Updated: October 4, 2007
Applies To: Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2
A distribution server publishes content received from another streaming source, such as another Windows Media server. Any computer running Windows Media Services can operate as a distribution server. The origin server is the source of the content being streamed by the distribution server. Clients then connect to the distribution server as if it were the origin server. Distribution servers are located between the origin server and the client in the content stream and are therefore able to perform several different functions, such as:
Load balancing. Distribution servers are an easy way to reduce the client load on your Windows Media server because you can distribute the client content requests to several servers on your network.
Network security policies. A distribution server can be placed inside your network firewall and source from an origin server that is outside your firewall, providing clients inside your firewall with access to the content without opening additional ports. Alternatively, a distribution server can be placed outside the network firewall and source from an origin server that is inside the firewall, providing clients that are outside the firewall with access to your content.
Server rollover. You can use distribution servers when multicasting content to clients that are on multicast-enabled networks. Clients that are not on multicast-enabled networks can be redirected to another distribution server for standard unicast delivery of the content.