The Cloud Delivery Network market is forecasted to grow from USD 7.47 billion in 2017 to USD 30.89 billion by 2022, at a compound annual growth rate of 32.8% during the forecast period, as per a report by MarketsandMarketsTM.
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) are an integral part of an internet business strategy. Most of the user data is now on internet. Whether it’s a simple search on Google or a video streaming on Netflix or YouTube, the end user looks for speed while browsing.
Imagine, you are streaming a live video on Netflix or Amazon Prime, but despite a good internet speed on your mobile, the videos buffer too slow. So, what ensures that the user is able to watch the content of a website, an app or a game with blazing fast speed?
You might say – a CDN. Not completely, but yes, it plays a major role in ensuring that the content is delivered as fast and quickly as possible.
The above explains CDN in a nutshell. Let’s try and dig a bit deeper to know more about what is CDN and how it works?
What is CDN?
A CDN can be understood as a system of distributed networks or servers that deliver web content like pages, images, videos etc. to a user, based on his geographic location, hosting server, and the content delivery server.
This means majorly three factors are involved when a CDN works – the location of the user, the location of the website or the hosting server and the location of the content delivery server.
How CDN works?
The CDN comes in action, when a user requests a webpage on the internet. It redirects the request received from originating site’s server to the delivery server closest to the user. The CDN stores cached images and other content of the site. It further contacts the originating server to share any other content that wasn’t cached previously.
Here, the server closest to the user will respond to the user request. For ex: If someone from America is trying to access a website based in India, instead of responding directly from the originating site’s server, the request will be answered through the local CDN server situated in America.
This not only reduces latency, but can help reduce bandwidth consumption, block any direct attack on host server, secure applications and do much more.
As per the results revealed by a study, done by Akamai, an average online shopper expects a website to load in 2 seconds and will not wait for more than 3 seconds before leaving the site.
CDNs solve the arduous problem of latency by virtually shortening the distance between hosting servers and the users.
While there are a plenty of content delivery network providers in the market, for a beginner it is difficult to choose the ideal fit. Thus, we have come up with a deep comparison between them to help you make the right decision and know:
- Features of the best content delivery network provider
- Amazon CloudFront Vs Google CDN Vs IBM Cloud CDN Vs Azure Content Delivery network differences between CDN services through a quick comparison chart.
Content Delivery Network Comparison
Overview: Amazon CloudFront is known for its fast content delivery network service that securely delivers videos, data, APIs and applications to the customers with low latency and high transfer speeds.
CloudFront is a developer friendly environment that allows them to customize features to meet different requirements. It acts as the front door to any user application thus, stopping any attacks before it actually reaches the origin server. SSL/TLS encryption and HTTPS further ensure application security. CloudFront has access controls and thus, the user can control who can access the website.
- CloudFront is fully integrated with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and thus seamlessly works with its services like Amazon S3, AWS Shield for DDoS mitigation, Amazon EC2, Elastic Load Balancing, AWS elemental media services and Lambda@Edge.
- Users need to pay only for what they use with pay-as-you-go pricing and private committed pricing with no upfront fees.
- Runs on the global network of AWS with 136 PoP (point of presence).
- It’s TCP optimized to enable static as well as dynamic content for better user performance.
- Deliver the entire website with CloudFlare by using a single domain name. This accelerates both the upload and download of content of your website.
- Reduces cache churn through tiered caching and de-duplication optimization.
- Protects against the network and application layer denial-of-service-attacks (DDoS) through – AWS shield, Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Route 53 and AWS Web Application Firewall.
Overview: Google Cloud CDN leverages the globally distributed edge points of Google to speed-up the content delivery for user websites and applications. It processes the request coming from Google Compute Engine and Google Cloud Storage.
Users can enable Cloud CDN once they successfully set-up HTTP(S) Load Balancing, that too with a single checkbox.
Sites running Google Cloud CDN do not require any regional DNS as they get a single IP address that can run everywhere.
In terms of security, Cloud CDN by Google secures site content using SSL/TLS and without any additional charges.
Alike Amazon CloudFront, Google Cloud CDN is completely integrated with Google Cloud Platform.
It can support upto 5TB objects, making it an ideal choice for managing media and gaming traffic.
- Anycast feature helps users manage all content from a single IP address and get low latency.
- It supports HTTP/2 – the new and more efficient HTTP protocol along with HTTP/1.1 and HTTP/1.0.
- Users can provide their own SSL or TLS certificate to secure their site content by using a domain name of choice.
- With invalidation feature, user can take down the cached images and other content in under a minute.
- Stackdriver logging integration allows user to gain detailed information about each cache.
- It serves any content originating from Cloud Storage buckets and Compute Engine VMs.
- Charges are based on different incidents like cache fill bandwidth, cache egress bandwidth and HTTP/HTTPS requests.
Overview: IBM Cloud Delivery Network is powered by Akamai, one of the leading CDN providers. It finds its use cases in a number of industry solutions – media, software, entertainment, banking, ecommerce, gaming and many others. With Edge server in over 36 countries, it aims to provide fast content delivery at affordable pricing.
- IBM Cloud CDN can be easily configured to serve content from the Host Server Origin as well as from the object storage endpoint.
- User can set-up multiple origin servers with different paths.
- Quickly remove or purge the cached content.
- Set TTL (time to live) time which defines the amount of time (expressed in seconds) the edge server can cache content for any particular directory path.
- Availability of metrics with graphical views.
- High quality streaming across multiple network types with video on demand performance optimization.
- Ability to control who accesses the content based on geographical location with Geographical Access Control.
Overview: Microsoft Azure Content Delivery Network offers a secure and reliable content delivery with global coverage and massive scalability. Its tight integration with Azure services allows users to get started instantly and scale in minutes. Azure CDN helps the user to reduce load times, improve speed, and save on bandwidth on a pay-as-you-go pricing model. It is an ideal CDN for managing websites or applications, streaming game and other media, IoT endpoints etc.
- Deeply integrated with Azure services – Web apps, storage, media and cloud services.
- Ability to manage sudden traffic spikes with a globally distributed presence.
- Developer friendly environment allows quick building and deployment of applications with API support.
- Ability to enable HTTPS for your domain names for securing your content, without any additional cost or certificate management.
- Easily integrates with Verizon and Akamai to build and customize content delivery strategy with choice of providers.
- Gain useful insights with real time and granular advanced analytics.
Amazon CloudFront VS Google Cloud CDN VS IBM Content Delivery Network VS Azure Content Delivery Network
|Features||Amazon CloudFront||Google Cloud CDN||IBM Content Delivery Network||Azure Content Delivery Network|
|NA = Direct information not available on the website|
|Points of Presence (PoP)||136||90+||51||54|
|Pre-requisites||Sign-up or create free account||Through an existing HTTPS load balancing||User needs to create his IBM ID first||Azure Subscription is needed|
|Time to live feature (TTL)||Yes||NA||Yes||Yes|
|Integration||Integrated with AWS||Integrated with Google Cloud Platform||Akamai Integration||Integrated with Azure Services|
|Management of CDN||AWS Management Console||NA||IBM Cloud Console||Management via REST API, .NET, Node.js, or PowerShell|
|Video on Demand||Yes||No||No||NA|
|SSL/TLS Encryption support||Yes||Yes||Wildcard Certificate and Domain Validation (DV) SAN Certificate||Yes|
|Bring your own certificate||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Field Level Encryption||Yes||No||No||No|
|Video Streaming Optimization||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Large File Optimization||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Geo Access Control||Yes||NA||Yes||Yes|
|Real Time Statistics||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Support||AWS Support||Offers different support packages||Documentation and forum support||Included in Azure Subscription|
|Custom Origin||Yes||No support for external origin server||No||No|
|Compliance||PCI Compliant, HIPAA eligible and SOC compliant||NA||NA||Yes|
To first decide which CDN platform to use, you should analyze why you need a CDN. A CDN is good for websites with larger traffic coming from more than one location. Once you analyze and evaluate your requirements, go for the CDN which meets your requirements.
Priya an ambivert by nature, believes in giving shape to her ideas through her write ups. She is an intellectual person who loves exploring and researching about new things. In her free times she loves reading novels along with some soft music.