First What Is a Content Delivery Network?
Simply put, a content delivery network (CDN) is a means of accelerating access to the information from your company or other business’ web pages to the end user viewing them. This could be content for any type of information including eCommerce pages to retail customers, video streams to social media viewers, game pages to hundreds of on-line participants, business video feeds, and other applications. In today’s digital age, the “Internet of Things” (IoT) has made reliable high-speed communications essential to many types of businesses.
Performance is key in this market, as customers or gamers who lose interest due to poor response will quickly move on to other media that provides response levels that hold their interest. A CDN provides a solution to web page performance by providing content to the viewer from a CDN server closest to the end user. This provides accelerated viewing of web pages, video streaming services, or games being played. The result is an improved experience by the end user, especially for high-traffic and geographically-diverse locations.
Why a CDN Is Important to Your Business
Today’s IoT means that all sort of consumers are demanding online access from their retailers, social media, video streaming providers, educational resources, and gaming providers. The only limit is the imagination of business and demands of the consumer. As your customers become increasingly savvy in this digital environment, you must be prepared to meet these expectations. Benefits of CDN implementation can help you meet these requirements by providing these benefits:
- Accelerated viewing of web pages
- Improved performance of video streaming and gaming
- Reliable and high-speed access to company web pages
- Capacity provided without company infrastructure cost
- Distributed network results in improved local performance for users
- Cost control – pay for what you need, don’t build the capacity internally
CDN Is Already Available and In Use
CDN is a time-proven technology with multiple providers of the service who provide differing options and capabilities. Examples of companies profiting from implementing CDN technology:
- Gaming companies – players experience faster download speeds and more enjoyable gaming experience
- Video – providers captivate viewers with consistent high-quality video streaming that keep them engaged
- Retailers – all types and sizes benefit through improved performance and consistent access to their sales web sites. This is true for small businesses and global enterprises alike
- Publishers – online content is delivered consistently and globally
As you can see from this partial list of businesses and applications the benefits from adoption of CDN technology can be achieved across industries of all types and sizes.
Why do You Need a CDN?
In a word—speed. When performance and user experience are important elements in your content delivery, a CDN can provide significant advantages. When a target audience can be located over a greatly dispersed area typical of today’s global enterprises, there can be considerable delays in content delivery caused by latency. Application servers may reside in California USA, with the end user’s computer in Germany, generating a large amount of data traversing the Atlantic Ocean with resulting delays in delivery to the user. With a CDN, the same static content desired may also reside on a server in Frankfurt, Germany, or London, England providing the user with significant performance benefits due to proximity to the source.
Additional scenarios exist where a CDN can provide similar improvements in response. There may be peak periods of demand for your content, putting extremely high demand on a dedicated server in a fixed location causing performance issues and even system crashes. By distributing this load over a CDN that problem can be totally eliminated.
CDNs are available to meet your specific needs, providing a cost-effective solution for reliable and high-performance content delivery and video streaming.
Important Objectives before you consider implementing a CDN Solution:
When evaluating your options in implementing a Content Distribution Network strategy, it’s critical to consider all the aspects of your decision including these criteria:
- Performance – Will the vendor provide the level of service you need, that will keep your audience engaged? When considering performance, be sure this applies to all intended destinations, whether national or global.
- Location – Does your potential vendor provide access in multiple locations? This can impact the resulting performance experience at the end destination, as the closer your user is to the CDN provider’s server, the more reliable the performance and viewing experience will be.
- Scalability – Can you purchase just the capacity you need, to control cost? After implementation, can you expand to quickly accommodate growth?
- Flexibility – Is the vendor service compatible with every form of technology your end users will potentially utilize? This is likely to include PCs, Mac computers, tablets, and smart phones.
- Support – After signing up, will you receive the level of support you require to ensure you receive continuous reliable service?
- Cost-effective – Is the service available within your budget? Available services may vary greatly in cost. Be sure you’re not signing up for a long-term service that cannot truly accommodate your needs at a cost-effective price.