CloudShare for Demo Environments

I’d like to tell you a story.  One of the software development companies that I’m working with, Ooyala, is building an integration with SharePoint.  In April (2011), we were planning to have the public unveiling of the product at the NABSHOW in Las Vegas.  It is a huge convention, and we had secured a demo kiosk and were planning to get enough of the product developed so that we could illustrate how the final product would work. 

One of our development teams was in Argentina, another development team was in Redmond, WA, and Ooyala has headquarters in Mountain View, CA.  We needed a development and testing environment that would enable all three groups to work together and to share an environment in preparation for the show.

For a couple of months, we had been using a development environment that was provided by  And everything had been working well.  We would bring up the CloudShare environment when we needed to, and share access to it from city to city.

One of the useful features that CloudShare provides is the ability to recreate a SharePoint environment from one a list of starting environments that they provide.  When one of our development teams release a new build, we can recreate a new environment on CloudShare and test the installation and configuration, etc.  It was working very well.

If you haven’t tried out CloudShare yet, you can find them at  Look for the “SharePoint in the Cloud” selection right on the front page.  That page will describe the SharePoint environments that they offer and how you can utilize them.

As we got closer to the NABSHOW, however, something wasn’t quite right.  I was worried about little things, like the URL used for the demo.  We also wanted to share the demonstration version with other potential partners and customers, so we wanted to create a demo URL (i.e. NABDEMO.OOYALA.COM) and have the dev/test environment support that.  I couldn’t find the right way to make that happen for the CloudShare environment that wasn’t located within our data center, but a quick call to CloudShare answered the question.  (They have since cleaned up how the features are displayed so that this particular feature is easier to find.)

The problem that I was running into is one of the features of CloudShare that allows their service to be affordable.  When a CloudShare environment times out due to a period of inactivity, the environment is automatically suspended, and the assigned IP addresses and physical hardware can be re-utilized for other users and to meet additional demand.  Sound very cloud-centric, right?  Well, yes, actually.  However, when the environment would be re-activated the next time someone needed it, the server machines in the environment might be assigned a different collection of IP addresses.  This meant that I might have to keep updating the DNS entries for the URL that I wanted to use for the demo.  Difficult and inconvenient.

But then I learned about a great little feature called “Always-On”.  This costs more per month, but enables your environment to stay up all the time, maintaining the same assigned IP addresses.  A quick call to CloudShare operations, and we had the solution, we had a constant IP
address for the DNS settings, and we were starting to demo using an easy to communicate and an easy to use URL.  I’ve learned, over the years, to never underestimate the importance of having an easy to communicate URL when working with salespeople…

So, long story short, we unveiled the product at the NABSHOW in April – the demo environment was flawless, and we are still using CloudShare as our development environment as we enter into a full Beta stage with the product here in June.What's your video strategy?

If you’d like to learn more about CloudShare, please learn more at

If you’d like to learn how to bring the video capabilities of Ooyala into your SharePoint environment, please send email to

If you’d like to take me to a Seattle Mariners game this summer (Yes, I’m back on the bandwagon!), please send me email –

Flash video within SharePoint 2007

Today I got a question from a client about how to add support for Flash videos within SharePoint 2007.  I found a number of very old posts, and some that were more recent, but I had to cobble together a lot of different pieces to finally figure out how to create these steps to illustrate the process.

I hope that these steps are of interest, and save some time for someone who is looking to do the same thing again one day.  I’d love to hear how these steps could be presented more efficiently, or where some time could be saved.  One thing I learned, is that I’m glad that there are some companies that are trying to automate this to help enterprises with processing videos at high volume levels.  I’m helping one of those companies now — Ooyala — to come up with an easy way to manage video.  When that is ready to ship, I’ll let you know here.

Meanwhile – back to the steps…

  1. Download a Flash Video Player web part for SharePoint 2007
    1. There is a sample file available for free from Microsoft’s open source catalog,
    2. Go to  This is the web part that you’ll be installing as part of this example.
    3. Go to Downloads section, and click on the recommended download.
    4. Click through the License Agreement.
    5. Save the downloaded file to c:\downloads\SharePointVideoPlayer.wsp
  2. Deploy the web part to your site collection
    1. Open a cmd window as an Administrator
    2. cd c:\program files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\BIN
    3. Stsadm -o addsolution -filename c:\downloads\SharePointVideoPlayer.wsp
    4. Stsadm -o execadmsvcjobs
    5. For this next line, you will need the URL of your Site Collection.  In this command line, my site collection is: “http://shrpnt2007:28656
    6. Stsadm -o deploysolution -name SharePointVideoPlayer.wsp -allowgacdeployment -force -immediate -url "http://shrpnt2007:28656"
    7. Stsadm -o execadmsvcjobs
    8. Iisreset
  3. Activate the Site Collection Feature
    1. Go to Site Actions -> Site Setting -> Site Collection Features
    2. Locate SharePoint Video Player feature and click “Activate”
  4. The Above steps only have to be done ONCE.  Once the web part is activated as a Site Collection Feature, then you can add it to as many pages as you’d like using the below steps.
  5. Add the web part to your page
    1. Click Site Actions -> Edit Page
    2. Click “Add a Web Part”
    3. Add the “SharePoint Video Player” Web Part
  6. Modify the web part properties for the web part to point to the hosted flash video file
    1. Edit the web part properties
    2. Scroll down to “Video Player Properties”
    3. Modify entry for “FLV file”.  Use something that looks like this:
    4. <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" id="ooyalaPlayer_6m3j0_gow1g8v5" width="640" height="480" codebase="">
       <param name="movie" value="" />
       <param name="bgcolor" value="#000000" />
       <param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" />
       <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" />
       <param name="flashvars" value="embedType=directObjectTag&embedCode=MwdXlpMjqnvUZs3V8Tujt5d1oU_ItJSr" />
       <embed src="" bgcolor="#000000" width="640" height="480" name="ooyalaPlayer_6m3j0_gow1g8v5" align="middle" play="true" loop="false" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" flashvars="&embedCode=MwdXlpMjqnvUZs3V8Tujt5d1oU_ItJSr" pluginspage=""></embed>
  7. Click OK and Exit Edit Mode.
  8. The above Flash embed string is for streaming a static video.  For streaming a live video, you follow the same approach, but the Flash embed string is slightly different, but only because the source file is a live streaming video and not a static streaming video.
<object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" id="ooyalaPlayer_6ubv0_gow38rxq" width="480" height="270" codebase="">
 <param name="movie" value="" />
 <param name="bgcolor" value="#000000" />
 <param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" />
 <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" />
 <param name="flashvars" value="embedType=directObjectTag&embedCode=BrMWtjMjpJU-7gE0lQqvnK75Wulzo6kT" />
 <embed src="" bgcolor="#000000" width="480" height="270" name="ooyalaPlayer_6ubv0_gow38rxq" align="middle" play="true" loop="false" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" flashvars="&embedCode=BrMWtjMjpJU-7gE0lQqvnK75Wulzo6kT" pluginspage=""></embed>

I’m a selfish blogger, and I’ve got a sneaky feeling that I’ll need this list of steps again and again. I hope that it will be useful to you, also.

Yes, even for SharePoint 2007.  After all, some of your best friends are still using SharePoint 2007!