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When it Comes to Web Performance, Many CDNs Make Light Work

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In today's digital economy, a multi-content delivery network (CDN) approach is preferable to dependence on a singular, static CDN. When you consider the potential crises of website outages, along with the competitive requirements to provide a meaningful user experience online, a multi-CDN approach is the best way to maintain a high-performing website.

Despite the vast transformations in cloud computing, modern content delivery continues to pose a significant challenge for many organizations. The fact is, the majority of today's cloud computing options do not provide optimal cost efficiencies, reliability, or performance, which is why most organizations have adopted a CDN (content delivery network) approach. By reducing the physical distance between the server and the user, inevitable delays in loading web page content are greatly reduced. 

While each CDN has unique advantages—such as enabling global reach, decreasing server load and increasing reliability and response times—the potential downsides often result in more dire consequences. Recent CDN outages have resulted in global website outages for brands like CNN, New York Times, HBO Max, and Spotify.

In a recent article, Google said, "To trust cloud computing more, you need the ability to trust it less." In short, to maintain optimum security, organizations must consider relying less on a single CDN. While IT teams should keep their heads on a swivel when it comes to the job of keeping a website humming, there is another way to drive better website and application performance without fully losing trust in the CDN.   

Multi-CDN: The Clear Winner for Today's Enterprises

A multi-CDN approach can not only consistently deliver high-quality content and eliminate the worry of a website outage, but this approach also allows enterprises to gain access to the aggregate power of multiple providers in multiple geographies. Afterall, more servers equates to less buffering, while at the same time enabling scalability because of greater redundancy. 

After all is said and done, with a multi-CDN approach, it's easier to keep the lights on when compared to a traditional CDN, without adding extra work. The reason why lies in the very root of selecting the best CDN for an enterprise website. When choosing a CDN, developers will most likely consider factors such as:

  • Which has the best reach to target geographies?
  • What happens if it has outages or slowdowns?
  • How should we manage or mitigate micro outages?
  • Can you use a different CDN for each geography, time of day, etc?

But the truth is, no CDN provider can be the best in every situation. And, as we've seen time and time again, if the CDN has an outage or slowdown, websites are more susceptible to cyber attacks – not to mention a bevy of negative comments from customers blasted on social media channels. To ensure the best site experience every time, and guarantee customer satisfaction in the long run, businesses need to adopt a multi-CDN approach. 

Great Power Requires Modern Automation

Even with all the pros of adopting a multi-CDN, organizations must acknowledge the sheer power they have access to with these cloud servers. Multi-CDNs require vast amounts of resources, configuration time and maintenance overhead, not to mention the total cost. All of these factors, in theory, make a multi-CDN approach near impossible to manage alone.

Developers need not fear! Automation, via one of two multi-CDN approaches, is the key to making it happen:

  • Dynamic multi-CDN switching: This approach uses real-time data to auto-select the best CDN for every context.
  • Smart CDN selection: In this scenario, support engineers help decide which CDN is best for a given context, adding functionality and the nuance of human intelligence to the decision. 

Managing a CDN does not have to be traumatic for IT teams. Selecting an automated, multi-pronged approach to the CDN enables developers to forget about outage or slowdown issues, allowing them to focus exclusively on the product or solution they are developing for their own users.

 [Editor's note: This is a contributed article from Cloudinary. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]

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