Sun launched some high density iron into the video streaming market with the Sun Streaming System, which the company claimed delivers the highest video streaming capacity to cable and telecom providers in the industry. It supports up to 160,000 simultaneous and unique video streams at 2Mbps for less than $50 per stream, which is about 10 times the streaming capacity of competitive platforms, according to Sandeep Agrawal, group marketing manager, Sun Systems Group.
"It allows operators to offer a lot of personalized content, video on demand or YouTube, opening the door to have economics go down," Agrawal said. "In keeping with Sun's theme to cut power consumption, the Streaming System cuts consumption by three quarters for a comparable large system, with four times the density."
Developed by legendary Sun co-founder and system designer Andy Bechtolsheim, the Sun Streaming System is based on Sun Fire x64 systems, switches, data servers and 10-gigabit Ethernet optical networking ports, as well as an integrated software suite. It supports a variety of video features, including MPEG codecs, a variety of bit rates, HD streaming, Network Personal Video Recorder (nPVR), and personalized playlists.
"Because we will enable large scale delivery of personalized video services, cable and telco companies can tailor to each individual customer. Playlists can be customized to viewer interests as well as advertising per individual. It allows both the content and ad revenue benefits by making the service more attractive," Agrawal said. "If could make entire library of Netflix available at a price comparable to the store [physical media], then suddenly adoption would turn on a dime."
Agrawal said that Sun is talking to Netflix and other potential users of the system, mostly OEMs such as Nortel and Motorola. Sun announced that it is partnering with Nortel and EDS, as well as with independent hardware and software vendors who have products that can be integrated into the video delivery service.
A complete package with the hardware, licenses and services would cost around $4 to $5 million for 160,000 streams, depending on which part of the multi-tiered distribution chain they inhabit, Agrawal added. Competitors include Cisco and Seachange, as well as Microsoft on the software side, but Agrawal said that for large scale systems Sun has set a new bar. If that is the case, video streaming services should become cheaper and faster for the service providers, with savings hopefully passed on to customers.