Today’s Content Delivery Networks: Not Your Grandmother’s CDN
By now it should be clear that the worlds of video and IP are gathering like the wind and the wet of a storm. No matter where you look, or whose numbers you like, video is quickly becoming the major component of all Internet traffic.
From vendors, and service and content providers, we see sustained waves of news. From Cisco is our recent CRS-3 router announcement – a super-sized router, optimized for video services. And you will be hearing us talk more about our Content Delivery System (or Cisco CDS) – our platform for personalized video services delivery – and how it now integrates critical technologies like dynamic service routing with proximity.
Why is video delivery getting so much attention? Because video isn’t easy. It has very strict requirements, from creation to playback. Add to that the meteoric growth of video content that is taking place, and the new ways people are interacting with video, such as watching content at more places, and on more screens. We can understand why delivering video services effectively is becoming ever more complex.
So we now find service providers constantly searching for new ways to distribute content efficiently. A key way to make that happen is by combining network intelligence with business-based rules. For example, it makes sense to have the closest content server assigned to provide content to a subscriber- but only if the connection is reliable, the cost of connectivity reasonable, and the server isn’t over-subscribed. Otherwise, a server farther way might be a better option for the most efficient delivery, and for the highest quality of experience to the customer.
Let’s focus now on the Cisco CDS. For CDS to do its massive job even better, we have recently integrated some pretty sophisticated dynamic service routing capabilities to it. They take into account elements like content affinity, load, business rules, and localization, or proximity, every time it decides how a specific video will be delivered. Our proximity technology is network-based, so it is able to “listen” really well to what is happening in the network, getting more accurate information on its health and resources, and faster. It is all about intelligently finding the best, most efficient route for sending us the video we want.
It so happens that some of these service routing technologies, and proximity in particular, are of the same kind you find in our CRS-3 router. As you have probably guessed, this isn’t a coincidence. We are constantly working on extending intelligence throughout the network, so that it can be optimized for video delivery – so that it can become a medianet.
Here’s another way to look at it: CRS-3 is all about video optimization, at enormous scale, in the core. Service routing on Cisco CDS is all about the same thing, at the edge of the network. This matters a lot to our customers. Video services is their key offering, and the better they can utilize their network, the more efficient their delivery – and the better their customers’ experience.
The industry is paying attention. Cisco CDS just won the “Best Internet TV Technology / Solution,” at the IPTV World Forum in London (March 23 to 25). CDS was also granted the China Radio and TV (CRTA) Scientific and Technological Innovation Award at the CCBN broadcast show in Beijing that same week. It’s a wonderful acknowledgment of all our efforts to make medianets a reality.