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Streaming media server role: Configuring a streaming media server

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Streaming media server role: Configuring a streaming media server

You can use Windows Media Services to stream audio and video content to clients over the Internet or an intranet. Clients might be computers or devices that play back the content using a player, such as Windows Media Player, or they might be computers running Windows Media Services (called Windows Media servers) that proxy, cache, or redistribute your content. Clients can also be custom applications that have been developed with the Windows Media Software Development Kit (SDK).

If you want this computer to provide audio and video content streams to clients and to other Windows Media servers, then configure this computer as a streaming media server.

Notes

  • This content is not available in this preliminary release.

  • This feature is not included on computers running the Microsoft® Windows Server® 2003, Web Edition operating system. For more information, see Overview of Windows Server 2003, Web Edition.

This topic explains the basic steps that you must follow to configure a streaming media server. When you have finished the basic steps, you can complete additional configuration tasks, depending on how you want to use the streaming media server.

This topic covers:

Before you begin

Configuring your streaming media server

Next steps: Completing additional tasks

Before you begin

Before you configure your computer as a streaming media server, verify whether or not:

  • The operating system is configured correctly. In the Windows Server 2003 family, Windows Media Services depends on the appropriate configuration of the operating system and its services. If you have a new installation of a Windows Server 2003 operating system, you can use the default service settings. No further action is required. If you upgraded to a Windows Server 2003 operating system, or if you want to confirm that your services are configured correctly for best performance and security, then verify your service settings using the table in Default settings for services.

  • All existing disk volumes use the NTFS file system. FAT32 volumes are not secure, and they do not support file and folder compression, disk quotas, file encryption, or individual file permissions.

  • Windows Firewall is enabled. For more information, see Enable Windows Firewall with no exceptions.

  • The Security Configuration Wizard is installed and enabled. For information about the Security Configuration wizard, see Security Configuration Wizard Overview.

Configuring your streaming media server

To configure a streaming media server, start the Configure Your Server Wizard by doing either of the following:

  • From Manage Your Server, click Add or remove a role. By default, Manage Your Server starts automatically when you log on. To open Manage Your Server, click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Manage Your Server.

  • To open the Configure Your Server Wizard, click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Configure Your Server Wizard.

On the Server Role page, click Streaming media server, and then click Next.

This section covers:

Summary of Selections

Completing the Configure Your Server Wizard

Completing the streaming media server role configuration

Removing the streaming media server role

Summary of Selections

On the Summary of Selections page, view and confirm the options that you have selected. If you selected Streaming media server on the Server Role page, the following appears:

  • Install Windows Media Services

To apply the selections shown on the Summary of Selections page, click Next. After you click Next, the Configuring Components page of the Windows Components Wizard appears, and then closes automatically. You cannot click Back or Next on this page.

After you click Next on the Summary of Selections page, the Configure Your Server Wizard installs Windows Media Services. Unlike many other services, Windows Media Services installs without any input from the administrator.

Completing the Configure Your Server Wizard

After the components are configured, the Configure Your Server Wizard displays the This Server is Now a Streaming Media Server page. To review all of the changes made to your server by the Configure Your Server Wizard or to ensure that a new role was installed successfully, click Configure Your Server log. The Configure Your Server Wizard log is located at systemroot\Debug\Configure Your Server.log. To close the Configure Your Server Wizard, click Finish.

Before you start to use your streaming media server, we recommend the following steps:

Completing the streaming media server role configuration

After you complete the Configure Your Server Wizard, the computer is ready for use as a basic streaming media server that can provide digital media content to clients and to other streaming media servers. Additional configuration is usually required, and the specific steps depend on your requirements. This section explains the basic decisions you must make in order to configure the streaming media server.

Note

  • If you have installed Windows Media Services on this computer, you can view Windows Media Services Help. To open Windows Media Services Help, click Start, click Run, and then type hh wmserver.chm.

The streaming media server role supports many scenarios, which Windows Media Services Help describes in detail. For more information, see "Scenarios" in Windows Media Services Help. Most scenarios require you to reconfigure an existing publishing point or create a new one. You need to make one decision, or possibly two, and the results determine which of the three main publishing point configurations you should use. The following table shows how the decisions relate to configurations.

 

If you And you want to use Use this publishing point configuration

Want clients to control playback

One server connection per client

On-demand, unicast

Do not want clients to control playback

One server connection per client

Broadcast, unicast

Do not want clients to control playback

One server connection, shared by all clients

Broadcast, multicast

Control of playback

Control of playback means that the client should be able to start, stop, pause, rewind, and fast-forward digital media content. With on-demand, unicast, the client controls playback, and the user experience is similar to playing a movie from a VCR or a DVD player. This type of playback requires an on-demand publishing point. An on-demand publishing point distributes pre-recorded content, such as audio and video files. When you add the streaming media server role, the wizard creates an on-demand publishing point named <Default>. You can distribute your media files from this publishing point, or you can create another publishing point. The configuration steps for an on-demand publishing point are similar to those presented in "Stream Windows Media files on-demand" in Windows Media Services Help. If you choose to use an on-demand publishing point, you must use unicast delivery.

If the client does not control playback, the user experience is similar to viewing a television program. This type of playback requires a broadcast publishing point. This type of publishing point distributes pre-recorded and live content. When you add the streaming media server role, the wizard creates a broadcast publishing point named Sample_Broadcast that contains sample content. You should leave this sample broadcast publishing point intact and create a new broadcast publishing point. If you choose to create a broadcast publishing point, see Server connections.

For more information about on-demand and broadcast publishing point types, see "About publishing point types" in Windows Media Services Help.

Server connections

With unicast broadcast, the server creates a separate connection to each client. As a result, unicast delivery can consume a large amount of network bandwidth. For example, delivering the same content to 100 clients simultaneously consumes 100 times as much network bandwidth as delivering the content to one client. However, unicast delivery does not require any configuration of network routers and switches. The steps to configure a publishing point this way are similar to those presented in "Use your server to publish live content from Windows Media Encoder" in Windows Media Services Help. For more information about unicast delivery, see "Delivering content as a unicast stream" in Windows Media Services Help.

With multicast broadcast, the server does not create a connection to any client. Instead, the server delivers the content to a Class D Internet Protocol (IP) address on the network, and any client on the network can receive it. This conserves network bandwidth. For example, a multicast delivery to 100 clients consumes only as much bandwidth as delivery to one client. However, many networks by default do not support multicast delivery. To support multicast delivery, the network routers and switches between the server and the clients must be configured to transmit Class D IP addresses and interpret multicast information packets. The steps to configure a publishing point for multicast broadcast are similar to those presented in "Use your server to broadcast a stream published by Windows Media Encoder" in Windows Media Services Help. For more information about multicast delivery, see "Delivering content as a multicast stream" in Windows Media Services Help.

Using firewalls

If you plan to stream content from a Windows Media server on a network to clients on the Internet, you may need to open additional ports in your firewall to prevent clients from having problems receiving the content. Also, to make sure that your content is always available to clients that connect to your server using a URL that starts with a Microsoft Media Server (MMS) moniker (mms://), ensure that ports on your firewall are opened for all of the connection protocols that might be used during protocol rollover. For more information, see "Using firewalls" in Windows Media Services Help.

Removing the streaming media server role

If you need to reconfigure your server for a different role, you can remove existing server roles. If you remove the streaming media server role, clients will no longer be able to connect to the publishing points of this server, and encoders will no longer be able to send media streams through the server. All content stored or distributed on this server will become unavailable.

To remove the streaming media server role, start the Configure Your Server Wizard by doing either of the following:

  • From Manage Your Server, click Add or remove a role. By default, Manage Your Server starts automatically when you log on. To open Manage Your Server, click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Manage Your Server.

  • To open the Configure Your Server Wizard, click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Configure Your Server Wizard.

On the Server Role page, click Streaming media server, and then click Next. On the Role Removal Confirmation page, review the items listed under Summary, select the Remove the streaming media server role check box, and then click Next. After you click Next, the Configuring Components page of the Windows Components Wizard appears, and then closes automatically. You cannot click Back or Next on this page. On the Streaming Media Server Role Removed page, click Finish.

Next steps: Completing additional tasks

Up to this point, you have installed Windows Media Services. The installation added Windows Media Services to your server, installed the Help file, and created two publishing points that contain sample content.

The following table lists some of the additional tasks that you might want to perform on your streaming media server.

 

Task Purpose of task Reference

Configure security options.

To control access to the streaming media server and its content.

"Configuring security options" in Windows Media Services Help

Take the tour.

To become more familiar with Windows Media Services capabilities.

Click Start, click Run, and then type %systemroot%\system32\windows media\server\admin\mmc\hta\tour_.hta

Review streaming media terms and concepts.

To become more familiar with streaming media concepts such as unicast and multicast, on-demand and broadcast, archiving, publishing points, and announcing content.

"Understanding terminology" in Windows Media Services Help

Determine how many streaming media servers you need.

To plan ahead for the number of servers you need to install.

"Streaming media system overview" in Server roles, and "Capacity planning" in Windows Media Services Help

Identify port conflicts.

To prevent problems when Windows Media Services attempts to use the same TCP port as a Web server.

"Using HTTP streaming and other services on the same computer” in Windows Media Services Help

Review instructions for upgrading an earlier version of Windows Media Services.

To ensure that you understand how to upgrade other servers running earlier versions of Windows Media Services.

"Upgrading Windows Media Services" in Windows Media Services Help

Enable the Windows Audio service.

The Windows Audio service is disabled by default on a new installation of Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, or Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition. This does not prevent the server from streaming audio to clients, but you should enable audio in order to test content playback on the server.

Enable or disable a service for a hardware profile

Start the Windows Media Services management interface.

To configure your streaming media server.

Click Start, click Run, and then type %systemroot%\system32\windows media\server\admin\mmc\wmsadmin.msc

Manage your streaming media server.

To configure your streaming media server to stream content over an intranet or the Internet. Before you begin streaming content, you must configure settings for your server running Windows Media Services, add and configure publishing points, and set up your content.

"Managing your Windows Media server" in Windows Media Services Help

Log data and events.

To record the activity of clients that connect to your content.

"Logging data and events" in Windows Media Services Help

Manage and produce content.

Content management methods and priorities will differ from one project to another based on a variety of factors, such as audience demographics, content type, and available equipment.

"Content management and production" in Windows Media Services Help

Decide how to obtain content from the Windows Media Encoder.

To determine whether to configure the encoder to push a stream to the server or to configure the server to pull a stream from the encoder.

"Sourcing from an encoder" in Windows Media Services Help

Implement a cache/proxy system.

To store the most recently streamed content for use by other clients seeking the same material. During live broadcasts, cache/proxy servers can perform a task called stream splitting, which allows many unicast clients to receive content while only a single stream is sent from the origin server.

"Implementing a cache/proxy system" in Windows Media Services Help

Administer the streaming media server remotely.

To manage the streaming media server from other computers on the network.

"Using Windows Media Services Administrator for the Web" in Windows Media Services Help.

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