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Microsoft virtualizes IPTV suite

Microsoft has virtualized its Mediaroom IPTV server software to make it less expensive for smaller service providers to deploy its technology.

Microsoft is using server virtualization technology to make its Mediaroom IPTV software more palatable to smaller phone companies.

The company announced the new virtualization features in the Mediaroom software on Wednesday. The company said the added technology will reduce the amount of hardware needed to create a full IPTV offering by more than 80 percent.

This is a big deal for smaller service providers, which often can't afford the cost of running the necessary servers for the traditional Mediaroom platform. Microsoft claims that the virtualized offer can provide hundreds of TV channels and tens of thousands of videos on demand for up to 30,000 subscribers with fewer than 10 physical servers. A traditional Microsoft Mediaroom offering to provide the same service requires nearly 60 discrete servers, the company said.

Mediaroom is a software suite that allows service providers to offer broadcast TV and video-on-demand service using IP technology.

AT&T is the largest service provider that is using Microsoft's Mediaroom IPTV platform. The company uses the software to deliver its U-verse TV service. As of the end of March, the company said it had signed up more than 1.33 million U-verse TV subscribers. Microsoft says about 20 service providers around the world are using Mediaroom with more than 3 million IPTV subscribers using the service.

The rural telephone company Reservation Telephone Cooperative in North Dakota, which is now a Mediaroom customer, will likely be the first service provider to use the new virtualization technology, a Microsoft representative said.

The virtualization technology that Mediaroom uses is based on the Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V hypervisor server virtualization technology. Hyper-V virtualization technology allows companies to run multiple virtual servers on the same physical server. The benefit of running virtualization software is that it allows different virtual servers to share physical resources, such as memory, disk access, and processing power.