Verivue Tackles On-Demand Video

Verivue, a venture-backed Massachusetts firm, has introduced an IP-based video delivery product aimed at cable operators, telcos and content delivery networks. The Westford, Ma.-based company, which was founded by former executives from Juniper Networks and Sonus Networks, believes its technology addresses fundamental changes in the nature of on-demand content.

The MDX 9000 Series “Media Distribution Switch” is billed by Verivue as a new class of networking gear that integrates servers, storage, networking and input/output functions into a single platform and is designed to support both traditional video-on-demand (VOD) and broadband streaming video. The product, modeled after the blade server concept prevalent in the IT world, is essentially a carrier-grade Ethernet switch with integrated solid-state storage and delivery capabilities, says Verivue VP of marketing Tom Rosenstein.

While VOD movies offered by cable operators have traditionally been stored on different servers than on-demand Web video from portals such as Hulu and YouTube, Verivue sees that architecture changing as more content, particularly “long-tail” or niche content, makes its way online. Operators will start to use the same servers to deliver both VOD streams and Web video, says Rosenstein, and they will no longer be able to afford to create massive libraries of duplicate content in local hubs.

“They have got to move from a storage-based architecture to more of a network solution, where content can exist anywhere,” he says.

Verivue’s hope is that operators will look to the MDX 9000 product as a solution when they expand their on-demand offerings. The product, which should be available in the second quarter, has a modular chassis and can be scaled from two to 24 terabytes of energy-efficient solid-state storage. Interface options include 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet, and individual MDX nodes can be networked together over an IP backbone to operate as a content delivery network.

“It combines scaleable network transport with media storage and streaming,” says Rosenstein. “It’s blade-based, which allows you to plug in cards to expand, and it converges television and online content onto a common infrastructure.”

Verivue was founded two years ago by Jim Dolce, former EVP of worldwide field operations for Juniper, and Rubin Gruber, founder and chairman of Sonus. The company has received some $65 million in funding from venture firms Matrix Partners, Spark Capital, North Bridge Venture Partners, and Accel Partners; Comcast Interactive Capital, the venture fund operated by cable giant Comcast; and strategic investor and cable equipment vendor Arris.

Rosenstein, a former VP with VOD server vendor SeaChange, says the MDX9000 could work alongside existing VOD server products and that Verivue would create a path for traditional VOD software to communicate with the device.

“We would replace or augment what a traditional VOD server does, but with a path to expanded functionality,” says Rosenstein. "It could go next to an operator’s SeaChange VOD server, but it would also be servicing all their broadband capabilities.”