VOD Startup to Offer Service Providers Solution to Ease Over-the-Top Video Load
Verivue, the Comcast-backed video-on-demand systems vendor, has acquired CoBlitz, a small startup that has developed a way to let service providers cache over-the-top video and essentially form their own content-delivery networks.
CoBlitz, which has about 15 employees, was spun out of Princeton University. Verivue acquired the firm in a stock transaction plus some cash but the exact purchase price was not disclosed.
Tom Rosenstein, Verivue's vice president of product marketing, said the tremendous growth of unmanaged IP video has been a major concern for service providers.
"They're seeing this growth, and seeing their infrastructure costs going up, but their revenues are staying flat," he said. "The same theme we're hearing is about the ‘unfunded growth of video delivery' on their networks."
Verivue said it will package the CoBlitz software into an appliance over the next few months but also will sell it as software. Rosenstein said CoBlitz's caching software has been deployed at a service provider for the last two years and that the startup has been signing up new customers, but he declined to identify them.
CoBlitz, based in Princeton, N.J., was founded in 2007 by Larry Peterson and Vivek Pai, two computer science professors at Princeton University. The company was owned by Princeton and the founders.
Verivue, based in Westford, Mass., was founded in 2006. The company has raised about $85 million to date from investors including Comcast, Arris, and venture-capital firms Sigma Partners, Matrix Partners, Spark Capital, North Bridge Partners and Accel Partners.
The initial market focus for Verivue has been high-capacity VOD servers for video distribution over MSOs' managed networks, such as MDX 9200, which delivers between 20 and 200 Gbps of streaming capacity in a 14-rack-unit chassis.
With CoBlitz, Verivue will be tapping a new market segment. The CoBlitz software provides HTTP caching, which lets it work with adaptive-rate and progressive download video but not true streaming video. According to Rosenstein, the software can scale linearly as more capacity is added to a node or a cluster of nodes.
CoBlitz also has a well-developed request-routing algorithm, Rosenstein said, to provide "transparent caching" -- the ability to intercept a request for content on the network and decide whether it should be served locally or from the Internet. With the "targeted transparent caching" feature, a service provider can choose to cache certain services (e.g., YouTube and Hulu) but not others (say, Netflix).
"Service providers are all looking to get into the CDN space, but their goal is to offload the bandwidth to a cache," Rosenstein said, adding that the CoBlitz system provides a way to exchange information with Internet CDN providers such as Akamai Technologies so they get credit for delivery.
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