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Amazon Brings Media Streaming to CloudFront

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Amazon Web Services on Wednesday said it is now offering audio and video streaming media support from its CloudFront content delivery network, giving companies a fast and cheap way to share their multimedia content.

The addition of the streaming media support adds more functionality and appeal to AWS’s portfolio as it continues to challenge established content deliver networks (CDNs) such as Akamai (NASDAQ: AKAM), LimeLight (NASDAQ: LLNW) and CDNetworks. (NASDAQ: AMZN) officials said multiple levels of redundancy have been built into CloudFront to ensure customers’ streams are served reliably, quickly and that end users view the content in real-time as the bytes are delivered.

To stream content with CloudFront, users store the original copy of their media in the Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and then enable those files for distribution in Amazon CloudFront with a simple command using the AWS Management Console or the Amazon CloudFront API. officials said end users requesting streaming content are automatically routed to the CloudFront edge location best suited to serve the stream, so end users can get the highest bit rate, lowest latency and highest quality stream possible.

Content owners will be pleased to know that CloudFront’s media streaming service only charges customers for the amount of data transferred — a particularly appealing feature since many end users stop listening or viewing a media in file in midstream.

“Many customers have told us that an on-demand streaming media service with low latency, high performance and reliability has been out of reach — it was technically complex and required sales negotiations and up-front commitments,” Tal Saraf, CloudFront’s general manager, said in a statement. “We’re excited to add streaming functionality to Amazon CloudFront that is so easy, customers of any size can start streaming content in minutes.”

Amazon CloudFront streaming uses Adobe’s Flash Media Server 3.5.2 and customers can choose to deliver their content either using the Flash standard Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) protocol, or using its encrypted version, RTMPE, for additional security.

Company officials said CloudFront streaming currently supports on-demand media, and additional support for live events is planned for 2010.

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