Continuous media streaming systems will shape the future of information infrastructure. The challenge is to design systems and networks capable of supporting millions of concurrent users. Key to this is the integration of fault-tolerant mechanisms to prevent individual component failures from disrupting systems operations. These are just some of the hurdles that need to be overcome before large-scale continuous media services such as video-on-demand can be deployed with maximum efficiency.The author places the subject in context, drawing together findings from the past decade of research whilst examining the technologys present status and its future potential. The approach adopted is comprehensive, covering topics notably the scalability and fault-tolerance issues - that previously have not been treated in depth.Provides an accessible introduction to the technology, presenting the basic principles for media streaming system design, focusing on the need for the correct and timely delivery of data.Explores the use of parallel server architectures to tackle the two key challenges of scalability and fault-tolerance.Investigates the use of network multicast streaming algorithms to further increase the scalability of very-large-scale media streaming systems.Illustrates all findings using real-world examples and case studies gleaned from cutting-edge worldwide research.Combining theory and practice, this book will appeal to industry specialists working in content distribution in general and continuous media streaming in particular. The introductory materials and basic building blocks complemented by amply illustrated, more advanced coverage provide essential reading for senior undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers in these fields.

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