- Bandwidth (Why High?): Because of how bandwidth-intensive uploading and streaming videos can be, most streaming sites will use large amounts of bandwidth to facilitate that content-heavy traffic. Vimeo specializes in HD uploads and streaming, which means its bandwidth will be even larger than the average streaming site.
- CPU (Why High?): Formatting and converting these high quality films to individual video playing devices takes up a lot of CPU.
- Disk (Why High?): Although the exact number of how many films are stored on the servers is not known, it is safe to assume Vimeo has a large selection of films ranging in quality, with a large chunk of them being in HD. This implies that a copious amount of disk space is used.
- RAM (Why High?): Vimeo makes a point of streaming and buffering films to viewers quickly. In order to accomplish that, it uses a large amount of RAM.
- Scalability (Why High?): With its choice of a flexible hosting solution and high quality provider, Vimeo is very scalable and has become much more stable than it once was.
Based in New York City, Vimeo is an online video sharing site dedicated to providing a community for aspiring and independent film makers. Although it doesn’t have the volume of content or traffic that YouTube does, Vimeo prides itself on its clean, smooth, web 2.0 look and for being the first video site to offer HD upload and playback. Recently purchased by IAC, Vimeo is continuing to pioneer video sharing and establish an outlet for more serious online film makers to release their work in a less crowded video scene.
Vimeo was originally founded in 2004 by Jakob Lodwick and Zach Klein, both employees of Connected Ventures. Jakob, a video enthusiast, was inspired by the explosion of photoblogging. Since Flickr was the face of the photoblogging scene, he used similar tagging principles and applied it to online videos. Teaming with colleague Zach Klein, they began developing Vimeo as a night project after working on CollegeHumor and Busted Tees, both of which were Connected Ventures projects at the time. Jakob worked on the mechanics of the site while Zach developed the interface.
Vimeo was eventually released on November 2004 but did not really gain popularity until 2006 when it was purchased by InterActiveCorp or IAC. The acquisition of Vimeo by IAC was a lifesaver. Before it was purchased, this budding video sharing site was running on one server and was more famous for crashing than playing videos. Vimeo paved the way to the future of online streaming and became the first website to offer high definition streaming in October 2007. Although it still didn’t rival YouTube in size, it became the most advanced online video player at that time.
Although IAC provided state-of-the-art resources, funding, support, and office space, creators Lodwick and Klein said goodbye to their brainchild in 2007. Dae Mellencamp took the reins in 2009 as CEO until March 2012, when Kerry Trainor, veteran of AOL, replaced Mellencamp. The company still seems to be expanding and becoming even more widely accepted. Every year since October 2010, Vimeo also hosts the Vimeo Film Awards in New York City, where independent film makers can meet to submit and compete.
As far as video streaming sites go, YouTube seems to be the one that rules them all. In comparison to YouTube’s legions of visitors and registered users, Vimeo runs a fairly small operation. It attracts around 58 million monthly visitors and has about 8.5 million registered viewers. In an Alexa 3-month rating, Vimeo was ranked as the 119th most visited site globally and 87th most trafficked in the U.S.
But this “smaller” stream of traffic is not viewed as detrimental; if anything it’s exactly what Vimeo is shooting for. Vimeo attempts to maintain a repertoire of high quality films and attract a more professional audience by implementing strict user terms and conditions and banning pornography, “pointless” videos, television shows, trolling comments, and video game footage. Should Vimeo attract a high volume of visitors and submitters, controlling this atmosphere would be extremely difficult.
Vimeo also has multiple levels of service for users. The basic free service offers 500MB of video uploading per week as well as one HD video upload per week. Vimeo Plus costs US$60 per year and supports 5GB worth of uploads per week. Plus also takes out advertisements, enables HD embedding and mobile streaming, and offers more advanced video-editing features. Vimeo Pro costs US$199 per year. It provides 50GB of storage, 250,000 plays, analytics tools, SEO services, a customizable video player, stronger security, and third party video support. Pro is typically used by commercial organizations.
As of August 2010, all videos have been encoded or re-encoded into H.264 for HTML5 support. This adjustment was made in order to facilitate to Apple products which don’t support Flash files. (In January 2012, Vimeo released a free app for Apple, Android, Kindle Fire, and Windows products.)
For the backend infrastructure, Vimeo developers implemented a LAMP stack and use MySQL databases to store account information, videos, channels, and statistics. It is written in a customized PHP 5.3+ HMVC framework.
Vimeo’s caching layer is managed through Memcached. Additionally, it uses Solr to power search and tags, Beanstalked for worker queues, and Scribe for logging and statistics aggregation. In order to handle this intricate server architecture and adjust to the oftentimes sporadic patterns in traffic, Vimeo currently uses a virtualized environment provided by Amazon Web Services for fluidly scalable transcoding and uploading capabilities.
With its clean and sophisticated look Vimeo has become the underground community for the aspiring and professional film makers alike. Being the first to stream and upload in HD, Vimeo is a pioneer in the online film scene and with the Vimeo Awards coming up shortly, it will be interesting to see what the latest trends in online films are.
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