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XirSys: WebRTC hosting made easyChris Koehncke
“Don’t waste your time setting up your own WebRTC platform. We’ll do the heavy lifting so you can focus on your dream.” Words lifted straight from the home page of XirSys (@xirsys). I like a website where from 10 feet away you can tell what they’re selling and XirSys doesn’t fail me (maybe they’ve been listening to me?).
XirSys is a spin-off from Influxis, a company that offers specialized hosting services for “creative streaming” endeavors. Influxis focused on all the gritty deals of hosting media servers. Ugly stuff like scaling, distribution, Internet connectivity and on top they layered reporting and dealing with DRM. In short, Influxis made it easy. They hope to repeat this success with XirSys who is focused on WebRTC services.
Easy and cheap may sound like your first girlfriend, but XirSys is offering rock bottom pricing for a hosted STUN/TURN solution, $19 a month for 10 gig and $0.50 per add’l gig. You’d be hard pressed to run your own solution at anywhere close to these economics. STUN/TURN is a critical element in making a WebRTC session work.
While there is an open source STUN/TURN server (rfc-5766), you gotta install it, run it, keep it running, but more importantly you’ve got to secure it (least one of the wild Internet bandits figures out how to exploit it). XirSys has focused on making it all easy to set-up and relatively secure.
XirSys uses short duration (5 second) UUID strings, which returns a fully formed ICE connection string. The application can then provide this to the connecting client. Once the client is connected, or if the credentials time out, they are discarded and cannot be used again. All in the effort to be easy and secure.
XirSys, unlike many others, is not solely focusing on video but is working across the spectrum of voice, video and data. For the moment, we’re all quite focused on the “talking head” WebRTC video demo, but there is more to be exploited and Xirsys is trying to position itself on this longer continuum.
Xirsys joins a growing list of service providers offering WebRTCish services. My guess, the volume for all WebRTC traffic is pretty light, leaving the providers to ponder what they should be doing (time needed to spark demand). For those committed to making the hard simple, keeping the price low and the flexibility high are likely to find some sustainable toe hold here. How big? Time will have to answer that question.