This latest version adds a completely new GUI that allows the user to control and fine tune the server and individual applications without navigating the Wowza folder structure, going through .xml configuration files or restarting the media server every time you make a change.
This new GUI is officially called Wowza Streaming Engine Manager, it’s browser based and can be accessed by going to this URL address http://WOWZA_SERVER_ADDRESS:8088/enginemanager/
The GUI is split in 4 areas:
Let’s look at each one of them in detail:
1. The Homepage
The homepage gives a quick overview of the most important statistics:
- Number of incoming and outgoing connections.
- Major usage statistics: CPU, Memory, Heap and Disk
- Server uptime
- License information for Wowza and it’s addons
- The current connection IP and port
2. The Server Page
This page provides (you guessed it) all the settings and statistics related to the media server. It also has a section for streams.
We will go through the most important elements in this area:
- server vs vhost monitoring
- users management
- transcoder templates management
- performance tuning
Server vs Host Monitoring
From here you can monitor Connections, Network, Wowza CPU, Memory and Total Disk usage. Above every statistical graph, intervals of time can be selected so that a certain period of usage can be singled out and individually monitored. Here is for example how the connections monitoring looks:
The other statistics have similar graphical displays.
Monitoring can also be done at the Virtual Host level. Here you can view Connections Per Protocol and VHost Uptime. Compared to the server monitoring the virtual host monitoring offers less detailed statistics, and only the connections and network graphs can be viewed.
Transcoder Templates Management
The manager provides an easy way to configure and add transcoder templates, say goodbye to fiddling with .xml files. Now you have a simple and clean interface from where to manage them.
This sections also displays the current transcoder usage providing information on currently transcoding channels and number of channels for which the transcoder is licensed to.
Wowza Streaming Engine Manager adds the ability to have two kind of users categorized by the access level they have in the management console.
The access level can be Read-Only (users cannot add, edit or delete items and cannot control the server) or Administrator (which grants full access to the all the settings that can be configured in the GUI). For each of these access levels an additional “Preferences” checkbox exists that controls if an Administrator can manage advanced properties and features or for Read-Only users if they can view but not change these advanced properties in the manager.
To bad that the users management is restricted to just these two access levels. Maybe a future version of the manager will permit higher granularity when it comes to what GUI pages and settings each user has access to.
Another important area is the Performance Tuning section where you can set quite a few options including the Java Heap Size, Java Garbage Collection Settings, the ports used by Wowza, and Thread Pools at the Server and Virtual Host Levels.
3. The Applications Area
This is one of the most important areas of the new GUI. All of the apps that are installed for Wowza Media Server can be administered from this page.
Depending on the application type and the configuration made in Application.xml different options are available for each application. For our custom avchat30 application only the Monitoring option was available at the time of this review. Existing Applications.xml files can be updated so that more statistics are available for viewing in the GUI for that specific application. Some of the options are only for specific types of applications. According to the documentation the current possible application types are: Live, LiveEdge, LiveHTTPOrigin, VOD, VODEdge, VODHTTPOrigin, SHOUTcast and VideoChat.
By default there are two defalut apps: Live and VOD. Here are their options:
Detailed monitoring for each app can be viewed using the Monitoring page. The total of bytes in and bytes out are displayed and other useful statistics including connections by protocol type.
You can also configure the security options and additional AddOns like the nDVR and Transcoder addons for each particular application.
Every single app can be restarted individually from now on. You can also delete them directly from the GUI.
4. The Help Page
This section provides documentation and updates to all the changes and features that the Wowza Media Server delivers.
The new GUI was a much needed administrative interface and I personally think that the guys at Wowza have done a great job with what they managed to develop and implement, a very powerful tool.
You can check out the new Wowza Streaming Engine Manager yourself by singing up for the online demo.