We talk and write a lot about video streaming and how we can help companies achieve the vaunted trifecta of streaming performance: speed, reliability and flexible scalability. But aside from the ambitious descriptors, what do we actually mean when we talk about streaming when we break it down to its component parts?
Storage is one of those things most of us probably don’t think much about when it comes to provisioning enough for our data. With innovations in cloud storage and the universality of streaming services, most of us - from the average consumer to the small business - don’t have massive storage demands. But what happens when those needs grow? When the business in question is growing, and along with the company, the storage and retrieval needs grow, too? We as consumers rely on on-demand streaming services, for example, but where do we think that storage capacity lives? And how do we get instant access to massive libraries of video or music content? The press-a-button-and-it’s-here near-magic we now expect is nearly miraculous when you consider all the elements that must go right to deliver this content fast and consistently on-demand.
Most companies and their content libraries, however small the data set, can benefit from a streamlined, more efficient, smarter storage setup. But where it really makes a difference is in designing storage for the high-performance needs of video distribution, CDNs, and large-cache use cases. That is, the companies consumers turn to for on-the-go music of their choosing and the content that fuels the cultural phenomenon we know as “Netflix and chill”, whether or not it’s even Netflix we’re using.
There once was a time that building your own CDN would have been unthinkable - complicated, expensive and not worth the hassle, considering that there were a number of well-known commercial CDN providers available who could make it easy to distribute content reliably across the geographies a company wanted to reach. CDN vendors offer the full package: hardware, software, network and so on, meaning that, for a long time, for most companies, convenience trumped other considerations.
Lately the content delivery industry looks more like a meteorological website for alpinists than anything else.