What is Content Delivery Networks (CDN)?

At Conviva, we frequently discuss the complex world of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). These crucial services, often hidden from view, are a vital cog in the digital ecosystem. This article unveils the complexities of CDNs, helping video-on-demand (VoD) professionals, like you better optimize your services and reduce costs.

Firstly, let’s briefly touch upon the underlying technology of the internet that relates to CDNs, to understand how data storage and transfer happens.


Central Servers

In the simplest terms, the internet works on a client-server basis. The ‘client’ retrieves information from a ‘server’. Picture a server responding to countless information requests from users and delivering data from its storage. This is known as the central server model. While this model might seem efficient, it has its limitations. The server needs to be robust enough to cater to all requests and spacious enough for storing all the data. Also, the data delivery process can be slow due to the geographical distance between clients and the server. This leads to a less satisfactory user experience and high costs, especially when your business expands. This is where a CDN steps in.


What is a CDN?

Think of a Content Delivery Network (CDN) as a storage center for your data, bringing your content closer to your users. Several cloud service providers offer CDN solutions, including Akamai, Microsoft Azure, Oracle, Bunny CDN, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Cloudflare.

In essence, a CDN accelerates the delivery of on-demand videos by storing (or caching) the file, thus reducing the time for the content to reach the viewer. CDNs also enhance your network’s resilience during service outages and periods of high traffic through their widespread geographical distribution and capabilities to balance network load and redundancy.


Geographically Distributed CDNs

For scaling a VoD business globally while maintaining high-quality user experience, a CDN is essential. CDNs store your content at the edge of your network, speeding up delivery. This strategy lowers costs and enhances user experience, making content delivery faster and more secure in a VoD model.


CDN Configuration

Optimizing your CDN service requires proper configuration. This involves several settings, such as pre-loading, cache clearing frequency, and retaining items in the cache. These decisions need specific data about file usage across your network, something Conviva’s detailed measurements can assist with.


CDN Architectures

Most VoD operations leverage CDNs, usually following either a single CDN solution or a multi-CDN setup. The latter has gained popularity due to its scalability, ability to meet region-specific needs, balance user experience against cost, and offer advanced configurability in target markets.


CDN Performance Metrics

Two vital indicators of CDN performance are the speed of response and uptime. Both are important in optimizing your CDN configuration for balancing user experience and cost. To find the perfect balance, you need comprehensive data about your service’s performance for each stream, something Conviva provides.


The Role of CDNs in Service and User Experience Optimization

Conviva’s streaming analytics platform provides insights into how CDN performance affects user experience. These data-driven insights can help you fine-tune the configuration and performance of your CDN.

In conclusion, without concrete data, understanding the impact of CDN performance on your audience is a guessing game. To gain valuable insights into your CDN setup, schedule a Conviva demo today.

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