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Cisco: The Need for CDN Federation

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CDN federation was a hot topic at the recent Content Delivery Summit in New York City, one addressed by several speakers. Kicking things off was Francois Le Faucheur, distinguished engineer for the service provider video technology group at Cisco. He first spoke to the need for CDN federation:

"We all know here in this audience that there's a very sharp increase of video traffic. To single out one figure out of these data points that are on that slide, we expect a quadrupling of IP traffic by 2015. Out of that, 90 percent of traffic will be video. That means a lot of additional video traffic," said Le Faucheur.

That extra traffic will put strong demands on networks.

"What interests me for this discussion today is the requirement that this video traffic increase places on the infrastructure," said Le Faucheur. "So, I think at this stage we can clearly see a requirement for scaling, the transporting infrastructure, the content delivery infrastructure, and also the requirement for enhancing the quality of experience that can be achieved on these scaled infrastructures."

"You can see that these scaling requirements, this need for quality of experience for content, is the background on which the CDN federation concept is coming from," noted Le Faucheur.

But what is "CDN federation"? For those new to the concept, Le Faucheur offered an explanation:

"Here's one definition, we see it as a collection of CDNs which are operated autonomously by different entities, but are interconnected through open interfaces, so that collectively they can work as a logical multi-footprint content delivery infrastructure. That's what we refer to as a CDN federation," said Le Faucheur.

That raises the question of why networks would want to work together. There's one big reason, Le Faucheur noted:

"Why would the players into this content ecosystem be interested in that? From a service provider's perspective, the most salient and well understood is cost reduction. By having a CDN in a service provider network that's interconnected into other CDNs, you can then, in this service provider's CDN, populate content of over-the-top providers into your service provider caches, and that obviously means cost reduction, significant cost reduction," answered Le Faucheur.

For more on CDN federation, including lessons from the CDN federation pilot project, watch the full video below and download Le Faucheur's presentation.

Lessons From Phase Two of the CDN Federation Pilot

Many service providers are exploring the potential of CDN interconnection and CDN federations. This session will review the business rationale behind this trend and introduce the "CDN Federation Pilot" project. A current program under which leading SPs worldwide have been implementing a long-term, large-scale, multi-phased initiative to plan, deploy, and test an open CDN federation pilot. While the first phase of the CDN Federation pilot proved the concept of a CDN Federation and its essential capabilities, the second phase investigated advanced capabilities across the federation. The lessons learnt from this second phase will also be presented.

Francois Le Faucheur, Distinguished Engineer, Service Provider Video Technology Group, Cisco

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