Supercharging a Wowza Hotrod

sp1-larry dixon-photo/steve kohlsI’ve posted in the past about running Wowza on large server instances. When running Wowza on systems with a 10Gbps network interface, you run into a 5Gbps limitation inherent to the Java Virtual Machine. With Wowza tuning parameters maxing out at 12 virtual cores, most machines with a 10Gbps interface will have processing power to spare, but why let all that horsepower go to waste?

For relatively little money (under $1000/month), you can get server from with 12 or 16 physical cores (24 or 32 virtual) and park it in the Softlayer datacenter in Washington, DC with a 10Gbps interface, pretty much in the middle of the Internet. With 100TB/month of data transfer included in the price (and for an extra charge, they’ll take the meter off entirely), this is a great option for heavy or full-time streaming. But there’s that pesky JVM throughput limitation. It’s time to take the governor off this hotrod.

What you’ll need:

  • A big honkin’ server
  • A big honkin’ pipe
  • Some extra IP addresses (the 100TB servers at Softlayer come with 8 usable addresses)
  • Wowza with either a subscription license key or two perpetual license keys

Note that I’ve done this in Linux, I’m not quite sure how it would work in Windows with registering the second instance with the services.

Step 1

  1. Install Wowza and tune
  2. Configure it with a license
  3. Choose an IP address on the system
  4. In VHost.xml, and Server.xml replace all instances of <IpAddress>*</IpAddress> with the IP.
  5. Set up load balancing (both sender and listener) with redirect
  6. Add an origin application (type live).
  7. Add an edge application (type liverepeater-edge) pulling from the origin app

Step 2

  • Make a duplicate of the following (I appended a -2):
    • /usr/local/WowzaMediaServer-3.5.0
    • /etc/init.d/WowzaMediaServer *
    • /usr/bin/WowzaMediaServerd *
  • Edit all references to WowzaMediaServer in the files indicated by a *
  • in the cloned installation:
    • change bin/ and bin/ to point to the cloned install
    • delete conf/Server.guid
    • Edit conf/VHost.xml to point to a second IP address
    • Edit conf/Server.xml to point to a second IP address
    • Edit conf/Server.xml to bind jmx to ports 8081/8082
    • Set up load balancing as a Sender (edge) pointing to load balancer IP in primary install
    • Create edge application

Step 3

  • Start the primary instance
  • Check http://primary.ip:1935/loadbalancer?serverInfoXML to verify the primary edge is connected
  • Start the secondary instance
  • Check  load balancer again and make sure secondary instance is connected
  • Publish a stream
  • Pull a stream directly from each edge to make sure the repeaters are working
  • use http://primary.ip:1935/loadbalancer to get least loaded server for load-balancing non-RTMP clients
  • use rtmp://primary.ip/redirect/stream to get load balanced RTMP.

Step 4

  • Sit back, relax, and enjoy the fact that you now have a server that can handle 10,000 connections.
  • If you need more, build up a second server just like this one, and just make both instances edge instances

8 Comments On “Supercharging a Wowza Hotrod”

  1. Hi Ian, thanks for sharing. Very interesting article!
    At step 1.6 you suggest to create an origin application with “live” stream type. Why not “liverepater-origin”? What changes? 
    The IPs you mention for the 100TB machine… they have to be public or internal IPs?


  2. Pingback: streamNerd » Wowza EC2 Capacity Update

  3. This sounds amazing, but it seems like it only applies to Live streams. How do you solve Disk I/O issues when serving VOD content to 10,000 concurrent users from a single server?


  4. Are you sure 10Gbps is the amount of public throughput they give you? That might just be for ethernet only. Also, I don’t see it on their website anywhere.


  5. Hi Ian, are you made some test with the instance that have Kepler cards and Wowza transcoder?


  6. Very nice article, I was running after numbers like these to estimate what we are going to need to make wowza play nice with our cameras.

    Thanks for sharing


  7. Hello,

    you need 2 licenses for this right ? Thank you.



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