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Transparent Caching Meets CDNs at Content Delivery Summit

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At the 2012 Content Delivery Summit, held May 14 at the same New York City venue as the 2012 Streaming Media East conference, vendors in the transparent caching space laid out the vision for a convergence between content delivery networks (CDNs) and transparent caching technologies.

While transparent caching has been around for several years -- the acquisition of Ankeena Networks by Juniper in 2010 is one example -- the recent trend to combine transparent caching and CDNs has struck a nerve across the industry.

"Service providers should have full control on their infrastructure," said Anshu Agarwal, formerly with Ankeena and now heading up product marketing for Juniper's content and media business unit, who was a panelist on the Transparent Caching panel at this year's Content Delivery Summit.

"It is important to have a converged architecture for transparent caching and CDN, because rackspace in the deep edge of the ISP is very limited," Agarwal added

The reasoning behind the converged approach is, in part, due to the growing amount of unmanaged content, such as over-the-top content (OTT), that is flowing across carrier networks.

"Carriers are desperately trying to control managed and unmanaged content on their networks," said Dan Rayburn, StreamingMedia.com's executive vide president, in a recent press release announcing a partnership between a CDN technology provider and a transparent caching technology company.  "A converged CDN and transparent caching solution allows the carrier to enable a better QoS, reduce their internal costs, and, in the long run, provide revenue generation and new content services."

Rayburn also noted, in a recent StreamingMediaBlog.com post, that while managed subscription services are traditionally CDN territory and unmanaged OTT content is the core competency of transparent caching technologies, "Recent industry developments suggest that these two formerly separate approaches will become more coordinated."

One example of a partnership that's intent on creating a unified delivery infrastructure is the recent announcement between Jet-Stream and Oversi. Jet-Stream provides CDN solutions for telecoms and network operators around the globe, with its primary focus in Europe and South America, while Israel-based Oversi has won a number of transparent caching projects in the same geographies.

With the intention of improving both end-user experience quality and network economics, the Jet-Stream-Oversi partnership is driven as much by customer demand as it is by the potential technological synergies.

"Our recent customer engagements have pointed us to search for a transparent caching partner that would broaden our offering," said Stef van der Ziel, Jet-Stream's founder and owner, in a recent press release.

"We had several criteria for a partner," added van der Ziel. "We looked for the highest performance, most cost-effective, and easiest to deploy system. The Oversi OverCache hierarchical grid topology and its unique API ensure seamless transparent caching and CDN integration."

The reasoning behind the partnership, however, doesn't stop with OTT content. In fact, van der Ziel sees that -- beyond just a converged delivery solution to meet a specific operator's requirements -- the combination of transparent caching and CDN services opens up a new market opportunity for the service provider.

"Our operator customers can now achieve instant performance enhancement and network optimization on all types of content," said van der Ziel, "while at the same time marketing their CDN offering to content providers."

Agarwal, during the panel session at Content Delivery Summit, summed up the monetization arguments for a combination of CDN and transparent caching services.

"Service providers should be able to optimize the traffic that is not monetizable," she said, "and also be able to monetize traffic that can be delivered on their CDN. The providers need to be able to provision capacity for both of these use cases based on any given traffic profile."

Scroll down to view the entire Content Delivery Summit session "Transparent Caching and CDN: What’s Driving the Converged Offering?"

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