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Since the advent of internet-based technologies more and more businesses are getting IT enabled. With mobile phones getting smarter day-by-day the reliance on internet for doing business has reached a level where its unimaginable to conduct business without it. End users are habituated to the convenience of applications and information available at their finger tip, at the time they want, at the place they want. A classic example being media business. Especially during the pandemic outburst and work-from-home model, user base of applications like Netflix and similar media channels has increased significantly. If internet is the vehicle which brings all the conveniences to end users, it won’t be an exaggeration to say that Content Delivery Network (CDN) is the booster in that vehicle. Let’s highlight on factors which should be planned before getting on the CDN bandwagon. In choosing a CDN, the best decisions result from understanding the properties that are required in addressing challenges and the key metrics that describe those properties. In this article, we will try to address the finer aspects of commonly asked content delivery questions and what to look for while finalizing a CDN service provider.
Geography certainly plays a major role in content delivery. Where is the audience located – Global, Regional or Local. It’s important to choose a CDN that has Points of Presence (PoPs) in the areas where audience is located. Each PoP should have adequate outlet capacity to ensure that audience receives the fastest possible experience. The CDN should also have back-to-back agreements with the local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and last-mile networks that serves the audience, in order to eliminate “last-mile” bottlenecks between the CDN and the user’s internet connection.
Single on-premise location, single location in the cloud or multiple locations in the cloud. When users request content that is not already cached, the CDN must retrieve content from origin storage servers, wherever they are located. To ensure the fastest content delivery, choose a CDN that offers multi-region storage replication and is able to bypass internet congestion that can hamper content retrieval.
CDNs offer a wide range of capabilities. Business requirements should drive the capabilities needed. What type of content will be delivered? Web content, file distribution, live video or Video on Demand (VoD). Choose a CDN that is designed to support specific workflow.
There are various security measures offered by a CDN service provider, viz. TLS/SSL encryption, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection, Web Application Firewall (WAF) protection and Video Digital Rights Management (DRM). To protect content from being intercepted in transit, choose a CDN that fully supports TLS/SSL encryption across its entire network. A CDN with DDoS protection integrated into the same network that is used to deliver traffic will provide the fastest performance when under attack. If video content is being delivered, consider a CDN with integrated DRM and content protection.
Online Video Platform is required to manage video content, live video streaming or VoD transcoding and packaging. If video content management capabilities of an Online Video Platform (OVP) is a requirement, consider choosing a CDN with integrated OVP capabilities to eliminate the complexity of using separate systems to manage and deliver the video content. To reach the maximum number of viewers and simplify the creation of content in multiple streaming formats, look for a CDN with integrated transcoding and transmuxing that can take a single input file and create multiple different output formats and bitrates on demand.
Finding a CDN partner who is able to provide the ongoing support and services after content delivery is started can be critical in ensuring maximum uptime and efficient traffic operations, and helping in responding to changing business needs. Avoiding downtime will sometimes require support from CDN provider. What to look for:
To ensure efficient day-to-day operations, we need to routinely update CDN configuration to meet changing requirements. What to look for:
Does the CDN offer a robust set of APIs for self-provisioning and configuration?
Does the CDN offer a web-based GUI that can be used for configuration and management? What capabilities are exposed for self-provisioning?
Ask for a demo of CDN providers’ self-provisioning solutions.
Does the CDN provider offer professional and consulting services?
When implementing new capabilities that allow business to respond to changing requirements, experienced assistance can be vital. Some CDN providers have experts available that can act as an extension of in-house team. What to look for:
Decide the origin from which the CDN fetches the content, and whether we need to deploy the content in more than one storage system. Take into account the process for deploying static content and resources.
Consider how to update static content and deploy new versions. Understand how the CDN performs caching and time- to-live (TTL).
It can be difficult to perform local testing of CDN settings when developing and testing an application locally or in a staging environment.
Content such as images and documents are served from a different domain when CDN is used. This can have an effect on SEO for this content.
Clients might connect from an environment that does not allow access to resources on the CDN. This could be a security-constrained environment that limits access to only a set of known sources, or one that prevents loading of resources from anything other than the page origin. A fallback implementation is required to handle these cases.
Whether to integrate a CDN for the first time, transitioning to a new CDN, or implementing a multi-CDN strategy, a successful implementation requires planning. Delivering content via a CDN has many dimensions, and the learning curve can be steep. Finding a CDN partner who can help craft the right solution and phased deployment strategy is critical for success.
Not every website needs a CDN provider. There are ways to determine if a website or platform needs to take advantage of CDN services. A CDN can be a great solution for a business, especially if customers or clients all around the world are served. Here are some examples of businesses that could benefit from a CDN
CDN exercise is under taken to enhance service delivery on multiple parameters, however, this has to be a well- planned activity. Above mentioned points will help you take a well-informed decision.
If you are considering to purchase a CDN solution and are not sure where to start, use this document as a checklist. To know how go4hosting can help you with your CDN requirements, check our CDN solutions. For queries and consultation, email us on [email protected]. Our team of subject matter experts will assist you achieve your targets in a customised and optimal manner.