With the emergence of 5G and edge computing, CDNs have the potential to deliver low-latency video streams, reduce congestion and rebuffering, and enhance startup times.
The broadcasting industry has witnessed a tremendous shift in recent years, fueled by the increasing demand for quality video content and the advancement of technology.
In this landscape, Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) have emerged as crucial enablers, facilitating the efficient distribution of video content to a global audience. However, as the demand for video consumption continues to surge and technology continues to evolve, CDNs face both new challenges and opportunities.
Nivedita Nouvel, VP for Product Marketing at the leading CDN provider Broadpeak, delved into the significance of CDNs at scale, the challenges faced in implementing and managing large-scale CDN, strategies for optimising CDN performance, the role of CDN in ensuring a seamless viewing experience, and the impact of new technologies on the future of CDN, amongst others.
CDN at Scale: Significance in the Broadcasting Industry
CDN plays a vital role in the broadcasting industry by enabling the efficient delivery of content to end-users across different devices and geographical locations. It has also become crucial that a CDN fit the demand for capacity, given the increasing consumption driven by the growing number of viewers and the demand for higher quality.
This is particularly important for live video content, where demand can vary greatly. CDNs need to be perfectly suited to handle the capacity requirements whilst also addressing energy and cost savings. CDNs deployed in operator infrastructures face unique challenges that require careful consideration.
Implementing and managing CDNs at scale presents distinct challenges compared to smaller-scale deployments. The elasticity of demand for large-scale CDN becomes significantly amplified.
“With small-scale CDN deployments, having a CDN dimensioned to handle peak traffic is not so much an issue since the impact on the costs will be low. With CDNs that need to manage streaming to millions of users, the elasticity of the demand is decupled,” said Nouvel.
Some of the key challenges that have to be overcome to efficiently manage streaming for millions of users are reducing the number of instances, managing elasticity, and adopting differentiated strategies based on factors such as device type, content type (premium vs. standard), and live vs. Video-on-Demand (VOD).
Additionally, upgrading deployed solutions can be complex, especially when dealing with legacy bare metal deployments consisting of numerous servers. However, Nouvel recommended frequent upgrades when scaling up a CDN infrastructure. This is to avoid security breaches and attacks, amongst others.
To optimise CDN performance and efficiency at scale, several strategies can be employed. Utilising the latest technologies from chipset vendors, allows CDNs to reach high throughput rates per rack unit when combined with optimised streaming software. Well-designed network topologies that determine the optimal placement of Points of Presence (POPs) and implementing session creation workflows that minimise time loss are crucial as well. Meanwhile, deployment in a container environment may slightly impact per-instance performance but greatly enhances elasticity and ease of management.
“For live video delivery at scale, multicast ABR is a no-brainer: one single stream to address any number of viewers, it becomes relevant from 10,000 simultaneous viewers,” Nouvel added.
The Future of CDN at Scale
Looking ahead, CDNs at scale are poised to evolve with the emergence of new technologies like 5G and edge computing. Leveraging the capabilities of 5G networks and edge computing, service providers can deliver low-latency video streams, reduce congestion, and improve startup times.
Open approaches that combine built-in elasticity and context awareness will likely be developed, ensuring that CDNs deliver content with the best combination of technologies and from the most suitable sources.
With this demand for high-quality, energy-efficient CDN, Broadpeak has recently unveiled its next-generation Advanced CDN solution for video streaming. With a focus on delivering a flawless, low-latency, and compelling streaming experience, Broadpeak’s Advanced CDN offers unparalleled performance, scalability, and sustainability, making it the ultimate solution for video service providers.
In a statement last April, Nouvel emphasised the importance of energy consumption reduction, cost reduction, and outstanding quality of experience for video service providers.
With this, Broadpeak introduced its newest CDN solution, which aims to be completely future-proof, offering the best streaming performance, an exceptional quality of experience, and a reduced carbon footprint, empowering video service providers to protect the environment.
Broadpeak’s Advanced CDN delivers video streaming services at an impressive rate of 725 Gbps from a single server, setting new benchmarks for Gbps per dollar and Gbps per watt ratios. This unparalleled performance enables video service providers to achieve significant energy savings, requiring four times fewer servers for video streaming compared to the previous generation. The built-in elasticity allows operators to dynamically manage horizontal and vertical scaling, ensuring optimal resource allocation.
The Advanced CDN solution from Broadpeak is highly versatile and can be deployed in any environment, supporting on-premises, cloud, and hybrid configurations. Operators can easily create and operate video streaming services with Broadpeak’s intuitive GUI and open APIs, providing full control over the content delivery network.
As the demand for high-quality video content continues to grow, CDNs at scale, including Broadpeak’s Advanced CDN solution, play a crucial role in meeting the challenges faced by operators and content providers. Optimising performance, ensuring efficiency, addressing security concerns, and leveraging emerging technologies are key factors in shaping the future of CDNs. Broadpeak’s advanced CDN solution sets a new standard in high-quality, energy-efficient video streaming, empowering video service providers to provide an unparalleled streaming experience whilst minimising their environmental impact. By adapting to evolving consumer needs and embracing technological advancements, CDNs will continue to play a vital role in providing seamless and immersive video experiences to a global audience.