January 31, 2012

Reporting bandwidth and traffic


Media streaming statistics primarily show the data which is answering basic questions. How many users did I have during some period of time? Who are they? What did they get from company's servers?

First question is answered by showing various streams count reports. There are dozens of possible reports that may show any slice of data that might help understanding the numbers. WMSPanel provides basic time line charts that show real-time and retrospective data. Most of the needs are covered by those graphs.

The "who" question may be answered in a different ways but most important thing to be discovered are geographical location and user software description. Geographical location is covered by real-time geo-location report showing flags and names of the countries that currently are streaming all media. We plan to extend this type of info with retrospective geo data. Software description includes data like streaming software ("user agent"), operating system, system language etc. This data is not critical but it might be interesting, so we plan including these reports in the future.

The content reports show streams names and their statistics. Another important set of reports which is currently supported is a bandwidth and traffic usage.

Basically this kind of reports shows how much data was transferred to and from users to get the understanding of traffic consumption. Also some customers might need to know bandwidth used by applications and servers.

Let's start from bandwidth. Its graphics are combined with connections count chart - both real time and retrospective with the scale being located on the right from "Connections". Real-time chart shows current bandwidth happening during last couple of minutes in addition to streams count.

January 30, 2012

Server downtime notification

Being a streamer means that your assets are always online. And if something goes wrong and becomes invisible from outside, you'll need to know about that.

Recently we've re-designed and re-implemented a small but nice feature that might be interested for many of our customers. A customer may now set a list of emails which will get a special notification when a server goes down, like reboot or power outage or anything else.

The email notification is set after 20 minutes of not getting sync-ups from the server.

So once you register any server you may go to Control menu and check corresponding link:

Control top menu.

Once you enter the set up page, you can add or delete any number of emails. You can also send a test notification by pressing corresponding button. In this case all recipients will get the same alert as they would get after real downtime.

Offline notifications setup

Once anything happens to a server and it goes offline - you'll know about it within a few minutes after a small timeout via email alert. As soon as it gets back, you'll be notified.

You may also use downtime notifications push API to process the offline events in some other way in addition to just sending emails.

Contact us if you have any questions.

Related documentation

Downtime notifications push APINotifying on RTMP stream (un)publishStatistics import APIPay-per-view for Wowza Media Server

January 21, 2012

Why we prefer service rental over purchase


Some of our potential clients ask if we provide stand-alone, or on-site, installations. This basically means that some businesses prefer buying software rather than renting it. So here in this post we'd like to explain why we chose service rental model when a customer subscribes to a service.

This model is commonly known as "SaaS", or "Software as a service".

First of all, the primary feature of WMSPanel was to make a centralized reporting solution. The most obvious approach here is to make web-based application that gathers data from various sources. Having such product, we still have 2 payment options - sell it as a single product or provide monthly subscription. We chose the second approach.

What are customer's benefits from business owner and system administrator points of view?

No server resources for installed application. Having yet another logs analyzer means that you need to have some server which will have all processing being done. WMSPanel makes processing by itself outside of your assets' network. So no need to get extra HW or OS licenses.

Less administrating. Customer only needs to set up data slices for respective sub-clients (via simple web-interface handled by WMSPanel servers) and spend several minutes to install WMSPanel server add-on (Wowza agent or Windows Media plugin). That's it, nothing else. We can even do it ourselves as part of our support activities.

Continuous feature delivery. All customers get new system release as soon as we deploy it online. No need for your admin to check for new releases, re-install software and check if it's compatible with current environment. Once a new functionality is online, it's available to every customer.

Testing is done within the same environment with customers. Before rolling out new release we test it using the same environment as used by every other customer. Thus, when it's done, we know for sure that it works for people outside of our "sandbox".

Optimization for client and server parts - we pay for resources used by WMSPanel so we want to cut expenses as much as we can. For us, improvement literally has its cost and profit. The more we optimize, the better performance is for customers. This allows keeping low prices and providing good deals and discounts. See some other thoughts on this in previously posted notes on clouds and virtuality.

You can stop any time. If you buy a license for several hundred dollars and then discover that it does not meet your needs, you still will use it just because you already paid for it. Monthly subscription may be cancelled at any moment so there's no risk of overpaying.

Having read all above, you can see why renting a service might be better for your business than just buying a license for a standalone application. You can enhance this list with pros and cons from your business perspective, feel free to comment.

You can have fully-functional trial of WMSPanel free of charge during 2 weeks to see if it works good enough for you. Just sign up and follow installation instructions. And contact us to ask any questions or get pricing options.

Please also have a look at Nimble Streamer, the light-weight HTTP streaming server for HLS, Smooth and progressive download. It may be controlled via WMSPanel GUI and it comes free of charge.

January 11, 2012

FastSpring is now our payment gateway


Being a SaaS solution, WMSPanel needs a secure and reliable way to collect monthly payments. We are glad to announce that we are now accepting payments via FastSpring, an all-in-one e-commerce, merchandising and fulfillment solution.

It's a reliable financial solution that suites best for selling software and providing agile subscription functionality to end-users. Customers' data is processed at FastSpring websites via SSL and its security is verified by VeriSign.

After you fill in subscription data, you're being charged on a monthly basis so won't need to re-enter your payment information each month. If you are from European Union, we'll pay VAT for you so total amount will be the same.