Windows Media Services is now a single service that runs on Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition, Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition, and Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition. Its core components were developed using the Component Object Model (COM), creating a flexible architecture that is easily customized for specific applications. It supports a greater variety of control protocols, including Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), Microsoft Media Server (MMS) protocol, and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).
The platform is compliant with the following industry standards:
Most streaming scenarios can be accomplished using the core components installed with Windows Media Services. However, more advanced scenarios may require that you incorporate some custom programming and integration work. For developers and systems integrators, the Windows Media Services Software Development Kit (SDK) provides access to all elements of the server through a combination of plug-ins, a fully documented object model, and a rich set of external event notifications, all designed to be easily customizable.
As you explore the Windows Media Services snap-in and Windows Media Services Administrator for the Web, you will find a variety of plug-ins that accomplish different tasks. More than half of the server's features are implemented through the use of plug-ins. If necessary, custom plug-ins can be developed to integrate your Windows Media server with other systems. For example, if you have a large amount of high-bandwidth content stored in a proprietary database, a data source plug-in can be developed to retrieve the content from the database.
As you evaluate your Windows Media server implementation, you might decide that a custom approach works better. Any feature that you can configure in an administrative interface is exposed in the Windows Media server object model, which is documented in the Windows Media Services SDK. Using the object model, you can programmatically access every counter, interface, plug-in, publishing point, and playlist. In fact, the administrative interfaces were created by using this object model. For more information about creating a custom application, see the Windows Media Services SDK available on the Windows Media SDK Components Web page at the Microsoft Web site.
You might want to explore automating Windows Media Services. Windows Media Services provides events through both SNMP and WMI. It also supports command-line scripting. By combining scripting and events, you can automate many server management tasks.