September 29, 2021

Q3 news: server playlists, conditional transcoding and more from RCA finalist

Softvelum team was continuously improving products set during Q3, here's what we've got for you this quarter.

We are excited to be the finalist of 2021 Streaming Media European Readers' Choice Awards in Hardware/software Server category with our Nimble Streamer software media server. Huge thanks to all of our customers and partners who voted for us!

Nimble Streamer was improved with a few new features:

  1. Server playlist was introduced lately for Nimble Streamer. With that feature you can create live streams by composing VOD files into playlists to produce single live stream. The playlist is a JSON file with a simple grammar which allows setting streaming scenarios of various complexity. You can read full tech spec to get familiar with the feature and take a look at an example of generating NDI stream from local files. We'll keep adding more example of this feature usage.
  2. Conditional transcoding was added into Live Transcoder to enable transcoding pipelines based on incoming stream's resolution. You can set a condition based on height and/or width thus avoid unnecessary waste of your server resources. This is especially useful for creating ABR live streams.
  3. Nimble Streamer is now available on ARM64 platform. Take a look at this tab on installation page to see instructions for Raspbian and Ubuntu 20.04 for ARM64.

SLDP HTML5 Player SDK now has "self-serve": you can subscribe for it, define a list of domains to map and generate your own SDK package within less than a minute.

Our mobile team keeps improving our mobile products:

  1. Larix Broadcaster and respective SDKs were updated this quarter, take a look at a list of mobile SDK releases.
  2. We see Larix being actively used in large scale deployments so we made Best practices for Larix Broadcaster production deployment article to share the experience of our team and our customers. Feel free to use it and share with fellow live streams out there. Russian version is also available per request of our users. Feel free to translate this material to other languages (this proper link to our original).
  3. Speaking of docs, Callaba Cloud released a video about setting up SRT stream via Larix Broadcaster to Vmix and Larix Talkback, that's an awesome use case.


That's all for now. Follow us via social networks to get our updates as they appear: Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Reddit.

September 23, 2021

Conditional transcoding for ABR

Nimble Streamer Live Transcoder allows building transcoding pipelines of various complexity however it used to provide only straight-forward scenarios regardless of incoming stream parameters.

With conditional transcoding you can implement more complex scenarios based on the resolution of incoming stream. You may define the following conditions for decoder element:

  • width of the original stream;
  • height of the original stream;
  • comparison operators <, <=, =, >= or >;
If the defined condition is not met, the decoding will not start and its respective pipeline will not start.

The most popular use cases of such conditioning are:
  • situational up-scaling: if you have a scenario to transcode 4K input to 1080p and your input stream from your source happen to go down to 720p, this will prevent wasting your resources to create unnecessary high resolution.
  • set maximum output resolution, so whatever is published by your streamers, you produce a ladder limited from above.
All use cases fit perfectly with live ABR feature set of Nimble Streamer. It allows defining ABR streams with any number of streams and the output will provide any streams that are available at any given moment. So if some stream is not generated due to conditional transcoder, the output adaptive stream will still be available for playback with lower resolutions.

Here's how you can set up conditional transcoding.

We assume you're already familiar with Live Transcoder, you already have an active Transcoder license and you have it installed and registered

We'll create a scenario which allows down-scaling any incoming stream to 720p if the input video has larger frame size, then do the same for 480p resolution and create 360p regardless of the input. The audio will be passed through for all inputs.

Create a new scenario and drag and drop a new Video source element there.
Then Click on Filter settings to see fields with conditions:


As you can see from the screenshot, this decoder will be initiated if the height of original stream is greater. Then we put Scale filter and Video output element to downscale video to 720p into respective pipeline as shown below.



As a result, you'll get 720p only if the source stream is greater than 720p. If the original stream is 720p then you'll be able to use it in our ABR output as is, we'll show it below.

Now let's add 480p transcoding pipeline.



This Video source has condition of height>480. You'll get 480p only if the source stream is greater than 480p. This will cover extreme cases when the source drops the resolution for some reason.

The remaining 360 pipeline can be implemented without any conditions as we assume the resolution should not drop below 480p in vast majority of cases. Full transcoding scenario will look like this.




Now, having these conditional pipelines, you can proceed with creating output ABR stream.
  1. Go to Nimble Streamer top menu and click on Live Streams.
  2. On the next streams page you need to find your current transcoding server and click on the number in ABR column.
  3. You'll be brought to ABR streams page, there you need to click on Add ABR setting.
  4. You'll see a dialog which you need to fill as shown below.


Here you see an original stream as well as all 4 down-scaled sub-streams. If any of the sub-streams becomes un-available available, Nimble will still generate the correct playlist with active streams so your player will be able to choose between available resolutions.

You can find more details about setup and ABR streams' usage in this ABR setup article.


Overall, conditional transcoding can serve many purposes so feel free to experiment with it as much as you need. Let us know of your use cases which utilize this feature.

Related documentation


September 9, 2021

Nimble Streamer is Readers' Choice Awards 2021 finalist

Softvelum team is excited to be among the finalists of 2021 Streaming Media European Readers' Choice Awards in Hardware/software Server category with our Nimble Streamer media server.

We've been the finalist in 2016 Reader's Choice Awards as Best Innovation, and now we're here again as the best server, that's very exciting.

Huge thanks to all of our customers and partners who voted for us!






August 30, 2021

Generate NDI stream from local files via Server Playlist

We want to tell you about Server Playlist feature, which lets you create live streams from the video or audio files on your storage. This feature gives vigorous possibilities to your live streaming setup: from simply running a video in a loop as a backup stream to arranging a precise schedule for programs to run at a specific time. Multiplied by Nimble’s and Live Transcoder processing power, you can have any desired live stream egress ranging from re-publishing for any major streaming provider via RTMP or have a precise NDI stream to your equipment. Any supported output protocol can be used, including cutting edge SLDP, SRT and RIST.

As you finish reading this tutorial, you will be able to stream files from a hard disk drive as NDI streams and learn the basics of playlist editing for Nimble Streamer.

For our use case, we will just describe a couple of files in a playlist and loop them endlessly to a live stream, next we set up the Transcoder to make NDI output.


Step 1: Check Prerequisites

First, make sure you have the latest version of Nimble Streamer. You can install it using this instruction or upgrade it.

Second, make also sure that the Transcoder package is installed as described on Transcoder installation page.

Third, you need to have an active Live Transcoder license with respective subscription. Check the license at your account Settings menu under Transcoder licenses tab.

Also, we assume that all your video files are encoded with H.264 and have the same resolution and stereo AAC audio stream, so no additional encoding will be discussed.


Step 2: Make Nimble to know your playlists

Conception starts with a Playlist that uses a JSON syntax to describe files for making a live stream. JSON is powerful yet clear and various online tools can be used to validate it against errors.

To make Nimble know the playlist is engaged in work, specify a location of your playlist by adding the server_playlist_sync_url option to nimble.conf. Location can be either a local path on a hard disk drive with Nimble or HTTP(s) URL. 

Add the next string to /etc/nimble/nimble.conf file:

server_playlist_sync_url=/var/nimble/playlists/basic_playlist.json

and restart Nimble to apply changes. We will fill basic_playlist.json a moment later.

The playlist will be reloaded every 10 seconds, so you can make dynamic changes via some custom scripting and these changes will be accepted by Nimble. If you want any other update time interval, you may set it via the server_playlist_sync_interval option in nimble.conf or via the playlist itself.


Step 3: Write a playlist and get your live stream


The playlist’s grammar is based on key sections: Tasks, Blocks and Streams - which can have their own properties, e.g. Start time or Duration.

Now, copy this text to basic_playlist.json file using your preferred console editor:

{
  "Tasks": [
    {
      "Stream": "live/from_playlist",
      "Blocks": [
        {
          "Id":"1",
   "MaxIterations":0,
           "Streams" : [
            {"Type": "vod", "Source": "/var/nimble/mp4/bbb_1080p_h264_aac.mp4"},
            {"Type": "vod", "Source": "/var/nimble/mp4/TOS-1080p_aac.mp4"}
          ]
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

A few seconds later you will notice stream live/from_playlist appearing at Live Streams / Outgoing Live streams of your server.



This very basic example perfectly illustrates the mandatory fields and values of a playlist. It contains one Tasks, one Block, and two Stream sections.

Tasks object represents an array of alive streams, which must have a name set by a Stream field as application/name. Tasks also hold an array of Blocks that can be started at different times. It is achieved via Start property, but we are not discussing it for now in this tutorial. Each block must have a unique Id and a number of times to run. These repetitions are set by MaxIterations and each block runs only once by default. Setting MaxIterations to 0 means the infinite loop of a block.

Next comes the Streams array of objects which holds the full path and name of a file to play within the previously defined live stream. Source property is used for this. At the moment, Type property must have “vod” value, and this property is reserved for future improvements for mixing live streams with video files.

No more additional properties are needed for our simplified case but more details can be found at feature technical spec if needed.

Step 4: Turn Live Stream into NDI stream

Now, you see a live/from_playlist stream, so it can be processed via Transcoder to have NDI output.
Create a new Transcoder scenario and use live/from_playlist as Audio and Video Input.


As for Video and Audio output, click NDI radio button and name it from_playlist:




Click Save button and switch to a console to check available NDI streams with the nimble_ndi tool or any other NDI-supported software.





You did a great job by easily transforming your video files to an NDI stream using the Nimble Server Playlist feature and Live Transcoder.

We will continue to show more elegant scenarios and more complex playlists’ grammar in our later articles. Please feel free to share this article with anyone who may be interested in Nimble Streamer’s ability to playback files as a live stream.

Related documentation


August 8, 2021

Best practices for Larix Broadcaster production deployment

Larix Broadcaster is a universal mobile tool which is used in a variety of cases from a single event to complex multi-device production. Large-scale deployments show that you may successfully use modern mobile devices for live content remote contribution.

For example, as per Sports Video Group News, Larix was used in 2020 virtual drafts of NFL and MLB. They've released two articles regarding NFL Draft, with Larix Broadcaster mentioned as part of streaming setup: "NFL Draft 2020 ..." and "NFL Draft Reflections ...". The MLB Draft is covered in their respective MLB Draft 2020 article.
In this article we'll overview the best practices and recommendations for Larix Broadcaster deployments and mobile live streaming in general, based on our customers' experience.


Testing is crucial


First and most important advice we can give is: test as much as you can prior to your live event. This relates to hardware capabilities, software features, network and environment features.

This is especially important before making decisions about buying a significant amount of hardware, e.g. when you purchase a fleet of devices for your crew. In general it's good to have identical devices for all members of the team, so we highly recommend doing testing before such purchase.

So start with getting your hands on at least one device and try running your streaming scenarios on it. 

First, check the straight-forward scenario with some default settings (720p@30fps, H.264, default bitrate etc.) then move to those settings which you'd like to use in production if they differ. Short tests need to be combined with long runs.

Then try to push the limit. If your event is planned for 1 hour then run a 2-hours test, just to try the robustness of your device and your streaming setup. If your designated device has any energy-related or temperature problems, you'll see them at this point.

As part of our testing routine before major public releases, we run an hour-long test with periodic changing scenes, doing rotation, camera flip etc to imitate intensive work. Then we also do a work-day-long test with more static-scene streaming to make sure Larix won't cause troubles or overheat on the long run. We call all that the "endurance test".

Android vs iPhone


iPhone is the best option for live streaming so far. We run our tests on a range of devices from iPhone 6s to iPhone 11 Pro, and they all provide Larix with 1080p@60fps encoding. Starting from iPhone XR, latest models even provide 4K@60fps. Of course, you can surely use HEVC for all these modes. The image quality is also excellent, as you would expect.

What about Android? Most of the manufacturers provide only standard to minimum capabilities for third-party apps. We can confirm only one device which supports all the features of Android platform, that is Google Pixel 5. You can be sure Larix will pick up 1080p@60fps, concurrent cameras, 4K@30fps and all the latest platform features.

Android platform encourages the existence of what we call a "zoo of devices". This means a wide variance of shapes, sizes and features, however when it comes to encoding, a vendor will probably follow basic requirements like 1080p@30fps but most other image-related features won't be available for third-party apps. So you won't see 60fps, concurrent cameras or sometimes even 4K in Larix Broadcaster. Unlike iPhone, most Android devices do not provide exact frame rate of 25fps.

Read more about FPS support on Android and iOS in Q12 of our FAQ. It's a bit tricky on mobile devices in general.

If you prefer using Android and you don't need fancy image features, then most mid- to high-tier Android devices should work fine for you. But you need to run proper testing as described above. We use several devices by Samsung, Xiaomi and other brands and they work well in our tests. So far Pixel 5 is the best among them.

One more notice about Android: Larix Broadcaster can be used in background mode which will allow turning off the screen, thus saving energy and making the device less warm.

If you prefer an iPhone then basically any affordable model will do the job.

Audio, additional gear and tricks


Many of our customers use external audio equipment to obtain better sound for their live streams. We like good sound so besides "standard" features like sample rate or channel count, we allow selecting audio source as well as stream in "audio-only" mode when Larix streams only audio part of content. We also plan to extend this with gain control later on.

We also see our customers using external microphones and external sound cards successfully, for example we test Larix with iRig HD2 and it works great. Some sound cards require different audio sample rates, i.e. strictly 48000Hz or 44100Hz. So if you experience issues please check that setting, and also switch audio sources as some devices are capricious about that.

Besides audio, additional streaming gear may include lightning kits and tripods, these are things that you need to pick up according to your case.

Take a look at The Ultimate Guide To DJ Livestreaming by Phil Morse who gives a good overview of audio hardware, other gear and best practices.

Notice that Larix Broadcaster provides image framing features like rule-of-thirds and safe margins. We recommend you to watch Video Camera and Webcam Framing for Live and VOD tutorial by Jan Ozer to get some creative ideas.

And of course don't forget about the power source. Your phone battery may be excellent but high-quality streaming will eat it very quickly. So either get some good power bank or just plug your phone into a charger. Notice that you'd like to reduce power consumption and have less heating. you can disable live rotation and image overlays, this simplifies the post-processing.

Streaming protocols


Today we have two general options when choosing a live streaming protocol: SRT and RTMP.

If you use popular public services like YouTube Live, Facebook Live or Twitch, you have no choice but to use RTMP. It's an old and well-implemented technology available in any service and live decoder. It does the job properly for a large number of use cases, especially when you stream in a controlled reliable network environment. Larix Broadcaster has solid RTMP support and it's tested with all major RTMP-powered solutions.

If you build your own streaming network or if you can choose a provider with SRT input, you should definitely consider SRT. This is especially important if your crew members stream in mobile networks. SRT was designed for operating in unreliable networks so even if your network has significant packet loss, this will be properly handled by re-sending the lost packets. This advantage comes with a downside: you need to set a latency parameter which defines a time buffer used for compensating the glitches, so keep in mind that you'll have that delay in your production input. We recommend using latency parameters as 4*RTT with your streaming destination, please read this article for more details.

Larix Broadcaster has full support for SRT publishing in Caller, Pull and Rendezvous modes and SRT is being properly tested with all major SRT solutions and tools. Most modern hardware decoders can process SRT (e.g. Haivision is the inventor of SRT and their devices have full support). There are also a lot of software solutions like our Nimble Streamer or Wowza Streaming Engine capable of SRT streaming, so if you decide to try something different from default live streaming services, you'll have plenty of options.

Larix also supports RTSP and RIST output even though those protocols are not used as widely as RTMP or SRT.

So work with your server-side team or your streaming service provider to see which option you may use.

Talkback


Remote contribution often means that a talent needs to be in contact with the studio. Larix Broadcaster supports Talkback, that is IFB audio return feed which you may get on your mobile device using several protocols. You can use any software or hardware solution to generate a live stream with voice instructions from the studio and use earpiece on a mobile device to hear it.

Take a look at our video setup instruction and watch mobile reporter use case demonstration with SRTMiniServer which supports talkback generation.

Larix Grove


If you operate a fleet of devices for live content contribution you need a way to provide your crew with connections' details. Every contributor will have separate connection URL and you'll need to explain each of them how to make the setup.

You may use Larix Grove format to create specially formed links and their QR codes to propagate your settings. On iPhone the QR code can be captured by the system camera app. On Android you may use any QR code reader for that. Once the code is recognized, the settings are imported into Larix Broadcaster and the stream can be started right after that.

The format is simple so you can either use our online wizard or make your own URL generator for that.

Test any further changes


So you've run your tests prior to your live event and Larix Broadcaster works perfectly, like you would expect. 

Now, freeze the settings and don't change anything until the event is over. No software updates, no settings change - just run the event with previously tested devices.

If you really need to make changes to either your mobile app or to server-side part between further events, then start your testing from the beginning to make sure that nothing is broken.

You can never over-test, the more you test the better.



We hope these recommendations are useful for you. If you have your own experience which might be useful for other streamers out there, please don't hesitate to send us a message about it. We appreciate all feedback from our customers.

P.S. If you speak Russian, check this article's translation here.

July 28, 2021

Streaming Media European Readers' Choice Awards 2021

The Streaming Media European Readers' Choice Awards of 2021 has finished voting, thank you for your participation.

Our company was represented in five categories with various server and mobile products:

Softvelum team greatly appreciates all the votes that we got from our customers and partners, your support helps us promote our products and move forward our innovations!

July 15, 2021

Server playlists in Nimble Streamer

Server playlists feature set of Nimble Streamer allows creating live streams by composing VOD files into playlists.

Basic workflow looks like this:

  1. Prepare files for further live streaming.
  2. Create JSON playlist which contains description of generated output live streams and their respective files' playback scenarios.
  3. Create Live Transcoder scenarios to re-align output if needed.
  4. Configure Nimble Streamer to use the designated JSON playlist.
  5. Nimble instance generates output live steams according to playlist.
  6. You can update the playlist any moment, it will be picked up by Nimble within playlist sync interval.

The playlist is a JSON file with a simple grammar which allows setting streaming scenarios of various complexity.

Notice that server playlist feature set requires Live Transcoder to operate so you'll need to subscribe for a license and install/register Transcoder on your server.

For more details, read Server playlists page on Nimble Streamer website.

June 30, 2021

Q2 2021 news: Advertizer, KLV, Zabbix, Larix overlays

Let's see what Softvelum team has to show from Q2 of 2021.

Before moving to our features and updates, check Video Delivery Landscape of 2021 created and maintained by Divitel, we are excited to see Softvelum there.

Also take a look at our latest Secure your account in 3 easy steps article showing how you can use users management, two-factor authentication and cloud server backup to make sure WMSPanel is secured from multiple directions.


Nimble Streamer

A number of updates about our software media server were released.

  • Nimble Advertizer is now able to serve per-session ads using your own session handler. It allows making per-session ads insertion for each individual user by using customer-side session handler. You can also now get per-session statistics to accumulate ads insertion metrics for advertisers' confidence. Read this article to learn more.
  • Nimble DVR now has SCTE-35 support. Just enable "Keep SCTE-35 markers" option to allow recording SCTE-35 markers from incoming stream into DVR. Once HLS DVR is played, those markers are streamed along with the content.
  • Speaking of DVR, check our new DVR setup tutorial video on Softvelum YouTube channel.
  • KLV metadata is now supported in Nimble Streamer, read this article for more details.
  • SRT: we've updated libsrt to the latest 1.4.3 version for Nimble Streamer SRT package. You can now use custom parameters local_ip  and local_port in Push mode. Read our main SRT setup article to see other details.
  • Also check ATEM Mini streams RTMP to Raspberry Pi with Nimble Streamer to make SRT output - an interesting video from our user shows Nimble in action for SRT streaming.
  • Larix Grove URL and QR code can be generated in Nimble Streamer / Live streams settings under Global, Applications and Interfaces tabs to make RTMP and RTSP ingest, and also under and MPEGTS In tab for SRT and RIST. This way you can easily test your Nimble Streamer publishing settings with Larix Broadcaster even easier.
  • Zabbix: last but not least, we've released templates and configs for Zabbix monitoring of Nimble Streamer and SRT streams. System administrators can now add their media server to their Zabbix to keep tracking live streaming parameters of Nimble instances as well as SRT-specific stats.
  • We've also added peak daily connections as part of daily stats in WMSPanel.
  • WMSPanel now shows NVidia GPU stats and average RAM cache in each server details.


Mobile products

This week we'll release SDK updates for our mobile products - Larix Broadcaster and Larix Player.

We'll release related mobile SDKs' updates within a few days.


That's all for now. Follow us via social networks to get our updates as they appear: Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Reddit.

June 7, 2021

Zabbix monitoring of Nimble Streamer, SRT streams and NVidia GPU

A continuous monitoring is needed if you want to ensure the correct functioning of any server. Getting basic metrics such as RAM, CPU or bandwidth usage helps rapidly responding to performance issues.

We’d like to show a way for our customers to add Nimble Streamer server-specific metrics as well as SRT streams statistics to an open-source Zabbix monitoring system. This will allow you to keep extended metrics in your monitoring system, which sometimes are not even available in WMSPanel, like RAM cache status for certain periods of time.

SRT metrics will also be helpful not only for stream health checks but also for analysis of how this new protocol works for your environment.

TLDR: You can find Zabbix templates and agent configs for Nimble Streamer general and SRT monitoring in this GitHub repo.


1. Monitoring features and metrics


We provide two Zabbix templates:

  1. General server metrics
  2. SRT metrics

Each template is based on certain calls of Nimble Streamer native API which we'll describe in later sections.

Take a look at this quick demo video showing all steps and brief capabilities overview



1.1 General metrics

The first TemplateNimbleServer.yaml in our github collects Nimble Streamer server statistics, which are obtained via /manage/server_status method of Nimble Streamer native API. This template includes some graphs for the RAMCache and FileCache monitoring.



You can find a detailed description of each parameter on server_status API method page.


1.2. SRT metrics

The second TemplateNimbleSRT.yaml on our github is made for monitoring the SRT streams statistics using /manage/srt_sender_stats and /manage/srt_receiver_stats API methods respectively. It uses Low Level Zabbix’s Discovery (LLD) to dynamically discover incoming and outgoing SRT streams metrics. For each connection (either sender or receiver) an Application with detailed statistics is created. Brief description is available if you move a mouse over [?] icon.

Please note, that the Nimble native API doesn’t send full scope of session metrics from SRT lib, but you can find full list at SRT library docs page as a reference.

Nimble Streamer returns the following list of values by API call that are also used in the Nimble SRT template:

  • SRT Receiver/Sender Window Flow
  • SRT Receiver/Sender Window Flight
  • SRT Receiver/Sender Window Congestion
  • SRT Receiver/Sender Total Packets Received 
  • SRT Receiver/Sender Total Packets Lost
  • SRT Receiver/Sender Total Packets Dropped 
  • SRT Receiver/Sender Total Bytes Received
  • SRT Receiver/Sender Status 
  • SRT Receiver/Sender Session Time
  • SRT Receiver/Sender RTT
  • SRT Receiver/Sender Retry Count
  • SRT Receiver/Sender Rate
  • SRT Receiver/Sender Packets Belated
  • SRT Receiver/Sender NAKs Sent 
  • SRT Receiver/Sender Estimated mbpsMaxBandwidth
  • SRT Receiver/Sender Estimated mbpsBandwidth
  • SRT Receiver/Sender bytesLost
  • SRT Receiver/Sender bytesDropped 

At the moment we don't have any SRT-specific Graphs or Triggers or Screens with the data we gather using these templates, but we'll probably add some improvements in future versions. We also have some plans on extending Nimble API capabilities to show more metrics and protocols, let us know if you're interested.


1.3 NVidia GPU monitoring

If you have NVidia GPU you can gather its metrics in Zabbix via Nimble’s Native API /manage/server_status method. We provide a Zabbix NVidia template and related config that relies on it to gather statistics. For temperature monitoring, the nvidia-smi utility is used, so make sure you can run it successfully from the console. Nimble Server NVidia template is actually the same, but with the addition of NVidia GPU discovery rules. To install it, follow the same steps and prerequisites as for Nimble Server Template.

Here are examples of stats.




1.4 Pre-requisites

The templates that we provide are made using Zabbix version 5.2.6, but the latest version of Zabbix should work fine too.

Notice that we used Ubuntu Linux 20.04 for Nimble Streamer server instance and setup details are provided for that OS. There should not be any issues with any Linux distro if you change package manager commands and repo names.

We didn’t check the provided templates with Nimble Streamer and Zabbix Agent running on Windows but it should also work as soon as you're able to install and run some releavant version of jq and cURL on it. Contact us if you succeed using this monitoring method for Windows version of Nimble.

We also assume that you already have the Zabbix server installed. If not, please find setup details on Zabbix's comprehensive documentation web pages. Zabbix provides many installation choices. The virtual appliance works best for us but you may choose the one that best suits your environment. If you have specific issues with it, ask Zabbix support or the Zabbix community forum.


2. Link Templates and Gather Data


Here are the steps you need to complete in order to add Nimble-specific metrics to your Zabbix server:

  1. Enable Nimble Streamer HTTP API for the server instance which you want to monitor
  2. Install cURL if it is not yet installed
  3. Import provided Templates to your Zabbix Server
  4. Install Zabbix Agent to your Nimble server
  5. Update Zabbix Agent configs to make templates work
  6. Add Nimble Streamer host to Zabbix server
  7. Apply Nimble Streamer Templates to a specific host

Here are the details of each step.


2.1 Enable Nimble Streamer HTTP API

Add ‘management_listen_interfaces = *’ to /etc/nimble/nimble.conf file. We have used the default port 8082 to make Zabbix Agent receive metrics from Nimble. Please follow this documentation page. to find out more about enabling Nimble API.


2.2. Install cURL

Make sure that cURL is installed on Nimble server. It can be used to make sure API is set up fine and it will be used further.


2.3 Import templates

Next, import Nimble Templates into Zabbix.

Download template files from respective GitHub repo to some location. From the Zabbix’s pop-up menu, go to Configuration -> Templates and click the Import button at the right top of the Templates page.

At the Import page, make sure that the checkboxes look like on the following screenshot and choose the template file to import.


Complete importing process by clicking the Import button. "Imported successfully" message should appear at the top of the page.

Navigate to the Templates page again, type "Nimble" at Name field and click Apply to set filter for Nimble templates only. You will notice two Nimble templates available.


2.4 Install Zabbix agent

You need to install Zabbix Agent on your Nimble Streamer server to send your server’s metrics to Zabbix Server. The easiest method is to install the agent using official Zabbix repositories by executing the following commands:

wget https://repo.zabbix.com/zabbix/5.2/ubuntu/pool/main/z/zabbix-release/zabbix-release_5.2-1+ubuntu20.04_all.deb

sudo dpkg -i zabbix-release_5.2-1+ubuntu20.04_all.deb

sudo apt update 

sudo apt install zabbix-agent jq

sudo systemctl enable zabbix-agent

The "jq" JSON parser is needed to process data from Nimble API responses.


2.5 Update Zabbix agent configs

Now complete the setup of Zabbix Agent by editing the /etc/zabbix/zabbix.conf file with your favorite editor to specify a Zabbix Server IP or Domain name via"Server=" option.

Please also add hostname of the server at "Hostname=" option and use the same name as Host name field when adding a host to Zabbix.

Download Zabbix Agent configs for Nimble from GitHub repo and copy them to /etc/zabbix/zabbix_agentd.d/.

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/WMSPanel/zabbix/main/zbx_nimble.conf zbx_nimble.conf

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/WMSPanel/zabbix/main/zbx_nimble.conf zbx_nimble_srt.conf

sudo cp *.conf /etc/zabbix/zabbix_agentd.d/


Check if your firewall allows incoming connection to port 10050 and start Zabbix Agent:

sudo systemctl start zabbix-agent


2.6 Add Nimble Streamer host to Zabbix

Switch to Zabbix web interface and add your Nimble Streamer server by clicking Create Host at Configuration -> Hosts page as usual. 

Select Interface type as Agent, and specify your Nimble server’s IP or domain name to connect to. Use Nimble group name and the same Host name as you defined in zabbix.conf file.


2.7 Apply Nimble Streamer Templates to a host

At the Templates tab select Host group Nimble and select Templates.


Click Add button after selecting Templates to add host to Zabbix. The added host will appear at the top of the page.

If you did everything correctly, you will notice availability status (ZBX) will become green after a few moments:


You may get the following error if the hostname in zabbix_agent.conf file is not matching the hostname you’ve entered when adding Hosts:



The setup is finished. Check if the metrics are being received by Zabbix at Monitoring -> Latest data menu. 

Now you can use this data to compare with data received by other templates or methods, create unique Graphs to add to the Dashboard or custom Screens, and add some Triggers to track if your server’s health goes down.


That's it. We'll continue improving our Zabbix monitoring templates and configs, stay tuned for updates and contact us if you have any questions or suggestions.


Related documentation

Nimble Streamer native API, Nimble Streamer configuration methods, Softvelum github

May 17, 2021

Secure your account in 3 easy steps

WMSPanel cloud control panel provides extended control over your Nimble Streamer server instances. Softvelum customers utilize Nimble extensively to build their media delivery networks and streaming infrastructure, and they use WMSPanel to perform the setup easily via both web UI and API.

Web services have a lot of upside like convenience of operations. However there is a downside to it as well: if you compromise your account credentials, an abuser may take control over your assets and do significant damage.

Besides evil intentions, people just make mistakes sometimes, so you need to improve your account security to avoid them.

Here are some general practices which we highly recommend for all of WMSPanel accounts and users to improve security and robustness of your account.


1. Users management: admins vs. non-admins


First, let's check what you can do on a company account and user level.

There are two types of users in WMSPanel: admins and non-admins.

Admins can do the following.

  • Install servers and register them in WMSPanel.
  • Add and change all Nimble Streamer settings on all servers.
  • View all stats for all servers.
  • Enable and disable statistical metrics.
  • Create and change subscriptions and view invoices.
  • Add, change and remove users.
  • Track users' activities log.
When you create an account in WMSPanel, your login becomes an admin user.

Non-admins cannot do much unless you allow them to:

  • They only view the stats in the data slices where they are assigned by admins.
  • Admins can grant non-admins specific permissions for specific servers, e.g. change live streaming settings only on a designated Nimble Streamer server instance. This article explains how it works.
  • Admins may also assign a group of non-admins to control a separate group of servers using data slices. This article describes the approach and its setup.

As you can see, there is no need to make some people the admin users while you can make them non-admins and grant only some limited permissions.

The rule of thumb is: don't grant too many permissions unless you really need to do that.


2. Two-factor authentication: a must-have


Being a user with WMSPanel login, you have to make sure your credentials are not exposed to anyone else. Doesn't matter if you are a full-scale admin or a non-admin who wants to view stats. However, if your credentials are obtained by malware or as a result of some sophisticated targeted attack, you need the second line of defense.

So you must enable two-factor authentication for your WMSPanel user. This is a modern de-facto standard for operations on the Internet so you must be familiar with it. So read this article to learn more about enabling 2FA.

Or just go to Settings menu, open Security tab and follow the instructions there.


3. Nimble config cloud backups: "undoing" mistakes


If you use a Nimble Streamer instance, one of your most valuable assets is its streaming settings. This is what you do as a streaming infrastructure architect and engineer: set up Nimble, test it with your source streams or files, launch it in products and make changes to those settings if necessary.

However, people make mistakes. Whatever you do to secure the users, those users can accidentally remove a server, erase some setting or make some experiment which would ruin the setup. You need to be able to overturn events like that.

We created Cloud backups of Nimble Streamer configuration to cover this use case. It allows making both manual and automated "snapshots" of server instance configuration which is then stored in WMSPanel cloud infrastructure. The key feature is that those backups cannot be erased or changed by any end user - admin or non-admin. When the backup is set and enabled for a specific server, those backups will allow restoring the state of settings of that server.

Cloud backups cost just 1 USD per month per backup.


These are simple rules to make your WMSPanel experience more secure and reliable.

Let us know if you have any questions.