Delivery: Web Server, Flash Media Server, or CDN?
Determining where and how to host your Flash Video content means considering both the target audience and your budget. You can store Flash Video files on your own or a hosted Web server, your own or a hosted FMS, or on a CDN. Each of these options has specific deployment objectives.
Low-volume Web site with limited video
If your Flash site uses a few pieces of video content, all of short duration and with small file sizes (less than 30 MB), you can probably store your FLV files on a standard Web server. Be sure to check the hosting plans from popular companies such as godaddy.com, dreamhost.com, or 1and1.com.
Examples of smaller sites include portfolio sites with short pieces of video work, small businesses with short video introductions by representatives of the company, and so on.
Low-volume Web site with protected or long content
For a small Web site that includes video content with playback restrictions or long-duration video content (more than 10 minutes per file), you should consider a hosted FMS account. You don't need to buy a licensed FMS—it's much simpler and more affordable to use a third-party FMS hosting company, such as influxis.com or mediatemple.com. You can usually find an FMS hosting company outside the United States with a bit of searching on the Web.
A low-volume site might belong to a musician who lets visitors watch music videos or listen to audio streams that can't be downloaded and repurposed by users. Or, a film production company's Web site may showcase a short film or documentary project—for example, www.teachnow.org allows visitors to watch the full 30-minute documentary Teach.
High-volume Web site with distributable content
Some large Web sites use a variety of video on their sites, from short product demonstrations to user-generated content (UGC). High-volume sites that receive thousands—if not millions—of visits per day require large CDNs to mirror content around the nation or globe. When content is mirrored, copies of the content are spread across several servers located throughout the country of origin or throughout the world. Each user is served content from the fastest server or the one closest to their network connection. Sites that don't require content protection, such as YouTube.com, don't need FMS to serve millions of videos per day—but they do need first-class Web servers to host and deliver terabytes of Flash Video.
High-volume Web site with protected content
If a large Web site is showcasing protected video content consumed by thousands of people per day, an FVSS provider is required to manage hundreds of simultaneous connections. FVSS providers are licensed by Adobe to carry FMS technology on hundreds of servers to meet the demands of high-volume Web sites. Many popular CDNs are also FVSS providers, such as Akamai (www.akamai.com) and Limelight Networks (www.limelightnetworks.com). Many broadcast and cable networks use these CDNs to distribute popular TV shows on their Web sites.