Adobe Preparing To Launch Multicasting Support For Flash

Adobe_Flash-logo Back in October, Abobe announced a really long list of new functionality that would be supported in Flash Player 10.1, due out sometime this year. One of those features would be the long awaited support for multicasting that is essential to the way many enterprise organizations deliver video. While music, movies and game content delivered over CDNs in a unicast model still gets all the press, many Fortune 500 corporations delivering video inside their firewall have been relying on multicasting for years to support really large audiences.

One of the main reasons Microsoft still dominates the enterprise and government markets is due to their long history of having multicasting functionality. Two years ago I wrote a post talking about how I was seeing Adobe trying to push into the enterprise market to displace Microsoft, but without multicasting support in Flash, their success in the enterprise market has been limited.

Last week, I had the chance to speak to a few content owners who have been testing the multicasting capabilities in Flash and from other industry people I have spoken to, Adobe pretty much has it ready to go. The exact date Adobe plans to announce multicasting support is still unknown, but since Flash Player 10.1 is expected to be out in the first half of this year, we should expect to see multicasting support available sometime in the next three months.

Once that happens, it will be interesting to see how Adobe targets the enterprise vertical and if they can take any share away from Microsoft. Multicasting support will be a big step for Adobe, but their success is also going to come to down to their server licensing model and whether or not they make it cheap enough for a company to deploy. If Adobe thinks they can keep the licensing costs high just because they are selling into a "enterprise" company, that would be a big mistake since all Fortune 500 corporations are trying to do more with less. Functionality and features are important, but Flash will only just be catching up to Microsoft, no surpassing them with multicasting, so customers won't pay more for functionality they have already had.

  • Dan,
    I was not able to find information about Adobe’s support for IP Multicast only their “application layer multicast”. They claim “native IP multicast” but so far RTMFP looks more like a P2P technology to me.
    If anyone can point me to this or tell me more please send me email at erikh(at) Thanks.

  • Hi Erik, there aren’t any more details to share at this time. Adobe is not commenting on it, but rest assured, you’ll see a lot more on this topic soon.

  • Dan,
    While what Adobe is doing is interesting, from hard won experience, just having multicast or P2P isn’t an enterprise solution in and of itself.
    Through Abacast’s partnership with Ignite (shameless plug) we’ve developed a deep understanding of what it takes to do P2P, and in particular live P2P, in the enterprise. The requirements are quite different from the internet and we were fortunate to have had an architecture already in existence that fit many of the requirements.
    We’ll be evaluating Adobe’s technology but regardless, just having the ability to peer behind a firewall will never suffice as a live streaming solution in the enterprise.

  • Dan,
    I think it’s important that someone who is highly technically skilled in networking and multicast technologies, review this platform as well as soon as possible.
    It does sound exciting for sure.

  • Dan
    I believe Adobe has four challanges if it wants to compete agressively vs Silverlight and Move:
    1. to be able to manage dynamic streaming at the same quality MoveNetworks does, 2. manage http liner streaming publishing and editing services 3. service bundling (hosting, encoding, cdn, hardware) 4. establishing a easy to understand pricing model…

  • This looks promising; might be useful to me.
    I might even try it sometime.