November 30, 2016
3 min read time

Control your own content: Building a private content delivery solution

“Not everybody does it but everybody should…” Okay, quoting George Michael circa 1987 won’t get us anywhere, and the truth is, not everybody should build their own content delivery solution. But you should know that the option is there if you’ve got the need. Some companies do indeed have a need, with clear cases for building a private content delivery solution for themselves.

This is nowhere more perfectly illustrated as in the case of SFR. SFR, a French provider of voice, video, data and internet telecommunications and professional services to consumers and businesses, is one of France's most-visited websites. With exponential growth in video-on-demand and in the costs of meeting traffic demands, they wanted to look for in-house options that not only provided performance, scalability and flexibility while reducing costs but let them leverage the natural advantage of having their own network and put it to work for them.

SFR was using a commercial CDN solution to meet its growing traffic demands but found that costs were ballooning with this growth. With great existing network coverage in France, SFR started asking themselves whether they could create their own solution. With the underlying drive of reducing costs and investment, SFR used Varnish Plus and Varnish engineering help to develop a DIY, private CDN solution, which they have since been able to sell onward to their own customers - creating a revenue source from what began as a cost-cutting endeavor.

SFR's private CDN solution has enabled high performance and availability, even for extra large datasets (thanks to the Varnish Massive Storage Engine), and better yet, has allowed SFR to retain complete control over their digital content delivery.

Achieving global reliability and control

Tesla, too, saw tremendous value in choosing a private network. Requiring a scalable global content delivery solution, in particular for heavy content (such as video), Tesla engineers came to realize they were not using resources optimally. They found that they could take advantage of caching and extend and scale that to achieve global reliability, which was another sticking point in their pre-private-CDN setup. Within a short time, they had built a proof of concept and had content delivery working in-house and completely within their control.

When SFR and Tesla undertook the process of creating DIY content delivery solutions using Varnish, there was no specific product offering that addressed this need. This changed with the launch of Varnish Extend, a pre-packaged content delivery software layer, bundling the Varnish Plus software suite and cloud-based global traffic management from Varnish partner, Cedexis.

Varnish Extend has been developed to address the constantly changing and often quite different content delivery needs that different companies face with flexibility at its core. Whether a company has an SFR-style need or a Tesla-type need, Varnish Extend can help deliver. In the cases we’ve looked at here, the ability to launch on one’s own or a private network - avoiding third-party networks - was paramount. In both cases, maintaining complete, end-to-end control over content delivery was key, which is at the heart of private CDN/content delivery solution development. 

Watch the on-demand webinar on Varnish Extend to learn how you can use it to build your own private or hybrid CDN.

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Photo (c) 2009 Donald used under Creative Commons license.