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I’ve been very busy traveling to the International Broadcaster’s Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam and delivering two fantastic Microsoft Media Platform Summits in both Amsterdam and Prague. Now that I’m back in the office again, it’s time to get back to updating folks on what is new and upcoming in Windows Azure Media Services this Fall and into next year.
We have been in Preview release for about 4 months now across 6 data centers and things are going amazingly well. Lots of great feedback and interest from around the globe. As we approach our first official general availability release later this Fall, we will be updating the Services SDK for .NET and our MSDN documentation with new sample code and scenarios.
Nick Drouin, one of the Program Managers on the Windows Azure Media Services, has just started up a new blog (http://blog-ndrouin.azurewebsites.net/) to post sample code and how-to articles around using various features of Media Services. Some of you may know Nick already from his work on IIS Transform Manager. This year he is responsible for many of our cool new features in Media Services such as Dynamic Remux – the ability to encode and store only a single set of standard MP4 multi-bitrate files and allow Media Services to dynamically serve out either Smooth Streaming or Apple HLS to client players. This feature will reduce your storage costs and simplify multi-screen and multi-format delivery. We will expand this feature to include MPEG-DASH support, as well as dynamic encryption for DRM in the future.
Check out the first set of articles that Nick has published on getting started with Media Services. He also is working on a post on how to use the Aspera On-Demand for Windows Azure that is now in beta on the Azure Marketplace.
Another feature that is coming soon is a set of updates to our Azure Portal experience to add even more support for Media Services directly in the Azure Portal. Keep an eye out for that later in the Fall.
As always, if you have any questions, please jump over to the Azure Forum for Media Services and post. I’m spending a lot more time over there answering questions lately. And if I miss a question due to my busy schedule, there are lots of knowledgeable folks on the team willing to help as well!
Today, after a year of development, testing, and early adopter program feedback from a terrific group of trial customers, we are announcing the official release of IIS Transform Manager 1.0.
This media workflow, encoding, and content encryption tool was first released as a Beta at NAB 2011. We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all of our early adopters who provided great feedback and testing and the wider public for their input through our IIS Media Forum. Over the last year, we have received great feedback, encoded and packaged tens of thousands of videos with customers in production, and received excellent feedback on our feature set which has helped us improve the software’s quality and stability.
We worked closely with our early adopter customers to make this product extremely robust and extensible for usage in real-world, high volume content production scenarios. Transform Manager, or TM as we call it, is being used by many content providers to encode, encrypt with PlayReady, and deliver to multiple formats including MP4, Smooth Streaming, and Apple HTTP Live Streaming.
With this release behind us, many of you may already be aware that we are currently shifting our focus to the cloud. The new Windows Azure Media Services announced at NAB is our next major push, and you will begin to see this in action starting next week when we open the Preview up for the public.
A lot of the learning, experience, and technology that went into making Transform Manager a scalable and extensible tool on-premises will be moved into a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that any Windows Azure developer can sign up for and take advantage of. We have taken the knowledge from TM and re-architected it from the ground up to take advantage of the benefits and scale of cloud computing on Windows Azure.
As we move forward into the cloud, we will again look to our great community to give us continued feedback on the migration path from on-premises to cloud based encoding, encryption, and delivery of media. The transition won’t be immediate for all, but we see tremendous potential for handling media workflows that require spinning up a lot of resources quickly and cost-effectively for our customers.
For more information on the TM release, and what is coming soon please check out the following links:
- IIS Transform Manager 1.0, official page, feature list, and download links.
- Window Azure Media Services, our cloud-based media platform as a service.
- Microsoft Media Platform, providing on-premise solutions and client technologies.
We invite you to familiarize yourselves with these exciting new technologies and how they can meet media workflow needs: to complement or augment the capabilities offered by Transform Manager.
More details on Windows Azure Media Services coming next week, so continue to check back for updates. I’m looking forward to writing a lot more articles for you in the coming weeks.
Finally – here are the direct Download links for TM:
I am excited to finally be able to discuss what I have been working on this past year and explain why I have been so quiet on my blog for the most part. I haven’t been able to discuss my project publicly for a long time outside of NDA conversations with partners and customers so this post is going to be a lot of fun for me.
About a year ago at NAB 2011, we began to discuss with customers and partners the idea of a set of platform level services in the cloud to enable the easy, flexible, and highly scalable delivery of media. The set of services that we envisioned would enable customers big and small to move their media production and streaming delivery workflows easily and securely from on-premises to a public cloud infrastructure.
To that end, our team began to focus on the architecture and design of a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering on Windows Azure that would take the best components of the Microsoft Media Platform, including IIS Media Services, Expression Encoder, PlayReady, IIS Transform Manager, Audience Insight, Rough Cut Editor, our player and client frameworks for PC, Mac, Windows Phone, iOS, and Xbox, and combine them into a set of easy to use services sitting behind a RESTful API.
Last week at the National Association of Broadcaster’s convention, we finally announced Windows Azure Media Services. This new collection of services coming soon to Windows Azure simplifies the creation, management, and delivery of media to almost any device including Microsoft Xbox, Windows Phone handsets and Windows PCs, as well as non-Microsoft platforms such as smart TVs, set-top boxes, MacOS, iOS, and Android. Content providers and media partners can take advantage of the cost benefits and cloud capacity found with Windows Azure, and provide customers massive amounts of digital media in the variety of formats they require, when they require it. Windows Azure Media Services’ ready-to-use services allow customers to simplify the creation of complex media workflows built on the Microsoft Media Platform and third-party technologies.
To learn more about Windows Azure Media Services and sign-up for the upcoming Preview, please click here. We will be accepting sign ups for the next few weeks and will alert you as soon as the services are live for use.
For additional details on the announcement, please check out Scott Guthrie’s Blog (announce details, media partners, capabilities, architecture overviews, scenarios)
Or for press release information and partner information, head on over to the Microsoft Cloud Virtual Press Room.
I’ll follow up with a number of blog posts as we get closer to Preview release. After the Preview is live, I’ll be adding a set of technical posts and hot-to articles.