Distribution Directions: Mapping the Route of a Content Delivery Network

You've seen articles about the growing ranks of cord-cutters and the boom in OTT video delivery. While the demand increases, infrastructure is not necessarily keeping pace.
Publish date:

You've seen articles about the growing ranks of cord-cutters and the boom in over-the-top (OTT) video delivery. While the demand increases, infrastructure is not necessarily keeping pace. Earlier this year, many video delivery services and other web sites stopped working properly for several hours because of a single outage. The impact was significant in lost dollars and lost audience trust. This failure was caused by a network service outage in a regional location, yet it had massive, global impact—and it could have been prevented.

Most media companies understand the importance of a reliable CDN (content delivery network) as it relates to video quality and delivery speed. CDNs use techniques like edge caching to ensure high-quality OTT viewing experiences. Edge caching replicates popular videos to multiple sites located closer to viewers. When a viewer requests a piece of popular content, the CDN can quickly deliver the video from a nearby location, rather than having to fetch it from a remote one.

But what happens if a user wants to watch a video that isn't available in edge cache? The CDN needs to request the video from origin storage, a lesser-known element of CDNs. Origin storage is the repository for all content that is delivered by the CDN. Retrieving video from origin storage is a much different proposition than playing it from edge cache. Response time and overall delivery performance now depend on a number of factors.

Is there just one origin storage location or are there multiple locations? How far away is the origin storage? What is the retrieval speed of the storage itself? What is the overall throughput? What are the network conditions? And, as in the outage mentioned earlier, does the origin storage feature redundancy and failover?

Done wrong, CDN origin storage can be unacceptably slow, resulting in a poor OTT viewing experience and potential customer churn. The least dependable solution is single-site origin storage, whether on-premises or cloud-based. Distance, throughput, network conditions, software and other factors can lead to painfully slow retrieval and delivery, or even outright failure. In addition, general-purpose storage isn't optimized for CDN tasks. The extra workload of manual management, customization and troubleshooting can cost time, resources and money.

Done right, origin storage can prevent downtime and accelerate content delivery. Exceptional origin storage is distributed across multiple sites located around the world, and co-located with the edge cache and content delivery servers. When video is ingested, it is automatically replicated to multiple locations based on policies the customer chooses. Then, when a viewer requests content that is not already in the edge cache, it can quickly be retrieved from a nearby storage location and delivered fast. And because origin storage is designed specifically for content delivery, it's easy to manage, so you can focus on higher-value projects.

Content distributors who are looking for easier and faster ways to upload and manage their libraries while ensuring availability and flawless delivery at high volume and scale should consider the role origin storage plays in their content delivery strategy.

Charlie Russell is senior manager at Limelight Networks.

Limelight Networks on Twitter: Follow @llnw



InSync Technology at the 2019 NAB Show

At the 2019 NAB Show, InSync will announce availability of the new FrameFormer plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro for macOS. This addition to the range provides further flexibility and options for deploying FrameFormer.


Black Box at the 2019 NAB Show

At the 2019 NAB Show, Black Box will showcase products across its high-performance Emerald™ unified KVM (keyboard, mouse, video) portfolio and will unveil a new offering that enables even greater flexibility in establishing agile remote desktop connectivity. The Black Box booth, SL12716, will feature demo areas dedicated to Emerald KVM solutions that address the need for convenient and intuitive real-time access to multiple computers from multiple locations, whether across rooms, floors, buildings, sites, or even cities. Black Box offers consultation and design services along with every solution delivered, and the company's representatives at the 2019 NAB Show will highlight complete IP-based and 4K AV visualization and distribution solutions tailored to the unique requirements of modern control rooms, post and media productions, and broadcast playout environments.


Yamaha UC Brings IT-Ready UC Solutions to IT Partners France

Yamaha Unified Communications will demonstrate its broad portfolio of unified communication solutions (UC) in stand E67 at IT Partners France, March 13-14 at Disneyland Paris. Strengthening enterprise UC strategy through simple deployment and management while delivering best-in-class collaboration experiences, the company will feature its portable YVC-200 speakerphone for on-the-go conferencing, along with the CS-700 Video Sound Collaboration System for huddle rooms and the Yamaha YVC-1000 conference phone.