The Professional edition is almost exactly the same as the Personal edition. This edition includes additional user connections and an increased bandwidth capacity. Advanced security features, the ability to scale the server with multiple hosts, and an included one-year update subscription are also notable features of this edition. This edition should be considered if you have a high-volume service or if you want to host multiple secure applications. A good example would be a company that offers public Flash Communication Server hosting. The Professional edition can group applications using a method of virtual hosting.
This edition starts with 500 concurrent connections (versus the 10 connections offered in the Personal version) with a maximum bandwidth of 100 megabits per second. If you require additional connections and bandwidth, Macromedia offers upgrades through Capacity Packs. Although there are no formal statistics published by Macromedia, there have been unofficial declarations that this version supports 1000+ simultaneous users of multiple connection speeds. Capacity Packs can be purchased to increase the number of users and the bandwidth capabilities. Each Capacity Pack increases concurrent users by 500 and bandwidth support an additional 10 megabits per pack. Pricing for the Professional edition is comparable to enterprise-level applications.
The Communication Server can be scaled to exist in a load-balancing and server-failover environment. The foundation of the server has been developed with this in mind, making it a true enterprise application that can be used to allow communication with as many users as you need.
If you are considering developing Flash Communication Server applications but don't quite need the performance and scalability of the Professional edition, shared-hosting companies are starting to appear in the market. Pricing models are built around concurrent connections and bandwidth required. This option is a great way to get started with the technology with a small initial investment.
NI Solutions Group, Inc. (http://www.nisgroup.com) is one of a number of Internet hosting companies that offer Flash Communicaiton Server as part of a Shared Hosting Solution.