FFmpeg is a great example. I talk about that in my workshops. There's a lot of free stuff in an FFmpeg, but X.264 Is a commercial license. You may need a commercial license for X.264, just as a side example. But my point is that open source is there. It's great. The path of paying for something is not there usually with open source. I can just go check out a repo, try and compile something on my own, and get up and running. Right. Um, and that's what I have been doing with, uh, products in prep for my workshop next week. But there's also commercial license, a server product. So if you want to be that kind of stakeholder that runs their own server architectures, and you want to license to a product that you have this perception of control on, in your own private setup in your own cloud, then you can explore those options too.

And then there are lots of cloud services that are out there. And this, again, goes in with that single-stakeholder mentality, where this old-school mentality of platform ownership needs some reformation. And I don't mean that in any kind of religious sense--maybe it's a little religious, these days people get so get so enamored with their beliefs. It's hard to say what can be changed and what can't be. But I was recently talking to some friends of mine that run a cloud service and I said, "I think that should be part of your marketing." Outlining for people like, "Hey, you want to build out your own WebRTC infrastructure? This is your estimated costs. You want to go with us, look how many minutes of our service and access to our support you're going to get for a fraction of that, or whatever that's going to play out to be."

So it's important to keep that in mind when you're looking at services again, the more that you know, any time you evaluate server-side architectures, making sure that if you need to change, what if you need to grow and move and pivot to a certain thing, if you need to migrate text X, how hard is that going to be? If you need to leave that cloud service and go to another one? Just know what those costs are, and try and project those costs.

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