Apr 16, 2013

Cloud and CDN: Friends or Foes?

Ansley Kilgore

Cloud and CDNToday’s online users expect high-quality, ‘anytime, anywhere’ access from a multitude of devices. This presents a challenge for content providers to deliver multiple types of large files, including streaming media, Video on Demand (VOD) and other large files to tablets and smartphones, all while maintaining the high-quality online experience that users have come to expect. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) are often used as an efficient way to distribute large amounts of content in this manner.

But with the growth of cloud computing, companies have embraced new, cost-effective approaches to IT Infrastructure. The challenge of scaling is no longer prohibitively expensive, and the ability to scale virtually, on-demand has leveled the playing field for small- and medium-sized businesses to compete with large enterprises for market share. With the substantial performance and cost improvements provided by the cloud, this often leads to the misconception that the cloud alone can maintain the high-quality online experience that consumers demand.

In reality, the cloud and CDNs have specific purposes that make them well-suited to work together.

The cloud is a utility computing platform that consists of large physical stacks of computational resources, or, multi-tenant slices of a pre-built mass computational array. This type of dynamic computing power is ideal for processing big data and business intelligence problems, and evolved from the concept of mainframes in a past decade.

CDNs are utility delivery platforms that specialize in one-to-many distribution as opposed to the two-way interactive exchange performed by utility computing platforms. In contrast to the cloud, CDNs are designed specifically to deliver content from servers to the end-users as part of a repeatable process.

High-performance content delivery is a must for websites or online applications serving geographically-dispersed end users. Using the cloud and a CDN together creates a holistic system that meets the demands for content delivery as well as economical computing power. This best-of-both-worlds combination results in an optimal online user experience when incorporated into your IT Infrastructure strategy.

To learn more about the specific purposes and benefits of CDNs and the cloud and how these two platforms work together to meet the content delivery needs of today’s online users, download our white paper, CDN: A Cloud Accelerant.

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Ansley Kilgore

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