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CDN - Content Delivery Networks

By: Preethi Ramkumar

Meaning of CDN – “Content Delivery Networks”, is a dedicated network of servers, deployed throughout the Internet, that Web publishers can use to distribute their content on a subscription basis." A CDN is essentially an overlay network of customer content, distributed geographically to enable rapid, reliable retrieval from any end-user location. CDNs use infrastructure technologies like caching to push replicated content close to the network edge. Global load balancing ensures that users are transparently routed to the "best" content source. Stored content is kept current and protected against unauthorized modification. Customer-accessible traffic logs enable data mining for marketing and capacity planning.

Most importantly, customers—typically, large enterprise Website owners—determine the content served by the CDN by selectively reassigning (URLs) to embedded objects. Dynamic or localized content can be served up by the customer's own site, avoiding the CDN, while static and easily distributed content can be retrieved from the nearest CDN server. According to Akamai, banner ads, applets, and graphics represent 70 percent of a typical Web page—content types easily offloaded to Akamai's FreeFlow CDN. Sandpiper's Footprint can handle other content types and can even use customer-delegated domain names like to offload content while maintaining customer branding. CDN customers pay a premium price for premium services. For example, Footprint customers specify a Committed Aggregate Information Rate (CAIR), measured in Mbits per second, that can be changed daily. Monthly invoices apply rates based on CAIR to charge for delivery of the customer's content to end users.

Other Related Definitions:

“…As the quantity and richness of Web and streaming content continues to increase, your network will manage staggering quantities of content both at its large data centers and at the edges of its network. Whether you are a network services provider or an enterprise, Network Appliance offers a unique approach to content management and delivery that provides a significant advantage in building a cost-effective and high-performance content delivery network (CDN). Network Appliance is the only vendor that can bring vast experience in both data management and content delivery to help you manage and optimally deliver the endless amount of content” [Network Appliance]

“…Onewave’s Content Delivery Network addresses the problems in delivering content to customers over real IP networks such as the hit and miss characteristic of user requests, geographic non-locality, large scale distributed deployment, and the anti-symmetric nature of xDSL connections.” [China Telecom ]

“…The SyncCast Communications Content Delivery Network (CDN) services are designed to assist companies in delivering large volumes of streaming or download content to end users throughout the world in a cost effective and trouble free manner. SyncCast Communications has built a CDN service capable of delivering Terabytes of content utilizing smaller clusters of distributed servers with high quality peering directly to all major Internet backbones. This method dispenses with the need for 1,000s of servers distributed throughout the world.” [Synccastcommunications]

“…Content Delivery Networking (CDN) solutions allow enterprises and service providers to optimize the management, distribution, and delivery of static Web content and streaming audio/video content. While CDN services can take many forms, the overall goal of these services is to increase revenue opportunities, improve end-user performance, and drive cost savings. Our CDN solutions are comprised of products that allow enterprises and service providers to efficiently deploy high-performance CDN networks for business gain.” [California Software laboratories]

Related Links:

Marklogic - Content Delivery
Web-caching - Content Delivery and Distribution Services
Netapp - Content Delivery Networks Distribution, management, and delivery to transform your network.
Wikipedia - Content Delivery Network
Webreference - Content Delivery Network Services
Onewaveinc - Content Delivery Network
Cisco - Introducing Cisco Enterprise Content Delivery Network Software
Washington - An Analysis of Internet Content Delivery Systems
Juniper - Revealing the Misconceptions Surrounding Content Delivery Networks
Synccastcommunications -The SyncCast Communications Content Delivery Network (CDN) services
Bcrmag - Will Content Delivery Networks Lead Enterprises Down A Rabbit Hole?
Navisite - Content Delivery Networks
HP - HP Content Delivery Networks (CDN) solution

Technical Resources:

Isp-planet - Content Delivery Networks: Emerging Opportunity for Service Providers?
Cswl - Content Delivery Networks

Products and Solutions:


Blogs, News, feeds…


Web Caching and Content Delivery by A. Bestavros, M. Rabinovich
Content Networking : Architecture, Protocols, and Practice (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Networking) by Markus Hofmann, Leland R. Beaumont

See Also:

CDN Resources


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