Photo (Limelight) - A CDN networks coperations centre in USA
Computerworld Malaysia recently asked a CDN specialist on what companies should be considering when rolling out content delivery network (CDN) technologies for business growth.
"Getting CDN right is critical in an era when, according to Cisco's Visual Networking Index, by 2020 there will be nearly 4.1 billion global Internet users and 26.3 billion networked devices and connections globally," said Jaheer Abbas, Southeast Asia regional director at digital content network provider Limelight Networks.
"A research from firm, FMI, says that Asia Pacific is set to become the world's second largest video-on-demand (VOD) market after the US, which should amount to more than 22 percent of the [US$103 billion] global industry by 2020," Abbas said.
"Having a high-performing CDN will help companies meet growth demands as well as give their customers the best possible online experience, which of course is an extremely important factor in customer retention," he added.
"A CDN with cloud-based workflow with integrated services makes it easy to publish online videos and stream live events to any device at broadcast quality and to scale a service to meet unexpected traffic demands," said Abbas.
Picking a partner
He said the critical areas of consideration for companies in Malaysia when deploying a CDN strategy for drive business growth started from selecting the right provider.
"When choosing a CDN partner, it is important for companies to assess the capability of the CDN in delivering content that supports the latest technologies such as HTTP/2, speed webpage loading and MPEG-DASH video format that most OTT services use today," said Abbas.
"It is also important to ensure the CDN capacity is expanding to meet forecasted growth. For example, Limelight has just increased its CDN capacity in Malaysia by 200 percent by adding a new Point of Presence (PoP) in Kuala Lumpur," he said.
Photo - Jaheer Abbas, Southeast Asia Regional Director at Limelight Networks
"In addition, content must be secure, and websites must be protected against potential attacks. In our case, we offer a comprehensive package of cloud security services, including DDoS attack defence and web application firewall for customers," said Abbas.
"It's important to us to provide the highest possible quality performance globally and we have been expanding our network throughout the Asia Pacific region," he said.
"The key best practice we deploy is real-time monitoring of the CDN performance and the actual quality of video traffic received by viewers," added Abbas. "Specifically, probes within the CDN measure and report latency and bandwidth of individual video streams, plus many device video players measure buffering and other metrics and beacon this data back to the Limelight NOC where network tweaks can be made in real-time before viewers experience any degradation in video quality.
"A Video on Demand solution should provide a scalable cloud-based workflow," he said. "Automatic transmuxing to multiple formats based on device detection simplifies content conversion. Our CDN, for example, distributes content anywhere in the world, reducing the need for infrastructure investment."
Scaling up and Security
"It is important for customers to scale according to their audience appetite and how having this flexibility will help them maintain the quality of delivery and grow their subscriber base," Abbas said.
"Scalability is especially essential for over the top (OTT) service providers both for the ability to grow their business and to ensure customers have the best quality experience," he said. "We know from our annual research that website performance is the most important element for online video consumers."
"When OTT services are just starting up, the demand for their content is unpredictable," Abbas said. "If a new service suddenly gains market traction, delivery of video could be anywhere worldwide. To capture new audiences, it is imperative to be able to deliver video globally, rapidly and at broadcast quality to ensure they return to the service again."
"It is equally important that the delivery website is always available," he said. "To do this, protection against DDoS and web application attacks is critical. Limelight provides cloud security services that include DDoS Attack Interceptor and Web Application Firewall to block attack traffic from reaching websites."
"Companies in Malaysia and the region can, for example, benefit from improved customer engagement made possible by our new PoP in Kuala Lumpur," Abbas said. "This provides increased capacity, reliability and significantly faster network speeds. In fact, with the new PoP, network has increased by more than 25 percent while response rates have improved 24 percent. This is critically important for any business that delivers digital content or engages with consumers online."
"As mentioned earlier, viewers watch video on many different types of devices," he said. "In order to assure the best possible video quality, it's a requirement to detect the viewer's device type and automatically transcode and transmux streams to the correct format for every device. To complement video format conversion, cloud storage positions content near the audience, providing local delivery experience."
Abbas said, "Getting the strategy and implementation right such as through an integrated suite of content delivery technology and services will helps organisations secure digital content, deliver exceptional multi-screen experiences, improve brand awareness, drive revenue, and enhance customer relationships - all while reducing costs."
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