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What Are CDN Customers' Chief Concerns?

Learn more about CDN priorities at the next Content Delivery Summit.

See complete videos and other highlights from Content Delivery Summit on Streaming Media's YouTube channel.

Read the complete transcript of this video:

Thomas Box: Big areas of focus right now: We're seeing security grow as will had mentioned security as big. Everyone's taking a look at that. We are also looking at edge growth, people wanting to run their own functions and drive down latency, and getting closer to the edge. That's what's pushing us, and we've been experimenting with that quite a bit. We've had edge functions for as long as I can remember. We've just been controlling things like authentication and redirects, doing some smart routing, but we've always controlled it internally, exposing that for our customers to run functions, bring in Kubernetes, and looking at our edges as raw compute that people can use getting Docker set up. We've been getting more requests from customers to provide them the ability to know what's going with things like buffering.

When someone's streaming video across our network, we're able to look at buffering with our own toolsets. How do we expose that so customers can see it too? I mentioned we've got our streaming platform as a service. Customers want to make a decision on which CDN is going to deliver content. They need to see where we're at. I would say we're getting more closely integrated with our customers. We're getting into some of their toolsets and they're also asking more of us. And there is a push to be able to drive a bit of the architecture to run some new use cases. So we're being dynamic with our customers and blending roadmaps.

Will Law: I'm going to start checking off a lot of the same boxes Thomas just ran through. And I think there's a bigger story, which is the homogeneity. If you listen to the prior panel, people want consistent APIs from CDNs to do the same operation. So CDNs are now functioning primarily in a multi-CDN world. Everything we do, Limelight's expected to do, Verizon's expected to do, and other CDNs are expected to do because we're seen as being interoperable. And this has a lot of ramifications, a lot of opportunity for us to provide consistency and follow standards. It's also difficult for a CDN. If you go out and innovate on something that only you do, who's going to buy it? Because the people who want it, they can't rely on you doing it. They've got three other CDNs they're also delivering through.

So we're seeing the same pressure around edge compute is definitely arising, the shift away from portals as the way you interact with the CDN and towards continuous integration, continuous development. A dev-led environment. Nobody wants to go to the portal to view the chart of who viewed your traffic. You want real-time data logs coming out of your CDN and going to Splunk or Datadog, which are your sophisticated analytics engines. So real-time visibility, and data and analytics are right up there. And also, I see a general tightening of requirements. It used to be a sort of best effort. Anyone would rack some HTTP servers, put engine X out there, put varnish on top of them, and you had your CDN and now, if you look under the covers, the complexity level is rising dramatically. And it's not simple Purge APIs or not, or push content, or CRUD-type operations on content.

There's a lot of interplay. Content is probably never in one place. You have to find it. You have to discover it, and then you have to choose where to store it. And there's an awful lot of complexity going into that right now. And on top of that is protocols. HTTP/1.1 used to be what we delivered everything with almost 10 years ago. Now we've got H1, we've got H2, we've got H3 coming out as well. And the choice within those of which congestion protocol do we start using is an additional complexity. So the technical requirements of what a CDN has to do is to start performing in this very competitive realm has risen dramatically. And that's really what customers are coming to us for.

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