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CDNs and Cloud Computing: Converging, But Still Distinct

Content delivery networks are at a unique time in their history, and the questions of convergence with cloud computing pointed to both possibilities and challenges in the the panel "CDN and Cloud Convergence" at the Content Delivery Summit.

Moderator Jacob Rosenberg, senior technical director at Comcast (formerly with AOL), kicked things off by reminding attendees that most of the first cloud services were actually content delivery networks. While CDNs may have some of the characteristics of cloud computing, panelist Brian Alvey, CEO of Crowd Fusion, said that from the customer perspective, they're still distinct.

“The cloud is more dynamic and CDNs are more static," said Alvey. "I would like to see the best of both worlds."

Issues like customers asking for more features and the commoditization of both cloud and CDN solutions are forcing change in the industry. The upfront pricing, pay-as-you-go model from Amazon Cloudfront and the feature-rich, expanded service offerings from CDN Internap are moving closer together. And ultimately, as both cloud and CDN services converge, there will be more choices and better tools for customers.

Watch the video below for the full panel discussion.

CDN and Cloud Convergence

As the capabilities of cloud-based infrastructure services expand, they begin to encroach that of content delivery networks. Major providers such as Amazon have built their own CDNs, while SoftLayer and Rackspace have partnered into this space. In the traditional CDN business, more sophisticated content can be delivered in ways that begin to approach Platform as a Service offerings. Is the CDN concept becoming just a specialized application hosted on the Cloud? What are the distinctions between them, and should infrastructure providers and major consumers consider consolidating?

Moderator: Jacob Rosenberg, Senior Technical Director, Web Operations, AOL
Speaker: Brian Alvey, CEO, Crowd Fusion
Speaker: Pete Mastin, Director CDN Engineering, Internap
Speaker: Steve Smith, CIO, AccuWeather
Speaker: Tal Saraf, GM, CloudFront, Amazon

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