Transfer Speeds + Bandwidth Limits

I’m thinking of trying to establish a video site, using similar technology as youtube. Let’s assume that copyright infringement will not be an issue. As it stands, Dreamhost allows you up to 10TB/month of bandwidth on a site. Can we use the full 10TB or is that similar to Comcast saying they have unlimited internet services and then cutting off users who use an excessive amount?
I’m also wondering if anyone has experience on how many users can connect at the same time to a site and stream video at 1/2 standard definition (320x240). Another way to phrase the question, is how many people can connect and download at about 300kbit/s at the same time?

Here are some issues you face (beyond copywrite issues, as you say):

  1. Typically, video uploading/downloading sites end up eating up a lot of CPU time for processing the video files. People have generally gotten into trouble by impacting their server’s performance, which obviously pisses off the other people on the server and forces support to have to “work it out” with you.
  2. There’s also the problem of open connections. With people downloading large video files over sometimes slow connections, you can get a lot of open connections to the server. You can get this number increased from the default of 200, but 200 is the default, I think.
  3. BTW, I thought the Happy Hosting plan was 5TB of transfer a month. Or are you assuming the purchase or use of a promo code for double bandwidth?

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As far as I know the bandwidth limits are honoured so you shouldn’t have a problem with bandwidth.

As to how many people can connect at the same time while keeping up 300kbit/s that is a tricky one as it would depend on which server you ended up on. If you ended up on a server with others using high bandwidth this may affect you. I don’t know if there is any way to give a definite answer to that.

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Actually, I missed the streaming part of your post. How are you intending to stream video?

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good advice
i support you

I haven’t thought that far in advance, chances are it’ll be flash video or wmp streams. I’m just trying to get a feel on the number of users that can be supported. I’d hate to have a site set up and then find out that I can only have like 10 people on at once.
On that note, does anyone know if multicasting can work for a internet video site. If there are high demand videos, is it possible to use multicasting to send the stream every 1/2 hour instead of having the video on demand? If the number of users are high enough, multicasting should save bandwidth compared to standard models.

I’m guessing that the exact answer depends on which streaming method you choose. From the wiki, it seems to me that DreamHost support Quicktime, Flash Video, Real Media, and Windows Media streaming.

DreamHost wiki article on http streaming of Real Media and Windows Media formats
DreamHost wiki article on Quicktime streaming.
DreamHost wiki article on Flash Video streaming.

Each of these players has different performance characteristics. The bandwidth requirements will vary based on the bitrate of your underlying video.

Have you considered contacting DreamHost pre-sales support at the following url? If you give them a sample bitrate and format, I’m sure they could give you an estimate of how many simultaneous streams they could support before it would create a problem on your server.

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10tb would be roughly 30mbit/s average usage per month (and with most typical websites, that’ll vary by time of day). It’ll be interesting to see how DH would handle this, especially since the machines are connected with 100mbit/s – i.e. 6 customers using their alotted 5 tb of traffic per month will saturate the machine an definitely impact the other dozens of customers on the machine. This will be interesting indeed.

(this should also give you an idea of what you should be able to support concurrency-wise if you assume a certain bitrate for your videos; If usage throughout the month is uniform and your videos use 300kbit/s, you’d be able to service around 100 people simultaneously, continuously.)

So the newer servers don’t have dual gigabit? Or is one adapter dedicated to the server segment for NFS and MySQL?

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