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I operate Grinderschool.com, a poker training site run through video sessions. Our subscribers access our videos via either 1) direct download or 2) streaming access. Currently, we have things set up in a shared hosting environment, however I am considering other options due to some recent reliability issues. In short, having 300Gb of data is outside of their typical plan, so things like transferring the site from one server to another (a quick process for most of their sites) can take us down for a noticeable period of time.

I considered VPS, but ruled it out due to the high cost of storage compared to the bandwidth we would be using.

My next thought is to move to some kind of integration to combine our current shared-host solution with a CDN. I know that would work well for the direct download portion of our users. Would it also support streaming access? How easy or hard would it be to interface with our existing access control mechanisms (based on PHP-driven session data stored in our DB)?

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Are you doing real streaming? IE is it being re-encoded on the fly to something like flv or streaming quicktime? Or are they stored in something like a hinted quicktime file which is capable of being displayed as its being downloaded? –  Josh Budde Jul 14 '10 at 19:47
    
We have two versions of each video. One is a WMV and the other is an FLV. Both of these are produced and encoded offline. Nothing changes about the videos on the fly. –  Jeffrey Blake Jul 14 '10 at 20:15
    
CDN will probably not help streaming access, but as you mentioned, it would greatly improve direct-downloads. For streaming, IIS Smooth Streaming is pretty robust, I know thats not php/flash, but it is very powerful. It supports dynamic biterate adjustments, and its pretty easy to setup. –  Nate Jul 14 '10 at 22:08
    
@Nate: Would streaming via a flash player still be possible (with performance on par with what my users see now)? Or would I need to maintain a separate filestore on my shared server for the streaming portion? –  Jeffrey Blake Jul 15 '10 at 3:05
    
I believe that IIS Smooth Streaming is Silverlight only, so it might not be a good option if you're already deployed with Flash. –  Nate Jul 15 '10 at 15:41

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Do you actually need a CDN? 300gb of data is nothing for a decently provisioned dedicated server, and unless you are pushing over 1gbps of traffic, it would be a pretty straightforward setup.

To actually answer your question, yes, you can configure a CDN to stream video successfully. The problem is, the CDN has to be setup to do this. You may have luck talking to some CDN providers, and seeing what they can offer you. There is no one 'CDN software package' that everyone uses, so the rest of your questions depend on who you choose to actually host your CDN. In general any CDN provider will be able to work with your access control, but the ease of setup depends on the actual provider you go with.

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