Apr 2, 2013

Six ways CDNs drive cloud adoption

Ansley Kilgore

AgileFILES Now Integrated with the AgileCLOUD PlatformTransitioning your IT Infrastructure to the cloud offers several benefits, including improved operational efficiency, reduced capital expenses and the ability to provision new servers quickly. As a result, companies can increase their competitive advantage and expand their infrastructure as needed without purchasing costly hardware. Leveraging the power of the cloud can increase agility and allow your business to respond quickly to changes in market demand.

But the cloud also presents new challenges that can disrupt your plans. For a successful cloud transition, consider including a Content Delivery Network (CDN) as part of your strategic IT planning. Without CDNs, the cloud would not be able to meet the performance expectations of today’s online users.

Below are six obstacles to cloud adoption that CDNs help address.

1. Security – A CDN can help ward off raw volume DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks that can leave your web servers inaccessible to users. CDNs essentially absorb the load and prevent the servers from becoming overwhelmed by abnormally high traffic volume. Without a CDN to act as a buffer, cloud servers would be vulnerable to attack, which is particularly important for ecommerce websites with servers that store personal data and account information.

2. Availability of service – By setting Time to Live (TTL), content providers can control how long a piece of static content will remain cached. CDN edge POPs (Points of Presence) will continue to deliver the cached content packet for this duration, and will check with the server after this time period expires to see if the content has changed. By setting TTL appropriately, core web servers can experience an outage without causing any interruption to content distribution via the edge POPs.

3. Data transfer bottlenecks – In addition, CDNs help prevent data transfer bottlenecks by efficiently delivering content through multiple egress points to distribute the load. By leveraging a CDN, businesses can scale the egress throughput, which allows the core infrastructure to use its bandwidth for the compute traffic.

4. Performance Assurance – With the growing use of tablets, smartphones and other devices, content providers must be able to deliver streaming media and large amounts of data with minimal latency, or risk losing customers to the competition. Once content is cached in a CDN POP, a repeatable process delivers content from one to many, resulting in lower latency for end users and better server performance.

5. Scalable Storage – CDN file storage devices offer flexibility options that scale as needed. In contrast, cloud storage is available in fixed amounts that can only be scaled up or down by contacting your cloud storage provider. CDN storage devices can scale up based on the size of the content packet to be distributed, resulting in increased operational agility for your business.

6. Scaling – The ability to offload rich media to the CDN allows the compute platform to run more efficiently, and by shouldering the load, the CDN reduces the risk of web servers becoming overwhelmed. As a multi-tenant application, CDN provides more extra capacity than most individual businesses can afford to build. While the cloud provides an interactive computing platform, the ability to scale offers end-users the ability to efficiently consume and share content.

If your company is evaluating cloud hosting solutions, be sure to include CDNs as part of your strategy. Using CDN and cloud together can address these challenges and create the right IT Infrastructure for an optimal online user experience.

To learn more about the relationship between CDNs and the cloud, read our white paper, CDN: A Cloud Accelerant.

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Ansley Kilgore

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