Amazon’s CDN Quickly Gaining Momentum, Now Supports Live Flash Streaming
It was only five months ago that Amazon added an SLA and more edge locations to their CDN offering CloudFront, and last night Amazon took the service a step further with the announcement that CloudFront now supports live streaming of Flash video. Content owners can now use Amazon CloudFront with Amazon EC2 running Adobe's Flash Media Server and Amazon Route 53 (AWS's DNS service) to deliver live video via AWS.
As with all of Amazon's Web Services, customers will only pay for the AWS resources they consume, and content owners have full control over their live streaming origin server, Adobe's Flash Media Server running on Amazon EC2, so they can configure it any way they want. While all of the major CDNs have been supporting live Flash streaming for years, most don't allow the customer to have any control over the origin Flash server during live events, so Amazon is offering something unique in that regard. Content owners who wanted more control of their live Flash server typically had to move away from the major CDNs and use a specialist hosting provider like Influxis, or use one of Wowza Media's hosting partners.
In my opinion, Amazon is one of the most under-rated companies in the market when it comes to CDN services and Wall Street and others should take notice of what they are doing. Far too many people think Amazon only has small customers for their CDN services or that Amazon can't compete with the larger CDNs, but that's no longer the case. In fact, I see Amazon has recently published a case study showcasing how PBS Interactive is now streaming all of their on-demand video via Amazon. All of that PBS business use to be with one of the other major CDNs before Amazon Limelight. (see comments section)
About eighteen months ago, when Amazon announced they were adding support for Flash streaming I wrote that Amazon, "Will Disrupt The Market" and since then, we've seen Amazon's CloudFront service grow up very quickly. I am now starting to see Amazon take some share of the commodity video delivery business from other CDNs and I expect Amazon to compete for more of that business steadily over the course of this year. While the business Amazon is in today with their CDN services is not the high-margin value add services business that all of the CDNs are trying to capture and grow, CloudFront and Amazon Web Services (AWS) should not be underestimated. It's only a matter of time before Amazon starts offering more value add services themselves and the company is in a great position to compete in this market for the long-term.