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Online Video Industry Forecast 2012: Highwinds

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[This sponsored article appeared in the December 2011/January 2012 issue of Streaming Media magazine.]

For as long as I have been involved with the CDN industry, vendors have touted the size and scale of their networks as if that alone was the solution to a customer's application and content hosting needs. It seems to be a requirement for a CDN website to have a PoP map and a count of their servers and egress capacity. But you wouldn't judge the speed of a race car just by weighing it, right? There's more to it.

Another popular tool in the CDN tool kit is the performance benchmark, certified by a 3rd party testing service. I can't tell you how many customer engagements I have been involved with where the customer has said that every CDN gave them a graph showing them to be the fastest. Lies damn lies...and statistics!

The historic focus on measuring CDNs has been solely on delivery and the resulting decision largely a binary one. "Do I contract with CDN A or CDN B?" While speed of delivery is a very important metric, I think we will see multi vendor deployments as the new norm where multiple CDNs compete for a single customer's delivery on a per request basis, allowing the best of each CDN to be used.

An increase in multi-vendor usage will force a closer examination and comparison of other aspects of CDNs. It will no longer be just about how fast a CDN delivers to end users, but also how fast they can ingest content, purge content, report stats, make configuration changes and all the other aspects of managing and reporting on the delivery of applications and content.

Perhaps these stats will replace the PoP maps of yesteryear.


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