Content distribution networks are specialised server farmers, usually located at the edge of Tier-1 networks to reduce latency and improve availability.
They are fundamental to improving the customer experience of online video, but some telcos think they can cut CDNs out of the loop.
As European Communications reported earlier this month, operators including BT and France-Telecom Orange are looking at options such as content-centric networking, which could spell the end of the road for CDNs.
Akamai Technologies is the biggest of the CDN bunch; European Communications’ Ian Grant spoke to Martin Häring, Akamai’s VP for marketing & alliances, about the future of CDNs.
Eurocomms.com: What's Akamai's view about the emerging roles of telcos, cable firms, CDNs, satellite and terrestrial broadcasters as content goes digital and devices go mobile?
Martin Häring: The exponential growth in digital content will create an increasing bottleneck within the cloud. We will experience more and more bandwidth limitations, content availability issues and scalability problems.
The increase in devices accessing the cloud, with their different operating systems, different browsers and various media formats, opens the door to many security threats.
Telcos, cable firms and broadcasters can only address these issues within their own infrastructures.
Once outside their own datacentres, the lack of standardisation or federated services among the telco community, plus the outdated communication protocols between networks such as TCP/IP or BGP, will accelerate those problems even further.
Are CDNs sustainable or will they be bought by the telcos?
As long as there are no common standards or clear APIs between CDN services it does not make sense for a telco to buy a CDN vendor.
A main advantage of our Intelligent Platform is the fact that we are present in more than 1000 networks worldwide and can offer customers a neutral platform with global reach, security and performance for their content and application delivery.
If a Tier 1 telco were to buy a CDN player, nobody other than the clients of that telco would benefit from the CDN service. Once you left the boundaries of that telco, your network would experience the same security, scalability and performance problems again.
Therefore, for as long as there is no clear standard for federated CDN services, it does not make sense for a telco to buy a CDN vendor.
There are only a couple of days left to register for our Big Data seminar; click here to sign up