Kaltura, the open source video platform, recently announced the release of Ver 3.0 of its community edition bringing parity with their commercial offerings. The key highlights of this version is the availability of the same feature set of the commercial offering and an easy way to deploy their software on the cloud. More than 100,000 media & entertainment companies, enterprises, SMBs, educational institutions, service providers, platform vendors, and system integrators are using Kaltura’s platform for their video needs. Kaltura came into my radar due to their open source roots and the easy cloud deployment option in the new version finally got me to write about them.
What is Kaltura?
Kaltura is the only open source video solution stack that helps publishers of all sizes and shapes to enhance their website with video and other rich media functionalities including video management, searching, uploading, importing, editing, annotating, remixing, sharing and advertising. Founded in 2006, this site now serves up to 100,000 publishers to take advantage of their robust video platform.
Is it open source Youtube?
Not really. Kaltura takes two different approach to video. First, it is a collaboration platform where different people can come together to work on content creation. Second, it is an video sharing site like Youtube but with a much richer feature set. Kaltura’s uniqueness comes not just in allowing someone to upload the video recorded on their camera but in their ingestion model which allows users to upload from many different web properties like Youtube, Flickr, Photobucket, etc..
What makes Kaltura unique?
Kaltura is the only open source video platform which is also available free of charge for people to host on their own infrastructure or in the cloud. Unlike the proprietary solutions, Kaltura’s platform is open source and extensible. It allows for an ecosystem to build around their video platform. Some of the interesting features of Kaltura include:
- Customized video player – This allows users to completely skin & brand their player for the desired look and feel of their choice. The player can also be integrated with a variety of 3rd party components, and can be easily extended to match customer specific functionality
- Powerful management console
- Reporting and Analytics tools – This is offered through the Kaltura Management Console and offers detailed analytics and lets users create custom reports
- Channel Building and Playlist
- Ad management
etc.. In addition, they also offer customized widgets offering services such as subtitling, content sharing, social book marking, content discovery, virtual distribution, bubble commenting, dynamic overlaying, etc..
What are the interesting features in Kaltura Community Edition 3.0 (CE 3.0)?
There are many interesting highlights of this edition but the most interesting features for me are easy cloud deployment option and mobile delivery. But there are few other features that makes this edition on par with their commercial offering. They are:
- Cloud based deployment option. It is easy to deploy Kaltura Community Edition 3.0 to AWS in 15 mins
- Integration of any ad network compatible with the industry standard VAST specification for video ad placements
- Custom metadata
- Support for H.264 and 3GP video transcoding flavors so that videos are well optimized for newer mobile phones like Nokia, iPhone, Android and Blackberry
- Integration with open source Sphinx full-text search engine
- Developers using Kaltura’s APIs can now select specific API services and actions from within the Kaltura Test Console, and the relevant code is automatically generated for them to simply copy-and-paste into their work
- Options to purchase 3rd party services and Kaltura apps
Launching Kaltura Video platform on AWS in 15 mins or less
With this version, publishers of any size or shape can easily deploy Kaltura platform on Amazon Web Services within 15 mins or less. Anyone can initiate an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance of Kaltura’s rich-media content management platform in less than 15 minutes, and enjoy the full range of Kaltura’s online-video tools and capabilities, including advanced rich-media ingestion, transcoding, management, metadata extraction, SEO, publishing, monetization, analytics and audience measurement. Publishers can decide whether to run the free community-supported Kaltura Community Edition 3.0 on Amazon EC2, or the commercial Kaltura On-Prem™ software, which comes with a Kaltura subscription package, maintenance, support, and professional services (if required).
Kaltura’s pre-configured and ready-to-launch Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) require just a few simple steps to be up and running in less than 15 minutes. Users can choose from a range of deployment and sizing options — from a single 32-bit server with 1 virtual core and 1.7gig of RAM, all the way up to multiple 64-bit servers with 8 virtual cores and 68gig of RAM each, and up to 1 terabyte of Amazon’s fault-tolerant Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) storage for each server. More information on AWS deployment can be found here.
Even though there are many hosted solutions, there are many who want to have more powerful feature set than what many of the hosted solutions offer. More importantly, they want to have powerful customization options. There are proprietary solutions available but having an extensible open source solutions like Kaltura opens up unlimited opportunities. The deeper integration with content management tools like Mediawiki, Mindtouch, Moodle, Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, etc. makes Kaltura very attractive for publishers. For users who don’t want the hassles of managing a platform on their own, there are multi-tenant SaaS like solutions. For those who want higher levels of customizations and additional functionality catering to their needs, an Open Source solution like Kaltura which can be deployed as a Cloud application is useful.