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Microsoft's Virtual IPTV Math

Ray Le Maistre
5/27/2009

2:35 PM -- Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) made its latest telco TV marketing push today, claiming its MediaRoom platform is the "first IPTV platform to offer virtualization support."

Check out the press release and see how Microsoft is claiming that, by enabling the sharing of video server resources, "Mediaroom with virtualization can deliver up to a sixfold reduction in the number of physical servers required to support a full-featured IPTV service." (See Microsoft Virtualizes IPTV.)

What we need to remember here, though, is that this would be a reduction in the number of servers needed to support a Mediaroom-enabled IPTV service. One of the major issues that rivals, and indeed carriers (in off-the-record conversations), have noted in the past about Microsoft's IPTV offering is that a very large number of servers have been needed to support the software giant's service.

That's been good news for HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), which sold a lot of servers as part of Microsoft IPTV deliveries, but not great news for the carriers that had to house, power, and generally maintain them.

So if Microsoft can drastically reduce the number of servers needed, then that's a significant breakthrough. The thing is, Microsoft isn't so forthcoming about cost comparisons -- what it costs with virtualization and without, and also costs against other IPTV systems. And without those comparisons, it's hard to know just how significant a development this might be for the Redmond-based behemoth.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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