3

If you are deploying a Smooth Streaming infrastructure, you already know it’s all HTTP-based. Requests for little video chunks hit your web server, and your web server looks up the correct video “chunk” within the audio/video file and serves it up.

However, it’s can be difficult to get a good benchmark on how your infrastructure is doing at serving up chunks, especially when your Silverlight clients are seeing random buffering errors or you run into scaling problems.

First off, there is a lot of information available from the Smooth Streaming Health Monitor app – In a couple seconds you can have a trace of what decisions the Silverlight Adaptive Streaming Media Element is making and export that out to Excel.

But when you just need comprehensive chunk data on all bitrates to diagnose how your origin/CDN is doing, I made this app (almost called it “Chunker”):

image

Enter the manifest URL of the on-demand smooth stream you want to test (note that this does not currently support live or composite manifests), for example: http://server.com/streams/BigBuckBunny.ism/Manifest

Once you click Begin Test, a new test tab will open and start requesting chunks based on the manifest information. The results will tell you if you may have a problem with your disk IO on your origin or some other problem preventing chunks being delivered in a timely manner.

Note: Only the first 1000 bytes (almost 1K) of each chunk is downloaded. The point here is not to test bandwidth, but rather test your infrastructure’s performance as it relates to reading/seeking fragments and assembling chunks.

Hopefully based on the assessment of each chunk, you can get an idea of how your CDN / origin / standalone box is doing at delivering chunks.

Run Smooth Stream Performance Testing Tool (ClickOnce)

This one was a new one… I thought having to avoid toolbars bundled with the application I actually wanted was the punishment, but here’s a new one: When I unchecked “Install the new Bing Bar”, the Next button actually turned into a disabled 30-second countdown!

image 

I guess this is a new technique… Punish with Patience. 😉

3

Quick MOSS tip-o-the-day:

If you need to retrieve the ID (GUID) of a Feature, for running STSADM commands, etc, there’s a quick and easy way to do this for features that are currently activated:

1. Go to your Site Settings, where your features are listed and you see the Activate/Deactivate buttons.

image

2. Press the Deactivate button (don’t worry, this goes to a confirmation page, so you’re not causing anything to happen yet)

image

3. While you’re on the confirmation page, take a look at your browser address bar – voila, your feature ID:

http://server/_layouts/DeactivateFeature.aspx?FeatureId=f6924d36-2fa8-4f0b-b16d-06b7250180fa

image