Vbrick Ramp: The Microsoft Stream eCDN

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Microsoft Stream eCDN: Vbrick Ramp

Vbrick Ramp was the first vendor to become a Microsoft Stream eCDN. Today, our complete portfolio of eCDN solutions—multicast, edge caching, and Peer-to-peer—optimize video from Microsoft 365 video solutions, including Microsoft Stream, Microsoft Teams, Yammer and Skype Meeting Broadcast. Our solutions are certified for and integrated with Microsoft live events and VOD (video on demand).

Meet the New Microsoft Stream

Like Microsoft, Vbrick Ramp believes people can achieve more with fast, intelligent and glitch-free video. Video gives you the ability to reach more people—regardless of their location—with the same message, idea or call to action.

During Ignite 2020, Microsoft made a number of announcements, including new devices, capabilities and enhancements. But since I’m in the streaming business, the ones about Microsoft Stream caught my attention. If you’re not familiar with Microsoft Stream, it’s the video engine that drives video content across Microsoft 365 applications such as Microsoft Teams and Yammer.

You can read more about the company’s new vision for Microsoft Stream here.

Simplify and Scale Streaming

Microsoft Stream is already built into the Microsoft 365 suite, and the company has made significant investments in product development to make sure both IT administrators and viewers get the best experience possible. So, it’s an easy way to get steaming video up and running in your enterprise.

There’s no doubt adoption of Microsoft Stream is on the rise. A Wainhouse Research survey conducted at the end of 2019 found nearly 65% of organizations were evaluating Microsoft Stream as part of their video communications strategy and 28% had already adopted it.1 Just imagine how much higher those numbers are today with video replacing in-person meetings and trainings.

But in many conversations with our customers and prospects, they are concerned about scaling streaming video—especially as everyone returns to the office. Here’s why. High-quality video uses a lot of bandwidth, which can have a negative impact on network performance. Beyond creating a glitchy or jittery viewing experience, it can also slow down your business-critical operations.

As an example, let’s say your new CEO wants to host a live event to go over their strategic priorities. What would happen to your network if all 20,000 employees joined your webcast at one time? Because one video stream uses approximately 3.5 mbps2, your network would have to handle 70,000 mbps of extra data. Think of it as trying to push a gallon of water through a straw at once.

So, how do you scale Microsoft Stream and protect your network?

The Answer: Microsoft Stream eCDN

Hope is not a strategy, and streaming video is no exception. Distributing video on your network requires more than just a “let’s hope it works” approach. Beyond Microsoft Stream, you have to consider how you will protect your network. After all, the first all-employee meeting with your new CEO needs to be perfect.

You could buy more bandwidth or minimize the quality of your video stream to make sure things run smoothly. Neither option is ideal. Or you can consider an alternative. An eCDN for Microsoft Stream is one of the easiest ways to solve network congestion.

An eCDN optimizes the bandwidth consumed by live and on-demand video. It’s typically a software-based solution that leverages existing networking resources to distribute video behind the corporate firewall. There are three types of Microsoft Stream eCDN technologies:

  • Multicast: Using the multicast protocol, a multicast eCDN sends a single video stream to everyone in your audience while using only the bandwidth needed for one viewer.
  • Edge caching: Similar to other types of data caching, video caching temporarily stores video close to where viewers are located on the network.
  • Peer-to-peer networking: Peer-to-peer redistributes video using active personal devices to build a network to host and redistribute video between one another.

The type of Microsoft Stream eCDN—or combination of eCDNs—you choose will depend on your network and business needs.

Vbrick Ramp eCDN for Microsoft Stream

Vbrick Ramp was the first eCDNs verified to work with Microsoft Stream. Our software solutions are integrated with Microsoft Stream to distribute both live events and video on demand. With Vbrick Ramp eCDN, you can significantly reduce the bandwidth needed to distribute high-quality video from Microsoft Stream to every viewer on your network.

Each solution has built-in security, centralized management and robust analytics. They can work together or independently. Vbrick Ramp eCDN can also support every other enterprise streaming platform you’re using now or plan to use in the future.

Microsoft Stream eCDN: Vbrick Ramp Multicast
Regardless of the number of viewers watching your live event, Vbrick Ramp Multicast distributes a single stream of video from Microsoft Stream to everyone on your network. Using the example noted above, you will only need 3.5 mbps to distribute the new CEO’s webcast to all 20,000 employees (versus 70,000 mbps without a Microsoft Stream eCDN). As a result, Multicast is hands down the most efficient way to stream live events from Microsoft Stream.

Vbrick Ramp Multicast is made up of two key components. A Multicast Sender, server software you install on existing hardware, and Multicast Receivers installed on viewing devices. Multicast retrieves your live video stream from Microsoft Stream, encapsulates it, encrypts it, and sends it to Multicast Receivers. From there, the Multicast Receivers unencapsulate the video and make it available locally to the Microsoft Stream video player in the browser.

Vbrick Ramp Multicast is packed with other features that make it ideal for multicast-enabled networks, including:

  • Silent testing/event simulation for spotting potential network concerns before a live event
  • Patented forward error correction and bandwidth smoothing technologies to ensure a highly predictable, deterministic network and glitch-free quality of experience—even on unstable connections like Wi-Fi
  • Deploys 100% behind the firewall with end-to-end encryption and PKI certificates to prevent unauthorized transmission of video streams
  • Web-based management console to administer and monitor all aspects of your enterprise streaming video environment

Microsoft Stream eCDN: Vbrick Ramp Edge Caching
Vbrick Ramp Edge Caching is the only caching solution integrated with Microsoft Stream. It works much like caches used to store other types of data, but we designed it to handle the large data types that comprise streaming video.

Here’s how it works. You install edge caching software on servers deployed close to concentrations of viewers. When the first viewer requests a live or on-demand video from Microsoft Stream, edge caching stores a copy of the video. When the next user(s) requests the video, Vbrick Ramp delivers it from the Microsoft Stream eCDN cache. Now, fewer video streams are traveling the entire network and each has less distance to travel. As a result, viewers enjoy faster start times and an awesome viewing experience.

Like our other Microsoft Stream eCDN solutions, Vbrick Ramp Edge Caching is packed with features that make it a great option, including:

  • If you don’t want to manage software on viewing devices, it offers full functionality without the need for client software or browser plugins
  • Self-discoverable and self-healing for exceptional resiliency
  • Pre-positioning allows you to push videos to local caches during periods of low network activity
  • Web-based management console to administer, monitor and analyze all aspects of your enterprise streaming video environment
  • Easy to start small and scale over time

Microsoft Stream eCDN: Vbrick Ramp Peer-to-Peer
Vbrick Ramp is the first vendor to offer all three types of eCDNs for Microsoft Stream users. In addition to multicasting and video caching, Vbrick Ramp offers a peer-to-peer WebRTC solution.

A peer-to-peer network controller (server application) forms peer groups of end-user devices. The groups are based on geographic proximity, making the peers suitable to share content quickly and easily. When a user requests a video, the peer-to-peer controller checks the peer group to determine if it has been previously stored. If a peer is found, the video will be provided without connecting to Microsoft Stream.

The result is less bandwidth consumed at the critical network bottlenecks and a higher-quality, stable viewing experience. Vbrick Ramp peer-to-peer benefits include:

  • No client software or plugins
  • Hosted in the cloud or on-premises to meet strict security protocols
  • Scales automatically as demand grows
  • Event statistics and video analytics let you monitor your network and webcast performance in real-time for a holistic, data-driven view of your streaming videos
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