Trends in CDNs: Dictate your own terms

Content delivery is still a major focus of what most companies do online. Whether it’s streaming video or making sure an e-commerce or media site is operating with the freshest content, delivered in the fastest way possible, the fundamentals remain. Content delivery needs to be fast, reliable, resilient across all geographies, networks and devices. While you can’t control all of these things, the trend in recent years has been to take control of content delivery by bringing content delivery networks (CDNs) in-house. In that sense, it’s not a new trend but is a trend that is picking up speed as more organizations realize the need for a customized approach to their content delivery. 

We’ve been writing about the trend for some time. New technologies continue to crop up that make building your own CDN quick and less complex, making the adoption easier from a time and resource perspective. 

Why choose an in-house CDN?

Even when the drive to go in-house became more feasible and affordable, it didn’t always make sense for all companies. Using out-of-the-box commercial CDNs for getting content from point A (origin) to a bunch of other points (PoPs) in that CDN provider’s network worked fine and made the most sense economically while keeping content delivery quality consistent and speedy as the volume of content grew globally at exponential rates. 

A standard CDN approach to content delivery made sense until suddenly the explosion of video content changed everything. Now global consumers expect instant, smooth delivery of resource-intensive live and on-demand video on all their devices. Meeting these demands as the sheer amount of content multiplies is becoming more expensive for content owners to deliver, at the same time as safeguarding content delivery performance is key to growth and business success. 

Dictate your own CDN terms

It may be counterintuitive to consider that until CDNs came along, companies were fending for themselves and handling content delivery in a kind of haphazard, DIY way. And yet, with the way content has proliferated, and the user experience has become paramount, we have come full circle. Companies may benefit by taking control into their own hands once again. Now, of course, they will be aided by the flexibility of being able to build out their own CDN architecture and select their own PoPs to cache content in edge servers nearest their user bases, choosing an in-house (or hybrid) CDN solution that makes the most technical and economic sense for them. 

It is no longer up to the large commercial CDN providers to dictate the terms. Adopting an in-house CDN model offers a number of benefits:

  • Cut costs/make costs more transparent
  • Take full advantage of capabilities and efficiencies of cloud and edge computing
  • Cache content closest to user bases to reduce latency and packet loss
  • Get greater resilience and cut out single points of failure
  • Be free to build on, add features to and configure your CDN to your own standards/needs - many Varnish customers use the CDN technology for unique, unexpected use cases
  • Get better security by not sharing CDN resources with other users and having the flexibility to implement your own security features, such as a web application firewall -- by spreading out risk and going at least partly independent you can reduce the likelihood of attack (a big commercial provider is a better target) and scale (should such an attack occur)
  • Have the flexibility to go completely in-house or mix and match with a hybrid or multi-CDN setup to match your specific content delivery needs to:
    • Optimize load balancing and network routing
    • Offer greater redundancy in the event of an outage

Ready to learn more about how you can build your own CDN?

DYI CDN Whitepaper


Topics: diy cdn, multi-CDN, in-house CDN

1/15/20 3:00 PM by Miles Weaver

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The Varnish blog is where the our team writes about all things related to Varnish Cache and Varnish Software...or simply vents.


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