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Adobe announces FMS4

Today Adobe announced the release of FMS4.
The most important new features are:

– IP Multicast
– Live and onDemand HTTP Dynamic Streaming
– Peer assisted Networking
– Enhanced buffering
– Enhanced Bitrate switching
– Absolute Timecode

The product is offered in four editions:

Adobe Flash Developer Edition
Adobe Flash Media Streaming Server
Adobe Flash Media Interactive Server
and the new Flash Media Enterprice Server

I’m very excited about the new features but also a bit disappointed about the price.
You know that FMS has a very dynamic and affordable competitor like Wowza server, so I disagree with the new price policy. Infact the first three editions have the same price of FMS3 while the Enterprice edition, which is the most interesting because of the p2p capabilities, has a different (higher) price (not disclosed yet).
With the diffusion of HTTP Dynamic Streaming, that does not require a streaming server but only an HTTP server to deliver video, the p2p feature is becoming the flagship of Flash Media Server, and a wrong price policy can be very dangerous for the product and for FMS developers.

Categories: FMS
  1. Joe Hakooz
    10 September 2010 at 4:43 am

    Thanks for your honesty Fabio…
    I wonder how FMS will survive with dynamic HTTP and cloud solutions like AWS S3. Assuming the new fragmented H264 format works on S3, the only need for FMS is P2P and DRM right? Maybe detailed usage stats too.

    But having to pay such high prices for a relatively non scalable solution seems unrealistic.

    PS I know AWS offers Cloud Front FMS but it is still beta and can’t do live streaming. Come on Adobe… Take this baby to the “pay as you go” cloud!

  2. 5 October 2010 at 2:42 am

    Hi Fabio,

    Nice to see someone else stand up and express an opinion on the decision by Adobe to lock RTMFP into Flash Media Enterprise Server.

    The licensing price in Australia is A$60,000+ and that does not include 20% maintenance. (the Australia dollar is near on par with the US dollar).

    And I suspect I am the first person to research and disclose this price!

    And to get this pricing took many phone calls around the world … even the majority of Adobe sales staff have no idea of the actual price!

    This bloody minded pricing policy has effectively locked out a large part of the developer community and alienated many of the Adobe supporters who chose to take a stand against Steve Job’s vitriolic attack earlier in the year.

    Perhaps there is merit in what he says … as it is totally beyond me why Adobe have chosen to lock up Cirrus (formerly Stratus) within the boundaries of a licensing policy that only allows the top end of town to play.

    Whether this accelerates the reverse engineering efforts that are underway I have no idea. Either way, it demonstrates a clear lack of vision and raises the question whether Adobe really cares about the developer community.

    Think about the price for a few moment, do a quick ROI and see if you reach the same conclusion…

  3. Shelby
    12 October 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Do you think Adobe will allow developers to run commercial RTMFP applications on Cirrus in “beta” mode until they build enough traffic to justify Flash Media Enterprise Server?

    Or one could run multiple free developer servers at 50 simultaneous users each in order to ramp up their commercial product?


    I wonder what percentage of a global scope social networking sites users would be on video chat at any given time? Let’s say it is 5%, and lets say only 50% of them are going to achieve a successful RTMFP connection (I read 92% for Google Talk’s libjingle, but appears Adobe isn’t leverage HTTP ports and TURN automatically?).


    So one free development server supports a site with 2000 members. One can obtain a suitable managed server for $214 per month.

    Say you are monetizing 2% of the members at $5 per month, that is $200 per month.

    Looks like one might be able to scale up with free development servers. Does the Adobe license prevent this?

    Also if P2P is not critical to your profit model, you could scale the lion’s share of your traffic on RTMP (non-P2P), because you figure your RTMP is going to give you 1000 – 2000 GB you’ve got to max that out.

    I’ve read that Speex is usable starting around level 3 at 9.8 kpbs:


    Although highly variable, video for chat medium level resolution (320×240?) seems to run around 30 – 50 kpbs:


    Which seems to jive with if you scale these results down to 320×240:


    So at 5 – 6 KB per sec (voice+audio) with 2000GB per month bandwidth allowance, that is roughly 150 simultaneous users (if uniformly distributed). Over 24 months amortized at 25% per annum (price rise of gold, true inflation), this costs ($995 x Sqrt(1.25) / 24) + $214 = $279 / 150 = $1.86 per simultaneous user per month or $279 / 3000 = $0.09 per site member per month. The free development server is more expensive at $214 / 50 = $4.28 and $0.21. If you could run the RTMFP-only features on a much slower CPU, then $144 / 50 = $2.88 and $0.14.

    How many Enterprise servers can one run for A$60,000? I wonder how many simultaneous RTMFP-only users one server can handle? I suspect it is very high probably in the 1000s, so you would be looking at less than $1 per month per simultaneous user amortized?

    ($60000 x Sqrt(1.25) x 1.40 / 24) + $214 = $5683 / 10000 = $0.57

    Note my amortization calcs are overly simplified but close enough for rough estimation.

    I say it is very likely that the RTMFP features will be reverse-engineered rapidly, as 1000 simultaneous users is spending $1860 per month, which is a revenue stream that a competitor could capture a portion of.

    Maybe Adobe doesn’t want to support the low volume market for RTMFP from the server side? Too much support cost eats the profit. Perhaps they want to sell design tools and will let the competitors take the low volume RTMFP server market? Or given that the bandwidth requirements are so low, we will probably see affordable offerings from:


  4. Shelby
    13 October 2010 at 7:05 am

    Correction, replace Sqrt(1.25) (that would be for 6 months), with 1.25×1.25 (24 months @ 25% per year true monetary inflation). However, apparently I did the calculations correctly

    ($995 x 1.25×1.25) / 24) + $214 = $279 / 150 = $1.86
    ($60000 x 1.25×1.25 x 1.40 / 24) + $214 = $5683 / 10000 = $0.57

  5. zwan
    6 November 2010 at 12:24 pm

    I start hating adobe the same way peaple hated microsoft.
    now that take the market they do what they want with it.
    that a shame and even block the internet evolutivity since basic webmaster can’t aford a such licence.
    anyway i know futur of this :
    hacker and reverser are more than motived to crack fsm4 code and work on it since september.
    i almost sure we got a rtmfp red5 server for chrystmass.😉
    that the way to punish adobe being so greedy!

  6. delay
    15 April 2011 at 11:27 am

    Even Microsoft is cheaper those days, probably time to look more into depth of silverlight ?

    If you want to develop a rtmp based radio station while using adobe technology, you would have to pay 4500$ for FMIS just to be able to run one server side playlist.
    And if you want content protection you are allowed to pay 12000$ for a license of Flash Access?

    The should makes things more affordable so that people are more motivated to learn adobe products.

    I really like to use FMIS and FA but with that price I do not spend my time in learning it since I do not see any medium customer will pay for it .

    Regarding amazon… its way to expensive as you could use it as radio station …

    • sonnati
      15 April 2011 at 11:53 am

      I agree with you about the cost. It is very high, especially today that FMS has a competitor like Wowza Server that for 1000$ gives you plenty of features and capabilities. I think that for web radio Flash is the best option because you can have a high level of control, protection with SWF Verification and RTMPE and the best reach (desktop + android + playbook + google TV + air on TV (Samsung and Sony connected TV)). If you use Wowza you can do everything (except p2p) with tha addition of iOS live streaming to support iPhone and iPad and RTP streaming to support generic mobile streaming…with Silverlight you have only a poor desktop reach and the less diffused mobile platform (WM7).

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