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Moving Expression Encoder off the WFE to Dedicated Hardware

Oct 16, 2008 at 1:53 PM

Dear all,

We're working to deploy PKS to a relatively large environment and I have a question as to how modularly the integration with Expression Encoder has been designed?

In our design, we've specced a separate server for performing media trans-coding as we're integrating with a 3rd party product for wider file format support.  Ideally, we'd also like to move Expression Encoder on to the same server as this would be a more architecturally elegant solution.

Has the product team (or anyone else), been able to get this configuration working, or is it on the "to-do" list?

Best regards,


Oct 16, 2008 at 4:20 PM
Hi Dave, the MediaEncoder service needs access to three things right now:
- the SharePoint API to monitor the encoding queue and update the podcast details with the new file name.
- the File System where the media file are stored to actually perform the re-encoding
- the Encoder product API to be able to trigger the re-encoding

As long as you can get those 3 together then you should be fine.

The way we are looking at our internal deployment is to scale the re-encoding to all web front end servers, and using the MediaEncoder service properties to enforce a CPU usage limit on all servers (let's say a maximum usage of 50% of the CPU).
The MediaEncoder queue is checked by each front-end every minute, the first front-end that picks a file to re-encode flags it and the others won't touch it.
Oct 17, 2008 at 3:24 PM
Thanks for the info Ludo, very helpful.


Oct 20, 2008 at 2:01 PM
Ludo, one further question.

You mentioned that the Media Encoder service needs to have access to three things, the third of them being the Expression Encoder API.

In our deployment we've identified a third party product that will perform full trans-coding into multiple formats, including producing thumbnails and duration.  So far, we've successfully been able to get PKS passing the video to the product, and the product then writing back the additional trans-coded videos and creating the XML in PKS to the files.

Ideally we'd now like to remove Expression Encoder entirely as we've now farmed out all the functions it provides to a different product.  Does the Media Encoder sevice have any checks for Expression Encoder?  What would be the impact of removing it?

Thanks very much,

Oct 20, 2008 at 3:32 PM
MediaEncoder is the only component with a dependency on Expression Encoder. We haven't tested running MediaEncoder without Expression Encoder present... I would assume it would not work properly.
However PKS should function properly without MediaEncoder altogether (they are loosely coupled), with the understanding that size, thumbnail, duration and transcoding won't be performed.