I get asked this question a lot “What’s the difference between Flash Media Server and Wowza Media Server?”. I thought I’d post about it so I can easily point people towards an article instead of saying the same thing over and over again.
Here are the biggest differences between FMS and WMS. There are lots of differences but it comes down to the big 5 now that FMS has made it version 4.5 with streaming to iOS. I won’t bother comparing the free developer versions of them.
Flash Media Server comes in 3 different versions. Streaming, Interactive and Enterprise. Streaming is $1000 USD, Interactive is $4500 USD and Enterprise starts at $50,000 USD from what I’ve heard..
Wowza Media Server comes in 1 version that does everything it should do at $1000 USD.
2. P2P Communication
Only Flash Media Interactive and Enterprise do P2P communication. Interactive does 500 out of the box and Enterprise has a higher limit of 15,000.
Wowza Media Server can not do P2P at this point in time.
3. Server Side Scripting Language
Wowza Media Server is Java. Big difference here as you can use huge libraries of JAR files out there in your Wowza apps. Just recently we wanted to send an email straight from Wowza. No problem, just go get the right JAR and send off your email. Connecting to a database, no problem, all from Wowza and no server side files to deal with like PHP or Coldfusion for example. It’s a very robust language and there are many IDEs to develop with.
4. Streaming Protocols
Flash Media Server up until 4.5 could only stream over RTMP and the derivatives of that protocol. Granted it did have Apache from 3.5 to stream over HTTP but you couldn’t get iOS with that. With 4.5 that has now been put to bed and FMS can stream to most normal devices.
Wowza Media Server has been doing all that for a while and more. Including HTTP to iOS, RTMP to Flash, WMS can also stream out RTSP/RTP, Silverlight, IPTV and SHOUTcast/icecast.
Recently Adobe has got on the Amazon Web Services bandwagon and they now have a few AMIs up there to get FMS running in the virtual cloud world. That’s great, with that you can install on Windows (most versions) and Linux (just a couple supported versions but it installs on most).
Wowza Media Server for a while now (thanks to being a Java server) can run on almost anything. They provide installers for just about any platform you can think of. At the time of this article v3 is imminent and can be installed on most platforms again but a few features are only going to be supported fully on Windows. We’ll have to see though, v3 has not been released just yet and I may have to readdress this point later.
Other than that there are all kinds of little differences like a proper development environment (Wowza has it, FMS doesn’t), administration app (FMS has it, Wowza doesn’t (well.. sorta..)), community of developers (FMS has it, Wowza is building theirs up), support (FMS is expensive and only recently have they been addressing the questions on their forum, Wowza is amazing and you can expect an answer on their forum within an hour or so..) and so on and so forth.
If you have any specific questions on the difference though, please feel free to hit me up via email or the contact form and I’ll try to get back to you asap. Hopefully that helps most make a business decision when it comes to choosing between one or the other.