Ricky Chau, Vice President, Asia Pacific Region, Level 3 Communications
Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) and the cloud together as part of a successful IT infrastructure strategy can provide the best of both worlds resulting in an optimal online user experience.
Internet access and usage continues to skyrocket. A February 2016 study from Pew Research Center noted the ubiquity of Internet usage for advanced economies – its use permeates all aspects of life, from social to political. Actual usage rates vary throughout the Asia Pacific region from the extreme 94 percent access rate in South Korea to a more modest access rate of 65 percent in China. However, when you look at the data, there is a huge base of users accessing the Internet and downloading data or streaming media, daily.
"IDC’s latest figures expect spending on public cloud services in the Asia Pacific region to top out at around US $15 billion, a growth rate which is six times the region’s overall IT spend."
This substantial base of users can put a strain on any enterprise looking to deliver content in the region. This is why CDNs have become such valuable network tools. For example, Level 3 Communications increased its CDN capacity in Asia Pacific by 218 percent in 2015 to address this growing demand for content among its customers and their end users. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, in Asia Pacific, 50 percent of all Internet traffic will cross CDNs in 2019, up from 28 percent in 2014. This is because CDNs can handle a large amount of content simultaneously and deliver it to end users from a location close to them – not only increasing the speed in which the content arrives, but also providing content in the highest quality available.
But where does the cloud come into play?
The cloud is a big part of enterprise IT budgets. IDC’s latest figures expect spending on public cloud services in the Asia Pacific region to top out at around US $15 billion, a growth rate which is six times the region’s overall IT spend. Enterprises are resorting to cloud strategies to reduce network costs and deployment times through infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS), to support data recovery and backup and to help enable emerging technologies in the market like big data analytics. But, there is another use for cloud that has been overlooked, the optimization of end-to-end media delivery performance.
Using both CDN and the cloud has numerous benefits. In the first place, these technologies can improve performance of media streaming, providing capacity, storage and flexibility for both on-demand and live streaming needs. Secondly, using both assets can help enterprises scale on demand and avoid service interruptions. They can get to the market sooner, react to fluctuating business requirements and encourage innovation through test and development environments.
Thirdly, applying both technologies leads to a more secure ecosystem. While CDNs meet the large bandwidth needs for constant patches and updates, enterprises are quickly adopting a hybrid cloud model that provides secure, dedicated connections to Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) without negating the operational and cost efficiencies afforded by cloud solutions.
While every enterprise is different and networking needs can vary widely, there’s no doubt that these two technologies can be applied to nearly any enterprise environment and deliver successful business results.